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

Egypt,   pp. 343-444 PDF (39.2 MB)

Page 347

   connection Stevenson feels that the British are not in a position to
   talk "joint defense" as long as they are withholding certain
   arms shipments from the Egyptians. The withholding of such ship-
   ments implies lack of faith in the possibility of joint defense arrange-
   ments and also gives rise to justifiable suspicions of political pressure
   among Egyptians. This is particularly unfortunate among certain
   elements of the Egyptian armed forces who have been British trained
   and are basically friendly. They see, for instance, planes grounded
   for lack of spare parts and other equipment immobilized through the
   British embargo.
   Stevenson recommends certain steps be taken to alleviate this
   situation. The 208th Squadron (R.A.F.) is about to be converted to
   jets. The Spitfires which comprise this squadron are now slated for
   shipment to either India or Pakistan. The Egyptians are anxious for
   these, and the British Ambassador believes that they should have them.
   The knowledge that these had been disposed of elsewhere would cer-
   tainly cause ill feeling. There is also an outstanding question of 20
   Bailiol trainers. The British Embassy believes that these should also
 be delivered. Shipment of certain Meteor jets previously processed
 for delivery should be allowed.
    The British Embassy has yet received no reply to its comments and
 suggestions to the Foreign Office. Aside from the ever difficult attitude
 of the Egyptians, it is obvious that Stevenson is worried about the
 somewhat unrealistic approach of the British Chiefs of Staff to the
 problem. He also feels that the Foreign Office may be banking too
 heavily on the previous success of stalling tactics. With these views,
 this Embassy is in entire concurrence. It is at least a minor miracle
 that serious disturbances have not already occurred over the long
 protracted negotiations.3
                                                   JEFFERSON CAFFERY
   'In despatch 2042 from Cairo, February 27, Caffery reported, inter alia,
 British Ambassador 'Stevenson had informed him "The British Chiefs
of Staff
 seem to be coming around to a more realistic view of the negotiations with
 the Egyptians over base rights in the Suez area. Their thinking now tends
 towards a staged evacuation until 1956, with leasing of base rights thereafter.
 An annual rental figure of L.E. 2,000,000 is being considered." Caffery
 that it was the British hope that these proposals would receive final Cabinet
 approval by the middle of March and that then the British Ambassador would
 be in a position to resume negotiations with the Egyptian Government. (641.74/
                           Editorial Note
  Assistant Secretary of State McGhee visited Cairo on February 22-
23, 1951 en route from the Middle East Chiefs of Mission meeting 'at

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