No. 1060
The Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (Perkins) to the Secretary of State-designate (Dulles)

top secret

Dear Foster: Attached are notes on various items in which Mr. Churchill or the British Government have shown interest in the past1 and which it is possible Mr. Churchill may bring into the conversations with General Eisenhower.2 We have attempted to make these comments as brief as possible and in some cases we have condensed the original papers to the best of our ability. Some of them, such as atomic energy, are not susceptible of condensation. On the others we have attached the original comments in case you want to refer to them for more ample statements than the brief notes for the General.

In preparing this list of subjects we have no idea that General Eisenhower will want to take any of these subjects up with the Prime Minister but simply that he may want to be informed of the present status of the problems in case the Prime Minister raises them. If the information is not adequate we will be ready to supply promptly anything further which you want.

As some of the items are Top Secret, I am sending this data to the UN Delegation in New York, asking them to bring it to you at your convenience and to wait for it so that they can return it for safe keeping. They will bring it to you at any time or times that you wish the material.

[Page 1929]

Since the above was dictated we have received a wire from Walter Gifford as follows:

“Personal for the Secretary

“I lunched with Churchill at Checquers on December 27 and from all I could find out I do not think Churchill has any specific matters which he is to take up with either Eisenhower or President. In conversation with Eden, yesterday, he confirmed my understanding. However, I should remind you that Prime Minister’s unpredictability has not decreased with the years. Eden also said he did not expect Churchill would go to US when he and Butler plan their trip, but my impression is they will want to go as soon after inauguration as may be acceptable to new administration. Gifford3

I also enclose for your information the communication from the Foreign Office about the coronation. We have told Walter Gifford that we thought it was unlikely that the Special Mission could be named until after January 20 or that we could give the names of people occupying the seats allocated to us before that time. We have, of course, been careful to avoid any commitments regarding seats.

Sincerely yours,

George W. Perkins



Egypt is the key to the Arab States and therefore to the problem of area defense and solution of the Arab-Israeli quarrel. The assumption of power by General Naguib has created perhaps the first real opportunity for a reasonable settlement of the problems which threaten stability in the Near East. However, a satisfactory understanding with Egypt requires solution of the Anglo-Egyptian disputes over the Sudan and over maintenance of British military bases in the Suez Canal area. It will also require provision of a certain amount of military and economic aid to Egypt.

1. The Sudan:

Anglo-Egyptian negotiations for an agreement on self-government and self-determination for the Sudan are in their final stages. There is danger, however, that they will break down over certain points connected with powers to be retained temporarily by the Governor-General and, especially, his power to protect the . . . peoples [Page 1930] of the Southern Sudan against possibly harmful actions of the northern Sudanese majority.

The United States is not directly involved but is deeply concerned lest failure of these negotiations should make impossible a resolution of the over-all Egyptian question. We do not believe that vague fears for the future welfare of a relatively small number of . . . Sudanese should be allowed to stand in the way of a settlement deeply affecting, not only the security and other interests of the Western Powers, but also the security and welfare of many millions of Near Easterners. British rigidity on this issue could be disastrous.

2. The Suez Canal Bases:

British military installations in the Canal area are by far the largest anywhere in the Middle East and are the only ones presently in the area, outside of Turkey, capable of supporting a substantial military force. Britain presently has stationed in the Canal region about 81,000 troops, despite the fact that the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 allows her only 10,000. There are indications that morale among the troops is low and that financial and practical difficulties in maintaining the bases at their present level make the British anxious for an early settlement.

The Egyptian Government denounced the Treaty of 1936 in October, 1951 and demanded that all British forces be evacuated from Egypt. However, General Naguib, present head of the Egyptian Government, has indicated that he would permit a certain number of “technicians” to remain in the Canal Zone to maintain the installations if the bulk of the British forces were withdrawn and other conditions met. The British Government has recently intimated to us that it would be prepared to withdraw all of its forces by the end of 1954 if satisfactory arrangements could be worked out for the participation of Egypt in a Middle East defense organization and for the maintenance of the base installations in such a way that they would be available to Allied Forces immediately after the outbreak of war.

Assistant Secretary of State Henry A. Byroade is this week in London at the head of a team to discuss possible proposals to Egypt regarding the Suez base question. These proposals would be combined with offers of military and economic aid from the United States and Great Britain in return for satisfactory political and military commitments on the part of the Egyptian Government.

3. Aid to Egypt:

The United States Government is planning to offer Egypt a small military aid program, to a value of about $10,000,000, the greater proportion of which will be on a cash-reimbursable basis, as an evidence [Page 1931] of friendship and good faith without awaiting the conclusion of formal negotiations or commitments. However, we intend to withhold any large-scale or continuing program of military aid until the Canal question and Egyptian participation in Middle East defense are settled, at least in principle.

Our main divergence with the British over the question of aid to Egypt is with respect to timing. In general, they are inclined to be more cautious and demand more in return from the Egyptians for such assistance.

Our plans for economic aid to meet the pressing social and economic problems which face Egypt are still in the exploratory stage. However, the Point Four Program is now expanding its operations in Egypt and is becoming a widely accepted indication of United States interest in Egyptian problems.

4. Background:

Mr. Churchill has a great personal interest in the Egyptian question, particularly the Sudan problem, which has nostalgic connotations for him. On his last trip to the United States, in his speech to the Congress, the Prime Minister asked for a “token” number of American troops in the Suez Canal Zone, although he did not specify whether or not these troops would be there under Middle East Defense Organization auspices.

  1. Besides the attachment entitled “Egypt”, there were also memoranda, none printed, entitled “Brief Notes on Questions Prime Minister Churchill Might Raise”; “Iran”; “Note on the Situation in Indochina and Malaya”; “Atomic Energy”; “General U.K. Attitudes and Policies in the Far East”; and a background memorandum relating to and a copy of the invitation received from the United Kingdom for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
  2. President-elect Eisenhower and Secretary of State-designate Dulles were scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Churchill in New York on Jan. 6, 1953.
  3. This is a verbatim quote of telegram 3608 from London, Jan. 1, 1953. (033.4111/1–153)