A CRISIS IN CONFIDENCE
DURING recent Congressional debates on aid legislation many harsh things were said about the United Arab Republic and its President. One Senator stated that "Col. Abdel Nasser . . . has been responsible more than any other single individual for keeping the political cauldron boiling in the arid, strife-torn Middle East . . . pouring oil on whatever brush fires break out." President Nasser has been equally sharp and critical. Early in 1964 he publicly described American foreign policy toward the Arab world as "not based on justice but on the support and consolidation of the base of aggression, Israel, and we cannot, under any circumstances, accept it."
To be sure, much of this may be dismissed as political talk for the public ear. Nasser, no less than American Senators, has a constituency which periodically must be stirred up and marshaled for support. There is thus little new in the current skirmishing between Arab and American spokesmen- but those who follow U.S.A.-U.A.R. relations closely feel there ought to be. For this increased tempo in verbal attacks comes during a period of notable improvement in relations, when both the United States and the U.A.R., as a matter of basic policy, have been trying to get along with each other.
For both parties the change began in the aftermath of the Suez affair. By its prompt support of the United Nations and its refusal to back the Israeli-Anglo-French invasion, the United States gave practical proof of its impartiality in Middle East quarrels which threatened the peace of the area and the world. This was followed by a quiet mending of relations in the closing days of the Eisenhower Administration. Economic aid to Egypt was cautiously reinstituted and a franker exchange of views took place. President Kennedy supported and expanded this policy, identifying the Middle East as an area vital to American interests. He sought to develop relations with Egypt around points of mutual interest, while recognizing that the United
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