Kennedy Hints Dissatisfaction with Egypt’s ‘quarrels’ in Near East

President Kennedy’s State of the Union message to Congress today included a reference that some considered applicable in the controversy involving increased American aid to Egypt when that country is using its own resources for military intercession abroad and to pay for Soviet arms.

Urging countries to devote their best efforts to fulfilling goals of the American aid program, President Kennedy said: “The story is the same in Africa, in the Middle East, in Asia, Wherever nations are willing to help themselves, we stand ready to help them build new bulwarks of freedom. We are not purchasing votes for the cold war; we have gone to the aid of imperiled nations, neutrals and allies alike.

“What we do ask–and all that we ask–is that our help be used to best advantage, and that their own efforts not be diverted by needles quarrels with other independent nations,” the President pointed out. His reference to “needless quarrels with other independent nations” seemed applicable to frictions in the Near East.

The Washington Post published a news analysis on a current review by the Administration of American aid to Egypt and reported that the Administration feels some aspects of the Nasser regime were “not all unfavorable.”

The Post said the wisdom of the U.S. aid program benefiting Nasser was being questioned because of Nasser’s “open participation in the revolt in Yemen.” According to the Post, “the Israelis fear the success of the Nasser-assisted Yemeni military group in pushing out Yemen’s antiquated Imamate may encourage Nasser in other foreign adventures in the Middle East.”

To justify its faith in Nasser, the Post said, the Administration has cited Nasser’s “strict silence” when the United States announced sale of Hawk missiles to Israel; re-establishment of links with the West through affiliation with the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade; Nasser’s Congo policy; the placement by Nasser of the Israel issue in the “ice box”; his role on Soviet nuclear policy, and his “moderate” stand in the Cuban controversy last fall.

“All of these factors are said to convince Administration officials that Nasser, despite his penchant for interfering in the internal affairs of his Arab neighbors, still comes out on the plus side in permitting room for reasonably friendly relations with the free world,” the Post reported.

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