26. Editorial Note

At the third tripartite meeting, which began at noon (London time) on July 30, the delegates began consideration of a draft communiqué, prepared by a working group. The draft reaffirmed the principles stated in the 1888 Constantinople Convention, pointed to the need for operating arrangements under international control, stated a preference for United Nations involvement in this control, asserted that the legitimate interests of Egypt, including a fair financial return, would be fully respected, and invited specified governments to “participate in a conference to be held in London in the immediate future to consider what steps should be taken in order to reach the above objective.” At this meeting, the delegates also discussed possible criteria for selecting the nations to be invited to the conference and the question of the payment of Canal dues to Egypt. Accounts of this meeting are in British Foreign Office, “Record of Meeting Held in Council Chamber, Foreign Office at Noon on July 30, 1956,” and “London Tripartite Conversations,” pages 23–31. (Both in Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 724)

[Page 46]

Later that afternoon, but before he had received telegram 574 (Document 28), Murphy forwarded to the Department of State a report containing the verbatim text of the draft communiqué and an account of the major points and differences raised at the meeting. Murphy noted that the British and French wished the United States to join with them in sponsoring the proposed conference, while the United States was willing to state that it would attend a conference convoked by three or more signatories of the 1888 Convention. Also, the British and French delegates suggested that the conference should consist of the full membership of the International Chamber of Shipping, while Murphy offered a formula which included all signatories of the 1888 Convention (except for Austria–Bohemia–Hungary) and the nine principal countries whose products moved through the Canal. In addition, Murphy requested the Department’s views on the communiqué, on a French-British suggestion that a tripartite note condemning the nationalization be sent to Egypt, on the manner in which dues should be paid, and on the possibility of evacuating Americans from Egypt. (Telegram 532 from London, July 30; Department of State, Central Files, 396.1–LO/7–3056) The telegram was sent at 4 p.m., London time, and was received in the Department at 1:57 p.m.