207. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Arab Republic to the Department of State1

3009. Re Embtel 3008.2 Reference in Nasser’s speech last night to his mention in March 20 speech of inquiry by “foreign personage” regarding what country would next be incorporated in UAR (Embdes 939, March 25)3 and his identification of me as person in question is obviously greatly simplified version of what I actually said and reported in paragraph numbered 9, Embtel 2444,4 as is also my supposed question whether UAR intended annex Lebanon (paragraph 7, same telegram).

Despite somewhat inaccurate rendition of what I actually said, I am inclined feel that net result is no good for following reasons:

Even though words were not my own, idea was essentially correct and I do not feel any embarrassment by being represented as having posed searching questions regarding intentions of UAR as related other friendly Arab countries. Trust Department agrees.
According to those who monitored speech it appeared that bringing me into picture was primarily for purpose of giving emphasis to a point, not to be contentious.
It would seem useful that other ME governments should be given this tangible indication that we have been keeping our eyes open and have their interests at heart. Viewed in this light, Nasser would seem unwittingly to have given us a good public relations assist.
Nature of reference was such that it could serve counteract any impression that our “new policy” mentioned in another part of speech constituted capitulation.

[Page 452]

With this aid and bearing in mind apparently favorable public reaction to totality of reference to US in speech, believe preferable let record stand as it is and not become involved in debate over shadings of meaning.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786.00/5–1758. Secret. Repeated to Amman, Baghdad, Rome, Beirut, Damascus, Jidda, London, Moscow, Ankara, Khartoum, Rabat, Tel Aviv, Tripoli, and Tunis.
  2. Telegram 3008, May 17, summarized Nasser’s May 16 speech to the nation after his return from Moscow. (Ibid.)
  3. Not printed. (Ibid.)
  4. Document 201.