128. National Security Action Memorandum No. 1050

MEMORANDUM FOR

  • The Secretary of State

SUBJECT

  • Policy Toward Egypt and Syria

The President is greatly interested in what policy we should pursue, in the post-coup situation, toward both Egypt and the new Syrian [Page 303]regime. Is the at least temporary loss Nasser has sustained likely to lead him to turn his energies more inward and to create opportunities for bettering US-Egyptian relations via US development assistance?

With respect to Syria, what policy does the Department of State propose that we pursue toward the new regime? What is our estimate of its staying power? Should we undertake any special measures to encourage its apparent pro-Western tendencies or would such measures be likely to be counter-productive?

A report, and if indicated a program of action, is requested by October 30, 1961.1

McGeorge Bundy
  1. Source: Department of State, NSAM Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM 105. Secret. Copies were sent to the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director of Central Intelligence. NSAM No. 105 was distributed in the Department of State on October 18. Action on the request was assigned to the Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.
  2. On November 3, in a status report to Bundy and Rostow covering several subjects, Komer explained that the response to NSAM No. 105 was still pending, while other agencies cleared the Department of State paper. Komer also noted: “I am convinced that recent events may present us with the best opportunity since 1954 for a limited marriage of convenience with the guy who I think is still, and will remain, the Mister Big of the Arab World. If we can help turn Nasser inward, and get back on a friendly basis with him, it may not buy us much but it will certainly save us from a peck of trouble that he can otherwise stir up for us.” (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memoranda, Robert W. Komer, 11/61–12/61)