Continued U.S. Consideration of the Suez Situation; United States Diplomatic Activity Prior to the Suez Canal Conference, August 3–15


55. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, August 3, 1956

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–356. Top Secret. Drafted by Elbrick. This conversation evidently took place prior to Secretary Dulles’ return to the Department of State at 12:20 p.m., August 3. (Dulles’ Appointment Book; Princeton University Library, Dulles Papers)


59. Telegram From the Embassy in Egypt to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–456. Secret; Niact. Received at 5:43 a.m. Repeated Niact to London and Priority to Paris. In a later telegram, Byroade cautioned the Department: “Hope extraordinary precautions will be taken to see that contents niact 240 do not get in hands of press. This would tend to make more cautious our best source of political intelligence, i.e. Nasser, in delicate period and perhaps freeze him into unfavorable position when we are still not entirely without influence to guide him if this later desired.” (Telegram 241 from Cairo, August 4; ibid.)


60. Memorandum From the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant (Russell) to the Secretary of State

Source: Department of State, NEA files: Lot 59 D 518, Omega—Memos, etc. for July 1 to August 31, 1956. Top Secret—Omega. A covering memorandum from Russell to Dulles, dated August 6, which notes that Shiloah had asked for another secret meeting, reads in part:

“It can be assumed that they wish to raise, in addition to the Suez Canal problem, the line they developed with Robert Anderson (attached memorandum of conversation.)

“It is already obvious that the Israel Government will attempt to exploit the present situation in the Eastern Mediterranean to achieve as many as possible of its own objectives. It seems equally clear that any general fusion of the Palestine issue with the Canal issue at this time would only operate to further complicate both questions. This latter comment is, of course, without prejudice to the possibility that the necessities of dealing with Nasser might later require coordination of measures by the Western powers and by Israel.” Russell recommended that Dulles see Eban and Shiloah and give them his view “as to the position Israel can most usefully take at the present time.” The memorandum indicates that Dulles approved the meeting with the Israelis; see Document 75.


61. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–456. Top Secret; Niact. Drafted by Rountree; cleared by Murphy; and approved by Rountree who signed for Dulles. Repeated Niact to London.


62. Paper by the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant (Russell)

Source: Department of State, NEA Files: Lot 59 D 518, Omega—Memos, etc. for July 1 to August 31, 1956. Top Secret—Omega. Forwarded to Dulles under cover of a memorandum by Russell, dated August 6, which reads: “As a result of discussion at a recent meeting of the Middle East Policy Planning Group, I undertook to prepare the attached paper on U.S. policies toward Nasser. I have discussed the general ideas included in the paper with Messrs. Rountree, Hare, and Bowie and CIA representatives who expressed no dissent. I am circulating it to them and calling a meeting of the Middle East Policy Planning Group to discuss it. I am handing you a copy at this time as I thought you might be interested in some of the material at an early date in view of the urgent nature of the Suez problem.” This covering memorandum bears the marginal inscription by Bernau, “Sec Saw.” No documentation has been found in Department of State files of the Secretary’s response, if any, to this paper and its recommendations.

At its August 1 meeting, the Middle East Policy Planning Group agreed that Russell, Mathews, and Fritzlan would prepare a paper on Nasser’s goals and strategy and the best means of combating them and reducing his power. (Memorandum of conversation, August 1; ibid., Omega—Meetings of MEPPG (Agenda, memos of conv., etc.) 4/9/56 to 6/30/56) The MEPPG discussed and approved Russell’s paper during a meeting on August 7. (Memorandum of conversation, August 7; ibid.)


63. Circular Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–556. Secret; Niact. Drafted by Rockwell and Wilkins; cleared with Dulles in substance and with Murphy; and approved by Wilkins. Rountree signed for Dulles. Sent to Ankara, Addis Ababa, Athens, Bonn, Cairo, Canberra, Colombo, Copenhagen, Djakarta, Karachi, Lisbon, Madrid, Moscow, New Delhi, Oslo, Rome, Stockholm, Tehran, The Hague, Tokyo, Wellington, London, and Paris.


64. Message From Prime Minister Eden to President Eisenhower

Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File. Secret. The British Embassy transmitted this message to the White House under cover of a note from Makins to President Eisenhower which reads: “The Prime Minister has asked me to send you the enclosed personal message about the Suez Canal problem.” Bailey signed for Makins and initialed the source text.


65. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Anderson) and the Secretary of State, Washington, August 6, 1956, 10:23 a.m.

Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, White House Telephone Conversations. Transcribed by Bernau.


66. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–456. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted and approved by Dulles. At 8:32 that morning, the Department of State received telegram 288 from Moscow. In it, Bohlen advised that the British and French Ambassadors in Moscow (Hayter and Dejean) agreed with Bohlen that it would be suitable to discuss the Suez situation with Bulganin when Bohlen delivered a recent message from Eisenhower to Bulganin concerning disarmament. Bohlen proposed that his comments to Bulganin be based upon circular telegram 90 ( Document 63) and upon telegram 131 (see Document 58). Telegram 288 from Moscow is in Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–656. Eisenhower’s message to Bulganin concerning disarmament, dated August 4, was written in response to a message from Bulganin of June 6. Both are printed in Department of State Bulletin, August 20, 1956, pp. 299–301.


67. Memorandum for the Record of a Conversation Held in the President’s Office, White House, Washington, August 6, 1956, 3 p.m.

Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Drafted by Anderson. The time of the meeting is from the record of the President’s Daily Appointments, which also indicates that Anderson joined the meeting at 3:17 p.m. Dulles left at 3:42 p.m., and Anderson left 5 minutes after that. (Ibid.)


68. Memorandum From the Secretary of Defense (Wilson) to the Executive Secretary of the National Security Council(Lay)

Source: Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95, Suez Canal Situation. Top Secret. Lay transmitted the memorandum and its attachment to members of the National Security Council for their information under cover of a memorandum dated August 7, not printed. (Ibid.)


69. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/8–756. Secret; Niact; Limited Distribution; Presidential Handling. Received at 2:44 p.m.


70. Telegram From the Embassy in Egypt to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–756. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Received at 9:44 p.m. Repeated Niact to London and Paris.


71. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the President and the Secretary of State, White House, Washington, August 8, 1956, 11:30 a.m.

Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Meetings With the President. Secret; Personal and Private. Drafted by Dulles.


72. Memorandum of Discussion at the 292d Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, August 9, 1956, 9-11:33 a.m.

Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records. Top Secret; Eyes Only. Prepared by Marion W. Boggs on August 10. The time of the meeting is from the record of the President’s Daily Appointments. (Ibid.)


73. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Gray), Washington, August 9, 1956, 2:41 p.m.

Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Telephone Conversations. Transcribed by Bernau.


75. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, August 9, 1956, 3:40 p.m.

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–956. Secret. Drafted by Blackiston. The time of the meeting is from Dulles’ Appointment Book. (Princeton University Library, Dulles Papers)


76. Memorandum of a Conversation Between Secretary of State Dulles and Secretary-General Hammarskjöld, New York, August 10, 1956, 1 p.m.

Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Memoranda of Conversation. Secret; Personal and Private. Drafted by Dulles.


77. Telegram From the Embassy in Lebanon to the Department of State

Source: Department of States, Central Files, 974.7301/8–1056. Top Secret; Priority. Received at 6:38 a.m., August 11. Repeated Priority to London.


78. Memorandum of a Conversation, White House, Washington, August 12, 1956, 10:15 a.m.

Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries. Secret. Prepared in the White House, but no drafting information is given on the source text. The time of the meeting is from the record of the President’s Daily Appointments, which indicates that Allen Dulles joined the meeting at 10:30 a.m., Gray at 10:55 a.m., and Dillon Anderson at 11:15 a.m. (Ibid.) Anderson drafted a separate memorandum of the conversation, which primarily covered items discussed after the conversation recorded here on Suez. (Ibid., Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries)


79. Memorandum of a Conversation, Washington, August 12, 1956, noon–1:25 p.m.

Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Legislative Meetings. Top Secret. Drafted by Minnich.


81. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the President and the Secretary of State, White House, Washington, August 14, 1956, 10:30 a.m.

Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Meetings with the President. Secret; Personal and Private. Drafted by Dulles. The time of the meeting is from the record of the President’s Daily Appointments. (Ibid.)


82. Telegram From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Commander in Chief, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean (Boone)

Source: JCS Records, CCS.092 Egypt (7–28–56). Top Secret. Transmitted as JCS 908488, also sent to USCINCEUR, CINCUSAREUR, and CINCUSAFE. The source text is enclosure “A” to a note from the Joint Secretariat of the JCS to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The note indicates that the Joint Chiefs at their meeting on August 15 agreed to dispatch the message printed here and a second message (enclosure B, not printed) to U.S. commanders in chief throughout the world which would personally alert them to the possibility that the Middle East situation could deteriorate rapidly if the London Conference failed to resolve the Canal problem.


83. Telegram From the Embassy in Egypt to the Department of State

Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–1556. Secret; Limited Distribution—Suez Canal. Received at 4:14 p.m. Repeated to London and Paris.