179. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in the Soviet Union and Saudi Arabia1

54819. White House—Pass Dr. Brzezinski on aircraft. Subject: Secretary’s Meeting With Dobrynin. Ref: Moscow 5258.2

1. Secretary Vance met with Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin March 5. Dobrynin requested meeting to provide Soviet response to our demarche on Yemen situation February 27.3 The Ambassador’s instructions were to express satisfaction that Soviet urgings of restraint had resulted in a ceasefire; he was also to raise the question of U.S. arms shipments to the YAR. The Secretary told him the ceasefire had not held, and that the fighting had expanded, pointing out that Soviet logistical support and shipments of military equipment, including artillery and anti-tank rockets, had contributed to the present situation.

2. The Secretary impressed on Dobrynin the urgency of getting the PDRY forces back across the border from their deep penetration into the YAR and the importance of restoring the ceasefire. He indicated that we had obligations to Saudi Arabia and we would honor those obligations. The Soviet Union should understand that its actions in Yemen bear on our vital interests in the region.

Dobrynin said there was no threat to Saudi Arabia, but Secretary indicated that the Saudis were nevertheless worried. Dobrynin promised to report our views.

3. For Jidda: Ambassador may use summary of Vance-Dobrynin conversation in briefing Saudis on our continuing efforts to persuade Soviets to play a constructive role in the resolution of this conflict. After briefing Saud on the Secretary’s démarche to Dobrynin, you should point out the anomaly of US support for Saudi Arabia vis-a-vis PDRY and the press play on his interview with Hawadis.4 At this particular [Page 529] time, with the Yemen conflict raging, such statements might be interpreted as Saudi encouragement in Moscow.

4. For Moscow: Above points provided as background. You may draw on them if the occasion should arise but you need not approach Soviets on this specifically.

5. Addressees will be provided septel5 factual up-date of Soviet assistance to PDRY, with emphasis on post-June ’78 coup arms deliveries and review of current political and military situation in YAR.

  1. Source: Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Special Adviser to the Secretary (S/MS) on Soviet Affairs Marshall Shulman—Jan 21, 77–Jan 19, 81, Lot 81D109, Box 4, CV/Dobrynin, 3/6/79. Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Barbara Bodine (NEA/ARP) and McCall; cleared by Barry, Shulman, William Crawford (NEA) and Frank Wisner (S/S); approved by Newsom. Sent for information Immediate to Sana, Paris, London, and the White House. The White House was instructed to pass the cable to Brzezinski aboard the aircraft en route Egypt. President Carter and Brzezinski traveled to Egypt to meet with President Sadat, March 7–10.
  2. Telegram 5258 from Moscow, March 2, is in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840176–1010. The telegram outlined a discussion between Toon and Korniyenko about the conflict between the two Yemens.
  3. See Document 176.
  4. Presumably, Al-Hawadis, an Arabic-language periodical.
  5. Not found.