249. Telegram From the Delegation at the Suez Canal Conference to the Department of State1

Secto 24. Fifth and final plenary session second Suez conference. Brussels for Tyler.

Today’s session, twice postponed on account experts meeting2 was eventually convened at 2:30 and spent three hours twenty minutes going over drafts of conference statement and annex (declaration on Users’ Association) of which final texts being telegraphed separately.3 Conference then spent forty minutes in general discussion before finally adjourning 6:30 p.m.

Following were principal points made during discussion of draft statement and declaration:

As objections raised to “CASU”, “CASCU” and “ASCU” as conveying undesirable meaning in various languages it decided official abbreviation for Users’ Association would be “SCUA”.

Conference discussed criteria for membership in Users’ Association with eventual decision leave it to original members to lay down criteria for any additional members (see paragraph of annex). Several representatives stressed need for making clear intent is not to exclude any country.

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It decided refer to annex as “declaration” rather than “resolution” but retain word “subscribe” rather than “adhere”.

Discussions of Conference statement centered about (1) recourse to UN and (2) Egyptian memo of September 10. Re UN, considerable divergence of view developed between those countries such as Norway, Italy, Denmark, Japan and Ethiopia which thought conference should go on record as favoring immediate recourse to UN and others such as Australia, UK and France which thought Users’ Association should be set up first. After considerable discussion Secretary proposed words “they (i.e. 18 governments) consider that recourse should be had to the UN whenever it seems that this will facilitate a settlement”, which agreed. Secretary pointed out there various types of UN submission, i.e. whether to SC or GA and if to SC it important distinguish between measures under chapters six and seven.

During discussion this point Secretary said USG coming to conclusion we should probably move rather quickly in direction of taking Suez matter to UN. He did not want any thing he had said to be interpreted as meaning US wants any great delay. Said we first want to set up Users’ Association, in next week or ten days. Immediately thereafter we might find it appropriate go to SC although Secretary unable commit USG definitely in this regard now. Lloyd expressed complete agreement and said this conformed exactly to view of UK. Pointed out UK had been criticized for not having consulted others regarding last week’s announcement in Commons and wanted it clear there might not be time consult before taking matter to UN.

Re Egyptian memo, Pakistan representative4 suggested it unwise condemn Egyptian proposals out of hand as they contained some points with which eighteen nations in agreement, e.g., support for 1888 convention. Japan, Ethiopia and Denmark urged deletion of any reference to Egyptian memo. Japan representative said if memo mentioned most he could agree was statement that memo discussed and “prevailing opinion in conference” was it not useful basis for discussion. After point had been discussed at length by various delegates, Secretary intervened to point out Egyptian memo so vaguely written as to raise question what it intended to propose. He suggested wording, which conference adopted, that Egyptian proposal “was placed before conference but was considered too imprecise to afford a useful basis for discussion”. (See paragraph (3) conference statement.)

During foregoing discussion Lloyd stated it intention of UK to call another meeting October first to review progress made by then [Page 554] on setting up Users’ Association. Meeting would be at Ambassadorial, not Foreign Minister, level.

Beginning at 5:50 p.m. each representative in turn made statement of his government’s position. All expressed appreciation to Lloyd for his work as chairman and for hospitality HMG. Pakistan representative, in brief statement, called attention to fact delegates were not being asked to “set their hand” to any document at this time, asserted users’ proposal as it emerged from conference was quite different from that originally put forward in that it now stressed cooperation with Egypt, and pointed out he had already stated views of his government re proposal.

Danish representative5 stated for constitutional reasons unable indicate acceptance of proposal at this time as matter must be referred to Parliament but expressed great interest this government in finding solution.

Ethiopian thought there general agreement on avoiding imposition of any formula on Egypt but he unable indicate position his government re users association in absence instructions.

Swedish representative said like Denmark unable state final attitude now but noted with satisfaction proposal changed considerably from original form.

Norway stated unable for constitutional reasons give general answer today but would strongly recommend acceptance.

Iran repeated view previously expressed that fresh approach should be made to Egypt, following which matter should be referred to UN. Commenting on British document on juridical aspects of users association he expressed doubt some parties to 1888 convention had right set up organization to safeguard their rights under convention when another party (Egypt) has stated such action would violate convention. Stressed Iran continued support 18 nation proposal.

Secretary then spoke, pointing out that as proposal had evolved it did not impose obligation on executive to submit it to Senate or to Congress. Said before leaving London this evening would give chairman written confirmation6 of our willingness join association. Expressed opinion conference had been of great importance in preserving peace and developing solution in accordance with principles justice and international law. Stressed need for continuing unity between the 18.

France expressed willingness adhere to association while reserving right take appropriate measures if situation should arise contrary to its interests.

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Italy expressed formal adherence to association.

Japan expressed view conference had been constructive.

Turkish representative said Turkey would accept users association in principle although unable under his instructions signify formal adherence at this time.

German representative said would be happy recommend adherence to his government.

New Zealand representative said although definite instructions re adherence not yet received conference could take it for granted New Zealand firmly behind proposals.

Australia likewise stated that while proposals still must be formally submitted to government there no doubt whatever of their acceptance.

Netherlands representative said he would strongly recommend proposals to this government.

Spanish representative expressed hope Spain would adhere, while reserving his government’s final position and repeating reservation made by Spain to original 18 nation proposal.

Portuguese representative expressed confidence his government would adhere.

Lloyd then thanked other representatives for their expressions of appreciation, said he regarded conference success, expressed regret concept of users association had originally been misunderstood and stated UK would adhere. Conference adjourned 6:30 p.m.7

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/9–2256. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Wilson. Received at 10:27 p.m., September 21. Repeated Priority to Brussels and to Paris.
  2. Reference is to the Committee Meeting held at Lancaster House 9:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m., September 21. A summary record of the meeting, prepared by the Conference’s International Secretariat, is ibid., Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 773.
  3. Reference is to Secto 25 from London, September 21, not printed. (Ibid., Central Files 974.7301/9–2156) For the complete texts of the Declaration and Statement adopted by the Conference, see Documents 251 and 252.
  4. Malik Firoz Khan Noon.
  5. Hans Christian S. Hansen.
  6. See infra.
  7. Dulles and his party left London at 8:25 p.m. (Reported in Secto 28 from London, September 21; Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/9–2156)