96. Telegram From the Department of State to the Secretary of State, at London1

Tedul 11. Eyes only Secretary from Acting Secretary.

This morning I advised the President that Bob Anderson had agreed to undertake the Saudi mission and would be ready to leave Monday afternoon if the invitation comes through. In such event he will stop over for an hour or so in London Tuesday morning, and I am suggesting to Rountree and Page that they talk with him at the airport.
The President was most interested in the overnight cables from London and wrote out his note of appreciation to you in longhand.2
In commenting on the cables the President said he fully agreed with you that we should not allow the British and French to insist on too rough a line with Nasser, even though we might thoroughly sympathize with their viewpoint. To do so would be counterproductive under present circumstances.
The President said he had been thinking over possible solutions, and believed we could accept almost any of them so long as we are assured of “international supervision”. The word “supervision” seemed much better to him than “control”. He thought that a commission of smaller countries was an excellent concept. He had been thinking along the following lines: Such a commission, upon which Egypt would be represented, should have the right to (a) appoint a general manager, (b) fix tolls, and (c) lay out and execute plans for maintenance, expansion and financing of the canal. Any actions of the commission could be appealed by (1) Egypt, (2) other commission members, or (3) users of the canal, to the World Court or other suitable body. He did not exclude other possibilities. I told him that I thought your ideas ran very much parallel, but that the immediate problem was to get Egypt up to the trough.
I still plan to leave for San Francisco, Sunday, Noon, August 19, [Page 231]but it is not yet firm that Cabinet members will participate in the proceedings.3 If they do not, of course, I will not go.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/8–1856. Top Secret; Priority. Drafted by Hoover and approved by Sherwood.
  2. The note was transmitted in Tedul 9 to London, August 19. It reads: “Dear Foster: From all reports you seem to be surpassing even your own unique capacity for bringing some order and sanity to confused situations. We here follow with great confidence and interest your cables and the news through collateral sources. Good luck and warm regards. DE” (Ibid., 110.11–DU/8–1856)
  3. Reference is to the national convention of the Republican Party, held at the Cow Palace in San Francisco August 20–24.