WASHINGTON (Jun. 26)
A spokesman for the State Department said today the United States Government recognized the “mutual advantages” that might be gained by a visit of President Nasser of the United Arab Republic to Washington, but added that “a visit by President Nasser is not at present under active consideration. ” The statement was made in response to reports that plans were under way for a meeting here between President Nasser and President Kennedy.
Pierre Salinger, news secretary for President Kennedy, said he knew of no present plans to invite President Nasser to the United States for a formal State visit. At the same time, Mr. Salinger today confirmed that President Kennedy wrote Arab leaders on Arab-American relations, but pointed out that the text of the letter as published was incomplete. He termed it was not quite complete.
Mr. Salinger said that President Kennedy sent different letters to five Arab Heads of State, and that the White House is now deciding whether to make their contents public.
While a published text to King Hussein of Jordan was termed “generally accurate, ” perhaps with some omission, Mr. Salinger said he wanted to correct the impression that President Kennedy had sent identical letters to President Nasser of the United Arab Republic, President Chehab of Lebanon, King Saud of Saudi Arabia and Premier Kassem of Iraq.
The letters to each of the Arab rulers differed, Mr. Salinger said, and it was up to each recipient to decide whether to publish his letter. However, the White House is now discussing with the State Department the publication of all the letters.
The Kennedy letter to King Hussein seemed to for repatriation and compensation for Arab refugees. It was understood that all the letters expressed concern over the plight of the Arab refugees, and favored repatriation and compensation by Israel.
Meanwhile, State Department sources stressed today that American relations with the UAR were constantly improving, since the Cairo-Moscow rift. They said that the UAR, though neutralist, was a friendly nation, and that the possibility of an invitation to Nasser at some future date could not be entirely ruled out. They indicated that, if Nasser attends the session of the UN General Assembly next September, it was virtually certain that arrangements would be made for a meeting with President Kennedy.