268. Summary of Conclusions of a Mini-Special Coordination Committee Meeting1


  • The Yemen Conflict


  • State

    • David Newson
    • Lucy Benson
    • Amb. William Crawford
    • James Michel
  • Defense

    • Walter Slocombe
    • Col. T.O. Williams
  • Energy

    • Bruce Clarke
    • Denny Ellerman
  • JCS

    • General William Smith
    • Lt Col Kenneth McKim


    • Dr. Robert Bowie
  • NSC

    • Gary Sick
    • Robert Kimmitt
  • White House

    • David Aaron—Chair

It was agreed to recommend to the President the following steps:

1. We should agree to the Saudi request for assistance in planning appropriate military operations to help defend North Yemen against the attack by South Yemen. The Chief of our MAAG, General Cathey, would be authorized to begin consultations with a view towards providing this assistance. The Defense Department will make the necessary arrangements to insure that such activity will be fully consistent with the law regarding military assistance.

2. General Cathey will be instructed that the United States does not contemplate being involved in any combat operations or activities. We would be prepared to provide necessary support of a non-combat nature for Saudi operations for the defense of North Yemen. To this [Page 829] end, we would be prepared, if necessary, to make the required notifications to Congress under the War Powers Act.2

3. The United States should be prepared to sell replacement equipment to Saudi Arabia for losses which might be incurred in the defense of North Yemen.

4. The Saudi and Yemen Governments should be advised that any U.S. assistance will be in response to a YAR request for Saudi and U.S. support in the context of collective self-defense. We will urge them to take appropriate steps to notify the UN Security Council of these actions.

5. To prepare for implementation of these steps the State Department will prepare appropriate guidance for the Embassies in Riyadh and Sanaa, and Defense Department to General Cathey. State will also prepare talking points to be used in consultations with the Congress.

6. State and Defense will prepare a program to accelerate delivery of items already programmed for North Yemen beyond the few items which we have already authorized to be airlifted. Defense will also develop options for the supply of additional items to North Yemen from inventories of Egypt and Jordan. In the latter connection, State will clarify Jordanian intentions to provide some U.S. anti-aircraft weapons to Sanaa.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 94, Yemens: Meeting: (3/1/79 Mini-SCC): 3/79. Secret; Sensitive. The meeting took place in the White House Situation Room. The minutes are not attached and were not found. Carter wrote “OK J” in the right-hand margin next to the list of participants. Aaron sent the Summary of Conclusions to Vance, Brown, Jones, and Turner under cover of a March 2 memorandum, in which he informed them that Carter had approved the recommendations from the meeting and noted that implementation of Carter’s “decisions should commence immediately.”
  2. See footnote 10, Document 188. Carter made checkmarks in the margin next to this and the next four recommendations.