22. Message From the Secretary of State to Robert B. Anderson, at Cairo1

Have read with intense interest your message No. 2.2 Believe you have made good start.

It is matter of concern that Nasser should believe it would be as long as 6 months before he could take any public action in connection with settlement but that statement may be counterbalanced by his subsequent statement that it might be possible to conclude settlement quickly if announcement could be deferred.

As you know, we believe it is imperative for us to know soon whether or not settlement can probably be concluded. We would have great difficulty in getting Israel to sit by waiting for 6 months while Egypt absorbs arms. Israelis always contended this would be Egypt’s tactic. Furthermore by summer political competition will be at level which would gravely militate against our then taking effective part in settlement. Senator George indicated he would seek to maintain bipartisanship for time being, but also he indicated that [Page 37] mounting pressures would limit period of bipartisanship.3 In sum it is difficult to see how conditions in which settlement would be possible could be maintained for several months, although details and announcements could be deferred once there were sufficient agreement on basic essentials.

John Foster Dulles 4
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 683.84A/1–1956. Secret.
  2. Supra. Immediately upon receipt of Anderson’s message, Russell, on January 19, forwarded a copy of it under cover of a memorandum to Dulles and Hoover. (Department of State, NEA Files: Lot 59 D 518, Alpha—Anderson Talks w/BG & Nasser. Jan ’56—memos, etc.)
  3. Senator George and Secretary Dulles discussed the Arab-Israeli situation and the problem of keeping it out of domestic politics during a luncheon conversation on January 13. (Memorandum of conversation by Dulles; Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Sen. Walter George)
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.