175. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State1

3791. Embtel 3683, March 22 contains summary of Selwyn Lloyd’s first conversation with Nasser while Lloyd was in Cairo last week. Embassy has subsequently discussed matter with Foreign Office on several occasions, keeping in mind summary contained in Cairo’s 276 March 4,3 which appears contain several inaccuracies. Following seem to have been main points covered in 2 meetings which Lloyd held with Nasser:

1. Baghdad Pact.

Lloyd told Nasser Her Majesty’s Government considered Baghdad Pact effective tool for ensuring defense of Middle East from Soviet threat and for promoting economic cooperation and well-being in Middle East. At present United Kingdom not pressing other Arab States join Pact. In reply Nasser’s query whether this would be Her Majesty’s Government policy in future Lloyd replied he could not say and furthermore other members of Baghdad Pact would have to be consulted. According Foreign Office Lloyd did not however say Baghdad Pact had been a mistake. Nasser said he did not object to “frozen” Baghdad Pact which he felt could be associated in some manner with revived ACSP with Iraq as member of both Pacts.

2. Israel.

Nasser said primary condition for Arab-Israel settlement was period of peace and quiet on armistice lines and he would be prepared to withdraw Egyptian forces either one-half or 1 kilometer from armistice lines provided Israel agreed do likewise. Said he was not opposed to increasing observers though he doubted usefulness this measure. He was not against erection of fence provided it did not follow armistice lines in their entirety as this would tend give armistice lines character of permanent boundaries. Only since December had he realized strength and feeling of Arab refugees and he was convinced no Arab-Israeli settlement could be achieved unless refugees were given choice of returning to homeland or adequate compensation. Regarding frontiers, he said any settlement must [Page 324] provide a land link between Arab countries in Africa and Asia and must provide for border adjustments to reunite Arab villages with agricultural lands. As stated Embtel 3683 he also said there could be no settlement while Arab world was split, although he agreed on need for settlement.

3. Jordan Valley Plan.

As stated in Cairo’s 276 Lloyd urged Nasser act to secure success of JVP and Nasser agreed but pointed out his capacity limited since this not appropriate time for Johnston’s visit.

4. Anti-United Kingdom Propaganda.

Lloyd pointed out Egypt could not expect United Kingdom’s assistance in Sudan and elsewhere so long as Egypt continued its virulent radio and press attacks against United Kingdom, directed both at Jordan and East Africa. Nasser appeared agreeable to calling off such attacks, provided he received assurances regarding area policy outlined Embtel 3683.

5. Saudi Arabia.

Nasser said he felt that Saudi Arabia had been unwise in several instances in use of its money. Nasser has been embarrassed and annoyed by Saudi gift of money to Moslem Brotherhood and by Saudi desire give gratuities to Egyptian paratroopers training Saudi army. Nasser said we should discount rumors of dissension and insecurity of King Saud’s position in Saudi Arabia. Nasser indicated he would advise King Saud to be reasonable in his talks with British, but did not speak as strongly on subject as suggested numbered paragraph 2 Cairo’s 276.

6. Meteors.

Lloyd told Nasser United Kingdom planning give Israel 6 meteor fighters and indicated United Kingdom planning fill outstanding requests of both Egypt and Syria for number of Meteors. (Foreign Office understands these have all been discussed in NEACC.)

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 641.74/3–756. Secret; Limit Distribution. Received at 8:32 p.m.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid., 641.74/3–256)
  3. Printed as telegram 1748, Document 157.