774.5/1–653: Telegram

No. 1071
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Gifford) to the Department of State1


3691. From Byroade. Reference Embtel 3641 January 3.

US–UK meeting re Egypt afternoon January 5 covered following:


British paper “procedure for negotiation agreement with Egypt on defense issues” (Embtel 3643 January 3). I agreed on whole with paper except phrase in paragraph 5 appropriate stages of negotiation. Explained Ital most impossible lay down specific rules for moving from one phase to another. Thought best we could do was in general tie arms supply to negotiations but actual type of arms and supply time table should be played by ear. Added that we also wanted to go ahead with interim arms aid program. British agreed could not be specific on this point and thought phasing would have to be governed by such general principles as Egyptian capacity to absorb arms, lethal character of arms, likelihood Egyptians using arms against UK forces and availability arms. On availability, British aid program have to be considered in light requirements other NATO members.

On long-term arms aid, I explained we accepted principle that British be main supplier but could not accept that such policy should exclude Egypt procurement from US. On this general subject, British felt mention should be made in paper re arms standardization along UK lines. I agreed in principle.

British emphasized they hoped US would restrict its arms program as far as possible as British considered their arms program to Egypt as entree to obtaining Egyptian acceptance of technicians. Large supplies of US arms during negotiations would weaken their position.

It was finally agreed that paragraph 5 of paper under discussion would refer to both US paper (Embtel 3642 January 3) and a redraft UK paper (now under preparation) which would include British objections to our interim aid program.2


US interim military aid.

British continued voice strong objections to this program. General Redman (Vice CIGS) said Chief of Imperial General Staff dead set against program. Although he realized problem primarily political matter he did not think any gain would be achieved by gesture this nature before commencement negotiations. Bowker voiced Foreign Office objections and again reiterated that it would create problem with NATO and other arms-supplying countries. He thought we should tell the NATO countries what we were doing and that it would be easier if we could tell them arms supplies were part of negotiations. He feared it would be difficult to prevent other countries from supplying arms to Egypt if US was making military aid available before negotiations.

I pointed out that arguments contained paragraphs 3, 4, and 5 in our paper on extension of military aid to Egypt3 might be used in explaining program to NATO countries. At any rate, I said should Egyptians decide to buy arms from countries other than US and UK, there was little we could do to stop them. I again explained philosophy behind interim program and pointed out that even if we decided to supply arms, by time arms were dockside in US negotiations might have already started. Emphasized US did not consider interim program as “sweetener”, but rather US attempt to assist with its position in Egypt to obtain US–UK common objectives.

Bowker replied that although he considered interim aid program “heresy”, he thought it was our position that interim aid program was actually tied to negotiations in that we would cut program off if Egypt should attack British or prove intransigent. He thought it of extreme importance Egypt’s be left in no doubt on this score. Order make this point clear I agreed strengthen paragraph 8 of our paper (Embtel 3660 January 5).4 British also wanted see list of equipment before it finalized. I agreed although I made no commitment that they would have veto power over any of the items.

Our paper on arms aid was amended as explained Embtel 3660 January 5. British MEDO paper was amended to remove inconsistency between paragraph 1 of the covering paper on Egypt participation in MEDO and paragraph 3 of procedure paper (Deptel 4407 January 4).5 Text amendment will be telegraphed as soon as revised British paper given us.

  1. Repeated to Cairo as telegram 192.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 1069. The phrasing of paragraph 5 of this paper was changed to read as follows: “The United States and United Kingdom Governments would be prepared to provide military aid on the basis of paper No. 4.” (774.5/1–1453)

    Regarding the reference to Paper No. 4, see footnote 2, Document 1068.

    According to the “Agreed Record”, Byroade’s reference here must be to the British paper orignally entitled “Military Assistance to Egypt—Supply of Arms and Warlike Equipment” which the Embassy had transmitted to the Department in telegram 3610, Document 1062, and which was Appendix D of the “Agreed Record”. In effect the British now withdrew this paper in favor of a new document which became Annex B to Paper No. 4 and was entitled “United Kingdom Position on Extension of Military Aid to Egypt”. (774.5/1–1453)

  3. Byroade was referring to the U.S. paper transmitted in telegram 3642 from London, Document 1068.
  4. See footnote 3, ibid.
  5. Not printed.