Courtesy Reuters

The Suez Crisis

A FOOTNOTE TO HISTORY

SINCE I retired as United States Ambassador to Great Britain in February 1957, so much has been written about the events leading up to the seizure of the Suez Canal by the Egyptian Government in July 1956, and so much controversy has arisen over the reaction of the French, British and American governments to that event, that it might be useful for me to set down as briefly and clearly as possible the story of what happened as seen from the American Embassy in London.

The first intrusion of the Egyptian question into Anglo-American relations during my term as Ambassador in London came before Anthony Eden became Prime Minister and soon after I arrived at my post early in 1953. In May of that year, violent attacks were being made by the new Egyptian régime under General Naguib on the continued presence of British troops in the large British military base in the Suez Canal Zone. The British Government felt that United States policy was definitely sympathetic with the Egyptian point of view, and British opinion received the quite erroneous impression that we were putting pressure on Britain to withdraw its forces from the base. Later the feeling developed that but for this pressure the British forces would have remained there and Nasser could never have seized the Canal.

A further sense that America was unfriendly arose from misunderstandings between Eden, who had just become Prime Minister, and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, in connection with proposals for joint financing of the Aswan High Dam. Opposition to the plan developed in Congress, and finally Secretary Dulles cancelled American participation. He did so without informing the American Embassy in London. This was not unusual, as I was never asked my opinion on matters of policy except when Dulles was in London or I accompanied Eden to Washington.

Such were the preliminaries to the Suez crisis of July 1956.

On July 26 of that year I left London for New York by

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