TEL AVIV (Jun. 24)
Official sources here and well-informed Israelis in Washington claimed today that Egyptian authorities apparently perpetrated a hoax on President Richard M. Nixon who entertained the widow and daughter of a deceased Egyptian pilot in the White House yesterday. The sources said that the late Capt. Hadayat Yusuf Hilmi, who piloted a plane that carried Mr. Nixon during his 1963 visit to Egypt, died in a crash in September, 1967 and not as claimed by Cairo, in the June, 1967 Six-Day War. They said the Egyptian Government was trying to exploit the visit of Mrs. Hadayet Hilmi and her 14-year-old daughter, Nagla, to Washington for propaganda purposes.
The invitation to the Hilmis was extended in response to a letter Nagla wrote to Mr. Nixon reminding him that in 1963 he had invited her father to visit Washington. Sources in the U.S. capital said Egyptian Government circles prompted the girl to write and instructed her to assert that her father was a victim of the Six-Day War. They said that Capt. Hilmi’s accidental death in the crash of an air transport three months after the was ended was duly noted by the Cairo newspaper Al Ahram in September, 1968, the first anniversary of the crash.
(The White House and the U.S. State Department yesterday affirmed the Egyptian claim that Capt. Hilmi was shot down in the War. It was also disclosed that Mr. Nixon wrote to Nagla saying, “if we can achieve peace, we will not be losing great men like your father in future battles.” The young girl’s visit to the White House where she was greeted by the President and his daughter, Mrs. Julie Eisenhower, was widely publicized in the press and on television. In the brief ceremonies, Mr. Nixon sought to avoid politics and said the teenager would “have a great time in Disneyland and in Hollywood.”
Arrangements are being made for the girl and her mother to visit Cape Kennedy, the U.S. military rocket and space center. The Hilmis’ trip was reportedly financed by Egyptian authorities through the newspaper Al Ahram and by additional contributions solicited from the Pan-American Oil Co., a subsidiary of the Standard Oil Co. of Indiana, and the Phillips Petroleum Co.