741.83/5–2446: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Egypt (Tuck)

top secret
u.s. urgent

959. Personal for Tuck. Text of top secret telegram no. 5434 of May 24 from Harriman to me reads as follows:

[Here follows text of No. 5434, printed supra.]

Unless you perceive some objection please discuss situation at once with Stansgate and thereafter request audience with King. You might inform King that in view of its friendship for Egypt and Great Britain and its deep interest in welfare of all peoples of Middle East, your Govt has instructed you to discuss with him progress of Anglo-Egyptian negotiations.

After inquiring whether in his opinion it is still possible for negotiations to terminate in such manner as to give Egypt satisfactory guarantees of full sovereignty without running risk of undermining security of Middle East or of weakening defenses of area against [Page 75] possible aggression you might express hope that negotiations will have such a successful termination. You should make it clear that the United States considers the security of the entire Middle East of fundamental importance to its own security. It would be helpful if during course of conversation you could find opportunity to let King know that your Govt appreciates historical basis of suspicions existing in Egyptian circles with regard to intentions of Brit Govt but that your Govt believes present Brit Govt is fully aware of mistakes that have been made in past; and that your Govt is convinced that Great Britain is really sincere in its desire to find a solution of the Middle East security problem which would make it possible for countries in that area to enjoy their unrestricted independence but which would not at same time create a situation likely to encourage aggression from without.

You may use your discretion in deciding whether it would be advisable also to discuss this matter with Sidky Pasha or other Egyptian officials.12

Sent Cairo, repeated London for Harriman.

  1. Unable to see King Farouk because of the imminence of the Monarch’s departure to Inchass, Mr. Tuck conveyed to the Egyptian Prime Minister the purport of the final paragraphs of this telegram and left with him “a carefully worded secret and personal letter”, dated May 27, 1946, embodying the principal points of the telegram. A copy of the letter was transmitted to the Department in despatch 2136, January 11, 1947, from Cairo (741.83/1–1147). The Prime Minister promised to deliver the letter personally to the King. Mr. Tuck reported that “Sidky Pasha appeared very much interested particularly in the importance which we attach to security in the Middle East. He said he would confidentially inform the members of his delegation of our views which he added ‘were almost those of the Turks’.” Mr. Tuck also advised that he had acquainted Lord Stansgate with the contents of the Department’s telegram and that the chief British negotiator had expressed sincere appreciation of Mr. Byrnes’ desire to be of help. Lord Stansgate was interested to learn that Mr. Tuck “had sent the PriMin some weeks ago at the latter’s request a copy of the joint statement issued by President Roosevelt and the Canadian PriMin setting up a permanent joint board on defense.” (Telegram 927, May 27, 3 p.m., 741.83/5–2746). For the joint statement, released on August 18, 1940, see Foreign Relations, 1940, vol. iii, p. 146.