245. Memorandum of a Conversation Between Prime Minister Eden and Secretary of State Dulles, London, September 20, 19561

Following the Selwyn Lloyd dinner last night,2 I went into another room and talked alone with Anthony Eden for about half an hour. He expressed great appreciation for my efforts. He said they had now altered their military planning so that instead of having the [Page 546] fixed date, they were able to hold the military threat in status quo without any prohibitive expense. [Here followed matter not to be committed in writing.]3 The French have been cooperative and discreet. Both they and the French remained determined that Nasser should not win a victory out of his action. Eden said that the British were unwilling to adapt themselves for any long period to the denial of the Canal route because it was too costly. When I pointed out that the military operation would be more costly, he said perhaps for a short time, but they had hopes that that phase would quickly be over. I said that military action might disrupt the pipelines as well as the Canal. Eden said he was not sure of this. In any event the interruption would be short-lived. I expressed some scepticism of his optimism.

I said that the United States fully agreed that Nasser should not come out ahead, and I thought that he would not. I reviewed his deteriorating economic situation and the increasing concern of other Arab countries. I felt that Nasser had already slipped. I said, however, I thought this could be promoted by closer cooperation between us. Perhaps we should set up a working party to work out plans in this respect. Eden seemed to think this would be a good idea, but no actual decision was taken.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Misc. Papers—U.K. (Suez Crisis). Top Secret. Drafted on September 21 by Dulles who initialed the source text.
  2. September 20.
  3. Brackets in the source text.