774.56/2–1053: Telegram

No. 1097
The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Holmes) to the Department of State1


4430. Following is abbreviated text memorandum dated today from Foreign Office in response Embassy’s memorandum February 6 based on Deptel 5220, February 5 transmitting lists contained Deptel 4806, January 192 and Deptel 5221, February 5:3

  • “1. Her Majesty’s Government most grateful to United States Government for reconsidering lists of arms and military equipment which United States Government contemplating supplying Egypt.
  • “2. They have, however, following further comments on lists annexed United States Embassy’s memorandum February 6:
    • “(1) Her Majesty’s Government feel bound record once again their view that supply of armoured cars and tanks in list A (Deptel 4806) would still be objectionable, since they would greatly increase potential of Egyptian force which could be used against Her Majesty’s forces in Suez Canal Zone.
    • “(2) All equipment in list B (Deptel 5221) is open objection on same grounds, though strength of Her Majesty’s Government’s objection would depend to some extent on timing of deliveries and quantities involved. It would, for example, be deplorable if United States Government were to provide Egyptian Government with machine guns within next 45 days in appreciable quantities, and if those machine guns were subsequently used in action against Her Majesty’s forces.
    • “(3) If, on other hand; delivery of items objected to in lists a and the items in list B could be postponed until such time as our two governments within sight of general settlement on defense with Egyptian Government, Her Majesty’s Government would not feel obliged maintain their objections, if however, it should not prove possible withhold these items altogether for time being, Her Majesty’s Government’s view is that anything sent should be in very small quantities, such as could be justified on grounds they would be used for training purposes only, and such as would not set precedent which might lead to break-down of understanding between signatories of North Atlantic Treaty to withhold lethal weapons from Egypt.
  • “3. Attention of United States Embassy invited to additional arguments advanced by Her Majesty’s Government against supply of lethal weapons to Egyptian Government at this juncture, namely: [Page 1987]
    • “(a) Concern of Government of Israel; and
    • “(b) Adherence of both Her Majesty’s Government and United States Government to principle that Egyptian Government would normally obtain their armaments from their habitual sources of supply;
    • “(c) Objection to giving prematurely what is likely to be chief inducement to Egyptians to join MEDO.
  • “4. Her Majesty’s Government presume that this question will be referred to NEACC in Washington if that has not already been done.

Embassy officer, after receiving foregoing, said he wished ensure that there was no misunderstanding re our intention proceed immediately with arms negotiations with Egypt. Foreign Office official confirmed Her Majesty’s Government understands this to be our intention. He expressed hope that Foreign Office could be kept informed re progress negotiations and would be particularly grateful for any indications which we could give during course negotiations of intention release any objectionable items.

  1. Repeated to Cairo as telegram 234.
  2. Not printed; see footnote 2, Document 1083.
  3. Not printed.