5. Telegram From the Embassy in Egypt to the Department of State 1
956. 1. foreign Minister Fawzi sent for me today to make clear Egypt’s “unfavorable first reaction” Turk-Iraqi pact. Fawzi said Egypt would have to learn more about pact from Nuri (whom he expects to see January 22) and would have to consult its Arab friends, but he wished to make it distinctly clear Egypt does not approve of “the way, the timing and some other ingredients of what Iraq has done”. Nuri’s move in Egypt’s view goes counter to what Egypt considers is the normal sequence of events, i.e., each Arab State should be strengthened [Page 6] and then coordinated into a larger unit of strength. He felt that, “parallel to military unreadiness of Arab States, there is a politico-psychological unreadiness for Iraq’s move among the Arabs”. He feared pact would cause a “retrogression in the improving atmosphere in the Arab States towards the West” and remarked that “it is not wise for anybody to try to force the kicking and screaming Arab world into a position for which it is unready”. He said pact idea was “very badly timed” and reminded him somewhat of the “clumsy MEDO proposals in the autumn of 1951”.
2. Fawzi said he hoped that whatever Egypt did in this matter would not be considered unfriendly by, “our Western friends”. There would be no such intention. While Egypt did not like the method and timing of pact it had no quarrel with its ultimate objective.
3. He feared that West would experience some loss of popularity as a result of new development since many Arabs will believe pact has been, “fomented by the West” and is Western effort to destroy Arab unity.
4. I then gave Fawzi substance paragraphs 1 through 4 Department’s 1100, January 14,2 laying particular stress on paragraph 2 and on Egypt not assuming a position from which it might be embarrassing to move later. I reminded Fawzi of our attitude towards Northern Tier (Embtel 980, January 8).3 I suggested that dynamics of situation should not be overlooked and said that a wholly negative attitude by Egypt at meeting of Prime Ministers would not create a good impression in US or, I thought, in Arab States.
5. Fawzi assured me that “Egypt hopes to do something constructive”. He said “Nuri wants to come and talk to us and that may be very helpful. We will avoid freezing our position.”