230. Memorandum of a Conversation, Lancaster House, London, September 19, 1956, 10:45 a.m.1



  • The United States
    • The Secretary
    • William R. Tyler
  • Spain
    • Mr. Artajo, Foreign Minister


  • C.A.S.U. and the Spanish position

The Spanish Foreign Minister urgently requested to talk with the Secretary, and a meeting took place shortly before the opening of the first session on September 19. Mr. Artajo showed the Secretary the text of a prepared statement which he intended making. The statement was of the following gist: the Spanish Government is interested in a “community” type association including Egypt, and raises a question as to the character and purpose proposed by the C.A.S.U. It feels that the Conference should consider Nasser’s proposals for negotiation which were contained in the Egyptian statement released on September 9,2 and to explore all possibilities of renewing negotiations with Egypt.

Mr. Artajo asked the Secretary for his comment. The Secretary said that he did not feel there was anything he wished to criticize in the Spanish statement and added that he hoped ways would be found ultimately to reach some sort of agreement with Egypt which would protect the legitimate rights of Canal users. Mr. Artajo said he was somewhat in the dark about the proposed C.A.S.U. and the Secretary outlined his ideas to him, stating that he did not agree with the British and French that membership in the C.A.S.U. should commit each country to use the C.A.S.U. exclusively. Such a decision, he said, should be up to each member country. The Secretary said he thought that after the establishment of the C.A.S.U. the next step might be an approach to the United Nations. Mr. Artajo voiced doubts as to the desirability of asking the UN to deal with the problem since there would be “pandemonium” among more than seventy countries, many of which are not concerned with the Suez Canal issue. The Secretary said the idea was that this organization might be considered by the Security Council as a provisional measure [Page 518] to prevent deterioration of the situation, but not that it should be referred to it. He agreed that it was not desirable to refer the matter to the General Assembly. Mr. Artajo asked what the Secretary thought the Security Council could do, to which the Secretary replied the Council might provide a means to initiate further negotiations with the Egyptian Government on the basis of a solution of practical problems in operating the Canal. Mr. Artajo made no objections and suggested that the most appropriate body for such negotiations might be a “Mixed Commission” since this title would not contain the fateful word “international”. The Secretary said he intended to develop his own ideas when he makes his statement and hoped that these ideas would prove of interest to Mr. Artajo.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 780. Secret. Drafted by Tyler, according to a copy of the memorandum ibid., Central Files, 974.7301/9–1856.
  2. Presumably reference is to the Egyptian memorandum of September 10, which contained Nasser’s proposals for negotiations; see footnote 4, Document 200.