No. 952
Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State (Battle)



  • Egyptian developments.


  • The Secretary
  • British Ambassador
  • (Mr. L.D. Battle
  • Mr. G. Lewis Jones—present)

The Secretary telephoned the British Ambassador about 6:00 p.m., today from his residence and spoke in the following sense:

The Secretary had received Mr. Eden’s message of January 25 regarding the contemplated police action at Ismailia. He was sorry that that action had not worked out as Mr. Eden had hoped and expected. “The whole thing looks bad”.

The Secretary understood Mr. Eden was considering the issuance of a conciliatory message: The U.S. favored the early issuance of such a message.

(The British Ambassador at this point advised the Secretary of the news over the radio that the King had formed a new cabinet.)1

The Secretary said that if the cabinet has changed, this would indicate even more strongly the need for a conciliatory message.

Speaking very personally the Secretary said that it did not impress him that the operation of Ismailia had been carried out with “unusual skill”. He said the “splutter of musketry” apparently does not stop things as we had been told from time to time that it would. The Secretary said that Ambassador Caffery is doing everything possible to prevent Egyptians from taking such retaliatory measures as breaking diplomatic relations.

[Page 1756]

The Secretary then recapitulated to the British Ambassador that (a. He had received message; (b) U.S. was disturbed by developments; (c. Conciliatory statement was a good idea; and (d) if King has taken strong stand we would be well advised to encourage him.

(British Ambassador expressed the view that now there is a new Government in Egypt there might be the “chance of a lifetime” to make progress on a settlement.)

  1. Ambassador Caffery in Cairo informed the Department of State in telegram 1166, Jan. 27, not printed, that Farouk had appointed Ali Maher Pasha to be the new Prime Minister of Egypt. (774.13/1–2752) This followed the Jan. 26 incident in Cairo in which mobs looted and burned without restraint for most of the day.