5. Summary Prepared in the Department of State1
SUMMARY OF AMBASSADOR BADEAU’S LETTER OF JANUARY 3, 1964 TO THE PRESIDENT
- Egypt is the paramount Eastern Arab state and the leader of the nationalist reform movement. Although the drive for Arab unity has slowed, Nasser remains the most widely respected Arab leader. This gives the UAR a significant independent capacity to affect American interests in the area.
- Our interests are: to blunt Soviet penetration; to preserve Western access to sea and air routes and to Arab oil; and to promote peace and progress in the area.
- Our policy has featured: extension of economic assistance; evenhandedness in area disputes; and readiness to commit our power and prestige to the defense of our interests.
- The wisdom of these policies has been shown by an increase in American influence at the expense of Soviet influence since 1956. In addition, inter-Arab quarrels have been moderated; the public UAR position on Jordan waters has been moderate, as has their position on recent U.S. support for Israel; the UAR has kept the Israel question in the icebox, and is now considered to be likely to attack Israel only if it believes Israel has begun to produce nuclear weapons. Private U.S. claims are slowly being adjudicated; Western access to the Suez Canal seems assured (barring Arab-Israel hostilities); and the Egyptians have shown an increasing appreciation of the advantage of closer cooperation with the West.
- The remaining problems between Cairo and Washington are manageable. Egyptian withdrawal from Yemen has been slow, but they recognize the disengagement principle. There is no present threat to the Saudi Government or to Aden, and there might be chaos in Yemen if the UAR moved out too fast.
- The UAR remains heavily dependent on Soviet military aid, but Western aid—especially PL 480—has helped preserve nonalignment; the UAR is still hostile to Israel, but leans toward containment. Time may heal even this wound.
- In conclusion, cessation of U.S. aid to the UAR would not moderate their policies, would nullify the gains since 1956 and jeopardize our interests. The guillotine can only be used once per subject.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, United Arab Republic, Vol. I, Cables. Secret. Both the summary and the 9-page letter from Badeau are filed with a covering memorandum of January 14 from Rusk to the President; a covering memorandum of January 14 from Komer to Bill Moyers, which noted that the President might want to urge Badeau to stay on during the “ticklish period in US–UAR relations” expected to develop over the Jordan water issue; and an undated note from Moyers to NSC Executive Secretary Bromley Smith, stating that the President had seen the package and that Bundy should talk to him about asking Badeau to stay on.↩