745W.00/2–1253: Telegram

No. 1098
The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Holmes) to the Department of State1


4486. Eden made statement to crowded House this afternoon re signature Sudan agreement. Statement was, for most part, factual account of agreement, introduced by short history of dispute in which Eden contrasted Naguib’s attitude toward Sudan with that of previous government. After referring to unilateral abrogation of 1899 condominium agreement and insistence of previous governments re unity of Nile Valley and recognition King’s title, Eden spoke of “decisive step” taken by General Naguib in recognizing that Sudanese should have self-determination and that sovereignty should be reserved for Sudanese until that time. Eden said “I should like the House to realize the significance of this step. It completely changed the situation.” Towards end of statement, Eden expressed hope that House would agree that arrangements constitute reasonable settlement of question which had “long bedevilled our relations with Egypt.” He hoped agreement would be happy [Page 1988] augury for future Sudanese and have its beneficial influence on Anglo-Egyptian relationships. Eden added that Her Majesty’s Government will give full consideration any views Sudan Parliament may express on this agreement.

In ensuing question period one or two discordant notes of misgiving were expressed, but on whole arrangements were welcomed. It is thus apparent that government has been successful in enforcing party discipline, at least for time being. On Labor side, Morrison welcomed agreement in principle although indicating that after examination its complicated provisions, it might be desirable to have debate.

Embassy wishes stress importance effect which reaction of public’s opinion may have in next week or two on defense negotiations. There is little doubt that much of uncertainty in Conservative Party circles in last few days (Embtels 4463, February 11,2 4466, February 123) has resulted from bellicose and ill-timed statements by members of Egypt Government. We appreciate strenuous efforts of Ambassador Caffery to persuade Egypt Government to moderate statements (Cairo’s 1825, February 10)4 and we particularly hope that Egyptians will show restraint in this matter in next few weeks. Morrison also indicated in House this afternoon that Laborites would like have debate next week, possibly Tuesday, on supply of jet aircraft to Middle East states, stressing Egypt particularly. Any unfriendly Egypt statements prior to that time could, of course, affect tenor of debate, revive doubts re Sudan agreement, and generally complicate governments task in getting on with defense negotiations.5

  1. Repeated priority to Cairo as telegram 237 and to Khartoum as telegram 18.
  2. In telegram 4463 from London, Feb. 11, not printed, the Embassy reported that certain members of the Conservative Government and Party had doubts about approving the Sudan agreement and that Eden had returned urgently to London to secure a favorable decision from his Cabinet and Party colleagues. (745W.00/2–1153)
  3. In telegram 4466 from London, Feb. 12, not printed, the Embassy informed the Department that instructions had been sent to Stevenson in Cairo to initial the Sudan agreement. Prior to the issuance of these orders, however, Eden had had a difficult time persuading his colleagues to accept the final accord. (745W.00/2–1253)
  4. Not printed.
  5. On Feb. 16, the Embassy in London, in telegram 4562, not printed, reported that it had been endeavoring to ascertain from the Foreign Office the present status of the package proposals on Egyptian defense problems, which had been agreed on ad referendum in London in January. The Embassy said that the British were still considering the matter, and that they did not wish to take a final decision on the package proposals until after they had had an opportunity to assess the public’s reaction to the Sudan agreement. (774.5/2–1653)