WASHINGTON (Aug. 9)
Both the White House and the State Department sought today to minimize the significance of the exchange of messages between Presidents Nixon and Sadat on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Egyptian revolution. The exchange was made public today in Cairo more than two weeks after President Nixon sent his congratulations on July 23 to Sadat who responded with an equally cordial message of thanks.
Some observers here interpreted the disclosure and its timing as another indication of Sadat’s desire to improve relations with the United States following his July ouster order to Soviet military advisors. But the Jewish Telegraphic Agency was specifically cautioned by an authoritative source at the White House that the message exchange should not be over-rated. Later, State Department spokesman John King told newsmen that “no great significance” should be attached to the exchange. He pointed out that a similar message was sent last year to Cairo on the 19th anniversary.