228. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Arab Republic to the Department of State1
8711. 1. Emboff met Salah Nasir at 0330 local 9 June at latter’s request. Salah Nasir said that he wished convey his personal thinking to USG at critical time for Egypt. He stated this action undertaken entirely on his own initiative and emphasized that if it became known to those elements in Egypt which oppose him because of his basically pro-Western attitude, the result could be his ouster as head of intelligence.
2. In essence, he assesses balance of “influence on Nasir” as between Western oriented and Soviet oriented elements in UAR Government to be dangerously even and judges his own position to be precarious. The pro-Soviet extreme leftist elements are gathering strength from the present situation in which Egypt’s plight, as it becomes increasingly evident, will have been so successfully portrayed—by Egypt itself—as the result of U.S. connivance with and direct support of Israel. He feels it imperative therefore that the U.S. take an initiative in UN and elsewhere which is, in his words, “pro-Arab”. [Page 388] He understands that there are limits to the extent of U.S. pro-Arabism or pro-UARism, but feels that it is of vital importance that the Soviets be prevented from assuming the role of defender of the Arab position in negotiations or proceedings in UN forum which will follow present cease-fire. If the Soviets are successful in so doing, it may well be impossible for him and likeminded others to arrest and modify the forces in Egypt working toward Sovietization.
3. Comment: It is, of course, extremely difficult to judge what proportion of this presentation is correctly attributable to the concern expressed and what to the objective of obtaining support of Arab position versus Israel. To what extent is the spectre of Sovietization a ploy? To what extent is Salah Nasir concerned to protect himself and to what extent is he concerned for Egypt? Emboff judges that while all these considerations are present in some degree, there is in fact—in Salah Nasir’s view—a very precarious balance of forces within Egypt, which, if not tipped toward the West by U.S. action, will probably fall in the opposite direction within a fairly short time.2
4. Footnote: Our leased line, which has been out for past two days with total lack of cooperation from UAR control, is now working perfectly on the send side result Emboff statement he had no communication with Washington.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 27 ARAB–ISR. Secret; Flash; Handled as Exdis. Received at 1:58 a.m.↩
- In telegram 8727 from Cairo, June 9, Nolte transmitted his suggestions on steps that might be taken toward establishing a “pro-Arab” position to tip the balance described in telegram 8711. (Ibid.)↩