22. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State1

520. For Secretary and Under Secretary from Murphy. Paris eyes only Ambassador. Re Embtel 518.2 At lunch today I thought Caccia showed a welcome moderation of tone particularly in regard to the problem of possible military intervention. He accepted my proposed statement (Embtel 5173) that consideration of such intervention should be “relegated to the background”. Moreover, he volunteered that our big problem at the moment will be to restrain Pineau from giving public impression that three governments are making military plans and considering military intervention. Caccia suggested that such an impression would of course seriously jeopardize the initial position which the US and UK may decide to take and which we agree includes the major element that other interested and friendly governments should be persuaded to join soonest.

Caccia stated French had offered supply certain navy units for possible military action. He thought they would wish start tripartite military planning. We expressed misgivings re tripartite military discussions this stage.

On the other hand, Caccia did emphasize several different times that the interested governments should be clear among themselves that (as Lloyd said at meeting with Chauvel and Foster on July 27, Embtel 510, fifth paragraph) it was no good starting any political and economic measures unless governments were prepared if necessary in the last eventuality to take military measures.

Caccia inquired regarding Egyptian assets in US and hopes even though the amount of Suez Company assets might be relatively [Page 38]insignificant that we might take some Treasury action to show our sympathy for British and French action in this respect.

Caccia told us that UK Delegation at first Tripartite meeting, six o’clock this evening, will be headed by Lloyd and include Caccia, Ross (Shuckburgh’s successor), Vallat (Legal Adviser), Rowan (Treasury), and possibly Proctor (Transport). Agreed no military advisers should attend (though I am in close touch Admiral Boone).

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–LO/7–2956. Top Secret; Niact. Received at 4:03 p.m. Repeated to Paris.
  2. Telegram 518 from London, July 29, reported that Caccia, during a luncheon with Foster, Burdett, and Murphy, handed to Murphy the following outline of the “initial British position”: “1. The Suez Canal is an international waterway of vital importance and an essential factor in the world economy. 2. It is therefore essential that all countries concerned should have confidence that it will be so operated. 3. Our objectives today are: (A) to establish operating arrangements under international control guaranteeing free navigation, reasonable dues and continuity of efficient administration; (B) to establish the international control in a form which will secure the support of as many countries as possible, and particularly of the ‘neutrals’. Such support is most likely to be forthcoming if the international control is established under the auspices of the United Nations; (C) to ensure that the Suez Canal Company is fairly treated and (D) to ensure full respect for the legitimate interests of Egypt, including a fair financial return from the operation of the Canal.” (Ibid., 974.7301/7–2956)
  3. Supra.