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Johnson Reported Telling Nasser He Wants Contacts on Highest Level

March 23, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The State Department declined today to comment on reports from Cairo that President Johnson has informed Egyptian President Nasser, in a personal letter, that he wants closer contacts with Egypt at the highest levels. The report said that, in this connection, President Johnson was sending Secretary of State Dean Rusk to Cairo to see Mr. Nasser. The Cairo report said the Johnson letter was delivered to Mr. Nasser by U.S. Ambassador Lucius Battle.

According to the report, high level contacts between Cairo and Washington have been scant during the 14 years of the Nasser regime with the only Cabinet level visits having been made by John Foster Dulles, as Secretary of State, in 1954, and Luther Hodges, in 1962.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo was said to have become concerned by the lack of contact in 1965, when there was almost a constant stream of prominent visitors between Cairo and Communist countries. The ice was broken in February when Egypt’s National Assembly Speaker, Anwar El-Sadat, visited the United States at the invitation of the U.S. Administration. He was the first member of the 12-man junta which overthrew the late King Farouk in 1952 to visit the United States.

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