194. Memorandum From the Secretary of State to the President1


  • Recognition of United Arab Republic

It is expected that a plebiscite will be held in Egypt and Syria on February 21 to vote on the union of those two countries into the “United Arab Republic” and on the election of Gamal Abdel Nasser as President. Nasser will apparently assume the Presidency on or about February 22 or 23. At that time the United Arab Republic will officially come into existence and Egypt and Syria will cease to exist as international entities. Chiefs of diplomatic missions in Damascus will have no status as of that date and all political questions with foreign governments will be dealt with by the Foreign Office of the new republic in Cairo. The United States will then be faced with the question of recognition of the new republic and the accreditation of an Ambassador.

We have been in close consultation with Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia which are deeply concerned by the implications of the creation of the new republic. We have advised those governments that we should be glad to give active consideration to supporting any feasible common plan they might be able to devise to thwart or otherwise oppose the union of Egypt and Syria. So far we have received little or no evidence that our Arab friends are able or willing to formulate common action. On the contrary, there is increasing evidence that one or more of these governments may recognize the United Arab Republic.

We believe that if our Arab friends cannot formulate common action which we could feasibly and appropriately support and particularly if one or more of them recognize, we could not justifiably withhold our recognition of the United Arab Republic without renouncing our traditional policy on Arab unity and without giving offense to the popular appeal of Arab nationalism.

Thus, in the likely event that our Arab friends do not devise a common plan of action which we can appropriately support and especially if one or more of them recognize the United Arab Republic, your authority is sought for the United States to extend recognition to the new republic as soon as such a step is appropriate following the proclamation of the republic.

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Your approval is also sought for the designation of Raymond Arthur Hare, now Ambassador to Egypt, to be Ambassador to the United Arab Republic.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Dulles–Herter Series. Secret. The source text bears the handwritten note: “OK DE”.