745W.00/10–1252: Telegram

No. 1015
The Ambassador in Egypt (Caffery) to the Department of State1


921. Last night Emb officers with Burdett had dinner mtg with Col Nasir, Major Hakim Amir, Chief of Cab of Naguib, and Major Salah Salem, member of mil high comite who is charged with coordinating activities leading to formulation of new Sudan policy.

It quickly became apparent that these officers had impression that Gen Naguib in his two most recent interviews with Brit Amb on Sudan had made it clear that Egypt had serious reservations to draft statute for Sudan and did not approve statute as now written. Offs also had impression that new constitution for Sudan wld not be promulgated until Egypt Govt had made its reservations known to Brit Govt. They said that purpose of consultation with reps of all Sudanese parties, including Mahdi who arrives Cairo on 19th, was expressly to ascertain Sudanese views on draft statute as well as on broader issues of (a) self-govt and (b. self-determination. Until these consultations were complete they were not yet ready to say specifically what objections they had to draft statute but it was already evident to them that Egypt wld have strong reservations as to wide powers granted Gov Gen under the new constitution.

In presence Emb officers Major Salem telephoned Gen Naguib and confirmed his understanding in terms set forth above.

Stevenson has of course given an accurate account (cf. mytel 910, Oct 10 rptd London 2982 and previous) of what Naguib told him. [Page 1869] We feel however that the Gen, whose knowledge of English is limited, may sincerely feel that he entered his govt’s caveats in clear language whereas Stevenson has reported him as saying that he had no objection if Brit Govt immed sent its views on draft statute to the Gov Gen, Egypts views to be made known at later date, and that he was silent on the question of postponing elections. On contrary Naguib’s offs last night said they felt that question of deferring elections shld be held in abeyance until views of Sudanese parties were known.

This difference in tactical emphasis assumes greater importance from fact that Naguib and his offs clearly realize that they are departing from policy of past Egypt govts in demanding “unity of Nile Valley”. They aim at real self-determination for the Sudan realizing that this may result in Sudanese independence free of Egypt suzerainty as well as, of course, (their real objective) free of Brit de facto sovereignty.

Naguib’s officers also said that aim of self-govt in the Sudan which wld lead to real self-determination was “Sudanization” of Sudan Govt. By this term they meant that admin and judicial posts shld be held by native Sudanese. This did not however exclude possibility of tech posts still remaining to some extent in present hands. Once Sudan Govt was in higher echelons run by the Sudanese themselves way wld be clear for an objective and honest attempt at self-determination.

An informal mtg was held this morning in office of Emb Counselor between Col Sabri, staff officer Egypt troops in Sudan, Major Salah Salem and Duke, Counselor Brit Emb. Purpose of mtg was to apprise Brit rep of views Egypt offs as set forth above. At same time Brit counselor was able to explain that draft constitution will not be officially promulgated before Nov 8 altho fact of his govt’s approval of the constitution will undoubtedly be made public before that time. Egypt offs said they were certain views of Naguib govt on draft statute and other issues in the Sudan problem cld, after current consultation with Sudanese polit parties, be made known to Brit Govt prior to Nov 8.

  1. Repeated to London as telegram 299.
  2. Ambassador Caffery reported in telegram 910, Oct. 10, not printed, that Ambassador Stevenson had seen General Naguib regarding the Sudan the previous evening. Stevenson told Caffery that Naguib had said he believed it possible to achieve a “practical solution” to the Sudan problem. However, he also stated that he had not finished his consultations with the representatives of the Sudanese political parties; therefore, he was not yet able to provide a final answer to the British démarche of Sept. 24. Meanwhile, if the British Government felt it essential to inform the Governor General of the Sudan of its views on the draft statute, he, Naguib, had no objection, as such action would not preclude Egypt from providing the Governor General with its own views at a later date as to the possible modification of the draft statute. Stevenson also reported that Naguib did not raise the question of deferring the upcoming elections in the Sudan. (641.74/10–1052)