Memorandum by the Minister to Egypt (Tuck), Temporarily in the United States, to the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Henderson)

Before attempting to answer the question, the following reaction of a prominent Egyptian official may be of interest. He expressed the opinion that while American official policy with regard to Palestine follows a course which recognizes and tries to find ways of reconciling both Zionist and Arab aspirations, the humanitarian aspects of the problem would seem to be uppermost in the minds of many Americans. As a result, there was a tendency among Egyptians to believe that the humanitarian aspects have become confused with the political aspects of the Palestine problem. They consider that the case rests on the spirit of the Atlantic Charter and on the fact that throughout their history Moslems have lived peacefully with Jewish minorities.

In answer to the specific question as to whether our present attitude with regard to the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine is actually affecting the conduct of our relations with the countries of the Near East and the development of our economic and cultural ties, it must be fairly stated—in so far as Egypt is concerned—that there is as yet no direct evidence to this effect. It may be said, in fact, that the present nationalistic trend in Egypt, which is evidenced by certain draft legislation and measures unfavorable to foreigners, stems more from the desire to limit and control foreign influence than from any direct anti-Semitic feeling. Jews in Egypt are not discriminated against and the Jewish community, although relatively small, has so far been treated tolerantly. No later than October last the Jewish community in Egypt went on record as opposing the establishment of [Page 794] a Jewish State in Palestine and as favoring the settlement of four or five million Jews in “some other land of refuge” than Palestine.

The nationalistic trend above referred to has unquestionably influenced Egypt’s attitude and policy in so far as the League of Arab States is concerned, which, as an organization, derives its cohesive force from a common attitude among all Arab States towards Jewish immigration into Palestine.

If the Egyptians should at any time become convinced that the United States has definitely decided to adopt a policy or attitude favoring the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine, it is believed that both the conduct of American relations with the Egyptian Government and the development of our economic and cultural ties with that Government would be immediately and adversely affected. Already, the lack of clarity in our attitude towards Palestine has provoked a series of communications from various Arab States, and the Egyptian Government has done likewise for its interest in the Palestine problem is a real and vital one. The present Egyptian Prime Minister remarked informally to the undersigned that what shocked and mystified his countrymen in the American reaction towards the Palestine issue was not only the internal political implications involved but also our apparently amazing indifference to and ignorance of the Arab side of the problem.

S. P. Tuck