292. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

5736. Number two man in UAR mission, Amb Hilmy, who is former general, phoned Buffum today to relate fol message. Since there are no diplomatic relations between our govts and since UAR would still like to be able to exchange views with US, he has been detailed to serve as a channel for this purpose. Hilmy indicated he is available to transmit messages or otherwise exchange views at any time. He asked that this info be kept confidential. Buffum said he would transmit this message to Washington and was sure US would welcome fact that official channel remains open despite rupture of relations.

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Somewhat earlier and quite separately, Mohamed Riad2 asked MisOff discreetly to inform Amb Battle or Bergus that he is available if either wish to pass info to him in absence of Amb Kamel. He characterized UAR officers remaining Washington as purely “caretakers.” Without departing from UAR line, Riad has deliberately conveyed impression he wishes do whatever he can to work for improvement of relations between US and UAR.3

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL UAR-US. Confidential; Exdis. Received at 6:19 p.m. Rostow sent a copy to the President at 7:40 a.m. on June 16 with a covering memorandum commenting: “Herewith UAR begins to toss an anchor to windward and tries to open a dialogue with us.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Vol. VI)
  2. An alternate member of the UAR delegation to the United Nations.
  3. Telegram 212159 to USUN, June 16, commented, “We know from experience that it is habitual for Egyptians in time of crisis to offer themselves as communications channel. They instinctively believe that maintenance of channels of communication more important than substance of what two countries may have to say to each other.” It expressed a preference for Mohamed Riad as a communications channel, should future circumstances warrant. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL UAR-US)