4. Telegram From the Embassy in France to the Department of State1
469. London eyes only Ambassador. Rome eyes only Secretary Thomas.2 Lima eyes only Secretary. Pineau sent for me this afternoon to give me French Government views regarding Egyptian [Page 8]seizure of Suez Canal. Pineau said that French Government takes most serious view of the affair and likens it to seizure of Rhineland by Hitler. Pineau said that French Government felt it was essential to react strongly so as to prevent Nasser from getting away with this outrage. Without such action Pineau said that inevitable result would be that all of Middle Eastern pipelines would be seized and nationalized within the next three months and Europe would find itself totally dependent on the goodwill of the Arab powers. This was obviously unacceptable situation.
Pineau said that he was going to London on Sunday3 for the meeting with Eden which had been previously scheduled for Monday. At that time he hoped that British and French would be able to take firm decision as to action required. French Government feels it is vital that US position be fully known by that time and request earliest possible indication of US thinking. Pineau said that British and French Governments hope that Secretary would be able to attend the meeting on Monday but realized that he was very far away and that it might be impossible.
As to immediate action Pineau said he hoped the British Government would freeze Egyptian assets in London and he said that Suez Canal Company this morning had instructed all of its employees to refuse to work for Egyptian Government. This Pineau said would undoubtedly lead to arrests and imprisonments which would further aggravate the situation.
Pineau also said that French and British were jointly studying the military problem involved in the reoccupation of the canal zone. He said that their preliminary views were that this would not be too difficult an undertaking and that his opinion was that Soviet Union would not be prepared to take any effective counter action to protect Egypt.
As an immediate step the French Government has instructed French Embassy Washington to request immediate approval by NEACC of authority for French to send 24 more Mystere 4 aircraft to Israel immediately. Pineau said French hope for approval of this demand within 24 hours so they can make announcement before or during the course of this weekend and he asked me to request US Government to take any special steps necessary to expedite favorable action on this request. Pineau said that French Government had also made strong representations to Canadian Government urging them [Page 9]to agree to immediate sale of F–86 aircraft to Israel in view of new French decision to send additional Mysteres.4
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/7–2756. Top Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Received at 2:51 p.m. Repeated to Lima, London, and Rome.↩
- Secretary of the Navy, Charles Sparks Thomas.↩
- July 29.↩
From Lima, Secretary Dulles cabled as follows:
“Have just read Paris 469 to Department. Re last paragraph my initial reaction is that we should go slow about mixing up canal problem with Israel-Arab problem.” (Dulte 8 from Lima, July 27; Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/7–2756)↩