Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 158

Egyptian Prime Minister Naguib to President Eisenhower 1


top secret

My Dear Friend: In view of the desire expressed on several occasions by yourself and by your Secretary of State, Mr. John Foster Dulles, to be of assistance in bringing about an Anglo-Egyptian settlement, consultations have taken place between our diplomatic representatives. I trust that His Excellency Mr. Jefferson Caffery is keeping you informed as to the basis on which the Egyptian Government would be prepared to conclude an agreement with the British Government concerning the Suez Canal base.

I wish to point out that in making these suggestions Egypt is motivated by a sincere desire to reach a peaceful settlement on the issues now standing between her and Great Britain in order that new foundation may be laid for cooperation with the peace-loving powers in an effective defense Egypt and her Arab allies. I can assure you that if a satisfactory settlement can be reached, Egypt will cooperate loyally with her friends and allies to this end and, with their assistance, will be prepared to do her full part in building the military strength and economic and social stability which is indispensable to the achievement of security in the Middle East.

In order that there may be no misunderstanding in the future and so that you may not think me unreasonable, I must point out that the Egyptian Government’s willingness to conclude an agreement concerning the Suez Canal base is conditional upon simultaneous agreement on the other questions as set out below.

[Page 1697]
  • First, there must be a satisfactory agreement with the British Government on the immediate evacuation of all British personnel in the Canal Zone, with the exception of the minimum required number of technicians whose presence during a limited period we accept.
  • Secondly, while we are prepared to agree to consultations for the building up of Egypt’s economic and military strength, we cannot ask my people to accept the presence of British technicians and a commitment as regards the availability of the base with nothing to show for it in return except a vague assurance that the United States and Great Britain will confer on ‘measures to strengthen Egypt militarily and economically’.

It is essential, therefore, that simultaneously with the signing of agreements on evacuation and the future of the base, there be firm undertakings and specific commitments to forthwith furnish Egypt with such military equipment and other assistance as may concomitantly be agreed. It should be understood that this will constitute a first step in the re-equipment of the Egyptian Army, and establishment of military industries which shall be carried out, in accordance with terms to be agreed upon.

In closing I must say that we are greatly relying upon your frequently-expressed sentiments of friendship and support for Egypt’s right to be a fully free and independent state. You will recognize that the position I have outlined marks a great effort on Egypt’s part to reach an agreement which would be satisfactory by all.

Such an agreement can be acceptable to the Egyptian people only if reciprocal good-will of equivalent magnitude is shown. These proposals do not represent a bargaining position and any attempt to treat them as such will only convince us that Egypt’s earnest desire for a prompt, honorable and peaceful settlement is not reciprocated.

Please believe me to be ever, your friend,

Mohammed Naguib
  1. The source text was attached to STB MIN 1 as Tab A. A note at the top of it states that Naguib’s message was received on July 11, while STB MIN 1 indicates that it was accompanied by the Egyptian formula concerning the Suez Canal Base (infra). The message was discussed by the British and United States Foreign Ministers at their meetings on July 11 and 14; for the minutes of these meetings, see pp. 1631 and 1675.