132. Telegram From the Embassy in Saudi Arabia to the Department of State1
97. From Anderson. In subsequent conversations August 24 with Yusuf Yasin, we have learned King considered possibility sending special emissary to US on Suez issue prior latest Arab League political committee meeting.2 When suggestion made in political committee meeting Saudi Arabia approach US in endeavor discuss issue, Yusuf, knowing King’s thoughts, endorsed idea. Yusuf, without giving further details, said Nasser consequently aware Saudi request that President receive emissary. Yusuf says, however, Nasser knows nothing of further developments, including my mission.
Yusuf later informed me he had been named by King to proceed immediately as emissary to Cairo which proposal mentioned my previous message. Yusuf affirms he wishes be in best possible position to influence Nasser to follow US leadership and, to this end, believes it most desirable he be able inform Nasser that, in response Saudi suggestion for emissary and in view President’s absence, US demonstrated keen interest this problem by sending special mission bearing letter from President. He further wishes report my presentation and explanation US objectives and US London proposal. He gave us his assurance my name would not, in any event, be used.
He also asked our suggestion on what might be told Nasser about substance my mission. We prepared following suggested Saudi statement (to be used privately with Nasser only) and gave informally to King and Yusuf today. At airport Yusuf said he was willing use statement as written with Nasser, provided King agreed.
“We have been in touch through our own channels with US Government who are genuinely working toward solution this crisis in order preserve peace of area.[Page 297]
“They have persuaded us that efforts of Secretary of State, from beginning, have been based on this objective and that proposals put forward in London and joined in by other nations represent honest effort of US toward seeking of peaceful solution in light of all conditions that exist. They make special point that US entered into London conference at crucial time in what they believed to best interest of Egypt, area, and world and had put forth their views and proposals at that conference openly and in best of faith and cannot undertake any other activities except in support of efforts of Secretary of State.
“They have urged that gravity of situation be fully realized by all nations and that best possible efforts be made toward achieving workable and satisfactory solution. And we, for our part, would hope that Government of Egypt would receive and negotiate in good faith with representatives of five nations.”
I informed Yusuf I could not agree to mention my mission to Nasser as he suggested and emphasized that the US had gone to London at crucial time in good faith and I could not enter into any other efforts save those conducted by the Secretary of State at London and related thereto. In view his belief that fuller explanation would create better atmosphere for his talks with Nasser and increase possibility Nasser’s acceptance our viewpoint, in view fact Nasser knows original Saudi intention, I agreed ask Department on most urgent basis for the decision as to whether or not to permit Yusuf to mention mission, without my name, in private talks with Nasser. Department may, in view nature my mission, wish also consult President. Whatever Department decides, reply should be cabled urgently Wadsworth Jidda and Byroade Cairo. Yusuf may wait in Jidda for answer, or proceed to Cairo and wait, depending on King’s instructions.3
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–2456. Top Secret; Niact. Received at 9:40 p.m. Repeated Niact to London and Priority to Cairo.↩
- On August 23, Byroade forwarded to the Department of State the following: “Departing Iraqi Ambassador [Syd Neguib el-Rawi] revealed to me today background behind King Saud’s desire send personal representative to President. He stated that in restricted meeting of recent Arab League Political Committee meeting here, delegates requested Yusuf Yasin relay their request to Saud that he send representative to President. Purpose of mission was for Saud to use his special position with United States to persuade U.S. to work for a solution of Suez controversy that could be accepted by Egypt as consistent with its sensitivity over sovereign rights. El Rawi said suggestion came not from Egypt but from Syrians and Lebanese.” Byroade added that he could not speculate as to what the Saudi position would be in talks with the United States, but he did not doubt the accuracy of El Rawi’s information. (Telegram 447 from Cairo, repeated to London and Jidda; ibid., 974.7301/8–2356)↩
On August 25, Hoover replied to Anderson’s report as follows: “Saudi support for five power proposal might have extreme beneficial effect on Nasser at this particular moment. It seems to us Saudi approach to Nasser would be more effective if it were made entirely at Saudi initiative and on grounds that Saudis themselves had concluded five power proposal should be examined by Egypt.
“We would have no objection if Saudis said they had consulted U.S. through diplomatic channels but would not wish them to go further in mentioning your mission or by presenting proposed statement mentioned in Embtel 97. Nasser might look on mission and statement as indirect approach by U.S. behind back of Suez committee and draw erroneous conclusion.
“We most encouraged by your reports and look forward to your return with much anticipation.” (Telegram 133 to Jidda, repeated to Cairo and London; ibid., 974.7301/8–2456)↩