23. Message From Robert B. Anderson to the Department of State 1
Cairo , January 20, 1956 .
- We are awaiting information as to the precise meeting time with PriMin today.2 In view of his pre-occupation with the question of Arab unity and Arab security during our first meeting we anticipate he may either make suggestions or ask the extent to which we are prepared to go to in taking … actions which would indicate our support of some form of Arab State security arrangements which would envision Egyptian leadership. We anticipated that such a proposal probably would not contemplate formal arrangements between the Arab States but any action on our part would rather give evidence of our support which would be construed by Nasr and other Arab leaders as Western recognition of Arab unity and security. In the context of what we believe is a primary concern of the PriMin we realize the problem of the future balance of power between the collective Arab States and Israel and that our continuing policy must be one which will aid in maintaining the peace. Nasr seems to be worried about a policy that equates Israel with all the Arab States combined. Nasr’s philosophy appears to be that after settlement Israel must be content to live as one state among several sovereign states and be content with Western guarantee [Page 38] of her borders. We therefore would like your guidance on a policy that seems to contemplate steering the narrow course of purely legitimate defensive abilities by boundaries and still lends credence to the thesis of Arab security.
For thought purposes, it is suggested that such proposals (some of which have already been discussed with you) might include:
- A declaration by the Government of the United States that the Baghdad Pact is not incompatible with arrangements for Arab unity and security.
- Appropriate assurances that there would be no further efforts to expand membership in the Baghdad Pact which would be limited to defensive arrangement vis-à-vis the Soviet Union, and pointing out that Iraqi membership occurred by reason of its close proximity to the Soviet Union.
- In connection with B we could of course indicate in the event of settlement our willingness to abstain from adherence to the Baghdad Pact but probably will be asked for assurances that we will lend our full support in influencing Britain and other members of the Baghdad Pact not to enlarge membership and if possible to withdraw or minimize its standing invitation to other Arab States for membership which would help to eliminate from the Pact the political implication which Nasr now ascribes to it.
- Some statement indicating our willingness to consider economic assistance when asked for to various Arab States within a framework consistent with unified Arab planning.
- As indicative of our willingness to work within the framework of unified Arab planning could we consider providing an economic survey by reputable U.S. management concerns on a regional basis?
- Assurances of our willingness to consider legitimate defensive support to various Arab States if requested accompanied by a declaration that our support was not incompatible with Arab collective security and at the same time the Baghdad Pact.
- Assurances that we would through appropriate channels indicate to other Arab leaders our support of Nasr’s efforts toward Arab unity and security.
- Providing for the channeling at least to appearances of refugee compensation and rehabilitation either through the Arab League or a commission giving a predominant place to the Arab League. In this connection we realize the undesirability of entrusting the financial aspects of compensation and resettlement to Arab League leadership but are concerned essentially with appearances for purposes of prestige.
. . . . . . .
- Your early advice and counsel will be appreciated. The extent to which we go in assurances concerning these matters may have very significant results both as to issue of settlement and particularly [Page 39] as to the issue of timing. This advice you realize of course is sought purely from the viewpoint of problems as we contemplate they are being viewed through Arab eyes and has not yet taken into account considerations which we may have or which may be proposed by the other side.