197. Message From Prime Minister Eden to President Eisenhower1

Dear Friend: I send you herewith a most secret note of Egyptian intentions of whose authenticity we are entirely confident. I thought you should see it even though it adds nothing startlingly new to what we both suspected. It does, however, confirm the wide range of Egyptian ambitions against the Saudis, as well as Iraq and Jordan. May I ask you to treat it as highly confidential? Of course I would expect Foster to see it.2

Yours ever,




We have absolutely reliable information that at the Conference of Egyptian Ambassadors and Ministers to the Arab States which ended in Cairo on 30th January, 1956, it was agreed that the following policy should be adopted by Egypt in her relations with the other Arab States:

The ultimate aim was to form United Arab States with no Customs, a common educational and economic system and an Arab Currency Bank which would control the financial affairs of all the Arab States.
This United Arab States must consist of Republics amongst whom Egypt would naturally play the leading part.
To this end the following steps were necessary: [Page 365]
The unseating of Nuri el Said, the Iraqi Prime Minister, and the frustration of the Bagdad Pact.
The overthrow of the Hashemite families in Iraq and Jordan.
The overthrow of the monarchy in Libya and the establishing of purely Arab republics in Tunis, Algeria and Morocco. If this could be done, Egypt could strengthen her claim to be an Arab State rather than an African country outside the Arab orbit.
Whilst Saudi Arabia would be encouraged to partake in Egyptian moves against Iraq and Jordan, the long term policy was first to isolate Saudi Arabia as the only remaining Monarchy in the Eastern Arab States and then to remove King Saud. To this latter end Egypt was already in touch with many of the more powerful sheikhs in Arabia.
This anti-monarchical policy was receiving full support from the U.S.S.R., which was sending so-called “technicians” to help in the organisation of intelligence services throughout the Arab World.
In order to implement this policy, Egypt was despatching educational missions to all the Arab States. Several of the personnel of each mission had been trained as intelligence agents before their departure. Their general instructions were to recruit refugees and dissidents and to establish contact with anti-Government movements; but the direction of their activities was the responsibility of the Egyptian Ambassador or Minister to the Arab State in which they were operating.4

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File. Ambassador Makins forwarded Prime Minister Eden’s message to the President, but, according to a cross reference sheet in the lot file containing Presidential Correspondence, this message was filed in the White House. Neither Makins nor Eisenhower sent a copy to Hoover. (Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, Eden to Eisenhower Correspondence, 1955–1956. Vol. I)
  2. Hoover forwarded the report to Secretary Dulles on March 21 attached to a memorandum. (Ibid., Central Files, 786.00/3–2156) Also enclosed for Dulles’ information was a copy of the President’s response to Eden; see footnote 4 below.
  3. Top Secret.
  4. Eisenhower’s response of March 20 to Eden reads:

    “The enclosure you sent me with your letter of March fifteenth is a most interesting report on the intentions of the Egyptian Government. Assuming that the information therein contained is completely authentic, it seems to me to give a clue of how we—your Government and ours—might operate with the greatest chance of frustrating Soviet designs in the region.

    Foster will return in a couple of days, and he and I will then go over this document and a good deal of other information which we have on this subject. In the meantime, thank you very much for sending it to me.” (Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, Eisenhower to Eden Correspondence, 1955–1956. Vol. I)