173. Message From Robert B. Anderson to the Acting Secretary of State1

No. 117


  • Outgoing No. 102
We discussed the desirability of meeting Nasr at 2300 hours yesterday3 and concluded that rather than urge an additional meeting we should put the burden on him. Accordingly we advised Ali Sabry that we would be glad to meet but did not at this time have additional proposals other than those heretofore advanced. That we [Page 321] would be pleased if Nasr desired additional conversations, or had affirmative proposals for progress which he could discuss with us.
Ali Sabry advised us in late afternoon that Nasr had no additional proposals or information which required discussion.
All of the points suggested in ref were quite forcibly urged during the course of our meetings. We particularly urged that this was perhaps the most favorable time in the foreseeable future when Nasr could assure a position of leadership both on the question of the Jordan Plan and the Israeli settlement. He concedes that he would win wide backing from world opinion if he did this but states that the reverse would be true in the Arab world.
This morning I suggested to Byroade that we might appropriately call on Nasr on other business during the next 48 hours and make these points:4
That we were keenly disappointed by his negative position and felt that the burden of making affirmative and helpful suggestions towards progress now rested with him.
We hope that he might make such suggestions during this week and that they would afford the basis of our return to Cairo.
To suggest that possibly after the tripartite talks in Cairo he might be in a position to advise us with reference to such affirmative steps that he now felt able to take.
That we would remain in this area for several days and would be pleased if Nasr had any affirmative suggestions from any source which he would like to pursue with us.
Byroade will probably report to you separately, however he discussed with me his conversations with Trevelyan and in the light of these conversations and his own thinking is more inclined to believe that something has occurred during the last few days which has changed Nasr’s point of view towards this mission and has probably alerted [altered?] his own assessment of his capabilities. He is more inclined to believe that something has occurred to change Nasr’s approach than that the attitude which he expressed on Monday night5 has been in the back of his mind from the beginning.
Those stationed in Cairo … are inclined to believe that Nasr is more and more preoccupied with the influence of the refugees and inclined to believe that Jordan and Syria would be particularly difficult for him to handle on either of the issues of the Johnston plan or the Israeli dispute because of growing restiveness among the refugees. Sources here also believe that Nasr has a [Page 322] growing concern about the stability of the Jordanian and Syrian Governments on account of the refugee problem.
Drafted 1845 hours local 7 March.
  1. Source: Department of State, NEA Files: Lot 59 D 518; Alpha—Anderson Talks w/BG & Nasser. Incoming Telegrams—Jan.–March 1956. Part II. Secret. Also transmitted to Karachi for Secretary Dulles.
  2. Document 167.
  3. March 6.
  4. See Document 191.
  5. See Document 164.