39. Message From President Eisenhower to Prime Minister Mollet1

Dear Mr. President: I have received your letter of July thirty-first2 regarding the Suez Canal situation which at this moment is being studied and discussed by representatives of our Governments in London. I am glad to have this frank expression of your thoughts on a matter which we all view with grave concern. As you are already aware, I have today asked Secretary Dulles to fly to London to confer with the French and British representatives there.

While I recognize that events may ultimately make forceful action necessary, I feel that the present situation demands that we act moderately, but firmly, to bring about a dependable administration of the Canal. I feel that the utmost calm is required in charting the course of the Western nations at this time and it is for this reason that we propose that a meeting of interested states be held promptly. I believe that our efforts now should be directed toward [Page 78]the holding of such an international conference which would have an educational effect on public opinion throughout the world. If the Egyptian Government defies such a conference, or rejects reasonable proposals, then there should result a broader basis than now exists for other affirmative action.

I am convinced that the Western nations must show the world that every effective peaceful means to resolve this difficulty has been exhausted and I sincerely hope that precipitate action can be avoided.

With assurances of my highest esteem.


Dwight D. Eisenhower
  1. Source: Department of State, Presidential Correspondence: Lot 66 D 204, The Pres. and Sec. exchanges of Corres. with DeGaulle, Mollet, Gaillard, 7/56–1/61. Secret. The text of this message was transmitted to Paris in Niact telegram 418, August 1. (Ibid., Central Files, 974.7301/8–156) Chargé Cecil B. Lyon delivered the message to Mollet at 9:50 a.m., August 2. (Telegram 576 from Paris, August 2; ibid., 711.11–EI/8–256) Ambassador Dillon had joined Dulles in London. Howe transmitted a draft of this message, a copy of telegram 549 (supra), and a copy of an August 1 New York Times article by Harold Callender to Goodpaster on August 1. (Covering memorandum dated August 1; ibid., 974.7301/7–3156)
  2. See footnote 2, supra.