Genl. deterioration since I took over.
a) Détente at Geneva has increased our diffies. because it has re-opened so many issues : open warfare vice trench warfare.
Everyone is ready to take chances now on all policy ques.
b) Paralysing effect in U.S. of Eisenhower's illness. Republicans have little chance, unless Adlai is Democratic candidate because wisecracks á la Guedalla don't please U.S.
French will go to Sec. Council but not Assembly.
Cyprus - we did v. well to win.
Algeria - Fr. failure in N.Africa is affectg. whole Arab world.
Arms to M/East.
R. have made deal with E., & prob. overtures to S. Arabia.
Looks as tho' R. finding stalemate or stabilisn. in F/E., have decided to fish actively in M/E. waters. Our posn. isn't v. easy - a little ambivalent.
Mystery of E. deal. Seems tht. R. started it & then switched it over to Czecho. R. cd., w'out damage, part with v. large nos. of obsolescent arms : these are not new Mig to wh. R. Air Force are turning over. Far more available than we, or prs. even U.S., have to offer.
How handle this - with giver or receiver or both.
Mentioned to Mol., who seemed upset. Tho' he had prev. told Dulles tht. he knew somethg. of it.
We cd. make protest or appeal to Bulganin - not consistent with Geneva spirit - if this were isolated deal. But we know now tht. they are approachg. other Arab States. This must be a new policy. Cd. we knock them off it? They don't always persevere in a try-on. That is case for P.M.'s proposed message
A message fr. P.M. mght be followed by one fr. Eisen. if he recovers.
What line shd. we take in such a message? Alarmg. prospect if we had to meet in confce. with R. and French on arms to M/E.
At receiving end : Nasser was alarmed, tho' putting bold face on it by our &U.S. repns. He depends wholly on Army - no other basis of support. This is all he intends - not to put his head in Communist noose.
Conference with D. y'day. Agreed tht. a strong squeeze on Nasser wd. affect U.K. interests adversely. Favour a mild squeeze: a) informn. about order b) get a term put to it c) no technicians. Means of squeezing - i) get on with independence of Sudan : don't allow the 18 mos. interval.
Favour that on merits.
[H.M] ii) nothing else(!). Make it appear tht N.'s benefits are reduced (slowed down) : others who behave better get more. But U.S. won't join N. Tier., unless Alpha succeeds. My problem was to prevent U.S. from swinging pro Israel viz., unilateral guarantee to Israel alone. But will U.S. support N. Tier - not only morally, but with money & arms. H'to, we have insisted tht. we shd. supply Iraq with arms : big step to allow U.S. to join : but easier for them to give arms than money. Try to show benefits for Lebanon and Syria as well as Iraq.
Ques : can we do more, at either end.
V. serious sitn. is developing in M/E.
We need to review drastically our M/E. policy. We must realise tht. U.S. has almost always bn. wrong on M/E. They are ignorant of it & can't steer steady course. The big interest in M/E. is ours - not U.S. We are dependent on M/E. oil. We must therefore do our own thinking on this. Trucial Coast & Iraq is more important now than Egypt. [Remember error of U.S. view on Commn. in Persia. Alpha : they were most reluctant to start & they have ruined it by trying to launch it alone.]
One correct course is to help our friends - esp. Iraq. U.S. ought to help with cash off-shore). Eis. was ready to do so on tanks for Iraq : & they have failed to come along. We may have to spend more - to save Iraq oil.
Giving end. Do R. realise how dangerous this game is qua risk of war betwn. E. & Israel. They can't want to see such a war - wd. affect them v. soon. I wish therefore to send cautionary word explaing. why we don't regard this as commercial deal. We must put our case in some form. Wd. sooner do it privately to Bulg. Wish to send some message. I admit risk. They may retort : we shd. discuss this ques e.g. at Geneva. But what alternative. Are we to leave R. to hawk these offers all round M/E. We don't even know amount of N. order : can't assess size of problem. We cd. restrict scope of any discns. we entered with R. - viz., this particular deal pro. tem. I wd. be ready to accept temporary ban on all supply of arms to M/E. countries.
Fishing enquiry more useful than no action.
At home, we shall be asked if we have approached R. Don't want to have to say "none".
Dangerous to allow anti-Comm. front to disintegrate. For readiness of R to be reasonable seems less than it did at Geneva.
No future in threatening E. any more. Risk of rebuff. Wd. sooner isolate them & ignore them if we can - & consolidate the N. Tier. If that can be done - how much will U.S. help.
R. end. Doubt if message now will do good : but can it do harm. Even if they suggest a mtg., we can limit discn. at it. We shall be expected to have said somethg. to R. We may elicit some more of their policy and intentions.
Support project & terms of message.
Approved despatch of message.
Taken from C.M. 34(55) - Meeting held on 4 October 1955.