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Gamal Abdel Nasser

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Early letter by Nasser three years after the revolution that overthrew King Farouk I

Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein, known as Gamal Abdel Nasser, 1918–1970.  Second President of Egypt.  Typed letter signed, Gamal Abdel Nasser, one page, 8½” x 10⅞”, on blind-embossed stationery of the Prime Minister, Cairo, [Egypt], May 11, 1955.

This is an early letter by Nasser written while he both served as Prime Minister and exercised the power of the presidency three years after the military coup that overthrew Egyptian King Farouk I.  Nasser sends his autograph to a man in Evanston, Illinois.  In full:  “I am writing to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, amd [sic] I am glad to forward you the required autograph.”

Nasser, a lieutenant colonel in the Egyptian army, organized the revolution that overthrew the King in 1952 and, the next year, abolished the monarchy and installed General Mohamed Naguib as President of the new Republic of Egypt. After a dispute with the Revolutionary Command Council, Naguib resigned as chairman, President, and Prime Minister.  The Council then declared Nasser, who was Deputy Prime Minister, to be both chairman of the Council and Prime Minister.  Naguib was later reinstated to all three positions, with Nasser returning to Deputy.  But when a member of the Muslim Brotherhood attempted to assassinate Nasser in 1954, a series of maneuvers by Nasser and security forces loyal to him forced the house arrest of Naguib and his removal from the presidency.  Nasser became the undisputed leader of Egypt.  He held the office of Prime Minister from April 1954 to September 1962, and, after assuming the powers of the presidency when Naguib was banished, he was formally elected President in June 1956. 

Although Nasser ruled with an iron fist, he was vastly popular among Egyptians and other Arabs.  He served as President until he died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1970.  There was a great outpouring of grief over his death throughout the Arab world, and more than five million mourners lined the streets of Cairo for his funeral. 

Nasser has signed this letter with a 2¾” signature in blue fountain pen above his typewritten military rank, “Lt. Colonel,” and his office, “Prime Minister.”  The Egyptian coat of arms is blind embossed in the upper right corner.  The letter is generally clean and bright, although it shows scattered handling, a light diagonal bend in the blank lower left corner, and a noticeable wrinkle in the blank lower right.  The letter also has intersecting mailing folds, one of which goes through the “a” in “Gamal” in Nasser’s signature.  There are two small, archivally repaired tears in the top edge, and inexplicably there are two strips of cellophane tape on the back that repair nothing.  The back also has some old dealer pencil markings.  Overall, the letter is in fine condition.


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