Republican Congressman Asks Nixon to Clarify Reported Praise of Nasser

Former Vice President Richard M.Nixon was asked today by a Republican Congressman, Rep. Seymour Halpern, of New York, to explain his recent pro-Nasser statements, voiced in Egypt, and his failure to balance the Egyptian visit with one to Israel.

Recalling Mr. Nixon’s many pro-Israel statements prior to November 1960,the New York Republican said “I frankly do not understand why, in as much as you were so close by, that you did not balance your visit to the United Arab Republic, with one to Israel. This question has been raised by many who feel that you lavished a lot of attention on Nasser but, in effect, ignored Israel,”

Lap. Halpern said he was “horrified” to read in the Egyptian Gazette “that you justified the presence of German ex-Nazis in Egyptian military industry, building weapons for use against Israel.You were quoted as saying on this issue that the UAR is free to obtain technical assistance from any country, be it the United States, the Soviet Union, or any country. There is no reason for fear or alarm.’ “

The Republican Congressman enclosed texts of reports, and told Mr.Nixon that “I would prefer to believe that you were misquoted, and the reports as complete misrepresentations or actually false. ” These reports portrayed Mr. Nixon as tacitly endorsing the role of Egyptian troops in Yemen and even criticizing an anti-Nasser policy decision on the last Republican Administration regarding the Aswan Dam, in 1956.

Rep Halpern said Mr.Nixon was also quoted as “lauding Nasser and virtually campaigning for him, ” The Congressman said Nasser’s role, “as the center of discord and agitation in the Near East” was such that Chairman William Miller, of the Republican National Committee, had questioned continued American aid to Nasser. He quoted statements by Mr.Miller citing the Republican view of Nasser’s aggressive threats to peace.

Mr.Nixon was told by Rep. Halpern that “I would leave you under no illusion as to the depth of feeling of these matters among Republicans. ” He told Mr. Nixon that support of the UAR,in view of Nasser’s reliance on Soviet arms and military training, proliferation of the rocket race, hiring of ex-Nazis,and unrelenting boycotts and blockades affecting American citizens of the Jewish faith, were “contrary to the national security of the United States. “

Citing Nasser’s aggression, plots and intrigues against neighbors, Rep. Hapern told Mr. Nixon he was “truly amazed to read reports that you have praised him. ” Mr. Nixon was asked to “put the record straight. “

NEXT STORY