493. Memorandum to President Johnson 1

Mr. President:

As a result of your conversation with Bob Anderson,2 Secretary Rusk is requesting your authorization to give Anderson the following answer for Nasser if Nasser asks about restoring relations with us: We’re willing, provided (1) they take the initiative; (2) they agree in principle to compensate us for properties damaged in June; (3) they retract their false charges of our participation in the June war; and (4) they agree to respect the normal rights of legation.3

I think this is a fair position for us to take. We obviously don’t want to rush headlong into Nasser’s arms. On the other hand, we still have an interest in giving him a window to the West. We could maintain a minimal relationship by just having a Charge in Cairo for the time being.

Anderson leaves New York at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

The President indicated to WWR that he did not, repeat not, wish Mr. Anderson to be regarded or used as an informal intermediary between the U.S. Government and the UAR.4

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Middle East Crisis, Sandstorm/Whirlwind. Confidential. A handwritten note on the memorandum indicates it was received at 3:42 p.m. The memorandum is not signed, but an October 27 memorandum from Saunders to Bundy indicates that it was from Walt Rostow. (Ibid., Saunders Files, Middle East, 9/1/67–10/31/67)
  2. The President met with Anderson on October 25 and talked to him by telephone on the morning of October 27. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary)
  3. A memorandum of October 27 from Rusk to the President with these recommendations is attached.
  4. Rostow told Rusk in a telephone call at 7:05 p.m. on October 27 that the President thought it was inappropriate to approach Cairo through a private citizen on the question of recognition. When Rusk replied that the idea was to say nothing unless Nasser raised the matter, Rostow said the President was uneasy about a “Texas businessman handling this.” (Notes of telephone conversation prepared in Rusk’s office; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Rusk Files: Lot 72 D 192, Telephone Calls)