154. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

1514. London pass Henderson. Paris for USRO, Embassy. Department distributed British announcement North Atlantic Council meeting next week “consider” Suez situation, which carries implication NATO will be seized with problem.

You should speak soonest with Selwyn Lloyd along following lines: With delicate discussions between Committee of Five and Nasser about to start, we sure British agree it essential NATO per se should not appear become involved in deciding future courses of action re Suez. One of remarkable achievements London Conference was avoidance East-West split, and we fear solidarity 18 nations might be jeopardized if it were appear NATO as such directing Suez policy.

Further, crystalization of Arab sentiment and further unity among Arab states might well result from providing whipping boy of anti-NATO (anti-white, anti-colonial) rallying point which Arab propaganda could exploit.

Thus most important that world public opinion not gain erroneous conception purpose forthcoming meeting. It should be made clear to press and public that Suez is not NATO problem, and that [Page 340] essential purpose of meeting is to hear report on London Conference.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–3056. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution—Suez Canal. Drafted by Timmons and Wolf (EUR/RA); cleared by Beam (EUR), Lister (BNA), and Ambassador Perkins; and approved by Rountree who signed for Dulles. Repeated Priority to Paris.
  2. In response to telegram 1514, Barbour reported on August 31 as follows: “In absence Lloyd until Monday [September 3], Kirkpatrick assures that British concept NATO ‘consideration’ Suez situation does not involve NATO being seized with problem or in fact doing more than hearing report on London conference, although British might expect other NATO nonparticipants conference to express views. Kirkpatrick explained that British use word ‘consider’ in announcement was designed meet long standing NATO sensitivity regarding ex post facto report to NATO Council.” (Telegram 1231, August 31; ibid., 974.7301/8–3156)