216. Telegram From the Secretary of State to the Department of State1

Dulte 9. In private discussion with Menzies2 I explained our dilemma re Suez. We do not know and never have known whether UK-French primary objective was to overthrow Nasser or get reasonable canal settlement. US cannot effectively pursue both goals. I said I thought US might accumulate enough inducements to settle reasonably outstanding issues with Egypt but only if thereafter Nasser was eligible to be treated as member in good standing of world community. We don’t know whether UK and France accept this or whether they accept economic consequences of not doing so.

Menzies felt that settlement should be sought and Nasser thereafter accepted. He will so express himself to Lord Home.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/3–1357. Secret. Drafted by Dulles. Received at 10:46 p.m., March 12.
  2. A memorandum of this conversation by Dulles is in the Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Memoranda of Conversations.
  3. Later on March 13 in Canberra, Dulles met with French officials and made the following remarks concerning Nasser and the Canal situation: “The Secretary pointed out that we faced a dilemma in relation to Nasser. If the purpose was to reach a settlement, he believed we had considerable influence to bring it about, but it could only be effective if Nasser believed that having reached a settlement he could live in peace with us. . . .” (Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversations: Lot 64 D199)