251. Statement Issued by the Second Suez Canal Conference at London, September 21, 19561

Representatives of the 18 Governments who joined in the proposals which were subsequently submitted to the Egyptian Government by the Five Nation Committee presided over by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Right Honorable Robert Menzies, as a basis for negotiating a settlement of the Suez Canal question, met in London from September 19 to 21, 1956. Their purpose was to consider the situation in the light of the report of that Committee and other developments since the first London Conference.

They noted with regret that the Egyptian Government did not accept these proposals and did not make any counter-proposals to the Five Nation Committee.

It is the view of the Conference that these proposals still offer a fair basis for a peaceful solution of the Suez Canal problem, taking into account the interests of the user nations as well as those of Egypt. The 18 Governments will continue their efforts to obtain such a settlement. The proposal made by the Egyptian Government on September 10 was placed before the Conference but it was considered too imprecise to afford a useful basis for discussion.

A Declaration was drawn up providing for the establishment of a Suez Canal Users Association. The text of this Declaration is annexed hereto. This Association is designed to facilitate any steps which may lead to a final or provisional solution of the Suez Canal problem. It will further cooperation between the Governments adhering to it, concerning the use of the Canal. For this purpose it will [Page 557] seek the cooperation of the competent Egyptian authorities pending a solution of the larger issues. It will also deal with such problems as would arise if the traffic through the Canal were to diminish or cease. The Association will be established as a functioning entity at an early date after the delegates to this Conference have had an opportunity to consult in relation thereto with their respective Governments.

The Conference noted that on September 12, 1956, the Governments of the U.K. and France informed the Security Council of the United Nations of the situation, and that subsequently, on September 17, the Government of Egypt also made a communication to the Security Council. The Conference considers that recourse should be had to the United Nations whenever it seems that this would facilitate a settlement.

The representatives of the 18 Governments have found their cooperation at the Conference valuable and constructive. The 18 Governments will continue to consult together in order to maintain a common approach to the problems which may arise out of the Suez question in the future.

It is the conviction of the Conference that the course outlined in this statement is capable of producing by peaceful means a solution which is [in] conformity with the principles of justice and international law as declared in Article I of the Charter of the United Nations.

  1. Source: Conference doc. SUEZ II/56/D/10; Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 782. Also printed in The Suez Canal Problem, July 26–September 22, 1956, pp. 366–367.