227. Message From the Embassy in Egypt to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Allen)1

In discussion with Nasser during appointment deliver Sec’s speech told Nasser I hoped he had not misunderstood my nervousness last night re situation along border. He responded by saying that he certainly had been wondering how I knew so much about plans his military. Replied I knew nothing of his Army’s plans and gave him same explanation cause my concern re two unclear messages from Washington2 . . . . He seemed accept this explanation and said I then had been unaware of how much cause I really had for concern. Told me as result of 22 Aug incident3 orders had been sent to frontier forces carry out simultaneous and large scale attacks upon “several” Israeli objectives. As result of my call to Hakim Amer they had finally decided issue stop order to troops. This order had obviously not reached outlying units in time prevent some action but I might as well know that action would have been far heavier but for my call. At start of our conversation he unaware of action reported Para 3 Tel Aviv 161 to Dept.4 but received call in my presence with this info. I tried convince him that this had been unwise move . . . . Told him my Govt stood firmly behind policy of no retaliation and if I had in fact prevented heavy casualties he would some day thank me for what I had done. However this has been emotional day with Nasser himself attending funeral of officer killed Aug 22, and I doubt that I convinced him their action had been wrong. Furthermore if Israelis retaliate under this provocation see little hope of restraining forces here.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 684A.86/8–2755. Top Secret. This telegram was typed on a plain sheet of paper and contains no information on agency identification. The source text is incorrectly dated August 27. Although it appears to be a Department of State message, it was not transmitted through Department channels.
  2. No copies of these telegrams have been found in Department of State files.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 217.
  4. See footnote 3, Document 225.