412. Telegram From the U.S. Interests Section of the Spanish Embassy in the United Arab Republic to the Department of State1

214. US–UAR Relations.

During conversation ninth, Presidency Adviser Al-Khouli stressed equally with his point on need for Israel withdrawal (septel)2 view of Nasser and Guar that there should be effective “relationship” between USG and UAR. Khouli specifically differentiated between “relationship” and “diplomatic relations.” He recognized all sorts of obstacles on both sides to resumption of latter and felt this might well take year or two. But both govts should realize “relationship” was to mutual interest and that it should be maintained at all costs. GUAR wanted concentrate “relationship” through me in Cairo.

Khouli had before him seven page memcon of my August 5 conversation with Mohamed Riad of FonOff. He referred to my comments on “big lie” as obstacle to US–UAR relations. He said Nasser was personally convinced that he had been subject deceit by President Johnson.

I not only denied this but said President Johnson had every reason to repose something less than full confidence in President Nasser. I cited LBJ’s very friendly letter to Nasser sent in latter half May.3 Nasser not only took his time about answering it but even had told French Ambassador that he did not intend to answer it. I referred to Guar’s systematically opposing every measure which USG took during that critical period to defuse crisis. US proposals re maritime declaration were greeted with hostility. Guar instead of showing US any flexibility in its position re Gulf of Aqaba took more intransigent stand each time we consulted it. Guar newspapers even published reports that Straits had been mined. Nasser’s letter of June 3 to LBJ which came only after Anderson visit contained summation of extremely hard position with only grudging acceptance in final paragraph of proposal for Muhyieddine visit. In short Guar had given us nothing work with in our endeavors persuade Israel see peaceful solution.

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I said it might be useful for us to sit down together with a day-by-day chronology on both sides and argue this thing out point by point. He warmly accepted this suggestion. I said I would consult Washington. (Comment: Recognize this is handing Dept pretty tall order in requesting that somebody bring together the many highly restricted messages which flew back and forth during crisis period and summarize them in chronological order. At same time feel this device might give Nasser excuse in his own rather complex mind crawl off his present anti-US posture.)

Khouli said that for “technical, diplomatic questions” I should see Mohamed Riad of FonOff. For matters of real importance between our two govts, or for personal problems or for anything else I should see him at any time.4 He gave me three phone numbers by which I could reach him at any time of day or night.

Khouli said I should resume all my old contacts here. He specifically suggested that I get in touch with Heykal. He indicated that I should resume seeing Muhyieddine and other old friends but that I should do it “gradually”.

Khouli said GUAR hoped it would be possible for ex-Ambassador Badeau to visit Cairo during his upcoming visit to NE. Nasser had indicated he would be happy see Badeau.

Khouli said it essential we maintain cultural ties during this difficult period. He had succeeded reversing PriMin’s decision call back all UAR students in US on grounds dollar shortage. He had kind words for Cairo American College and AUC.

Khouli said his attitude towards Russians had not changed and their role in touching off crisis by false allegations of imminent Israel invasion of Syria was fully appreciated by Nasser.

Khouli said we should meet at least once weekly. I agreed. I told him I planned return Washington for week’s consultation in mid-September. He thought this good idea.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL UAR-US. Secret; Exdis.
  2. Telegram 216 from Cairo, August 10, reported that the main thrust of Presidency Adviser Hassan Sabri al-Khouli’s remarks during his conversation with Bergus the previous day was the urgent need for withdrawal of Israeli forces, while Bergus stated and restated the “absolutely essential link between withdrawal and recognition Israel’s right to exist.” (Ibid., POL 27 ARAB–ISR)
  3. See Document 34.
  4. Telegram 213 from Cairo, August 10, reported that during Bergus’ conversation with Al-Khouli the previous day, the latter said Nasser had authorized him to say that all “special messages” between the U.S. and UAR Governments should be sent through Bergus. The latter had the trust and confidence of the UAR Government and no other intermediaries were required. He also said that two high-ranking CIA officials were trying to contact Nasser. (Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Roger Channel, Cairo) Telegram 20412 to Cairo, August 14, replied that the U.S. Government was unaware of any such initiatives and intended that its views should be conveyed through Bergus. It stated that the CIA had indicated that reports alleging CIA officials were trying to contact Nasser were not true. (Ibid.)