674.84A/5–2351: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 1


5424. For Ambassador. I believe it unwise in present Brit polit situation for me to reply to Eden’s observations (urtel 5894 May 11).2 [Page 698] Suggest you advise Eden of our gen thinking re Anglo-Egypt and Anglo-Iran relations since this will constitute answer and at same time pour cold water upon course he proposes.

We agree it is of utmost importance Iran situation be settled as soon as possible on amicable and reasonable basis and we have informed Morrison of basis on which we wld be prepared support such program as may be put forward. We recognize that great provocation has been presented but believe that situation requires infinite restraint. We feel that same criteria apply in Egypt situation. We consider that any display of force such as use of destroyers with tankers transitting Suez Canal wld have most disastrous repercussions not only in Egypt but throughout entire Near and Middle East and wld play directly into hands of those who have been hoping UK and its friends wld be driven to such measures. We also believe that tactics of force wld prejudice possibility of satis resolution of Egypt question.

FYI: It is hard for Dept to believe Eden seriously entertains these views. Do you consider they prevail widely in Conservative Party leadership?

  1. Telegram drafted by Mr. Stabler and approved for transmission by Mr. Acheson personally.
  2. Ante, p. 679. In a memorandum of May 16 to the Secretary, routed through Mr. Matthews, Mr. McGhee had commented on telegram 5894 in part as follows:

    “There has been considerable criticism by the Conservatives and the Labor back-benchers over the manner in which the British Government is conducting the negotiations with Egypt on the revision of the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936. The Conservatives believe that the Government is prepared to make too many concessions to Egypt and has demanded that the Government adopt a strong attitude with respect to the restrictions which the Egyptian Government has placed on tankers transiting the Suez Canal bound for Israel. We feel that it is unfortunate that the UK has felt obliged to complicate the already complicated treaty negotiations by the introduction of the Suez Canal issue. We are convinced that if the British should try any such method as suggested by Mr. Eden, it would be impossible to obtain a satisfactory settlement of the Anglo-Egyptian question. It must be admitted that up to the present time little or no progress has been made in the Anglo-Egyptian negotiations but that the door is still open. There can be little doubt that that door would be closed if tactics of force were employed. It should also be emphasized that the consequences of such action on the US position in the Near and Middle East would be extremely serious.” (974.531/5–1651)

    For documentation regarding the attitude of the United States concerning the Anglo-Egyptian negotiations for a revision of the Treaty of 1936, see pp. 343 ff.