The Secretary of State to the Minister in Egypt (Tuck)
659. For the Minister. Unless you deem inappropriate, please seek early audience with King21 and tell him President Truman has asked you take up following matters which this Govt regards highly important.
A. For past year negotiations have been carried on between our two Govts for conclusion of bilateral civil air transport agreement. It appears we are in agreement on virtually all points except for Egyptian insistence that no traffic is to be carried by US air service between Cairo and Lydda. We have concluded bilateral agreements with virtually all countries of Europe and in none of these is there any specific restriction on this so-called Fifth Freedom traffic. While long-range character of US international services will undoubtedly make few if any seats available for this short haul traffic, this Govt would be loath to include such a restriction in the bilateral agreement because it would create undesirable precedent and encourage other countries to ask for similar restrictions. This in turn would [Page 81]create such a series of restrictions that it would be economically impossible for US trunk lines to operate and to offer services which will contribute greatly to the development of international understanding and commerce. The only alternative would be to connect Palestine with US on a second route by-passing Cairo. This would not only divert from Cairo this US-Palestine traffic, and incidentally deprive MISR of opportunity to carry some of this Cairo-Lydda traffic originating in or destined for US, but would also increase materially operating costs and problems of TWA, which hopes to have major maintenance base at Cairo for servicing its international planes. (In this connection it is hoped that TWA may be granted all reasonable facilities at Cairo, and preferably at Payne Field, which may be required for its efficient operations.)
This Govt has already agreed to include in draft agreement with Egypt a principle which provides that capacity shall be related to the “traffic requirements of the area through which airline passes after taking account of local and regional services” and we feel this should provide adequate protection for MISR in its Cairo-Lydda operations.
This Govt feels that inclusion of Cairo on US international route already proposed will strengthen economic and cultural bonds between our two countries, and any restriction which would prejudice the economic operation of the proposed route would lessen these benefits. It is therefore earnestly hoped that the bilateral agreement can be concluded in form now proposed, and with the route pattern desired by this Govt.
B. You are also requested to discuss matter of military rights referred to in pgh A, Deptel 550, Mar 30.22 In mentioning our desire for assurances re interim military rights, it is suggested you emphasize:
- That such rights are requested because they are essential to maintain communications between US and its occupation forces as well as between those forces, which is in turn essential to the effective execution of a responsibility imposed on this Govt as a result of the war which it gladly accepts as a part of its share in protecting the victory which has been won.
- That this Govt confidently expects that Egypt, whose resources were such a vital contribution to the winning of the war, will be no less ready to share them for the equally important work of protection and readjustment.
- This Govt earnestly and sincerely desires to appreciate the Egyptian Govt’s problems in meeting this responsibility and to make every effort to reduce the difficulties involved to a minimum. The US is anxious to repatriate its military forces, and their complete removal from Egypt can be greatly expedited by working out necessary technical servicing arrangements for our service aircraft and conclusion [Page 82]of surplus disposal negotiations in which the US is prepared to offer generous terms. As indicated in Deptel 550, granting by the Egyptian Govt of these restricted military rights does not necessitate retention in Egypt of US military personnel.
C. In summarizing, you are authorized to say that in the President’s opinion the successful conclusion of the pending set of agreements relating to the air is a matter of the utmost importance to the US and to the close and friendly relations which he wishes to see developed between Egypt and this country. The President, therefore, hopes that His Majesty will see fit to do what he considers appropriate to remove these last-remaining obstacles to a comprehensive and mutually beneficent agreement.