Editorial Note

Concurrent with the developing Anglo-Egyptian disputes over Suez and the future of the Sudan, United States and United Kingdom military and diplomatic officials had begun laying plans for the creation of a Middle East Command that would include the United States, United Kingdom, France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, Israel, and the Arab States, including Egypt. In part, the emergence of the Middle East Command concept was in response to the practical problems involved in integrating Greece, and especially Turkey, into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization command structure. But by August of 1951, the United Kingdom and United States had also perceived that a Middle East Command might also be the instrument by which the British and Egyptians could resolve their differences over the future of Suez. In telegram 841 from London of August 13, Minister Julius Holmes reported “Further UK proposals on Egypt defense problem are apparently awaiting decisions on ME Command, on which FonOff now seems to be depending almost entirely for exit from present impasse.” Holmes concluded that although “FonOff does not anticipate further developments in Egypt before Egyptian Parliament recesses, it does consider explosive nature Egypt issue vital reason for settling ME Command structure without delay.” (774.5/8–1351) Thereafter, the connection between Anglo-Egyptian negotiations over Suez and the Sudan and the planning for a Middle East Command became intimate. For documentation on the Middle East Command as it related to the Commonwealth nations and those of the Near East, including Egypt, see pages 1 ff.