State Department Explains Its ‘flexible’ Policy on Nasser

The State Department’s current thinking with regard to Egypt was revealed today in a letter by Douglas MacArthur 2nd, Assistant Secretary of State, to Rep. James Scheuer, New York Democrat, who had questioned the Department about the propriety of resuming large-scale aid at a time when Egypt is continuing to divert its own resources for acquisition of sophisticated Soviet weapons while pressing warfare in Yemen and pledging eventual hostilities to eliminate Israel.

Mr. MacArthur said; “The issue is a complex one involving not only the totality of our interests in the Near East but our way of dealing with the whole family of emerging nations.” Citing the encouragement of the Department over the “improvement of climate” in dealings with Egypt, the official added: “We do not take this improvement to mean that all our problems with the U. A. R. are solved; on the contrary, we expect differences on a number of issues to continue.”

“We have found, however, that our objectives of narrowing the areas of conflict and expanding those of mutual interest is most effectively pursued by a policy of flexibility, including the willingness to extend sympathetic consideration to the U.A.R.’s economic problems when the U. A. R. demonstrates a readiness to adjust its policy to take into account U. S. interests. You may be assured that decisions on the question of aid to the U. A. R. will be made only after a careful weighing of our interests and the interests of our friends in the area,” said Mr. MacArthur.

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