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

4092. Hold for Ambassador. You should seek opportunity to see Nasser in order reply to questions raised by him (Embtel 3627)2 along following lines: [Page 646]

Questions raised during conversation May 28 were discussed in Washington during your recent visit. You found general surprise that Nasser should have doubts regarding US policies since our position repeatedly made clear by words and actions. Overall US policy is to strive for peace with justice, and stability. To this end US assists its friends in area at their request to maintain their independence and freedom. Our actions last October and November as well as last February and March underline earnestness of US intentions. President’s Middle Eastern proposals designed further UN principle of security against aggression from any source, and acceptance these proposals by majority of nations in area testify to their belief in honesty and sincerity of our intentions. Nevertheless you instructed explain again to Nasser our position on first two questions he asked.

Regarding “positive neutrality”, US convinced from experience major threat to world peace and security is international communism which, regardless of statements and blandishments of Soviet leaders, still has world domination as its objective. International communism has seized by force or threat of force all or major parts of nearly score of nations, with aggregate population of about 900,000,000 people. No one of these seized nations was, at time of seizure, protected by treaties of mutual security and common defense system created thereunder. But not one nation which did share in such a common defense has been lost to international communism.

US continues believe most effective manner to combat international communism, within framework of our major objective of enduring world peace with justice, is for society of free nations to collaborate to preserve their independence by building up collective defensive system. We believe any non-communist nation is unwise forego benefits of association with other free nations for this purpose. Also in our view “positive neutrality” is basically “unsocial” since each free and responsible nation in world community, just as each individual in free society, has obligation to others to collaborate to assure freedom and independence for all.

US does not condition normal relations with Egypt or any other country upon that country’s acceptance of its views. It does not insist upon adherence or commitment to collective security arrangements against communism.

US does judge nations by their acts. If given nation declares it has adopted policy of neutrality, non-alignment or non-commitment, it should in fact be neutral. Egypt’s “positive neutrality” has expressed itself in actions and propaganda directed against many of the free nations which have declined to accept its views and which have joined in collective defense against Communism. Whatever their intent, these Egyptian actions and propaganda have benefited international Communism, and in this sense Egypt has not, in fact, been neutral. In [Page 647] Syria, Egyptian activities have abetted communist infiltration and created extreme example of non-neutral country which professes to follow “positive neutrality” concept.

Egypt seems determined to attempt deny to other states freedom of choice which it demands for itself. It insists all its neighbors adopt policy of “positive neutrality” despite fact that some of them have freely concluded that their independence can be better assured by association with collective security arrangements against Communism. US cannot condone Egyptian attempts to dictate or subvert policies of its neighbors.

If Egypt will in fact accept rights of its neighbors to assure their independence in way that seems best to them, principal cause of current differences with US will be removed.


Regarding nationalism, US has always supported constructive nationalism. US encouragement and assistance to many nations which have sought and achieved independence since World War II is clear and irrefutable demonstration this fact. On other hand, US believes nationalism which appeals only to emotions rejecting reasonable approach to problems can cause much damage. Nationalism which is used as coverall for efforts by one nation to dominate other nations and to oblige other countries to follow blindly its policies will inevitably be opposed by US. Specifically US has in mind activities which Egypt under guise of “nationalism” has been carrying out in certain Arab countries to undermine regimes of those countries. Jordan is case in point. Nasser should be under no illusion regarding US determination that Jordan shall be left free to decide its own policies according to its own conception of its national interests. Also, US will not condone refusal in name of nationalism to recognize just rights of countries outside area. Suez Canal question is case in point.

US believes GOE has much useful work to do in domestic matters and that “nationalism” in Egypt should be put to work in constructive fashion to achieve standard of living and economic development which Nasser himself has set as goal for revolution.

Regarding allegations of US “conspiracies” or “hostilities” such suggestions are so preposterous that USG does not believe they warrant comment. Charges of this nature by Egyptian press and radio can only harm relations between two countries.
United States strives in these matters to be guided by basic principles. Egypt has itself mightily benefited from principles which United States adhered to and which were largely responsible for bringing about withdrawal first of British and French, and later of Israeli, forces from Egyptian territory. Just as we believed Egyptian sovereignty should be respected, so also we believe that sovereign right of other countries to adopt their own international policies [Page 648] should be respected by Egypt and we also believe that no nation can long preserve its own independence unless it accepts the implications of interdependence and cooperates reasonably with other free nations.

We are confident Egypt will come to see that policies which United States espouses are, in all their aspects, in true interest of Egypt.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 774.11/5–2957. Secret. Drafted by Stabler, Burdett, Mathews, and Dulles; approved in draft by Dulles; and approved by Rountree who signed for Dulles.
  2. Document 334.