298. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Saudi Arabia1

55179. Subject: US-Saudi Consultations on the YAR. Ref: State 42453.2

1. Secret-entire text.

2. In connection with Ambassador Lane’s consultations in Washington, an interagency meeting on Yemen was held February 26.3 At this meeting there was a general consensus on several points:

—The situation in the YAR is fluid and dangerous. President Salih’s flirtation with the left is risky and the US needs to be alert to the danger of leftist influence in the YAR. We need to keep in very close touch with the Saudis about developments in Yemen. Recognizing the political uncertainty in the YAR, we nevertheless believe it important that we be prepared to support effectively and efficiently the military equipment we have provided as a means of showing, not only [Page 900] President Salih, but other influential Yemeni leaders that there is an alternative to dependence on the Soviets for military support. Saudi involvement is essential.

4. Action requested: That the Embassy follow through quickly on instructions contained reftel, emphasizing proposal for a planning conference in Riyadh to discuss specifics of a follow-on program and the importance of funding Jordanian replacement MTT’s to provide training and maintenance on army equipment and a sufficient number of Taiwanese personnel to maintain all F–5 aircraft now in Sana.

5. FYI: In light of recent reports from Sana and Jidda, we will want to keep under review implementation of these steps, but we should raise them immediately with the Saudis in order to be ready to move quickly depending on how the situation develops. End FYI.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800106–0508. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Michael R. Arietti (NEA/ARP); cleared by Twinam, Walter Hayden ( PM/SAS), Garrison (DOD), Richard Aherne (T), Sick, and W. Scott Butcher (S/S–O); cleared by Newsom. Sent for information to Sana, Amman, and USLO Riyadh.
  2. In telegram 42453 to Jidda, February 16, the Department instructed the Embassy that planning should go forward in order for the United States and Saudi Arabia to provide follow-on support to the Yemen Arab Republic if it so desired. The Department instructed West to meet with Sultan, if possible, in order to stress these points and collect information regarding ongoing Saudi-YAR talks. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800083–0204)
  3. See Document 297.