13. Telegram From the Embassy in Egypt to the Department of State 1

2223. Re Embtel 2222,2 following are additional points discussed with Nasser yesterday:

Canal negotiations: Nasser said would seem be three alternatives (it being understood no direct negotiations with Britain and France possible), i.e., through (A) Hammarskjold, (B) a negotiating body, or (C) personal contacts. Said ready cooperate but much time lost through having handle through Fawzi in New York. If Hammarskjold could make brief visit here he felt certain more could be accomplished in two days than Fawzi could achieve in two months. Nasser would also appreciate private discussions with USG. Concluded by reiterating necessity solution soonest.
Canal clearance: Nasser knew of no current difficulty except minor question of responsibility for removal 13 ships blocked in Canal. Question had been one of principle to avoid giving impression Wheeler’s authority extended beyond clearance to navigation under international authority. This small point and now cleared up but he could foresee serious problem arising if Israeli evacuation not completed before clearance. He also hoped settlement on Canal operation would be concluded before that time so as avoid other awkward problems, such as payment tolls which he maintained could only be paid to Canal Authority when it reopened as contrasted previous practice of some paying Authority and others Canal Company.
United Nations Emergency Force: As far as he knew there were no current problems.
Fedayeen: Nasser said he had sent out word that any Fedayeen action would be contrary Egyptian interest and insisted that no action should be taken except with his approval. He had also raised matter in same sense with Jordanian Government. He was convinced [Page 20] Fedayeen action at this juncture would only help Israel by weakening Arab position in UN. As result this action, he convinced no current organized Fedayeen activity.
Radio campaign: Said now determined British and French have 9 clandestine stations (sic) operating against Egypt; 3 in Aden, 4 in Cyprus, 2 in southern France, in addition to regular stations. He would send samples some of these broadcasts to indicate what he has to contend with. Re current broadcasts by Voice of Arabs, Nasser said no criticism being made of Pakistan; Turkey being treated on ad hoc basis depending on output Turkish Radio; radio campaign with Iraq still in full sway; British-Yemen dispute being played up. Added Cairo will have new and much improved radio station within 4 months.
Activities of Egyptian representatives in neighboring countries: Military Attachés in Lebanon and Jordan had been called back and lectured. However, he still felt such stories often exaggerated.

Israel: He takes very serious view of way in which Israel flouting UN resolutions and especially concerned re Gaza. If UN force unable dislodge Israelis he is prepared act unilaterally.

As regards settlement he still thinks ad hoc peace best next step and said he favored plan suggested by Menon for stationing UN force astride border in order completely isolate Arabs from Israelis. If this could be done effectively and time then allowed to cool down he could foresee tackling permanent settlement.

Jews in Egypt: Being covered separate telegram.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.00/1–1057. Secret; Priority. Received at 11:38 a.m., January 11. Repeated to London, Paris, Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, and Damascus. Presumably the time of transmission indicated on the source text is incorrect.
  2. Supra.