774.5 MSP/1–853: Telegram

No. 1074
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Gifford) to the Department of State1


3739. From Byroade. Met this morning with Bowker and other Foreign Office officials on Sudan. Bowker said that British are now working on clean draft of proposed UK–Egyptian agreement on Sudan which it was hoped could be presented to Naguib within next few days.2 Bowker confirmed there are three difficult issues and number minor ones which might prevent reaching agreement with Egypt. Main difficulties are (1) Governor General’s reserved powers for south, (2) Governor General’s emergency constitutional powers, (3) Sudanization. One of minor issues is appointment of Deputy Governor General.

Bowker made clear that UK would find it most difficult, if not impossible, make further concessions re south and expressed belief that if Governor General did not have powers, north Sudan would neglect, if not exploit, south and southern provinces would almost certainly boycott parliamentary elections. UK had endeavored make Egyptians understand UK had no hidden motives re south and that it firmly upholds principles of Sudan unity. Bowker gave us in utmost confidence (and specifically asked that this in no way be revealed to Egyptians. text of article in draft UK–Egyptian agreement re reserved powers which reads as follows:

“The two contracting governments are agreed that, it being a fundamental principle of their common policy to maintain the unity of the Sudan as a single territory, special powers with regard to the southern provinces which are vested in the Governor General by the self-government statute shall not be exercised in any manner which is in conflict with this principle”.

Bowker expressed hope that Caffery might be helpful in persuading Egyptians re British attitude on unity of Sudan.

Re emergency constitutional powers Foreign Office working on formula whereby Governor General could exercise such powers in event administrative breakdown without prior approval advisory commission. After execution emergency powers Governor General then would discuss matter with advisory commission and if overruled, [Page 1958] would take matter to Codomini. British hoped have formula whereby Governor General’s actions would remain valid unless Codomini agreed to object. British believed this formula would be acceptable to Egyptians although recognizing that Egyptians would prefer prior approval advisory commission for exercise Governor General’s emergency powers.

Foreign Office officials admitted that Sudanization issue might also prove “sticky” since UK could not permit this principle to be held as a “pistol to the head of the Sudan Government” to hasten departure of such British officials as new Sudan Government might wish retain as advisors. However, UK is entirely willing to agree that in three years time after constitution is promulgated, Sudanese shall be given right of self-determination.

I told Bowker that we attached greatest importance to earliest settlement Sudan problem and hoped UK would do all in its power to achieve agreement. I pointed out disastrous effect to all our plans in Egypt and Middle East if Sudan negotiations ended in failure.

  1. Repeated to Cairo as telegram 198 and to Khartoum as telegram 11.
  2. Not printed. According to despatch 1405 from Cairo, Jan. 15, not printed, the British draft agreement on the Sudan was given to the Egyptian Government on Jan. 12. (745W.00/1–1553)