157. Telegram From the Embassy in Egypt to the Department of State1
1748. Re Embtel 1744.2 British Ambassador left town immediately following Lloyd’s departure and not returning until Monday.3 However, following represents our best understanding of substance Nasser–Lloyd talks as obtained Egyptian sources close to Nasser … and from British and Iraqi Embassies.
British Minister4 (who did not participate directly in talks) Iraqi Embassy officer said independently that Nasser proposed to Lloyd present membership of the Baghdad Pact be frozen and Arab collective security pact be revived with Iraq serving as link between two [Page 288] groups. In this case, Nasser would agree to cease attacks on Baghdad Pact… . Lloyd admitted Baghdad Pact had been mistake and agreed that it should be frozen. Iraqi and British sources, however, add that Lloyd actually replied that he would have to consult the other Baghdad Pact members before he could make any commitments not to seek additional adherences. According to Iraqis and British, Lloyd indicated that as prerequisite to adoption Nasser’s suggestion British would have to be convinced that Nasser was prepared to work actively for a settlement with Israel. Iraqis add that as evidence Nasser’s good intentions Lloyd asked him agree to one kilometer troop withdrawal along demarcation lines. It possible that Nasser may have agreed with this suggestion since … reports also that Nasser had agreed with Lloyd that a period of quiet was highly desirable in the Arab-Israel dispute and both Egypt and Britain should do what they could to reduce tensions. This connection Lloyd … urged Nasser act to secure success of JVP. Nasser agreed but pointed out his capacity limited since this not appropriate time for Johnston visit area. In any case, he would require time to get other states into line.
Lloyd acting on principle of giving Nasser “bad news” now to avoid subsequent recriminations, said British would give Israel six Meteor fighters. … he offered Egypt equivalent number to which Nasser reportedly replied “if you give us six and Syria six, it will be all right”. Lloyd allegedly agreed.
Iraqi Embassy source, although disclaiming any knowledge his government’s attitude to Nasser’s proposals, saw some advantages. Arrangement would reduce domestic pressures in Iraq by bringing Iraqi Government back to Arab fold (this connection he noted with pleasure restrained press treatment of pardoning of Egyptian messenger—Embtel 17435). Revival of collective security pact which had always had Iraqi support would place Arabs in better defensive position in event Israel should attack. On other hand, if settlement reached, pact could be converted into arrangement for support of northern tier via Iraq and bilateral agreements between southern states and West. In either case, Syrian-Egyptian and Egyptian-Saudi bilaterals6 would disappear in atmosphere of “Arab unity”.
… Nasser promised advise King Saud in strongest terms to be reasonable in his talks with British.
High Dam[Page 289]
… Lloyd assured Nasser of British support of High Dam and promised British would do what they could to increase stability in Sudan and persuade Sudanese take more reasonable attitude on Nile waters question.
Situation in Jordan (see also Embtel 17467)
… . Lloyd and Caccia learned of Glubb’s ouster Thursday evening8 through British Embassy during meeting with Nasser but did not raise matter. Nasser heard of it via press channels prior Friday morning9 meeting. Reportedly he was surprised and shocked when he learned that Lloyd knew nothing about it in advance… . Nasser stated had felt for a long time that Glubb had to go and had expected British would ease him out in May. (He had not envisaged possibility Rifai or Hussein would have sufficient courage move against Glubb.) Nasser according these reports regrets method and timing Glubb’s dismissal, because it leaves vacuum in Jordan which cannot easily be filled and it embarrassed him by coinciding with what he considered very constructive talks with Lloyd. He reportedly fears reaction in Britain to Glubb’s abrupt dismissal will be directed against him and may undermine arrangements he proposed to Lloyd (see paragraph 1A) and threaten subsidy which … he hopes see continued.
Commenting on Glubb’s ouster, Iraqi Embassy source took similar line suggesting that if British maintain subsidy they should be able hold Hussein to basically pro-Western line by allowing him pose as Arab Nationalist while still remaining dependent on British funds. This would be much easier than trying to maintain British prestige through Glubb. Alternative would be, in source’s view, turning of Hussein to Saudi financing. Iraqi source was aware probability British parliamentary opposition to continuing subsidy view method of ouster but was sure HMG would follow “only sensible course”.
Iraqi felt timing ouster and tenor Lloyd-Nasser talks clear indication Nasser not responsible, although he thought Glubb had probably figured in recent Rifai-Nasser talks. He speculated Rifai had actually been responsible for ouster, or alternatively that Hussein had acted forestall Legion coup.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 680.86/3–456. Secret; Priority. Received at 5 p.m. Repeated priority to London, Karachi, Paris, Amman, Beirut, Baghdad, Damascus, Jidda, Ankara, Tehran, Tel Aviv, Tripoli, Alexandria, Benghazi, Jerusalem, Khartoum, and Port Said.↩
- Telegram 1744 from Cairo, March 3, reported on a press conference Lloyd held before his departure. (Ibid., 680.86/3–356)↩
- March 5.↩
- Francis Ralph Hay Murray.↩
- Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 787.00/3–356) Iraq had originally arrested the messenger for activities detrimental to Iraq.↩
- On October 27, 1955, Egypt and Saudi Arabia signed a 5–year defense treaty in Cairo.↩
- In telegram 1746, March 3, the Embassy furnished the Department with a summary of the Egyptian press reaction to King Hussein’s removal of Glubb. (Department of State, Central Files, 741.551/3–356)↩
- March 1.↩
- March 2.↩