19. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0
We have a quite disturbing report from a fairly reliable source that Nasser has decided to go in big with help to BB, including substantial Egyptian troops. His reported reason is that he wants to help BB in order to freeze the Soviets out since the Soviet embrace would be the end of BB. Source says the real reason, however, is that Gallal wants a dramatic “victory” to enhance his prestige in the eyes of the Syrians and show them how powerful he is.
We also have two ships with arms cargoes reported en route from Cuba.[Page 25]
If Algerians get all this help, it will be hard for us to keep turning down Moroccan arms requests. Also Moroccans may just publicize fact we are continuing to ship ammo, trucks, recoilless rifles, etc. under existing MAP program. This would justify other side’s intervention.
So our best bet is maximum effort to get a cease-fire and mediation going. SYG is probably our best recourse here since only he will have prestige and leverage. So I am pressing along these lines. We’ll also consider going to Nasser and telling him that if he gives massive aid to BB we will have to counter with the Moroccans. I am not sure this would be a good bet, however, (incidentally, if Nasser does intervene on big scale, Faysal will be encouraged to smack his rear in Yemen).
- Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Algeria, 10/63. Secret.↩