262. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Yemen (U)


  • State

    • David Newsom*
    • Harold Saunders
    • William R. Crawford
  • OSD

    • Robert Murray*
    • Walter B. Slocombe
    • David Ransom


    • LTG William Y. Smith*
    • LTC Kenneth McKim
  • DCI

    • [3 names not declassified]


    • John Harmon*
    • Ken Bass
  • OMB

    • John White*
    • Ed Sanders
  • White House

    • David Aaron—Chair*
  • NSC

    • Gary Sick*

The group reviewed the situation on the Yemeni border and our discussions with the Saudis and the Yemenis to date. The following are the main points:

1. It appears that the PDRY forces have taken the airfield at Bayda on the YAR side of the border and that skirmishes are in progress in several other areas, including the peninsula near the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb. Our embassy in Sanaa suspects that regular PDRY forces are being used to take territory, which will then be turned over to YAR dissidents with the intention of establishing a rival regime in the YAR and bringing down the government of President Salih. (S)

2. The Saudis are backing away from providing their own F–5s for support of the YAR and are now asking that the United States provide forces. We are unable to provide F–5s or other military equipment which the YAR would then operate, and the Saudis probably realize this. (S)

3. A U.S. team headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Murray leaves this afternoon for consultations with the Saudis. The principal objective of this team will be to get a clear reading of Saudi [Page 815] military and political intentions. Is the latest change of signals due to the Saudis’ talks with the PDRY Foreign Minister who has just completed a visit to Saudi Arabia?2 Precisely what would be required to permit the Saudis to provide effective support to North Yemen? Would they require U.S. support? If so, we need to know explicitly what the nature and level of that support would be. The team should not let the Saudis divert the issue from a Yemeni and Arabian Peninsula problem to a U.S.-Soviet problem. The Saudis must be willing to accept a leading role in dealing with the issue. (S)

4. The State Department will prepare and coordinate instructions to Ambassador West incorporating these views. This cable will be available in Saudi Arabia by the time the team arrives. (C)

At 3:10, a restricted group (marked * above) remained to review the status of [1½ lines not declassified]. CIA reviewed various proposals which they will be prepared to submit formally to the SCC on Friday.3 No decisions were taken at this meeting. (S)

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Council, Institutional Files, Box 119, SCM 050, 02/26/79, Mini SCC, Yemen. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. The minutes are not attached and were not found.
  2. See footnote 4, Document 261.
  3. March 2. No SCC meeting was held that day, but see Document 187.