641.74/2–2452: Telegram

No. 965
The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State, at Lisbon1

top secret

474. Dept believes that ur talks with Eden as reported in Secto 7 Feb 16 and Secto 71 Feb 24 have been most helpful and apparently have succeeded in bringing Eden a long way towards mtg squarely issues as presented by US and UK Ambassadors Cairo. At same [Page 1769] time, Nitze just returned from London bringing word that Selwyn Lloyd is adamantly opposed to acceptance King’s title at this time and this view is confirmed by London’s 3661 Feb 22 rptd Lisbon, which has been read here with considerable disappointment.2

We remain convinced that unless UK can be more forthcoming re acceptance King’s title negots will stand little chance success. We do not think Egypts will agree to placing King’s title in question in manner set forth London reftel. We have made one further attempt press UK on Sudan (Telac 20 Feb 21)3 and you may wish once again to rehearse to Eden basis of our concern re title question.

Re def we had thought that UK wld be more forthcoming than reported in London’s 3661.4 We believe that what Brit at outset are prepared to offer on this will not be acceptable to Egypts. We recognize that withdrawals will depend on security situation Egypt, but feel that if Brit agree to commence withdrawal soonest, this act may by itself improve security, particularly as present Govt apparently is determined reduce friction in CZ. We do not think UK shld refuse at least token withdrawal in advance agreement on NR forces to be allocated to SACME: latter may require months to work out.

[Page 1770]

Re Eden’s suggestion that four Arab states join original MEC sponsors and Egypt, we feel great care shld be taken not to involve Western powers in any arrangement, excluding Israel because this wld destroy basic tenet of MEC as “Center of cooperative efforts for the def of the area as a whole”.

In this connection it shld be noted that Egypt may suggest link with MEC through Arab League Collective Security Pact. This pact is entirely paper instrument and originated as anti-Israel measure. However, if Egypt produces plan involving Security Pact and if this is price we must pay to obtain settlement, we shld be prepared to consider adapting ourselves accordingly, but only on understanding four powers cld arrange parallel link between them and Israel which is integral part ME and therefore essential def ME. Matter will require most careful study, but we believe we shld not encourage Egypt to inject complication tottering Arab League which survives principally on hate for Israel.

  1. Repeated to London as telegram 4079 and to Cairo as telegram 1310.
  2. Not printed. Ambassador Gifford reported that the British Government would not recognize Farouk’s title as “King of the Sudan” until the Sudanese had been consulted. And the British did not believe that there could be effective consultation until the Sudanese had a representative Parliament. Gifford continued:

    “It is planned hold elections Sudan this summer and HMG hopes Egypts will instruct their followers in Sudan to make themselves heard during electoral campaign to ensure their maximum representation in Sudanese Parl. When latter estab, HMG thinks question of King’s title shld be put before Parl together with such guarantees as Egypts may wish give re exercise of sovereignty. Meanwhile, HMG wld have no objection if Egypt Govt desired to send out Egypt leaders to discuss future Egypt–Sudanese relations with Sudanese leaders. While King’s title wld obviously figure prominently in these discussions, HMG wld suggest that discussions not be confined this ques but broadened to include such problems as Nile waters.” (641.74/2–2552)

  3. Not printed. In telegram Telac 20, Feb. 21, sent to London as telegram 4046, the Department of State informed Secretary Acheson that it had instructed Ambassador Gifford once again to stress strongly to the British Government the U.S. view that if negotiations with Egypt on defense matters had any hope of achieving success, the British had first to accept the Egyptian demand that Farouk be granted the title of “King of the Sudan”. (641.74/2–2152)
  4. Regarding the British defense proposals described in telegram 3661 from London, Feb. 22, Ambassador Gifford commented:

    “Re defense, HMG at present time only prepared go as far as 6th point in four-power proposals, i.e. withdrawal only of Brit forces not allocated SACME in agrmt Egypt Govt. (For Dept’s and Cairo’s strictly conf info and not for discussion with Brit reps, we understand FonOff willing concede complete evacuation, except for admin and tech personnel, if this necessary obtain agrmt, but that Cabinet not willing auth going this far at present time. This supplements info contained sec [Secto?] 27 re Cabinet differences on this point).” (641.74/2–2552)