740.0011 EW (Peace)/60–1846

The Egyptian Minister (Hassan) to the Acting Secretary of State43

Sir: With further reference to my letter dated April 1744 reiterating the views of my Government in connection with the Peace Conference in Paris, I have the honour to inform you that, in view of the [Page 537] deliberations taking place concerning the peace terms, especially those with Italy, my Government has instructed me to approach you once more regarding its claim to participate in the Peace Conference now proceeding in Paris.

In the first place, Egypt has a just claim to those parts of her Western frontiers which were ceded to Italy under pressure politics in 1911. In this connection, my Government underlines that Djaghboub should be returned to Egypt. In addition, Ras El-Melh, twenty kilometers northwest of Salloum, including Bardia, should also return to Egypt, as this region is of vital necessity to her defence. The Western frontier of Egypt should, therefore, be that ancient one known as the Kitchner line, which starts at Ras El-Melh, on the Mediterranean Sea, running southwest and converging at latitude 30° and longitude 24°, then running south, then east. This will include the plateau of Salloum and Bardia and, at the same time, engulf Djaghboub. This represents the natural frontiers of Egypt which have existed since times immemorial and to which historians and geographers, Arabs and Europeans bear testimony. Not only has the last war demonstrated the absolute necessity of this rectification, but on the grounds of historic injustice alone this frontier question should now be settled.

In the second place, Egypt has a just claim to reparations. Since the declaration of war by Italy in June, 1940, a state of war between Egypt and Italy has existed and, in the struggle, Egypt has mobilized all her resources and means of communications to assist in achieving victory. She has suffered heavy losses—bombardment, financial burdens, relief to refugees, air raids, epidemics, upheavals in her economic structure, and wear and tear of her capital goods. Egypt’s war effort, which has been acknowledged and lauded by her allies, has been decisive for the final victory of the democracies. The share which has been allocated to Egypt in the German reparations has been so small that it has not more than a symbolic character. Germany and Italy having been jointly responsible for the damage resulting from the war, Egypt has the right to pursue Italy for the reparation of the damages inflicted on her.45

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Trusting that your Government will reconsider Egypt’s claims in the light of the preceding facts and with the spirit of international justice which has characterized the United States’ international policies, I take this opportunity to renew, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.

  1. In acknowledging this note on June 29, 1946, the Acting Secretary stated that the contents of the note had been transmitted to the Secretary of State at Paris (740.0011 EW (Peace)/6–1846).
  2. Not printed, but see Mr. David LeBreton’s memorandum of his conversation with Minister Hassan, April 18, 1946, p. 69.
  3. Under cover of a note dated June 25, 1946, Egyptian Minister Hassan transmitted to the Acting Secretary of State a detailed memorandum dealing with the extent of damage suffered by Egypt during the war and the amount of reparations claimed by Egypt. These claims came to a total of $515,000,000. Neither document is printed (740.0011 EW(Peace)/6–2546).

    In a letter of July 9, 1946, to Assistant Secretary Dunn, not printed, Assistant Secretary of State Loy W. Henderson commented upon Egypt’s claims in part as follows:

    “Egypt’s reparation claim seems to us fantastic. I feel certain that if put to it the Egyptians could not furnish detailed justification for the component values of the damage they assess in round figures but even accepting those general figures the Egyptians, of course, make no reference to their country’s having profited financially from the presence of British and American forces in Egypt during the war far in excess of the amount of damage they attribute to Axis operations there.” (CFM Files, Lot M–88, Box 2083, File—Egypt)