110. Editorial Note

At the sixth plenary session, which convened at 2:45 p.m., August 21, the Pakistani Representative acting on behalf of his country, Ethiopia, Iran, and Turkey presented several amendments to the United States draft proposal. The text of the proposal as revised was then circulated by the Conference Secretariat to all delegations. In the Secretariat’s document, the amendments proposed by Ethiopia, [Page 251]Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey were underlined and the parts omitted from the United States proposal were shown in brackets. The text reads as follows with italics substituted for the underlining:

“Proposal by the Delegates of Ethiopia, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey

“The Governments approving this Statement, being participants in the London Conference on the Suez Canal:

“Concerned by the grave situation regarding the Suez Canal:

“Seeking a peaceful solution in conformity with the purposes and principles of the United Nations; and

“Recognizing that an adequate solution must, on the one hand, respect the sovereign rights of Egypt, including its rights to just and fair compensation for the use of the Canal, and, on the other hand, safeguard the Suez Canal as an international water way in accordance with the Suez Canal Convention of October 29, 1888;

Assuming for the purposes of this statement that just and fair compensation will be paid to the Universal Company of the Suez Maritime Canal, and that the necessary arrangements for such compensation, including a provision for arbitration in the event of disagreement, will be covered by the final settlement contemplated below.

“Join in this expression of their views:

  • “1. They affirm that, as stated in the Preamble of the Convention of 1888, there should be established ‘a definite system destined to guarantee at all times, and for all the Powers, the free use of the Suez Maritime Canal’.
  • “2. Such a system which would be established with due regard to the sovereign rights of Egypt, should assure:
    • “a. Efficient and dependable operation, maintenance and development of the Canal as a free, open and secure international waterway in accordance with the principles of the Convention of 1888.
    • “b. Insulation of the operation of the Canal from the influence of the politics of any nation.

      “[c. Respect for the sovereignty of Egypt.]

    • c. A return to Egypt for the use of the Suez Canal which will be fair and equitable and increasing with enlargements of its capacity and greater use.
    • d. Canal tolls as low as is consistent with the foregoing requirements and, except for c. above, no profit.
    • “[e. Payment to the Universal Suez Canal Company of such sums as may be found its due by way of fair compensation.]
  • “3. To achieve these results on a permanent and reliable basis there should be established by a Convention to be negotiated with Egypt.

  • “a. Institutional arrangements for cooperation between Egypt and other interested nations in the operation, maintenance and development of the Canal and for harmonizing and safeguarding [Page 252]their respective interests in the Canal. To this end, operating, maintaining and developing the Canal and enlarging it so as to increase the volume of traffic in the interest of the world trade and of Egypt, would be the responsibility of a Suez Canal Board. Egypt would grant this Board all rights and facilities appropriate to its functioning as here outlined. The status of the Board would be defined in the above-mentioned Convention.

    “The members of the Board, in addition to Egypt, would be other States chosen in a manner to be agreed upon from among the States parties to the Convention with due regard to use, pattern of trade and geographical distribution: the composition of the Board to be such as to assure that its responsibilities would be discharged solely with a view to achieving the best possible operating results without political motivation in favour of, or in prejudice against, any user of the Canal.

    “The Board would make periodic reports to the United Nations.

  • “b. An Arbitral Commission to settle any disputes as to the equitable return to Egypt [or fair compensation to the Universal Suez Canal Company] or other matters arising in the operation of the Canal.
  • “c. Effective sanctions for any violation of the Convention by any party to it, or any other nation, including provisions for treating any use or threat of force to interfere with the use or operation of the Canal as a threat to the peace and a violation of the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.
  • “d. Provisions for appropriate association with the United Nations and for review as may be necessary.” (Conference Secretariat doc. SUEZ/56/D/12; Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 757)

This text, which received United States approval, was henceforth referred to as the Five-Nation (or Power) Proposal. The text of the Five-Power Proposal was forwarded to the Department of State in Secto 30 from London, August 21. (Ibid., Central Files, 974.7301/8–2156)

Also at the sixth plenary session, the Spanish Delegate submitted an amendment to paragraph 3(a) of the United States proposal. The Spanish amendment provided for an Egyptian Board, having adequate representation of the community of nations using the Canal, to operate, maintain, and develop the Canal. (Conference Secretariat doc. SUEZ/56/D/13; ibid., Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 757)

Summary accounts of the sixth plenary session, which was a two-part session, are in Sectos 31 and 32 from London, both dated August 21. (Both ibid., 974.7301/8–2156)