201. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Yemen Arab Republic1

138643. Subject: Emergency Arms Supply to YAR. Ref: (A) Sanaa 1262; (B) Sanaa 1249; (C) Amman 3632; (D) Amman 3626; (E) Jidda 2901; (F) Amman 3618; (G) Sanaa 1278.

Summary: USG prepared supply emergency arms requested by YARG on FMS basis provided they delivered by Jordanians and Saudis and paid for by Abu Dhabi, or failing that, YARG. End summary.

1. Without attempting make independent judgment of threat of PDRY attack cited by YAR Prime Minister al-Hijri and Acting FonMin al-Asnag, given YARG concern and psychological state, believe it necessary for political reasons for USG to respond promptly and positively to urgent YARG request. We think this can be done without basic changes in our policy of regional cooperation, and that it will in fact support that policy, since arrangements for supply, discussed below, would be through friendly neighboring states. Agree with Ambassador [Page 654] Crawford that whatever the channel, USG will get suitable portion of credit.

2. USG not in position to provide grant military assistance to YARG, either directly or through third parties. Accordingly, payment for ammunition and equipment will have to come either from Abu Dhabi, or, failing that, from YARG. Re equipment/ammo from Jordan or USG, if Abu Dhabi will pay, believe it best that funds be transferred directly to YARG. YARG would in turn conclude sales agreement directly with USG or Jordan.

3. Agree with Sanaa’s 1262 that we should act along three tracks to respond to Yemeni requests, as follows:

A. Ammo supply from Jordan (Amman 3618): Welcome and approve immediate Jordanian ammo transfer and delivery to Sanaa by RJAF C–130, providing YARG can pay, either out of its own funds or through Abu Dhabi financing. As stated para 2 above, USG cannot make replacement on gratis basis, although willing to sell under FMS. Jordanian transfer of weapons to YARG is subject to provisions of FMS Act and would require Yemenis to undertake not to transfer to third parties without prior USG approval. Would expect Jordan to obtain this promise from YARG prior to or concurrent with delivery.

B. Remaining equipment and ammunition: Assuming Abu Dhabi or YARG funding, DOD prepared to sell to YARG on FMS basis and airship to Saudi Arabia for transfer to Sanaa by RSAF all remaining equipment and ammo requested Sanaa 1249 para 11 not supplied by Jordanians. This would be subject to YARG assurances to US re non-transfer to third parties without prior USG approval. DOD estimate for price and availability these and replacement items para A above will be provided by septel. In order provide adequate price and availability data we will of course need to know total requirement for ammunition to be sent from CONUS for (1) replacements for Jordan and (2) package to be airshipped to Saudi Arabia.

C. Saudi emergency shipment: Prince Sultan’s message of June 21 (Jidda 2573) re Saudi supply of at least part of items urgently requested by YAR within fortnight most welcome development. However, given extreme YAR unhappiness at continued SAG non-delivery, Saudis need a further jog to confirm promptly to YARG that initial shipment in fact on its way. Ambassador Thacher should at appropriate level (1) inform Saudis of deepening Yemeni concern re its hopeless defensive position in face of what it describes as escalating fighting with PDRY; (2) remind them of our expressed willingness to resupply SAG on FMS basis and cover part of transport costs to Saudi Arabia; (3) confirm our understanding that SAG has no problem with Jordanian action in response to Yemeni request (Amman 3632); and (4) inform them we are looking urgently at items not in Saudi or Jordanian emergency [Page 655] supply packages which we could airlift to Saudi Arabia for onward Saudi airlift to Yemen. Also, we will need USMTM’s recommendation as to what airfield in Saudi Arabia US should bring matériel. In addition, Embassy should be aware that we may encounter difficulties re overflight clearances and may need SAG assistance in obtaining them.

4. For Sanaa: Ambassador should inform al-Hijri that (a) we understand YARG has requested from Jordan some of ammunition contained in request to us; (b) we prepared to provide remaining equipment and ammo requested in Sanaa’s 1249 para 11 on FMS basis subject to YARG assurance re non-transfer to third parties without prior USG approval; (c) any equipment or ammunition provided by USG would be sent to Saudi Arabia and YARG would be expected to make arrangements for onward delivery by Saudis to YAR. As Abu Dhabi willingness to finance emergency shipment obviously crucial, Embassy should query YARG re its discussions with Abu Dhabi on how financing will be handled. We expect YARG to handle directly all discussions with ADG re financing. However, if YARG concurs, Chargé Griffin authorized to provide price and availability details when received to ADG in order facilitate early transfer funds to YARG. As regards payment we currently envision letter of offer would be addressed for acceptance by YARG. Terms of sale would be dependable undertaking, payment 30 days after delivery.

5. Would appreciate any further info Embassy Sanaa can provide on alleged recent increased exchanges on PDRY/YAR border. We have no independent information here to confirm these incidents.

6. For Amman: Ambassador authorized respond to Jordanian request drawing on para 3A and 3B.

7. For Abu Dhabi: Upon receipt DOD info on price and availability (para 3–B above) and message from Embassy Sanaa stating YARG has no objection your raising subject, you should contact appropriate ADG officials to pass on cost data. At same time you should attempt obtain confirmation that Abu Dhabi will in fact finance (a) Jordanian ammo and (b) remaining equipment and ammo requests by YARG from USG.

8. Note YARG request to Jordan includes ammo for Saladins. Septel will deal with question of Saladins for Yemen.

  1. Summary: The Department announced that the United States was prepared to provide arms to the YAR, under certain conditions.

    Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 641,Country Files, Middle East, Yemen, Volume I, 1972—December 1973. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Stephen W. Buck (NEA/ARP); cleared by Wrampelmeier, Noyes, Ransom, and in DOD/OSG/COMP, DOD/JCS, PM, NEA, EUR/NE, DOD/DSAA, and DOD/OSG/GC; approved by Atherton. Also sent Immediate to Amman, Abu Dhabi, and Jidda. Repeated to Kuwait City, Tehran, London, USCINCEUR, and Dhahran. Ambassador Crawford met with DOD officials to discuss the status of arms transfers to Yemen on March 8, 1974. DOD notes for the meeting emphasize Yemeni dissatisfaction with the slow pace of Saudi shipments of U.S. weapons to Sana’a. (Washington National Records Center, OSD Files, 330–77–0054, Box 23, Yemen 000.1 1974) Telegrams 1262 from Sana’a, 3632 from Amman, 3626 from Amman, 2901 from Jidda, and 3618 from Amman, all July 11, are in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, [no film number], P750007–1540, P750007–1545, P750007–1903, and P750007–1547, respectively. Telegrams 1249 from Sana’a, July 10, and 1278 from Sana’a, July 12, are ibid., [no film number].