641.74/11–2250: Telegram

The Ambassador in Egypt ( Caffery ) to the Secretary of State

top secret
priority

513. I concur doubts US–UK representatives re efficacy tripartite approach Anglo-Egyptian problems (second paragraph Deptel 460 November 20, received November 21, 5 p. m.) but also believe possibility exists if US prepared pay price involved. This price particularly difficult assess off-hand, view Palestine problem and effect of possible tripartite agreement as well as price to be paid on American Jewry, which obviously require fullest high level coordination.

Assuming strategic importance NE area, US has no alternative but to seek ways and means British remaining in Egypt. Therefore, possibility British evacuation is “out” and we must, in exploring alternatives, consider only those which would permit British and perhaps ourselves to have bases in Egypt.

In order to offset overly publicized xenophobic stand Wafd government it is essential from practical politics point of view that we offer alternative Wafd can sell its vociferous public. Such alternative might be three-party pact with Egypt as full sovereign participating member. Anything less would be unrealistic and continuation current profitless cycle. Even this arrangement would require most careful handling to be acceptable present Egyptian thinking.

Best sales approach would seem to be that of convincing Egyptians that US participation is in their favor, and perhaps as result “successful Egyptian diplomacy” Lake Success and London.

The price to be paid would undoubtedly be high and would include arms and at least a facade of military consultation which would give outside appearance of a full exchange of views on a sovereign basis, as well as something on Palestine.

If basic decision importance Egypt in NE strategic picture once made so far as US is concerned, I would recommend agreement with British re approach Egypt along lines Bevin response. Egyptian speech from Throne working gradually towards tripartite agreement concept.

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Re last paragraph my despatch 1096 November 9,1 in this case we can buy but the price will be very high. I shall comment further in a day or two.

Sent Department 513 repeated London 76 for Ambassador’s eyes only.

Caffery
  1. Not printed; it described the Egyptian Prime Minister, Nahas Pasha, as “primarily a street politician who has risen to the top of the ladder; has never materially widened his horizon; and is now partially senile.” In the opinion of Ambassador Caffery, “we can get anything which we want from him if we are willing to pay for it. Whether we can afford the price depends on how badly we want a given object.” (Despatch 1096 from Cairo, November 9; 774.13/11–950)