10. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Brubeck) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0


  • United Arab Republic Ambassador’s Report of President Nasser’s Current Views on United States-United Arab Republic Relations

Enclosed is a memorandum of conversation between United Arab Republic Ambassador Kamel and Assistant Secretary Talbot in which the Ambassador reported the results of his consultations in Cairo.1 Appended to the memorandum is an account of a portion of the Ambassador’s informal discussion with Mr. John R. Barrow, Officer-in-Charge, United Arab Republic-Syrian Affairs, which contains certain supplemental points. The highlights are as follows:

United States-United Arab Republic relations are now “good” rather than “normal.”
Nasser wants full cooperation with President Kennedy within the limits of his non-alignment policy. He understands President Kennedy’s internal problems and wants President Kennedy to understand his.
The United Arab Republic wants further activation of relations in the economic field, the cultural field and in the international arena, including in the Middle East and Africa.
The United Arab Republic wants to keep the Palestine question “in the refrigerator,” pointing out, however, that the United States has a reciprocal obligation.
It is the established United Arab Republic policy never to attack Israel.
The United Arab Republic nevertheless feels it has no choice but to maintain its armed forces in a state of defensive readiness and will go on acquiring arms. It would like to have American arms but feels it cannot afford them now even if we were prepared to change our arms policy.
If a plan for general disarmament were agreed upon by the great powers the United Arab Republic “would be a part of it.”
The United Arab Republic understands the problems in our relations with certain non-aligned countries but feels we should handle the issue of non-alignment with greater clarity and more delicacy.
Though ready to cooperate with us to the extent feasible, the United Arab Republic cannot gear its policy to our domestic problems and considers it the obligation of the United States Government to protect the policy of cooperation with the United Arab Republic against domestic critics.

The Ambassador added as a personal comment that the exchange of letters between President Kennedy and President Nasser had been a key factor in the United Arab Republic’s change of attitude toward the United States and that this practice should be continued.

William B. Grant2
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.86B/7–2862. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Barrow on July 27 and cleared by Talbot. Komer forwarded this memorandum to Kennedy on July 30 under cover of a note that reads: “The UAR Ambassador’s remarks on his return from consultations in Cairo are encouraging evidence that our desire for better relations with Nasser is understood and reciprocated. While Kamel himself has long sought better US/UAR relations, and may be a slightly biased witness, there’s little doubt that most of his remarks were under instructions and designed to reach your ears. We’ll have a draft reply to Nasser’s latest letter for you shortly, plus suggestions for an overture aimed at tacit arms limitations between Israel and the UAR.” (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, 7/62–8/62)
  2. Attached but not printed.
  3. Grant signed for Brubeck above Brubeck’s typed signature.