157. Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Diplomatic Missions1

Paris for USRO and Embassy.

FYI British Embassy approached Dept August 282 suggesting that Suez situation be discussed at North Atlantic Council Meeting next week, at which UK would report results London Conference and US would report work Committee of Five. Dept informed British we agreed that NAC meeting should hear report from UK on London Conference, but that we believed any report on work Committee of Five premature.
Subsequently British FonOff announced publicly NAC meeting next week to “consider” Suez and that FonMin Lloyd will represent UK. End FYI. Dept disturbed at this announcement, which carries implication NATO will be seized with problem. Embassy London has been instructed3 see Lloyd soonest and say we certain British agree it essential NATO per se should not appear become involved in making decisions re Suez, stressing [that] we fear this [Page 345] would have extremely adverse effect on solidarity eighteen nation group and on work Committee of Five. London also pointing out danger promoting further unity Arab states by providing anti-NATO rallying point.
Action addressees this message should approach FonMin or other appropriate senior official and make following points (drawing on foregoing as appropriate) re September 5 NAC meeting which will discuss Suez:
We of course recognize that UK report may well be followed by discussion. However, in view fact talks between Committee of Five and Nasser will be beginning appears in best interests all concerned such discussion in Sept 5 meeting NAC stop short of consideration future courses of action in event Nasser rejects proposals or attempts spin out talks. FYI We fear British and French will attempt portray meeting as approving at least by implication Anglo-French military preparations. End FYI. If NAC discussion were to give rise to action suggestions this would inevitably become known publicly, with possible results referred to para 2 above. We must also bear in mind security problem re Iceland, which will be at meeting.
We hope that line taken by all NATO govts will be that September 5 meeting simply for purpose receiving report on London Conference, as part normal regular process whereby Council informed developments affecting NATO. UK is making report in its capacity host to London Conference. Helpful if this line stressed both before and after meeting. FYI Present Dept thinking is that no communiqué should be issued at end of meeting; prefer instead that International Staff spokesman (preferably Ismay) make background statement to press adhering strictly to above line. End FYI.
We strongly hope govt to which you accredited shares these views and that its representative at Sept. 5 meeting will be appropriately instructed accordingly.
FYI London and USRO advise following FonMins may attend meeting in addition Lloyd: Pineau, Martino, Pearson, Spaak, Bech.4 End FYI.
USRO comment to Dept soonest re last sentence para 3 b).5
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 740.5/8–3156. Secret; Limited Distribution—Suez. Drafted by Timmons, cleared by Rountree, and approved by Beam. Sent Priority to Ankara, Athens, Bonn, Brussels, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Luxembourg, Oslo, Ottawa, Paris, Rome, and The Hague. Repeated to London and Reykjavik.
  2. See Document 140.
  3. In telegram 1514 to London, Document 154.
  4. Joseph Bech, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg.
  5. In Polto 432 from Paris, September 1, the U.S. Mission to NATO supported the issuance of a brief communiqué that would describe the NAC discussion of the Suez situation in the terms used by the Department, but noted that if the Department preferred that the matter be handled on a background basis, then Ismay should do it in view of the presence of the Foreign Ministers. (Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/9–156)
  6. Dulles left the Department of State at 10:41 a.m., August 31, for his home on Duck Island on Lake Ontario for a short vacation. He returned on September 4.(Dulles’ Appointment Book; Princeton University Library, Dulles Papers)