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44. Editorial Note

On May 8, 1961, United Arab Republic Ambassador Mostafa Kamel met with President Kennedy from 3:45 to 4:50 p.m. (Kennedy Library, President’s Appointment Books) No memorandum of the conversation has been found either in Department of State files or in the Kennedy Library. Telegram 1970 to Cairo, May 11, contained the following brief account: “President inquired whether number subjects, such as Palestine refugee question, which he was discussing with Kamel might not appropriately be pursued with Ben Gurion.” (Department of State, Central Files, 611.86B/5–1161) On May 17, Kamel told Department of State officials that, during his conversation with the President, “he had had full opportunity to set forth the concerns of the Arabs, that he had urged that the U.S. make no effort to disturb the status quo in the Middle East, that the President had discussed with him what it would be useful for him to tell Ben Gurion, that he had found the President a man of great breadth and clear understanding, that he had made a full report to Cairo, and that the reaction of Cairo had been most favorable.” (Memorandum of conversation; ibid., 611.86B/5–1761)

A briefing memorandum from Secretary Rusk to President Kennedy on May 5 to help the President prepare for the meeting with Kamel is ibid., 601.86B11/5–561. An account of Assistant Secretary of State Talbot’s brief discussion with Kennedy prior to the Kennedy-Kamel meeting is in a memorandum for the files by Brewer, May 8. (Ibid., 601.86B11/5–861) For texts, see Supplement, the compilation on the United Arab Republic.