205. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Arab Republic to the Department of State 1

3624. As culmination five hours of solid if occasionally rambling discussion of US–UAR relations by Fawzi, Kaissouni, Talbot and Ambassador, Talbot set out in candid terms why US finding constructive cooperation difficult.2 This discussion occurred at end of luncheon with no note takers present. Although Fawzi’s response was suave and very general, we believe message got through.

Talbot pointed out certain elements in American political life had consistently opposed US assistance programs to UAR but these—notably what Egyptians identified as Zionist groups—had never by themselves dictated US policy. Of late, however, much broader spectrum of American public life becoming troubled at indications UAR involved in “liberation” movements undermining governments of other free countries. This was what ChiComs and Soviets, latter in part spurred by aggressive stance of former, currently pursuing in less developed countries. Since World War II US had expended great treasure and effort to block various forms of aggression. There had been successes. We believed no nation could conceive at this stage in history of nuclear war as instrument of aggrandizement, in view of intolerable risks and consequences. Nor would any government today be likely to face consequences of world reactions to movements of massed troops across frontiers. US now deeply engaged in coping with third form of aggression, secret infiltration of trained soldiers and terrorists across frontiers, which being practiced by Communist nations. World had not yet found fully adequate answer to this type of attack. Its seriousness raised questions about policies not only of Communist countries but of others which seem to practice it.

We had therefore been greatly concerned, as UARG knew, Talbot continued, by UAR support of Congo rebels. In addition, we were troubled when UAR fingers seen in difficult situations elsewhere, as in South Arabian Federation, Persian Gulf, North Africa, Cyprus, etc. Some thought these grounds for ending US efforts develop constructive relationship with UAR. At minimum, they clearly questions needing [Page 439]to be resolved as we examined how US–UAR relationship could be put back on constructive basis.

Fawzi thanked Talbot for candor of his comments. Rather surprisingly, he said he was relieved that this was extent of our problems. In Cairo’s view, these matters should be discussed in full frankness between us whenever US had specific worry.

Sometimes our views might differ. He did not wish to rebut points specifically, however, but rather to urge that our representatives discuss in detail any that might arise. Rest of conversation faded into generalities.

Comment: Relatively mild response by Fawzi will presumably not be last we hear from this conversation which touched bone of our relationship with UAR. At worst it could bring a strong UAR response, probably from other officials and perhaps even from Nasser. More hopefully, it could have broken way open for Ambassador to pursue specific problems in this field. We expect to be able to make better judgment after meeting with Nasser Sunday.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, ORG 7 NEA. Secret; Exdis. No time of transmission is given on the telegram, which was received on April 16 at 2:24 a.m.
  2. Talbot was visiting Cairo and other Near Eastern capitals. Telegram 3626 from Cairo, April 15, reported most of the conversation with Deputy Prime Ministers Fawzi and Kaissouni. (Ibid., POL UAR-US) The portion of the conversation reported in telegram 3624 is recorded in more detail in a memorandum of conversation ibid.