198. Memorandum of a Conversation, London, March 15, 19561

PARTICIPANTS

  • Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Foreign Office
  • Mr. George V. Allen, Assistant Secretary of State, Washington
  • Mr. Walworth Barbour, American Minister, London
  • Mr. Evan M. Wilson, First Secretary, London

SUBJECT

  • Egypt and Arab affairs

Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick began the conversation by drawing a comparison between Nasser and Mussolini. He thought that just as Mussolini had started out by opposing Hitler and had then turned to him for support because his pride was hurt over the Abyssinian crisis, so Nasser had started out to be anti-Soviet but had turned to the Soviet Union for arms because he felt that the West had refused him. In the case of both dictators, it was a question of wounded pride and the consequences for Nasser would be just as disastrous as for Mussolini. He did not see how Nasser would be able to shake off the Soviet connection.

Mr. Allen 2 said that this was an interesting point. He thought that an important objective of both the U.S. and the UK should be to do what we could do to get Saudi Arabia away from Egyptian influence… .

Sir Ivone commented that one of the troubles with the Arab world was that the Arabs hated each other. This was particularly true of the feeling of Jordanians toward Iraqis.

Mr. Allen asked Sir Ivone whether he agreed that closer cooperation between Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait could improve the present situation, especially if Egypt continues to follow its present course. Sir Ivone said that better relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia were of course desirable, but as far as Kuwait was concerned the Kuwaitis feared Iraq and preferred Egypt. Mr. Allen wondered whether it might be possible for King Feisal, Abdullah,3 or King Hussein, to make the pilgrimage to Mecca during the coming season. He thought that such a move on the part of one or more of them would be welcomed by King Saud. Sir Ivone indicated interest in this suggestion.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.74/3–1556. Confidential. Drafted by Wilson.
  2. Allen had been with Dulles at Karachi attending the SEATO Council session.
  3. Abdullah al Salim al Sabah, Sheikh of Kuwait.