741.83/6–1146: Telegram

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


1035. Personal for Secretary. I saw the Prime Minister this morning, who delivered to me in the form of a note verbale in French a reply to the secret and personal letter which I had left with him on May 27 (remy 927 May 2713). Following is careful translation of note verbale:

[Page 76]

“The communication delivered by His Excellency the Minister of the US to His Excellency The Prime Minister on May 27, 1946 to be communicated to His Majesty the King has had the full attention of His Majesty and His Government.

The interest which this letter provokes is not only due to the fact that it is connected with negotiations of vital importance to Egypt but also because it constitutes an intervention by the US of America, country on which Egypt has always based great hopes owing to its known disinterestedness and the high aims of its foreign policy.

This interest calls for a reply inspired by a loyal and objective presentation of facts and it is Egypt’s concern that it should reassure the American Government as quickly as possible with regard to its real intention.

As a Middle Eastern country Egypt shares the preoccupations manifested by the US with regard to security in this region.

But Egypt desires to point out that the concern for such security is connected, insofar as Egypt is concerned, with the necessity for recovering all her liberties.

Egypt realizes perfectly well that the guarantees derived from the treaty of 1936 with Great Britain should not be lost to view, but she wishes emphatically to state that these guarantees would only be strengthened if the new alliance to be concluded with Great Britain is on a basis of friendship and confidence which can only be achieved if the independence of Egypt is respected.

It is only on this condition, which moreover stands out in the clauses of the United Nation’s Charter—to which Egypt was one of the first adherents—that Egypt will be able to bring serious collaboration to world peace. She will do so, thanks to her own resources and thanks to the profound consciousness of new duties incumbent upon her as an independent country.

The ignoring of this situation and delays consequent to its settlement create a spirit of uneasiness, not to say the tension which may jeopardize the aim in view which is to create a spirit of harmony and mutual comprehension necessary to the definite establishment of peace in the Middle East.

Egypt welcomes with satisfaction the occasion thus offered to request the Government of the US to unite its powerful efforts to all efforts now being exerted to create such a spirit of harmony.”

In delivering this note verbale to me Prime Minister stated that it was the firm intention of Egyptian Government to strengthen its military establishment. The Egyptian Army would be raised from its present strength of 40,000 to 150,000 men and conscription would be introduced. Furthermore, as a result of close military collaboration with the British, it is hoped that the Egyptian General Staff would not only benefit thereby but would also have at its disposal the use and experience of modern implements of war.

As regards the proposed treaty, the Prime Minister said that the difficulty at present lay in the agreement on texts. The British wished to include in the terms of the treaty military clauses which the Egyptians consider would commit them in the future. The Egyptians [Page 77] desired a treaty couched in much more general terms and had asked the British to accord them full trust and confidence in future collaboration.

Please repeat to London.


[When discussions at Cairo did not result in agreement, Prime Minister Sidky and Foreign Minister Ibrahim Abdul Hadi departed for London, where between October 17 and 25, they held five meetings with Mr. Bevin. Three draft documents were initialed on October 25: an Anglo-Egyptian Treaty, a Sudan Protocol, and an Evacuation Protocol calling for complete withdrawal of British forces from Egypt by September 1, 1949. It was agreed that these documents were prepared ad referendum but that if they were put forth officially and unaltered by the Egyptian Government, Mr. Bevin would recommend them to the British Government; for the texts of the three documents, see British Cmd. 7179, Egypt No. 2 (1947): Papers Regarding the Negotiations for a Revision of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936, pages 2–4.

Seven of the twelve members of the Egyptian delegation rejected the Bevin-Sidky proposals on November 25 and on the following day, the delegation was dissolved by royal decree (telegram 1862, November 26, 1946, 1 p.m., from Cairo, 741.83/11–2646).

The Egyptian Government thereupon officially informed the British Foreign Office of its readiness to sign the Bevin-Sidky proposals. A British Foreign Office spokesman notified Charge Gallman that the stumbling block to full agreement was the differing British and Egyptian interpretations of the Sudan Protocol, the Egyptians wishing to restrict Sudanese right of self-determination to be within the framework of the Egyptian Crown, whereas the British wished the right to be unrestricted (telegram 9885, December 3, 1946, 7 p.m., from London, 741.83/12–346).]

  1. Not printed; but see footnote 12, above.