Def. Cttee approved C.O.S. proposals in (c). Think we must proceed on that basis. Phased w'drawal: some this year, more (prs. 4.000) next year. Combatants.
Base technicians etc. C.O.S. want about 3.000. E. prob. wd. say 2/300.
May have to compromise on that.
10.000 R.A.F. wanted. E. prob. won't accept that. But w'out a good no. we can't meet our commitments in M/E.
Store at Tel-Akabir. Troops needed to guard it.
Must negotiate on all these points. Believe M/E. think we're weak now. Must try to disabuse them. But no point in starting v. tough.
Events of next 18/24 months unknown. If emergency occurred, sitn wd. be diff. S. & E. wd. have to recognise that. Wd improve our bargaining posn. Per contra, if peace recurs, easier to w'draw grip on E.
Fin. Implicns have still not bn. examined. Figures in C.O.S. memo.
* may be too low. Wd like this examined before talks with E. resumed.
Pol. Re-actions here – if we appear to be yielding to E. when nothg. secured re Canal & Haifa.
Diff. posn in M/E. as whole. Not enough forces to cope. Diffies in Persia & Iraq. Most vulnerable area in anti-Comm. Cause: loss of M/E. oil. Why handle this as Br. Affair w'out relation to N.A.T. & world strategy. E. dislike us & our troops: haven't sided with R. Cdn't we handle on a wider basis? If too diff. to get U.S. in, what of others? But what wd. U.S. C.O.S. say?
They are pro-Egyptian rather than anti-British.
This is face-saving. If we offered to go, they'd ask us to stay.
No Party represents the people. Lasting agreemt. Wd. have to be negotiated with all Parties. And somethg. Will have to be done re Sudan: tht. will be essential part of agreemt.
Mil. agreement. They will accept large nos. in Canal Zone for base.
They want a large Army (1. million) with Br. Mission to train them.
Combatants: free entry in emergency. But will have to have before '56. Anglo-E. air defence organn: won't be accepted save under cloak of U.N.
If you pay the price on Sudan you can get E. agreement. That's what R.R.S. means. That wd. bring Govt. down. Also morally un-acceptable.
But we cd. have a decln of policy re Sudan – early self-government as our aim. If we are going to lose on E., let's win on S.
If we believe agreemt. Only at price of concessions on Sudan, useless to resume on basis of C.O.S. proposals. I wd. prefer to stand on Treaty: tell them we will consider any proposals of theirs: but make no offer ourselves.
We have more to lose than they by such delay. Where shd. we be in '56. We can only stay in E. by force. Must therefore ensure tht. we have another base in M/E. by 1956.
Politics: w'drawal of base isn't all in E.'s favour. Putting it in Israel, e.g., wd. alter balance of political forces.
Can we trust Canal Zone custody to E. Internatl control of such channels? Incldg. Panama, Gib., D'elles & Skagerrak. Need we be afraid of that. Tangle it all up – to avoid going along on a Br./E. basis.
We can't make any concession on Sudan.
Our strategic necessities shd. be raised under more respectable auspices.
Fr. objns to Malta Conference. Why didn't we include them? – security.
Widening this out wd. mean in practice widening N.A.T.O. If E. were covered, other Arab States & Israel wd. have to come in. How wd. U.S. re-act? Once U.S. intervene actively in M/E., R. wd. regard it as provocative.
These are all v. interestg. suggns. But we shall have to negotiate.
We can't hang on until '56.
Alternative bases: C.O.S. have bn. considering for 2½ years.
If we don't resume, E. will denounce Treaty & take ques. again to U.N.
Then no prospect of firm U.S. support for action on H.McN. basis – staying put in E.
Talks shd. be resumed. F.O. shd. have discretion, as it goes. Not too much restricted to C.O.S. plan. Haifa must come in. Militarily unsound to move out now, in worsening world.
i) Canal is with Security Council.
ii) McGhee: I have seen him: he's light-hearted about M/E: I told him to be careful. Am telling W'ton.
iii) Genl. I shd. like to stay. But can't act like that in 1950's. Think we must resume. Doubt if we shall settle. I shd. like to spin out talks in Cairo, and leave troops there. Tho' nos. are in breach of Treaty.
We must find somethg. that worries E. Raise internat. waterways somewhere else – to frighten them. They mght. prefer Br. on Canal rather than internatl body.
If internatl control is only price at wh. we can keep these waterways open, we mght. pay that price.
Unless we try for agreemt., there will be show-down. Denunciation of Treaty: direct action: we'd be in trouble. We wd. lose E. co-opn. W'out it, can't have efficient base.
No U.S. support for force.
I wd. like to work twds. getting E. to accept C.O.S. terms. Not treatg. them as ultimatum. Wdn't despair of that.
Sudan. No ques. of U.K. imposing settlement on Sudanese. Put E. into posn of havg. to refuse reasonable statement re Sudan.
Our moral posn is strong – tho' our legal posn is weak.
Internationalisation (H.G.) Wdn't affect E. attitude twds. Presence of foreign troops in E. in peace.
We can't stand on Treaty – "wait till 1956" – For we aren't carrying it out.
Can't justify memo. proposals w'out relief on Suez.
Diff. to make one condn of another.
Play for time. Spin it out.
Why not make Canal point condn precedent to resumg. Treaty talks.
They wd. say that was extraneous. Part of their quarrel with Israel.
I'm v. introducing it at outset. Let it emerge if it will.
Be practical. I must know where we are.
Start talking. Consider seriously alternative bases.
Amb. shd. realise tht., whatever issue comes to H/C. on Egypt, vote will be taken on basis that tankers are being stopped in Canal.
Cd. we have a memo. on pros & cons. of raising international waterways.
That prob. wdn't solve Parly diffy. Negotiatg. while E. are damaging B. interests.
Surely E.B. was negotiating on these lines for months, with knowledge of Cabinet?
Let H.M. draft instructns to Ambassador in light of Cabinet's discussion.
Canal point shd. be put to E. at outset of discns, tho' not as condn precedent.
Serious trouble in H/C. if you appear to be negotiatg. to meet E. wishes while Canal is blocked.
Taken from C.M. 24(51) - Meeting held on 5 April 1951.