Presidential Correspondence, lot 66 D 204, “Eisenhower Correspondence with Churchill February 1953 thru November 1958”

No. 1127
President Eisenhower to Prime Minister Churchill

top secret

Dear Winston : I am a bit puzzled as to the real meaning of your recent note to me.1 By no means have I, or my associates, indicated or implied that we are not in agreement with your Government in what you are trying to do in the Canal Zone. On the contrary, Anthony and I reached a clear understanding of what we should strive to get under the various alternatives laid down by the staff, and both of us were very clear that the offer we would be making would be so fair to the Egyptians that we hoped it could not possibly be rejected.

While he was here, I raised one question involving procedure. The question was: “How does the United States get into this consultation?”

It was obvious that no one had thought very much on this point and it was recognized a very awkward situation could result for our representative, and, indeed, for the negotiations themselves, if an American should show up without some prior invitation and [Page 2028] agreement between the principals, namely, your Government and the Egyptian Government.

My point is this: If the United States walks into a conference with you, against the wishes of the Egyptian Government, then the only obvious interpretation would be that our two governments, together, are there to announce an ultimatum. An uninvited guest cannot possibly come into your house, be asked to leave, and then expect cordial and courteous treatment if he insists upon staying.

So far as I know, this is the only point that has blocked the initiation of the conference. But until it is ironed out, I do not see how we can possibly get into it.

I am sure that Anthony will confirm to you that I expressed exactly these sentiments to him when he was in my office.

Please be assured that I have no idea that either of us should be bullied by Naguib. We have objectives in common and they are vital objectives, so vital indeed that I do not think we should be inflexible on procedure.

I am much interested in what you say about Tito. I am glad that you and Anthony have been urging him to improve his relations with some of his neighbors.

With warm personal regard,

Sincerely,

DE
  1. Reference is to Churchill’s message of Mar. 18, supra .