233. Briefing Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Atherton) to Secretary of State Vance 1


  • Weekly Issues Report

Yemen Arab Republic

Following the assassination of President al-Hamdi on October 11,2 North Yemen has remained outwardly calm. Nevertheless, reports Embassy Sana, former armed forces CINC, and now President, al-Ghashmi faces acute security and political problems in his efforts to consolidate his rule of the country. He has reported an assassination [Page 742] attempt on himself. Popular confidence has been undermined by persistent rumors claiming that al-Ghashmi was personally responsible for the murder of al-Hamdi and his brother. Potential remains for intra-army conflict. Finally, al-Ghashmi is reported as having little interest or understanding of economic matters, and little savvy or sense of organization. Acknowledging that he is anti-Soviet and pro-US, Embassy Sana concluded a recent assessment, “Nothing we know about al-Ghashmi makes it easy to believe he is quick enough or adroit enough to stay on top by himself, as Hamdi did.”

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770185–1905. Secret. Drafted by David M. Winn (NEA/ARP).
  2. The Embassy in Sana reported on events in the Yemen Arab Republic and the issues facing the new al-Ghashmi regime in telegrams 4016, 4026, and 4027, October 12; telegram 4032, October 14; telegram 4080, October 17; telegrams 4096 and 4097, October 18; and telegram 4126, October 19. In telegrams 4026 and 4027, it is also noted that al-Ghashmi himself seemed to be the prime suspect in al-Hamdi’s assassination. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770371–0310, D770372–0590, D770372–0902, D773081–0200, D770381–0030, D770382–0764, D770382–0799, and D770385–0574, respectively)