214. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Egypt1

2993. Department deeply concerned reports re Egyptian attitude regarding Gaza. While US has consistently recognized that arrangements following Israeli withdrawal must be within framework legal situation arising from Armistice Agreement, we have placed importance on arrangements, in which Egypt acquiesced, for UNEF administration at least for some time following withdrawal and, we hoped, until there is agreement on future of Strip or permanent overall settlement. While we recognized Egypt might for prestige reasons insist upon some participation, at least symbolic, it obviously of utmost importance Egypt take no precipitate action which in present circumstances would involve grave danger that UN efforts to achieve peace will fail.

You are requested to seek appointment with Nasser soonest and, in foregoing context, urge him refrain from any precipitate action that would serve to undo what has been achieved. We hope GOE will continue demonstrate forbearance that has marked its special position in recent past and that while retaining its rights Egypt will cooperate fully in implementation measures set forth SYG Report February 22 as best means assure peace and quiet in area.

You might discreetly allude fact that recurrence of hostilities or creation new dangerous situation which would call for further urgent consideration by UN might, if Egyptian cooperation in this important matter not forthcoming, place Egypt in position entirely different from that occupied during recent GA discussions. We now have opportunity capitalize upon success of UN in restoring peace and achieving withdrawal occupying forces, in which U.S. played major role and any Egyptian action which would endanger that opportunity would be viewed with grave concern and disfavor by overwhelming majority UN members.

FYI We are urging Hammarskjold proceed immediately to Egypt to discuss with Nasser Gaza question and interim Canal arrangements. We hope his present plans arrive about March 21 will be altered to provide substantially earlier arrival.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/3–1257. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Rountree, cleared by Wilcox and Phleger, and approved by Herter. Repeated to USUN.