711.8827/4–2246: Telegram

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


689. Reference Dept’s secret 659, April 16, 3 p.m. and my secret 659, April 17, 10 p.m.24

The following is text of letter dated April 16 which I addressed to the Prime Minister presenting our proposals for his consideration:

“In the interest of effecting an early conclusion of our negotiations looking towards the acquisition by the Govt of Egypt of all property declared surplus to the needs of the Army and Navy of the US, Mr. Fred W. Ramsey, Central Field Commissioner for the Foreign Liquidation Commission joins with me in presenting the following proposals for your consideration:

“The FLC Commissioner at Cairo is prepared, with the approval of the Office of the Foreign Liquidation Commission at Washington to offer all of the property declared surplus to the needs of the US Army and Navy lying within the borders of Egypt and remaining unsold exclusive of certain railway rolling stock of Lend-Lease origin now available for sale under separate contract to the Egyptian state railways and excepting the fixed installations and equipment on Payne Field at a discount of 60% applied to the cost to the US in Egypt of said property.

“It is estimated that the inventory involved in the above proffer, when fully disclosed and verified, will represent a total value of not less than £E25 7,500,000. On the basis of a value of £E 7,500,000 the [Page 83] amount to be paid by the Egyptian Govt for all of the property would be £E 3,000,000 or 40% of the cost to the US in Egypt. If the total value of the property is found to be less or more, appropriate adjustment would be made on the basis of 40% of value.

“Upon the acceptance of this proffer and assuming the consummation of satisfactory arrangements covering certain mutual interests of the Govts of Egypt and of the US in Payne Field the FLC is prepared to recommend to its principals in the US that title to all of the fixed installations and equipment on Payne Field be transferred to the Egyptian Govt without charge.

“In addition, upon acceptance of these proposals, the FLC will transfer to the Govt of Egypt, without charge, title to all non-flyable aircraft remaining unsold in Egypt and all aircraft parts not required for ATC or for return to the US.

“During the war my Govt, in concert with the Govt of Egypt, has developed air navigation, air communications and weather facilities of great value to our Govts and of most significant importance to the program of development and expansion of aviation in times of peace in which our Govts have a profound and a mutual interest. To serve this interest, I think we both recognize that the facilities provided on Payne Field should be maintained and continued in effective operation.

“In view of the international obligations assumed by the US which require for their fulfillment free channels of air communication across the world and, in particular as related to airways passing through this area, my Govt has a special concern for retained rights in Payne Field where it has a very large investment.

“Payne Field provides the only link for the US in its chain of air communications in this area. Other govts are more happily circumstanced in that other links are available for them in their chains of communication in this area.

“My Govt is most desirous that Payne Field, as with other facilities in other parts of the world where the US has an associated interest, be transferred to and be operated by, the Govts concerned as part of an integrated world-wide system following the highest accepted standards.

“It is proposed that our Govts conclude the bilaterial air transport agreement as proffered by the US Govt to the Egyptian Govt under date of February 11, 1945.26 In view of the provisions made in this agreement for periodic review and amendment and in the interest of conformity with the agreement already reached with Govts associated in the International Civil Aviation Conference, my Govt requests that the agreement be accepted without modification.

“Recognizing that upon the transfer of the property of the US on Payne Field to the Egyptian Govt, it will be necessary in avoidance of a break in the technical services of the field to continue for a period the present experienced personnel of the US to supervise the operations and to instruct Egyptian personnel in the operation and servicing of the airport facilities and navigational aids, and in the interest of maintaining the services of Payne Field on a high level of safety and effectiveness, my Govt is pleased to proffer the assistance of such [Page 84] trained technical US personnel remaining on the field for such aid to operations as may be required and for the purpose of training Egyptian personnel in the maintenance and operation of the field.

“My Govt requests that the air navigation, communication, weather and other facilities now installed in Payne Field and the supporting installations adjacent thereto, be retained and continued for safe and effective operations.

“It is proposed that the Egyptian Govt designate and maintain Payne Field as a civil airport with rights secured for the US civil airlines on a non-discriminatory basis. Detailed arrangements desired under this head are disclosed in Annex A, which is a verbatim setting forth of the specifications desired by my Govt.

“My Govt regards it essential that the US continue to enjoy the present rights as applied to Payne Field for US military aircraft and to continue to use the facilities at Payne Field as required for our operations as long as necessary to return US personnel from or through Far East or Near and Middle East and to serve US occupation forces in the Far East. These rights are set forth in Annex B. It is desired that US personnel be retained at Payne Field for the purpose of serving this traffic but with the understanding that my Govt would withdraw all uniformed personnel at the end of six months.

“The representatives of my Govt have been in continuous consultation with the representatives of the Egyptian Govt over a long period of time and it is my belief that the proposals we are making will be found to represent a mutually acceptable position.

“If the above arrangements prove acceptable to Your Excellency’s Govt, Mr. Ramsey and I will join in submitting them to our Govt in Washington for final approval.”

There were two enclosures to this letter:

Annex A was entitled “Proposed Agreement between the Govts of the US and Egypt relating to the Designation and Operation of Payne Field as a Civil Airport.” This proposed agreement was based upon the Dept’s telegram 489, March 22.27
Annex B was entitled “Proposed Agreement Relating to Rights Desired by the US Govt for United States Military Aircraft.”

The text of Annex B follows:

“Upon the transfer of Payne Field to the Egyptian Govt the US is to continue to enjoy the present rights and facilities of said field for its military aircraft. These rights comprise the following:

  • a. The free transit and servicing of US military aircraft, including the landing and taking-off at airport, the transporting of personnel, material and mail for as long a period as necessary to return US personnel from, or through, the Far East or Near and Middle East and to serve US occupation forces in the Far East;
  • b. Emergency landing for US military aircraft on other Egyptian fields;
  • c. Stationing of US personnel necessary to the operation of US Army requirements with the understanding that the US will withdraw all uniformed personnel at the end of six months;
  • d. Use of installations and the operation of necessary weather and communication air navigation aids in the service and maintenance of facilities as may be required;
  • e. Use and security of necessary code;
  • f Administrative and operational control of US military aircraft by US personnel;
  • g. Military personnel, crew and other military operating personnel to wear the uniform of US Army;
  • h. US Army personnel to remain undisturbed save in a grave emergency, American military personnel to remain neutral under any circumstances and to take no armed action other than in defense of their own person or property and US Army to control and discipline its own personnel;
  • i. Procurement and transportation of all necessary supplies and equipment including overland supplies all of which to be exempt from Egyptian customs, imposts, duties, tariffs and taxes;
  • j. Ingress and egress to, and over, the airbase as necessary to US Army operating requirements.

“The turnover to the Egyptian Govt is to be made after all the items at the installation sold by the FLC to other buyers have been removed.

“The Egyptian Govt is to take possession of the installation building by building upon a joint inventory to be made by the representatives of the US Army and the Egyptian Govt. The order in which the buildings are to be handed over to the Egyptian Govt and the rate of progress are to be set by the US Army.”

[The remaining two paragraphs deal with discussions with Egyptian officials.]


[Four agreements were entered into at Cairo by the United States and Egyptian Governments on June 15, 1946:

Civil Air Transport Agreement: for text, see Department of State, Treaties and Other International Acts Series No. 1727, or 61 Stat. (pt. 4) 3825.
Agreement covering bulk sale of United States surplus property in Egypt, effected through an exchange of notes by Mr. Ramsey and Ahmed Loutfy el-Sayed Pasha, the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs. The cost to the United States of the property transferred to the Egyptian Government was estimated at $28,983,000, for which the latter was to pay 30% of the cost. The Egyptian Government agreed that payment up to one-half of the total amount due to the United States would be made within two years in real estate for the use of American diplomatic and consular representatives in Egypt. Payment of balances due after the two-year period would be made immediately in Egyptian pounds freely usable for expenses of the United States in Egypt, for cotton and for such other purposes as the two governments would find mutually satisfactory. Among the properties transferred were the fixed installations and improvements at Payne Field.
Agreement on the utilization of Payne Field, effected through an exchange of letters by the American Minister and the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs. Under its terms, the Egyptian Government agreed to maintain Payne Field on a non-discriminatory basis for international civil air traffic.
Agreement on the use of Payne Field by United States military aircraft effected through an exchange of letters by the American Minister and the Egyptian Minister for Foreign Affairs. Under its terms, American military aircraft were granted permission to use Payne Field for a period of six months, renewable if necessary by mutual consent.

The texts of these agreements were transmitted to the Department in despatch 1635, June 19, from Cairo (883.7962/6–1946).

Renewal of agreement numbered IV for a six-month period was: requested in Embassy note of October 25, 1946, and was granted in Egyptian Foreign Office note of December 8, 1946 (despatch 2083, December 24, from Cairo, 883.7962/12–2446).]

  1. Latter not printed; Mr. Tuck reported that after an unsatisfactory conference with the Under Secretary of the Egyptian Foreign Office, he had stressed to King Farouk on April 17 the great importance which President Truman and the United States Government attached to prompt signature of the bilateral civil air transport agreement and an agreement for military air rights. The Minister noted the King’s statement that he would give President Truman’s message the attention it merited. (711.8237/4–1746)
  2. Egyptian pounds.
  3. For documentation regarding the unsuccessful efforts of the United States in 1945 to enter into bilateral civil air transport agreements with Egypt and other governments in the Near and Middle East, see Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. viii, pp. 64 ff.
  4. Not printed.