Conference Files: Lot 59 D 95: “US–UK Talks, Wash 9/51, Background Book Egypt”

The Secretary of State to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Morrison)1

top secret

Thank you for ur ltr of Aug 15, 1951,2 on the subj of Anglo-Egypt relations, which I have studied with care. We share your concern over the possible repercussions of the present impasse and the dangers of some precipitate action by the Egypt Govt such as the abrogation of the 1936 Treaty of Alliance between Great Britain and Egypt. I shall be prepared to discuss this problem with you in our forthcoming talks.

I want to tell you at this time, however, that I was especially struck by the remarks in ur ltr concerning the ME command. It seems to me that the most likely way of solving the difficulties with Egypt wld be, as you suggest, through some form of internationalization of the Suez Canal bases under ME command arrangements which might draw Egypt into the picture in a special position. Such a position might give the Egypt Govt and people a considerable measure of satisfaction of their sensibilities and at the same time bring them to realize that they must bear their share of responsibility for protecting the ME against potential Sov aggression. Additionally, if Egypt shld embrace this concept, it wld go far towards creating a healthier atmosphere in both of our relations with other NE States.

In anticipation of our talks, it will be valuable for us to have the results of the exchange of views on this subj between our reps now [Page 382] tentatively scheduled for Sept 4–8 in Wash.3 Perhaps ur reps can make clearer to us what you have in mind in the way of making the new command arrangement the vehicle for the retention of base rights in Egypt.

I may add that I am looking forward very much to ur visit and to an exchange of views with you on this and the many other problems facing the world.

  1. Drafted by Coe of BNA, cleared with Berry and Jones of NEA and with S and EUR. Transmitted to London in telegram 1263 of August 30 with the instruction that it be conveyed to Morrison.
  2. Ante, p. 372.
  3. See editorial note, p. 383.