641.74/9–1851: Telegram

The Ambassador in Egypt ( Caffery ) to the Department of State 1

top secret

338. Gallad came to see me last night to talk about situation facing King on his recent return. King is not pleased with way govt has [Page 386] handled Brit negots nor is he satisfied with their handling of internal situation, charges of corruption in govt circles, etc. For that reason has not yet recd Prime Minister but will probably receive him today or tomorrow. All Egypt know and applaud govt’s decision to abrogate treaty and they knew that if this is not done it will be King who prevents it. Therefore, His Majesty says that much as he dislikes it, unless Brit can come up soon with some new acceptable proposal, he will be forced to let govt go ahead with abrogation. To do otherwise wld involve dismissing govt, dissolving Parliament and ruling by military force.

Gallad asked my opinion as to what he shld advise King. I counseled him to advise King to insist with Prime Minister that nothing be done about abrogating treaty until Morrison has time to come forward with something new.

“How long will that be?” asked Gallad. “I do not know”, said I, “but say couple of weeks”. Gallad said he wld counsel His Majesty to that effect.

Gallad observed that Prime Minister himself is not particularly pleased with situation into which he has been led by his Min FonAff but he can do nothing about it. Min FonAff is only really popular man in govt and furthermore, has practically entire nation behind him. Min FonAff wld be far more dangerous out govt than in govt.

Gallad added, “I must warn you that if Morrison’s proposals are not acceptable His Majesty will be unable prevent abrogation of treaty although in any event, he will do his best.”2

  1. Repeated to London. A handwritten note on the margin reads: “S: repeating to Ottawa. Rptd Ankara 9/19.”
  2. In telegram 1477 from London, September 21, Minister Holmes reported that Ambassador Stevenson in Cairo was about “to deliver personal msg from Morrison to Nahas Pasha which says little new but again tries to encourage Egypt patience.” Holmes added that Morrison “will make special point, since King has evidenced interest, of necessary consultation with Turkey prior presentation [Middle East Command] proposals to Egypt.” (641.74/9–2151) In telegram 355 from Cairo, September 22, Caffery reported that Stevenson had delivered the Morrison message to Nahas who had replied that he must have something before the month’s end. Stevenson then suggested that Nahas simply tell the Egyptian Parliament “that new and interesting proposals forthcoming requiring careful study and that govt wld discuss at next session Parliament in Nov.” Nahas had replied that this was impossible “as he wld be ‘shouted down.’” (641.74/9–2251) Caffery further informed the Secretary of State in telegram 364 from Cairo, September 25, that in a conference with Stevenson the previous day, King Farouk had made it clear “that he is ‘on the spot’: public opinion solidly backs the Cabinet and demands early abrogation of the treaty and if there is any change in the Egyptian attitude it will be quite clear that it is the King who has brought it about.” Farouk expressed interest in the forthcoming Command proposals, “but said, ‘whatever you do it is essential to do it quickly. I can not continue to hold them on the leash for two or three weeks more.’” (641.74/9–2551)