774.5/3–953: Telegram

No. 1117
The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Egypt1

top secret

1785. Eden now seeking London’s approval on somewhat different formula than that quoted Paragraph 4 of Deptel 5956, repeated [Page 2015] Cairo 1775. This was a result of White House discussion and Eden believes London will accept the change. New formula has not been developed in agreed text but its purpose is to divert attention from the technical points listed under the alternatives in London papers and to focus attention upon implication of the various cases as described in that paper. In brief, implications of Case A as listed in the paper would be that a working base would be immediately operable in event of war and in Case B it would take 60 days to reach same operating conditions. If London approves new formula our negotiators would attempt to obtain as an optimum an agreement which would allow an operable base immediately upon outbreak of war. As a minimum they could agree upon arrangements which would insure that the base could be brought to this condition within 60 days after outbreak of hostilities. Within that framework our negotiators would not be bound to strict application of any of technical arrangements listed under the various cases in London papers. They would have flexibility to work out upon spot and between themselves such arrangements as would meet the desired objectives.

For info Caffery: Eden states that Slim is ready depart London any time. We do not wish Gen Hull depart until (a) we receive word from London that latest formula is acceptable, (b) you have ascertained in accordance with agreed procedures that our participation is welcomed by Egyptians, and (c. we know Slim is departing. It appears to us that this process could not be completed prior to Thursday2 at earliest. Will inform you of size of party, time of departure, etc. subsequently.3

  1. Repeated priority to London as telegram 5989. It was drafted and approved by Byroade.
  2. Mar. 12.
  3. Ambassador Caffery responded to this telegram and to telegram 1781, supra, in telegram 2022, Mar. 10, not printed, warning that he believed that if he and Stevenson together approached the Egyptian authorities about American participation in the negotiations, the Egyptian reply might well be unsatisfactory, as “they might suspect British had sold us bill of goods”. On the other hand, Caffery thought that if he approached the Egyptians unilaterally, their reply could well be satisfactory. (774.5/3–1053)