300. Memorandum of Notification From the Acting Director of Central Intelligence (Carlucci) to the Members of the Special Coordination Committee1


  • Implementation of Program of Assistance to the Yemen Arab Republic Security Service


  • Presidential Finding on the Yemen Arab Republic Dated 27 March 1980

1. Background. This memorandum is to notify members of the Special Coordination Committee that pursuant to implementation of the 27 March 1980 Presidential Finding on the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR),2 which in part authorizes training and other support with the aim of creating a broad opposition front to the National Democratic Front (NDF) to reduce People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) and Soviet Bloc influence in the YAR, this Agency is planning to undertake a program of assistance to the YAR intelligence service.

Since the signing of the YAR Finding, there has been an evolution in the policy trends of President Ali Abdallah Salih’s government. Both discussions with YAR security officials and unilateral reporting indicate that Salih is increasingly disenchanted with his policy of rapprochement with the PDRY and is particularly unhappy over the recent increase in NDF activities. [7 lines not declassified]

—President Salih is deeply concerned about the security situation in the YAR and feels he must rebuild his intelligence service in order to cope with the threat posed by external subversion in general and the NDF specifically.

—The Soviet Union has made an official offer of assistance to the YAR in this regard, and pro-Soviet elements within the YAR government are pressuring President Salih to accept the offer.

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—President Salih has a strong preference for Western, and if possible, American, assistance to help him rebuild his security service.

—If he is unable to arrange such assistance, he will be left with no effective alternative to the Soviet offer. However, he would strongly prefer not to accept the Soviet offer, and as a quid pro quo for U.S. assistance would be willing to cooperate closely with CIA on targets of mutual interest—specifically the PDRY and the Soviet presence in Sana.

[10 lines not declassified] Although we remain skeptical about Salih’s long-term commitment to a close security relationship with CIA, after consultation with interested parties, including the U.S. Ambassador in Sana and officials of the Department of State, it has been decided that it is in our best interests to respond positively to the YAR request for assistance in training and reorganizing their intelligence service. It is our view that undertaking such a program is clearly consistent with the YAR Finding of 27 March 1980.

The very early phases of the program will focus on activities which are solely for the purpose of collecting intelligence, [1 line not declassified]. In later stages the program will expand to activities which are not solely for the purpose of collection of intelligence and will fall under the activities authorized by the 27 March Finding.

2. [1 paragraph (16 lines) not declassified]

3. Goals of the Program. The goals of the program are:

—To preclude the Soviet Union from obtaining another foothold in a sensitive element of the YAR government.

—To reestablish a working relationship between CIA and the YAR intelligence service and in doing so support U.S. policy objectives in the YAR.

—To assist the YAR in establishing an effective intelligence service capable of dealing with the threat posed by the NDF, and in doing so limit the influence of the PDRY in the YAR.

—To establish programs and contacts which will enable [less than 1 line not declassified] to influence YAR leadership to adopt more moderate, pro-West policies.

4. [1 paragraph (6 lines) not declassified]

5. Policy Authorization. CIA believes that this operation is consistent with the basic spirit and thrust of the 27 March 1980 Finding on Yemen Arab Republic which in part authorizes provision of supplies, equipment, funds, training and other support with the aim of creating a broad opposition front to the National Democratic Front in order to reduce PDRY and Soviet Bloc influence in the YAR and encourage a moderate, pro-West government in the YAR. At the same time it should be noted that in earlier program proposals it was recognized that at some point it would be necessary to rebuild and train a YAR security [Page 906] service capable of countering NDF activities. However, in view of the sensitivity of the operation and the lack of specific authority for it in the relevant Presidential Finding, CIA is hereby notifying the SCC of this proposed activity prior to implementation.

6. [1 paragraph (3 lines) not declassified]

Frank C. Carlucci
Acting Director
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Office, For President or Brzezinski Only File, Box 89, Sensitive Foreign Commitments: 1/78–1/81. Secret. Gregg sent the Memorandum of Notification letter to Brzezinski under a January 15 memorandum, indicating that the CIA was reluctant to proceed with the implementation of the program until certain issues had been resolved. Gregg recommended that Brzezinski initial an attached letter to Carlucci which noted that the CIA’s “current implementation falls within the original finding and that CIA has approval to proceed.” Brzezinski approved, and the letter was sent to Carlucci on January 15. (Ibid.)
  2. See footnote 4, Document 296.