641.74/9–3051: Telegram

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

top secret

387. I saw the King this afternoon. He began conversation by complaining somewhat bitterly about continued attacks against him in American press. He said he was “fed up” and although he understood the reasons for the replies made by officials to his Ambassador in [Page 389] Washington the replies made him feel no better about the campaign which he felt was being waged against him.

Then we talked about Brit negots. I told him merely that we were sincerely and earnestly trying to find way out; that he must give us a little time and that we hope to come up with something soon. I mentioned briefly French and Turks. He said that he warmly welcome our entrance into the ring; without us nothing wld or cld be done.

“You are the only ones who can put it over”, he remarked.

I asked if he cld hold off abrogation until we come up with something. He said, “I can hold it off for a brief space more but not for long; and you know why. Also you know my situation and the situation of my govt. I cannot set myself in opposition to the whole country and in this instance the whole country is of the same mind as the govt; although Nahas is old and his mind does not work as well as it did. MinFonAff is young and impulsive and also has other drawbacks, and when I returned he thought I was going to ask for his resignation. I told him I wld ask for nothing of the kind that I did not want him to resign. He is partly responsible for existing situation and he must see it through. If I broke with him I wld stir up a veritable hornets nest, and I do not like hornets.

“If you come up with something that I conscientiously believe my fatherland can accept the govt will accept it too. There is no worry on that score. But it must be something I can conscientiously accept and it must come soon. I am above all a patriotic Egyptian and rest assured that I am not going to accept anything which I consider to be against my country’s interest. In any event you must step on it and come out with it soon, and I mean soon.

“I will tell you indiscreetly that I have told the govt that they can go ahead to prepare papers which will be required for abrogating treaty and for taking care of ensuing situation if your proposals are not good enough, but I hope it will never be necessary to use them”.

I asked him if we shld bring proposals to him before we communicated them to the govt. He said “it is a question in my own mind. You might let me know quietly when you have something definite and I shall tell you what to do.

“You know because I have told you already that I am wholeheartedly on side of the west and in case of war you can count on me. Having that in mind do not do anything to weaken my position. If I am strong enough I can help you, but if I am weak, I won’t be able to help you at all”.

In closing he remarked that he did not want any major changes in the govt at this juncture and for that reason he had sanctioned only the two now well known shifts and the two new minor appointments.

  1. Repeated to London and Ankara.