641.74/2–1251: Telegram

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

top secret

860. Review current status of Anglo-Egyptian negotiations with British Embassy reveals following salient points:

1. There is growing Egyptian uneasiness at delay in resumption of negotiations. This is being shown by both Egyptian Ambassador London and Egyptian FonMin.

2. Stevenson is having difficulty quieting this uneasiness and Salahed-Din has told him that Egyptians will face serious difficulties if negotiations not resumed by first week of March.

3. FonOff has told Stevenson that British proposals may differ from those that Bevin originally put forward to Egyptians,2 and that Bevin has still to consider the new proposal which may take several weeks because of his illness.

4. Stevenson has not informed Egyptians delay this length in prospect but has pointed out to FonOff:

If proposal too much changed from original, Egyptians may well shy off from them;
Something must be done to give Egyptians feeling that progress being made. He suggests early resumption sterling negotiations3 if political negotiations must wait upon Bevin’s recovery. Also that early resumption of certain arms shipments be considered.

5. Stevenson feels that Egyptians will never accept agreement on defense matters only, and suggests that FonOff authorize him to start discussions on Sudan. He has formulated certain proposals—which [Page 344] are being reported by despatch.4 Briefly these provide for exchange of notes between British and Egyptian Governments providing for earliest practicable “self-government” Sudan followed by self-determination by Sudanese as to form government they desire. Agreement might also provide for standing Anglo-Egyptian-Sudanese supervisory council to assist in putting into effect of agreed principles.

6. Stevenson realizes Egyptians may well refuse such proposals but believes such refusal should be made matter of record and would represent moral victory in that Egyptians would be put in position of rejecting principle of self-determination.

7. Current thinking British C.O.S. being included in despatch mentioned paragraph 5. Stevenson believes it would be unrealistic for British to put forth proposals which would provide for any effective British control of bases after 1956.

8. In my opinion Stevenson’s concern at delays is much justified. He cannot hold off Egyptians much longer.

  1. In telegram 3884 from London, January 12, not printed, Ambassador Gilford reported, inter alia and without elaboration, “Bevin’s suggestion for progressive withdrawal from Egypt” (641.74/1–1251).
  2. For information concerning the sterling balance negotiations, see despatch 2190 from Cairo, March 16, p. 348.
  3. No. 1942, infra.