Presidential Correspondence, lot 66 D 204, “Churchill Correspondence with Eisenhower

No. 1126
Prime Minister Churchill to President Eisenhower1

personal and confidential

My Dear Friend: I am very sorry that you do not feel that you can do much to help us about the Canal Zone. Naturally I am glad that we are broadly speaking agreed upon the merits and upon what we must get. I know that we can count on your goodwill. A month has passed since I wrote my first letter to you and I fear it will be impossible for us to keep Field Marshal Slim any longer from his task in Australia. I hope however that though you may not be able to help us positively it will not look as if the United States is taking sides against us. I am like the American who prayed “Oh Lord, if You cannot help me don’t help the bear”. It would be a very great pity if differences about the method of approach were represented as differences of policy between our two countries and still worse if they became public.

We are discharging an international duty and are resolved not to be bullied any further by Naguib either in the Canal Zone or in the Sudan. I have reached my limit. We are neither unable nor afraid to deal with Naguib ourselves. But even if we have to continue keeping 80,000 troops in the Canal Zone I assure you that in no circumstances will Her Majesty’s Government abandon the United Nations crusade in Korea. At present we seem to be heading for a costly and indefinite stalemate both in the Middle East and the Far East instead of helping each other to reach conclusions agreeable to world peace at both ends.

Tito seems full of common-sense. He is definitely of opinion that the death of Stalin has not made the world safer, but he believes that the new regime will probably feel their way cautiously for some time and even thinks that there may be divisions among [Page 2027] them. Malenkov and Beria, he says, are united but Molotov is not so closely tied. Anthony and I are doing all we can to urge him to improve his relations with the Italians and also with the Romans.2 He is very anxious about what would happen if he were attacked all alone. We have said we do not think a local war in Europe is likely or even possible. He was not therefore in particular danger. I pointed out to him the risks we had shown ourselves ready to run by having an American bomber base in this island. The point did not seem to have occurred to him.3

Kindest regards,

  1. Sir Roger Makins delivered this message to the White House on Mar. 19. (Presidential Correspondence, lot 66 D 204, “Churchill Correspondence with Eisenhower, February 1953 thru March 1955”)
  2. The Embassy in London in telegram 5155, Mar. 19, not printed, reported that the word “Vatican” should be substituted for “Romans”. (774.5/3–1953)
  3. In telegram 5154 from London, Mar. 18, not printed, Ambassador Aldrich said that Churchill had sent for him that afternoon to show him the “telegram which he is sending to President re Egypt and also re Tito’s visit. He said he felt compelled send cable in order emphasize to President his strong feelings re Egypt, even though Eden is asking through regular channels for reconsideration US position on approach to Egypt.” (774.5/3–1853)