745W.00/4–3052: Telegram

No. 976
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Egypt1

top secret

1680. From Secretary for Ambassador. Brit Amb called on me Apr 30 and gave me fol redraft Sudan formula:2

[Page 1793]

“The Egyptian Government having declared that His Majesty King Farouk holds the title of King of Egypt and the Sudan, Her Majesty’s Government reaffirm that they would accept either the unity of Egypt and the Sudan under the Egyptian Crown or any other status for the Sudan, provided that it resulted from the exercise of the right of the Sudanese people freely to decide their future status, which right is recognized and accepted by both Governments.

H.M.G. realise that there are differences of opinion between the two Governments as to the question of the King’s title during the interim period before self determination. They therefore also declare that they are ready to enter into immediate consultation with the Sudanese in regard to this matter, in order to ascertain whether any solution is possible, agreeable to the Sudanese and consistent with the pledges given by H.M.G. to them.”

Full report conversation with Brit Amb in immed fol tel.3

We are eager to do everything possible to show understanding UK difficulties and appreciation distance they have come on this matter and efforts they have made bring about resumption negots as soon as possible. We therefore urgently request your views on: (a) possibility this formula being accepted if it shld receive support from us and (b) whether possible Egypt rejection formula wld make it more difficult induce Egypt negotiate without formula.

FYI we are convinced that given the situation existing in London Brit cannot reach any conclusion on recognition King Farouk’s title without prior consultation with Sudanese and that this must be accepted by us as one of the facts in case. We also think it wld be of great assistance to Brit in their talks with Sudanese if they cld have prior discussion with Egypt and then be in a position reassure Sudanese that in event recognition King’s title Egypt wld act in certain defined ways re status Sudanese and constitutional development.

We gather from Brit Amb Wash that Eden wld much prefer commence negots without formula. However because Egypts insist on the formula he has done his best to produce one. Such a formula has to reflect basic UK position re prior consultation. Having [Page 1794] worked so hard on a formula Brit are now tending to crystallize on tactics its presentation since they believe some reply to this Egypt insistence is necessary. Therefore if you think there is any chance Egypt might accept formula or even if they reject it such rejection wld not do irreparable damage we wld be inclined urge you support it.

If however you believe that there is no chance of acceptance or that if presented it wld do irreparable damage we wonder whether procedure along fol lines wld be acceptable to Brit and wld work with Egypts. Such alternative procedure wld be: you wld seek early opportunity see King either before or after Stevenson depending upon agreement to be worked out with UK and say that US which has endeavored throughout Anglo-Egypt conversations play fair and open hand with our two friends wishes make clear that we are convinced that the UK has gone far towards meeting Egypt position. We are equally convinced that UK cannot agree to recognition of title without prior consultation with Sudanese and without conditional understanding with Egypt on guarantees. Consequently we feel that in advance of negots the Brit simply cannot go further. In US opinion the thing to do is to begin the negots and in this connection we know that the Brit are hopeful that during the course of such negots on the Sudan it wld be possible to find means: (a) of associating Egypt closely with UK in working out constitutional development of Sudan; (b) facilitating arrangements between Egypt and Sudan for control of Nile waters and (c) furthering closest possible cooperation between Egypt and Sudan in such a way contribute welfare and best interests two peoples. We understand Egypt difficulties but we believe that any formula which is devised on the Sudan at this time wld have to be within limits of Brit position as stated above. Therefore if Egypts insist on formula, then we wld urge they accept best UK has been able devise. But if Egypt cannot accept such formula then sensible thing is to get ahead with negots and try to work out settlement which we know is fully desired by Egypts as it is also by UK.

Re this alternative procedure it wld not be our idea that you wld support any specific formula but wld merely indicate limitations Brit position which wld have to be reflected in formula.

Emb London shld not discuss any of above with Brits until further instructed.4

  1. Repeated to London as telegram 5596. Drafted by Stabler and approved by Burton Y. Berry.
  2. On Apr. 23 Ambassador Gifford reported in telegrams 4813 and 4814, neither printed, the contents of a conversation he had had that day with Foreign Secretary Eden and transmitted the text of a British formula which Eden and the Foreign Office hoped would lead to a successful negotiation and settlement of the Sudan issue with Egypt. Eden had also asked that the United States comment on the acceptability of the proposal’s contents, as he hoped to have American support for it. (745W.00/4–2352)

    Ambassador Caffery reacted to the new British proposal on Apr. 25 in telegram 1869 from Cairo, not printed. Caffery reported that neither he nor British Embassy officials in Cairo believed that the British draft would succeed with the Egyptians in its present form and then proceeded to raise critical questions in an effort to clarify “the points in the formula we do not understand”. He wanted “explanations, because if we do not understand it the Egyptians will understand it even less.” (745W.00/4–2552)

    Shortly after Department of State officials had received Caffery’s telegram 1869 on Apr. 25, Secretary Acheson spoke with the British Ambassador, who had called to reinforce the views expressed by Foreign Secretary Eden to Ambassador Gifford on Apr. 23. In this interview, the contents of which the Department reported to the Embassy in London on Apr. 25 in telegram 5501, not printed, Acheson reiterated the substance of Caffery’s remarks, and the British Ambassador said he would request clarifications from London. (745W.00/4–2552)

  3. Telegram 1681, infra.
  4. On May 1, in telegram 1908 from Cairo, not printed, Ambassador Caffery responded to the specific questions raised in this cable. He did not believe the Egyptians would accept the British formula even with American support of it; an Egyptian rejection of the formula would make negotiations on the Sudan even more difficult, and Caffery thought that the “damage wld be irreparable if United States throws in its prestige in attempt to sell unacceptable formula.” (745W.00/5–152)