209. Memorandum From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Murphy) to the Under Secretary of State (Hoover)1

In reading the attached first draft of NEA’s memorandum of March 14 on U.S. Policy in the Near East,2 several additional points occur to me. The memorandum, I do not believe, emphasizes sufficiently:

The accusations leveled against the United States by Nasser on the score of U.S. “colonialism”. I am sure that the remarks attributed to him have not benefited the United States.
The Western position in the area, especially in Jordan, has no doubt been damaged by Egyptian radio agitation directed at the Jordanians. This activity has been and is detrimental to the West.
Cairo activities in North Africa and radio and other propaganda efforts directed at French North Africa have unquestionably augmented France’s difficulties in the area. These difficulties in turn have exasperated relations between France and the United States and have created strains within NATO. Thus, indirectly, present Egyptian policies and attitudes vis-à-vis French North Africa are harmful to the United States.
Nasser has opened the African door to Soviet penetration.
The USSR is sending nuclear scientists to Cairo by agreement with the Egyptian Government to set up a research reactor laboratory.3
In violation of UN Resolution, Egypt maintains a blockade of the Red Sea.
Nasser is responsible in large part to a growing notion in other areas of which Libya is a prime example, that the United States will respond by concessions to pressure tactics using the threat of deals with the Soviet Union as a lever. This is complicating our relations with a number of countries—for example, Iran.
In this attached plan of action under “Measures to be Taken …”4 4(d) suggests provision to Israel of limited amounts of defensive arms. If we take that action, the difficult problem no doubt for us will be the eventual reaction by Saudi Arabia. I think that suggestion should be coupled with an additional thought that if we supply arms to Israel we should make an especial effort to satisfy the Saudi Arabians that we are substantially meeting their requests for weapons. This, I think, should be done simultaneously.5

  1. Source: Department of State, NEA Files: Lot 59 D 518; Omega—Egypt—Dam, Miscl. 1956. Top Secret. The source text contains no information to indicate it was sent to Hoover.
  2. Document 192.
  3. On February 11, 1956, the Soviet Union agreed to establish a nuclear research laboratory in Egypt.
  4. Ellipsis in the source text.
  5. NEA’s memorandum of March 14 was subsequently revised. See Document 222.