CFM Files

Mr. James C. Dunn, Member of the United States Delegation, to the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs ( Henderson )

Dear Loy: I have received your letter of August 16 enclosing an aide-mémoire from the Syrian Chargé d’Affaires in Washington59 setting forth his Government’s request that the United States support the request of Egypt to participate in the Conference.

As you know, the Egyptian Delegation was invited to present its views before the Twenty-Second Plenary Session of the Conference on August 2160 and Wassef Ghali Pacha, the head of the Delegation, took this occasion to state Egypt’s claims for reparations from Italy, its request for a rectification of its western borders to include the oasis of Jaghbub and the plateau of Sollum with Bardia, and a plea for the independence of Libya, or if this be not immediately feasible temporary entrusting of the administration of this territory to a member of the Arab League, holding a special mandate from the Conference.

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It is interesting to observe the changed attitude of Egypt regarding reparations. The note of June 25 from the Egyptian Minister in Washington which you sent on July 9 showed the exaggerated figure of $515 million.61 Recently the Egyptian Minister in Paris as well as the head of the Egyptian Delegation confided to us that they would settle for $10 million, a sum allegedly calculated to cover actual destruction in the country, and that they were negotiating directly with the Italian Government on this subject.

On September 10 the Egyptian Delegation in Paris informed the General Secretariat of the Paris Conference that it had come to an agreement concerning the reparation claimed by Egypt for losses suffered during the war with Italy, and on September 12 they withdrew the memorandum on reparations which they had previously tabled with the Conference. Copies of these two communications are attached.62

Wassef Ghali Pacha in a conversation with us on September 11 stated that the demand by Egypt for the annexation of a small border strip of Libya might conceivably depend on the future of that territory and only if Libya were under the control of an unpredictable foreign power might they press for this frontier adjustment.

Altogether the Egyptians here give the impression of being mollified by the invitation to present their views at the Conference and they no longer complain of the blow to their pride at not being included as an active participant in the Paris Conference.

Sincerely yours,

James Clement Dunn
  1. Neither the letter nor the enclosure is printed.
  2. For the United States Delegation Journal account of the Twenty-second Plenary Meeting, see vol. iii, p. 264.
  3. The note of June 25, not printed, is discussed in footnote 45 to the note of June 18 from the Egyptian Legation to the Acting Secretary of State, vol. ii, p. 537. The June 18 note included a statement justifying reparation claims.
  4. For text of the Egyptian memorandum, C.P. (Gen)Doc.10, see Paris Peace Conference, 1946, pp. 343363. Regarding the Italo-Egyptian agreement, see the memorandum of the Reinstein–Tarchiani conversation of September 24 in vol. iii, p. 550.