196. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions1

755. For Arab capitals having action this message:

[Page 426]

You should immediately speak to government to which accredited along following lines:

Probable that shortly following February 21 plebiscite United Arab Republic will request recognition by foreign governments and accreditation Ambassadors in Cairo to Nasser as President UAR. In line with our belief that implications of UAR are matter of primary concern to other Arab states in first instance, we have encouraged our Arab friends to formulate common action and have indicated our desire consult with and support them. We would like discuss with them problem of recognition UAR prior to determining our own position. We offer following views.

Important factor which obviously must be taken into consideration is strong political attractiveness in area of principle of Arab unity. We do not believe it would be in interest our Arab friends, or in our own interest for us to appear to be opposing Arab unity, regardless of what our appraisal of UAR may be, through withholding recognition, especially when little political advantage would be obtained from such policy and when political disadvantage accruing therefrom in terms repercussions on position in area of states withholding recognition would be considerable.

In light of above we believe our Arab friends would lose more than they would gain if we were to withhold recognition from UAR. For us not to recognize would be in reality a sterile gesture, while through the establishment of correct relations with the UAR it might be possible [for] us to assert a certain amount of constructive influence upon UAR. In absence unforeseen circumstances, therefore, we believe we should extend recognition.

We have considered Soviet attitude and have come to conclusion that USSR may be expected extend recognition without delay.

We would deeply appreciate receiving our friends’ views on this matter. Amman and Baghdad should add following:

We have been encouraged by establishment Iraq–Jordan Federation2 and believe this is constructive step. We will support independence and integrity Federation as vigorously as we have supported Iraq and Jordan separately. We believe establishment Federation enables Iraq and Jordan adopt position of greater strength vis-à-vis UAR than two nations could separately.

It is our impression that Lebanon and Saudi Arabia will recognize UAR.

All action posts should convey sense of above in strict confidence to appropriate officials.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786.02/2–1558. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Rockwell; cleared by Berry, Murphy, Raymond, and O; and approved and signed by Herter. Sent priority to Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, niact to Jidda, priority to Khartoum, Ankara, Karachi, London, and Tehran and repeated to Cairo, Damascus, Paris, and Tel Aviv.
  2. The Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan was proclaimed on February 14.