175. Telegram From the Embassy in Egypt to the Department of State1

153. For Secretary. Reference Deptel 172, July 26.2 Greatly appreciate your query re Nasser visit. Have thought often of recommending visit but have held off in deference crowded schedule you and President must have and desire if possible see visit take place after beginning of more favorable trends here. We will have opportunity to accomplish much more if, prior to visit, pendulum in Egyptian-United States relations could by other means be started again toward United States. In that case visit would add momentum rather than be used as effort stop present backward swing. Hope we will succeed by fall in improving situation, but in any case, would recommend visit by about that time. Hope you can see your way clear give us positive decision on as many as possible my outstanding [Page 329] recommendations to Department which would pave way for best results.

In view delicacy our relations and fact that opposition to Nasser is essentially anti-American, feel he would prefer some positive accomplishments prior visit rather than come with usual hat in hand approach. My present estimation is that Nasser could under these conditions return with honor as international statesman and some sense of achievement from talks with President and other top-ranking officials and would be less inclined to think in terms of booty in tradition other foreign visitors.

While I assume your proposal of visit associated with United States objectives re achieving Arab-Israeli settlement, more specific connection not clear. During discussions with Nasser you and President may be able make final determination whether we should continue hope that Nasser will play an effective role toward achievement of settlement. In this connection careful consideration must be given to effect of your proposed speech outlining suggested formula for settlement of Arab-Israeli issues on timing of visit. If speech preceded visit I think it would result in situation here which would cause Nasser weigh with utmost care acceptance of invitation. Made shortly after Nasser’s return it could wipe out benefits of visit in public mind and, perhaps more important, risk jeopardizing his position.

I definitely would like to see Nasser invited to United States as, in spite of all our difficulties here, he is the rare symbol of a Government in Middle East which is really working for development and welfare people and, hampered though he is, is still relatively free and powerful in comparison most Middle East politicians. A Nasser convinced of mutuality of our interest is still best chance of making progress in large part of Middle East and of moving on Arab-Israeli problem.

Know of no local factors preventing visit in fall but assume that beginning December Nasser will be preoccupied with problems connected with projected Parliament.

In view above considerations believe you and Department in best position judge favorable time of visit.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.7411/7–2855. Top Secret; Priority; Alpha; Limit Distribution. Received at 4:03 p.m.
  2. The Secretary informed Byroade in telegram 172 that he was considering issuing Nasser an invitation to visit the United States, but first wished to have Byroade’s views. (Ibid., 033.7411/7–2655)