302. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Arab Republic0
349. Following summary for info only and contents should not be disclosed to foreign officials. It is uncleared and subject amendment upon review of memcon.1
Ambassador Kamel had lengthy discussion with President July 192 during which he made determined and sometimes eloquent presentation. Talbot attended.
Kamel praised President for US policy generally, energetically pled for US resistance to importuning by Israel and Zionists, asked for additional economic assistance to UAR.
Specifically, Kamel congratulated President for American University speech, called it “immortal in human history”, and for President’s “triumphal” tour in Europe.
President responded he pleased to see Ambassador both because of latter’s work to improve US-UAR relations and because Nasser always gracious in receiving our Ambassador as well as other US visitors.
Kamel recalled tense relations between US and UAR 1958 when he came Washington. Listed seven reasons: (1) lack mutual confidence; (2) creation of Israel by West; (3) West’s opposition to neutral policies several Mid-East nations; (4) US refusal provide arms to UAR; (5) withdrawal offer finance Aswan Dam; (6) tripartite aggression 1956; (7) Eisenhower Doctrine. For first time Soviets made progress in area.
Now as result efforts build good relations, Communist penetration in Mid East has failed. Only parallel to US success in Mid East is that of Marshall Plan in Europe. Egypt and Arabs have protected their independence. CP is outlawed in Egypt; in fact only open and dangerous CP [Page 657] in Mid East is in Israel. Trade with West has increased; trade with Soviets has dropped. Egypt has 1400 students in US, six to ten thousand in Western Europe.
UAR has no “factory” for revolutions. UAR agreed US proposals disengagement Yemen. However, Nasser cannot be pushed pull out immediately. Would leave Yemen in chaos and his own people would ask why he sent 30,000 soldiers to Yemen and why possibly 5,000 died. Disengagement will occur but time is needed.
President observed problem is that international bargain struck; if disengagement does not take place how can we propose to Saudis they not become again involved? Kamel repeated earlier assertion. Kamel noted usefulness Presidential correspondence with Nasser and President agreed it should be continued. Kamel raised what he called problem US public media. Asked why they so agitated since Mid East not under Communist control, oil interests untouched, and Israel question is in “icebox”. Speaking solemnly “in name Egyptian Government” Kamel assured President Egypt has no plans attack Israel. Re Israel’s desire for US security guarantee he asked who is attacking them and added problem would arise if US should give guarantee. Soviets would offer similar assurances to Arabs and thereby reestablish presence in Mid East. Nasser wants cooperate with US, not oppose it. Egypt cannot prevent revolutions in area; Arabs want real rapprochement not misleading concepts such as Fertile Crescent which he thought disastrous.
Egypt most needs economic stability. Kamel submitted idea of an international consortium to bring Egypt into Free World area. If this not feasible he suggested an American consortium made up US corporations prepared invest in Egypt.
President stated he appreciated and agreed with much Ambassador said. He cannot control US press but assured Ambassador US objectives are good relations with UAR and Arabs. President noted US actions supporting this policy. Referred to our policy recognition of Yemen and to our support idea putting Arab-Israel dispute in freeze. Noted our attempt be even handed. Stated that some Arabs misunderstood our policy. Pursuit this policy not easy. There are groups in US working against it and will continue do so. President referred to position stated earlier this year in letter from Harriman to six Senators. Important that US and UAR continue friendly relations. President said Egyptians may not realize problems he must face internally, attacks on UAR here are really attacks against President. Added that no statement by any senior US official this Administration inconsistent with what he had just told Kamel about US policy. We have no trouble with Nasser’s aims of independence, sovereignty, religious freedom and ideal of Arab unity. The US recognized importance of this policy when President Eisenhower took decision he did at time tripartite invasion 1956.[Page 658]
President said there should be some early gesture on disengagement Yemen. On poison gas he said sometimes concentration in tear gas formula might be toxic. Egyptians should understand our strong feelings this subject. President said he would check further on idea consortium and would be in touch with Ambassador on subject.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 26 YEMEN. Confidential; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Dinsmore on July 22; cleared by McKesson, Komer, and Davies (in draft); and approved by Talbot.↩
- The memorandum of conversation is ibid., POL 1 UAR-US.↩
- On April 6, Brubeck in a memorandum to Bundy transmitted Ambassador Kamel’s request for a meeting with President Kennedy with a recommendation that a meeting be scheduled. Typed notations on the memorandum indicate that at first an appointment could not be arranged for the following week and then on April 24 the White House advised the Department that no appointment would be scheduled until after the disengagement in Yemen commenced. (Ibid., POL 17 UAR-US) On July 8, Brubeck sent another memorandum to Bundy reviewing the outcome of the April 6 request, noting that the Yemen agreement was now operative, and recommending that a meeting with Kamel be scheduled. The White House approved the meeting on July 9. (Ibid.) A briefing paper prepared by Komer for Kennedy is in the Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, United Arab Republic, 6/63–8/63.↩