LONDON (Oct. 6)
Anwar Sadat, the acting President of Egypt, was nominated last night for a full five year term as successor to the late President Gamal Abdel Nasser. His selection by the eight-man Supreme Executive Committee of the Arab Socialist Union, Egypt’s only political party, was announced by the Middle East News Agency in Cairo which reported that the party’s 150-member central committee unanimously endorsed the nomination. Mr. Sadat is thus virtually assured of nomination by the National Assembly, Egypt’s parliament, and is considered certain of getting the required absolute majority in a nationwide plebiscite to follow. (Israeli officials said in Jerusalem today that Sadat’s nomination represented a victory for the Soviet Union inasmuch as he is expected to follow slavishly the policies of Nasser which made Egypt wholly dependent upon Moscow for its military and economic needs.) Mr. Sadat, 52, was one of the group of young Army officers headed by Nasser who seized power from the late King Farouk in the 1952 military coup. He was one of Col. Nasser’s closest collaborators. He was named Vice President of Egypt by Nasser last December. But his tasks during the long Nasser regime, while they took him to both Washington and Moscow, left him relatively obscure outside of Egypt.
Mr. Sadat has been described by knowledgeable persons as an intense, devout Moslem who is a bitter foe of Israel, one of the most outspoken critics of the United States and a man consumed with hatred for the British who had established a protectorate over Egypt in 1914. During World War II he reportedly favored collaboration with the Nazis and in 1942 he was court-martialed and jailed for his contacts with two Nazis who had gone to Cairo to establish an espionage network. Two years later he escaped and subsequently maintained contacts with terrorists and university students organizing several unsuccessful plots against pro-British ministers. He was jailed in 1946 for participating in the assassination of a Finance Minister, Amin Osman Pasha. Some observers here expressed doubt that Sadat will enjoy the power and influence of Nasser even though he succeeds him in office. He is said to lack the strong per- sonality, the oratorical gifts and the charisma with which Nasser managed to forge an almost mystical bond with Egypt’s peasant masses and with the masses of most of the rest of the Arab world. His chief asset is the close association he had with the late Egyptian president. But some observers believe that his succession to the presidency will not end the internal power struggle which they believe has already begun in Egypt. They also question whether the Kremlin will transfer to Sadat the same degree of confidence and support it accorded President Nasser.