641.74/5–753: Telegram

No. 1155
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Egypt1


2156. Department confronted by suspension UK–Egyptian talks, high level communication from London (Deptel 2147),2 Egyptian position as presented by new Ambassador Deptel 2138)3 and declared intent Egyptian Government solicit Secretary’s support for its views on his arrival Cairo. Despite fact Secretary’s Middle East trip4 planned solely as fact finding one, above factors will give major substantive importance to any action or inaction by Secretary in Cairo.

Department wishes forestall Egyptian request to Secretary for US support position similar to one outlined by Egyptian Ambassador. This would inevitably require negative reaction based on US national interests in Middle East regardless any commitment to UK.

Accordingly Caffery should immediately call on Naguib and appropriate members RCC to develop following points:

US sympathizes Egyptian desire for evacuation SC Base and convinced genuineness UK intention carry this out consonant with free world security requirements.
As stated President’s letter to Naguib base question inevitably linked to Middle East defense.
In present period world-wide threat communist aggression in which latest evidence is unprovoked assault on Laos, US attitude toward any nation is affected by such nation’s resolve to cooperate with free world in common measures for common protection. US welcomes repeated assurances this is Egyptian intention.
However to permit US military and economic assistance to Egypt under existing circumstances definite alignment of Egypt with West essential going beyond suggestions made by Egyptian Ambassador.
Dependence on affirmation Egypt will resist communist attack on own territory is insufficient. In twentieth century warfare definitive forward defense commitments and plans required.
If Naguib intends to raise with Secretary question UK discussions and Middle East defense, he should be prepared advance concrete [Page 2060] proposals for defense arrangement aligning Egypt and Arab States with West in more explicit fashion than previous Egyptian suggestions.
Above comments are made in view strong US friendship for Egypt and admiration Naguib regime, and in confidence he will feel able in interests of Egyptian people adopt position permitting US support Egypt in achievement its national aspirations.5

  1. Repeated to London as telegram 7259. Drafted by Burdett and approved by Byroade.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 1153.
  3. Printed as telegram 7198, Document 1153.
  4. Secretary of State Dulles and Mutual Security Director Stassen visited the Near and Middle East from May 9 to May 29, 1953. They were in Egypt from May 11 to May 13 and held extensive discussions with Egyptian leaders. For additional documentation regarding the DullesStassen visit to Egypt, see Documents 1 ff.
  5. Ambassador Caffery reported in telegram 2396, May 9, not printed, that he had developed the points set forth in Department telegram 2156 for the Egyptians, who were unhappy with these positions. He also informed the Department that the Egyptians did not expect Dulles to make any commitments or promises while he was in Cairo, but they planned nonetheless to explain fully their position to him. (641.74/5–953)