178. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Improving Diplomatic Contacts with Yemen Arab Republic

The Yemen Arab Republic Government—which broke relations with the U.S. in June 1967—has approached us on the issue of resuming diplomatic relations. Secretary Rogers is now asking you (attached)2 to approve the establishment of a U.S. Interests Section in the Italian Embassy in Yemen.

Background: Since breaking relations with the U.S., the Yemeni Government has periodically approached us to renew diplomatic relations. We have avoided this because of King Faisal’s opposition.

However, the Yemeni Foreign Minister made overtures to Secretary Rogers in New York on October 1 to resume ties.3 Ambassador Eilts raised the issue with King Faisal on November 24; the King reiterated his opposition but said that a U.S. Interests Section at the Italian Embassy in Yemen would not be an embarrassment to him.4

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What this means is putting a couple of officers in the Italian Embassy to improve our knowledge of what is going on there. Since Southern Yemen broke relations with us on October 24,5 we have had no one in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula. This would be consistent with our position of trying to broaden our ties with the Arabs without being very visible or committing us to any significant involvement.

Recommendation: That you approve the establishment of a U.S. Interests Section in the Italian Embassy in Yemen and authorize State to take the necessary steps to execute this.6

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 641, Country Files, Middle East, Yemen, Vol. I. Confidential. Sent for action.
  2. Not attached. A copy of this December 6 memorandum from Richardson to the President is ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL US–YEMEN.
  3. See Document 173.
  4. As reported in telegram 1043 from Dhahran, November 24. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL US–YEMEN)
  5. See Document 174.
  6. Nixon approved the recommendation and wrote: “But only if Faisal has no objection.” The opening of the Interests Section was postponed due to a Yemeni raid on Najran, Saudi Arabia. (Memorandum from Eliot to Kissinger, January 14, 1970; ibid.) The Interests Section opened in April 1970.