263. Summary of Conclusions of a Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • Yemen (U)


  • State

    • David Newsom
    • Harold H. Saunders
    • William R. Crawford
    [Page 816]


    • Harold Brown
    • Charles W. Duncan
    • Walter Slocombe
  • JCS

    • Gen David C. Jones
    • LtGen William Y. Smith
  • CIA

    • Frank C. Carlucci
    • [name not declassified]
  • White House

    • The Vice President
    • David Aaron—Chaired
    • Denis Clift
  • NSC

    • Gary Sick

1. All agreed that the US cannot respond positively to YAR and Saudi Arabian requests that we provide our own fighter aircraft for YAR operations nor can we provide [1 line not declassified]. However, it was agreed that we could take the following actions to support YAR defenses against the PDRY incursion:

—We will accelerate deliveries of previously ordered military equipment (anti-tank, anti-aircraft, ammunition, transport) by immediate airlift of this equipment.

—We will seek an assessment from our Defense Attache presently in the YAR of the military situation there and YAR requirements to contain the PDRY advances.

—Defense will examine the extent to which the type of military equipment required to support the YAR might be obtained from Egypt, Jordan, or other friendly countries.

—The US national vessels proceeding south through the Suez Canal will call at YAR ports should the Sana Government so request.

—In response to a recommendation by our Ambassador, we will offer the YAR aerial reconnaissance over the YAR in the area of alleged combat. The Chairman of the JCS made clear that there would be no risk in such reconnaissance.

2. On the diplomatic front, we will urge the Soviets to restrain the PDRY.2 We will consult with the British and Oman for their assessment of developments in Yemen.

3. With Saudi Arabia, we will:

—Urge the Saudis to mobilize Arab opinion for the immediate secession of hostilities and withdrawal of PDRY forces from North Yemen.

[Page 817]

—Describe the actions indicated above that we will take to help strengthen YAR defenses.

—Seek to clarify Saudi intentions and objectives with respect to the Yemens.

—Seek to determine what actions the Saudis intend to take to strengthen YAR defenses and what support they might need from the US to carry out those actions.

—Seek Saudi agreement that we should carry on further discussions with the Egyptians and Jordanians on whether they would be prepared to take direct action to support the YAR should the situation deteriorate further.

4. The group approved the attached statement concerning US policy and action in regard to the situation in the Yemens. State will release it if it is not used by the President in response to a question at his press conference.3

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 93, Meeting: (2/27/79 SCC): 2/79. Secret. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. The minutes are not attached and were not found. An attached February 28 covering memorandum from Brzezinski to Vance, Brown, Jones, and Turner noted that the President had approved the recommendations in the Summary of Conclusions.
  2. Carter, Vance, and Brzezinski met with Soviet Ambassador Anatoliy Dobrynin on February 27 following the SCC meeting. Noting that “we believe the Soviet Union has encouraged this altercation,” Carter informed Dobrynin that the United States hoped “the Soviet Union will use its influence to end the penetration of North Yemen’s borders.” See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VI, Soviet Union, Document 176. Vance also met separately with Dobrynin on February 27, and sent the same requests for Soviet intercession. The memorandum of conversation is in the National Archives, RG 59, Vance Files: Lot 84D241, Box 9, Nodis 1979, Memorandum of Conversation for Secretary Vance. Vance informed Ambassador Toon of his démarche in telegram 47704 to Moscow, February 28. See Foreign Relations, 1977–1980, vol. VI, Soviet Union, Document 177.
  3. Attached but not printed is a February 27 draft statement entitled “Situation in Yemen.” Yemen was not mentioned in the President’s 4 p.m. press conference. Hodding Carter read the statement, which announced that the United States would accelerate delivery of arms to North Yemen, to reporters on February 28. See the Department of State Bulletin, April 1979, p. 41.