335. Editorial Note

On October 29, Israeli Defense Forces invaded the Sinai Peninsula setting off a chain of events which led to Anglo-French bombardment of Egypt and occupation of the Suez Canal Zone, the blockage of the Suez Canal, and United States support in the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly for resolutions calling for a cessation of hostilities and a withdrawal of forces.

In response to the outbreak of hostilities, the Syrian Government on November 2 severed diplomatic relations with Great Britain and France and informed the United States Government of its intention to implement the Syrian-Egyptian-Jordanian Defense Pact, which had been signed in Amman on October 24, and to place Syrian forces under the command of Egyptian General Abdel Hakim Amer. [Page 594] Later the Department of State received confirmation that Syrian and Iraqi troops had entered Jordan.

Also on November 2, Nazem Al-Koudsi, acting President of Syria in the absence of Shukri al-Quwatli, who was then on a state visit to the Soviet Union, sent President Eisenhower a message thanking him and the American people “for the valiant and just stand your delegation has taken at the General Assembly session in introducing the historic draft resolution [opposing the Israeli invasion] of yesterday.” Koudsi added: “In these trying hours America never failed to support the rule of law in international society being greatly truthful to her history and traditions.”

The following day three Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) pumping stations in Syria were sabotaged, thereby further reducing the flow of Middle East oil to the West already severely impeded by blockage of the Suez Canal.

A copy of Koudsi’s message to Eisenhower is in Department of State, NEA Files: Lot 58 D 545, Syria. For Eisenhower’s response expressing appreciation for Koudsi’s message, see telegram 825 to Damascus, November 4; ibid., Central Files, 684.86/11–456. Reports concerning Quwatli’s visit to the Soviet Union are Ibid., 783.11.