774.5/3–753: Telegram

No. 1113
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 1

top secret

5957. Part 2 of 2 (continuation Deptel 5956).

Dept’s Comments: White House formula cited Part 1 reached only after lengthy discussion between Secretary and Eden which made clear that original alternative cases B and C2 had never received Cabinet approval London and C now politically impossible in UK. Eden particularly emphasized UK unwilling consider case C since this meant base would be abandoned and he disagreed with earlier UK working level position London talks that case C better than no base agreement. He now believed very questionable whether Cabinet could even accept case B although modifications case A possible for example by reduction number of men listed.

Secretary emphasized this constituted fundamental shift UK position since original UK papers for London talks themselves outlined all three alternative cases. Dept pointed out US Chiefs of Staff also disliked case C but US felt case A almost certainly impossible achieve and believed C should be taken as last resort. Secretary stated believed negotiators should be given authority make best arrangement possible since six months from now we probably unable get what could today. He felt it unrealistic divide matter into set formulae as would inject undue amount rigidity.

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Decision join with British in negotiations conditioned on UK acceptance formula which provides considerable latitude re exact arrangements for base. Dept wishes assure negotiators flexibility in tactics and avoid presentation fixed plan re base to Egyptians.

Provided formula accepted by UK, assurances will be required Egypt would welcome US participation in negotiations including presence high ranking military man (Gen John E. Hull now Army Vice Chief of Staff). As soon as answer received from UK, Department expects instruct Caffery to approach Egyptian Government this matter. Secretary has agreed with Eden that Stevenson should call on Naguib or Egyptian FonMin accompanied by Caffery and explain reasons why US Government should be associated in negotiations (mainly that it is hoped negotiations will lead to settlement Middle East Defense problems and building up Egyptian economy). Caffery would confirm willingness US Government that he so participate. Department relies on Caffery to coordinate with Stevenson best manner approach Egyptian Government without giving impression US and UK have decided on US participation regardless Egyptian opinion, which of course is not the case.

Eden stated MEDO part of package and reference to it might be required early stage negotiations. Department emphasized it did not envisage MEDO outline as fixed document for Egyptian acceptance. Eden agreed tactics in presenting MEDO concept should be left to negotiators.

  1. Also sent priority to Cairo as telegram 1776. Drafted by Parker T. Hart, Director, Office of Near Eastern Affairs, and approved by Byroade.
  2. See Document 1061.