780.5/11–2050: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Egypt 1

top secret

460. For Amb’s eyes only. During recent NATO mtg Wash US and Brit Joint Chiefs met Top Sec consider mutual defense problems including Near East defense. Dept and FonOff reps participated later stage.2 US stressed and UK acquiesced in concept UK primarily responsible NE defense. US agreed Brit facilities Egypt utmost importance area defense. Both agreed consider possibility presenting common front Egypt re bases there.

Both US and UK reps doubted whether US participation in US-UK-Egypt tripartite arrangement for bases in Egypt including one US base wld change attitude Egypt Govt towards base question but agreed possibility might exist and shld be examined jointly. US emphasized had no desire dissipate valuable mil equipment but indicated that if clear advantage to US and UK wld flow from some US deliveries US wld consider such action.

Fol substance agreed Minute: Dept and FonOff wld conduct further discussions re advisability joint approach to Egypt pointed towards tripartite agreement on bases and equipment. Question was raised re positive results obtainable but it was observed proposed course action wld at least give Egypt opportunity say end result is joint defense agreement with two great world powers and Egypt all on equal basis. If tripartite approach were agreed upon concensus was that agreement use Egypt terr as base (including airfield facilities for US) and equipment for Egypt shld all be in same package. End Minute.

Underlying foregoing is idea Egypt dissatisfaction with bilateral arrangement with UK might be mitigated or obviated if US wld enter picture under tripartite agreement even though agreement wld not involve extension US security commitment to Egypt in exchange US air facilities in Egypt.

Before discussing with UK ways and means by which US might assist UK retain facilities Dept desires ur counsel re alternative courses open US in this matter and ur appraisal success likelihood [Page 322] each. Request ur specific comment re attitude Egypt likely adopt toward US request for facilities roughly comparable Dhahran and price Egypt likely demand for such arrangement.

For Depts reaction any form NATO status for Egypt this time see Depts 450, Nov 17.3

  1. Repeated for information only to London as 2636.
  2. The U.S. and U.K. Chiefs of Staff met in Washington on October 23 and again on October 26 with representatives of the Department of State and the British Foreign Office. For the approved summary of conclusions and agreements reached at the meeting of October 23, see vol. iii, p. 1686. For an extract of the U.S. minutes of the politico-military meeting of October 26, see p. 233.
  3. Not printed, but see footnote 5, p. 307.