211. Report Prepared in the Executive Secretariat of the Department of State1

Summary No. 7


UK Views

Lloyd has told Aldrich2 that the UK Government is particularly pleased with the Secretary’s plan for an association of canal users because it constitutes a “slap in the face” for Nasser, and that it will be popular in Parliament for that very reason. If the US will “join this club” and pay the canal tolls to the association, Eden will express approval of the plan in Parliament. Thereafter, the British Government will ask for Security Council action requiring Nasser to implement the 1888 Convention on the basis of this plan. With US support, the British hope that this action would be approved by the SC by a vote of 9 to 2.

Aldrich comments that Lloyd expects if, under these circumstances, Nasser should refuse the proposed plan, the UK and France [Page 485]would be on as firm ground as possible in taking whatever measures might then seem to be desirable.

Canal Pilots

In the light of press reports on the Canal Company’s action in authorizing the pilots to leave Egypt, we told Embassies London and Paris urgently to ask the British and French Governments3 to exert such influence as they can to keep the pilots on the job until an agreement can be reached on the proposed users’ association and the association can take over the pilots now working in Suez as a pool for future operations. The Embassies were to point out that, if the users of the canal do not do their best to keep their nationals on the job, the blame for disrupting traffic will fall on them and a major purpose of the users’ association might be defeated.

In reply to our approach, Pineau has responded4 that it is impossible for the French Government to take the action requested. However, he also said that the 60 pilots who have completed their vacations in Europe are being sent to Cyprus and will be immediately available for employment by the users’ association, and the pilots now returning to France will be similarly available when their vacations are over.

Arab Support for Nasser’s Counterproposal

Nuri has told Gallman5 that Syria and Jordan have already replied favorably to the Egyptian approach. Iraq will turn down Nasser’s request for support and is hoping to induce Saudi Arabia to take similar action. Lebanon still has the matter under consideration but, says Nuri, may be influenced also to turn down Egypt if Iraq and Saudi Arabia act together.

(Summary closed 11:25 a.m., September 12, 1956)

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File. Top Secret; Eyes Only for Designated Recipient. A marginal notation by Goodpaster on the source text reads: “DE noted. G”.
  2. Reported in telegram 1410 from London, September 11, not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 684A.86/9–1156)
  3. Instructions were sent in telegram 1812 to London and telegram 935 to Paris, September 11, neither printed. (Ibid., 974.7301/9–1156) The Canal Company notified its non-Egyptian employees on September 11. (Telegram 1185 from Paris, September 11; ibid.)
  4. Reported in telegram 1205 from Paris, September 12. (Ibid., 974.7301/9–1256) On September 12, Aldrich discussed the Suez pilot situation with Lloyd. (Telegram 1425 from London, September 12; ibid.)
  5. Reported in telegram 421 from Baghdad, September 11, not printed. (Ibid., 686A.87/9–1156)