520. Telegram From Acting Secretary of State Katzenbach to Secretary of State Rusk in Williamsburg1

CAP 67946. The following is from John Walsh for your information.

Memorandum for the President.

Subject: Robert Anderson Trip to Cairo.

Discussion: Robert Anderson informs us that Nasser is very anxious to have him go back to Cairo for further discussions. Anderson has indicated some reluctance but has been careful to leave his options open. We here had at first felt that it would not be desirable for Anderson to visit Cairo on the ground that the trip might give rise to public speculations on the part of the Egyptians which would give the appearance of division within the U.S. Government.2

However, after consultation with Ambassador Goldberg, I agree with him that Anderson should go to Cairo, as quickly as possible. We do not want it said that we did not do everything possible to bring about a settlement, and that we turned down a direct request from Nasser to engage in further talks. Moreover, since King Hussein has [Page 1026] asked us to try to bring the UAR on board, a further talk with Nasser in a sense would represent a step to keep faith with Hussein. Since Hussein will be talking with the Arabs in New York until tomorrow night, prompt action is important.

We would ask Anderson while in Cairo to do the following:

He would make it plain to Nasser that there is no division within the U.S. Government. We cannot support an unworkable UN resolution.
We are continuing to try to work out a UN resolution with which both sides can live. Such a resolution would not in itself produce a Middle Eastern settlement, but it would open the way toward one which would be as fair and as helpful to both sides as possible.

Ambassador Goldberg is preparing talking points on the negotiating problem in New York for Anderson’s use. In agreeing to return to Cairo, Anderson would tell the UAR Ambassador with whom he is in contact that we expect his return will not be followed by UAR publicity attacking the U.S. or the President for our attitude on the Middle East.


That you authorize us to tell Anderson to proceed to Cairo.

Acting Secretary
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files, 1967–69, TRV ANDERSON, ROBERT B. Secret. A handwritten notation on the telegram indicates it was received at 2245Z. According to Rusk’s Appointment Book, the Secretary was in Williamsburg, Virginia, to attend the Gridiron Dinner at the Convention Center. A notation on the telegram indicates Rusk read it.
  2. Telegram 65484 to Beirut, November 7, transmitted a message from Rusk to Anderson stating that it had been concluded that it was best for him not to return to Cairo at that time; his return would cast doubt on statements made in Washington about his private status and could cause confusion in New York. (Ibid., POL 27–14 ARAB–ISR)