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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1951. The Near East and Africa
(1951)

Egypt,   pp. 343-444 PDF (39.2 MB)


Page 346


FOREIGN RELATIONS, 19 51 , VOLUME V
  British Embassy comment: The British Treasury's objection to such
a move would be acute, and the political disadvantage of the Egyptian
reaction would be obvious.
  The Chiefs of Staff think in terms of a phased evacuation, starting
immediately, to be effectuated by 1956, with the gradual replacement
of essential technical units by civilians (obviously army in civilian
dress).
  British Embassy comment: The Egyptian government would be
ready to accept a certain number of "civilians" but not any really
effective number.
  The Chiefs of Staff propose that the base be leased from the Egyp-
tians after 1956 for an agreed sum.
  British Embassy comment: It would be impossible to negotiate an
agreement with the Egyptians for the lease of practically the entire
Canal area. Possibly workshop areas, and desert storage could be
leased, but nothing as extensive as the area presently occupied by
British forces.
  The Chiefs of Staff propose that arrangements be concluded with
the Egyptian government whereby the administrative control of the
base after 1956 remain with the British government, but that the
Egyptian government participate with the British government in
the joint lease hold.
   British Embassy comment: The Egyptian Government would be
unlikely to agree to British administration of the base. As far as
Egyptian participation in the joint lease hold, the British Embassy
"hasn't a clue what the C.O.S. mean".
   The Chiefs of Staff propose that the Egyptians be responsible for
 the policing of the base and that suitable indemnity be arranged for
 losses sustained from pilferage.
   British Embassy comment: This is the height of an unrealistic
 approach. Admittedly the rate of pilferage is high now, and would
 be excessively high under Egyptian policing; but, to expect the Egyp-
 tian government to indemnify the British government for pilferage
 from a leased base reflects a total lack of appreciation of the realities
 of the local situation.
   As can be seen from the comments of the British Embassy it did
 not look with favor on the Chiefs of Staff proposals. The British
 Ambassador, as indicated in Para 7 of the reference telegram, has
 expressed the opinion that it would be unrealistic for the British to
 consider occupation of the base after 1956. Stevenson advocates plans
 for the progressive evacuation of the Canal area to be completed by
 1956. Whatever rights (if any) of reoccupation in the event of war
 which may be secured will be to the British advantage. To a large
 extent the effectiveness of such reoccupation rights will depend on
 the extent to which the concept of "joint defense" is developed.
In this
346


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