Suez Canal - 4 November 2008

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Suez Canal - 4 November 2008

S.Ll. 

Summarised latest developments. 
  Letter from S. Genl., U.N. - As Israel accepted cease-fire in U.N. debate last night, and E. had already accepted it, hostilities can be ended by actions of U.K. and France - call on us to accede to this by 8. p.m.


P.M. 

I. answer may be due to recognn. they will be better off without our intervention.
 If we don't go in, hostilities will be resumed - other Arab States will join in, M/E. will go up in flames, and Canal is blocked.

A.H. 

Reported results of his visit to Cyprus.

N.B. 

Pol. diffes. of original operation.  Urgent need is to clear Canal.

I.M. 

A.H.'s appreciation removes greatest pol. diffy viz., civilian casualties in P. Said.

A.H. 

Can't be guaranteed.

P.T. 

Evil results of not interposing a force betwn. I. and E.  No certainty there will be an internatl. force.  Cdn't. accept one excludg. us.

S.Ll. 

Resolution recommendg. sanctions is likely if we go on.  Once passed, Gulf rulers wd. be afraid to supply.

R.A.B. 

i) Internatl. diffes.  Wd. have bn. ready to go on, if we told U.N. we were going to do so.  But can we go on, when both sides have accepted cease-fire.  All the same, we must get in.  Can't accept internl. force excldg. us.  ?Reply to U.N : we wish to accept internatl. force, incldg. us.  Ready, w'in short time limit, to accept other natl. forces : if they can't be supplied, must go ahead ourselves.

H. 

Hold opn. for 24 hrs?

J.S. 

All our speeches referred to passage thro' Canal.  That is still a need for urgent action.

Hail. 

Esp. now Canal is closed.

P.T. 

Influenced by that.  But also by consequences in M/E. if we don't go on.  Doubt if any force will go in, if we delay.

S.Ll. 

Read H.M.'s draft reply to U.N.

K. 

Suppose 24 hrs delay - on assumptn. of going on, if no favourable response.
 We have secured 1st. object : stopping hostilities.
 Use of force - moral posn.  Para-drop may suffice : but, if launched, we must be prepd. to use more force if necessary to support it.  Risk therefore of civilian causalities Tues.  Diff. to face that, w'out havg. given U.N. chance to constitute internatl. force.

H.A. 

Support K.'s view.  

P.M. 

Believe paratroopers will seize the town.

P.T. 

If we p'pone & debate ques of landing on basis of wtr we shd. be in internatl. force - we shall be in v. weak position to go in alone thereafter.

I.M. 

Drop the para-troops - and leave them unless cleared with U.N.
Hail. Must get port in order to get Canal clearance parties to work.  Otherwise, months of delay.

D.S. 

Not much value in that as argument, for U.N., cd. send that force.

H. 

Can get away with this, if can be done w'out heavy casualties.  Favour doing the drop & then consider wtr we do 2nd. part of opern.

W.M. 

Pressure of world opinion & opinion here.  Will be worse if we act now that both sides have accepted cease-fire.

A.H. 

P'pone for 24 hrs., we shan't do it at all. 
 But world will accept fait accompli, if neatly done.

P.M. 

U.N. plan for internatl. force may be produced to-morrow a.m. - with no provn. for Anglo-Fr. inclusion.
Sal. We cd. have gone in to support 18 Power plan.
 But we went in to stop I/E conflict.  And we have done so.  Yet we still want police force.  If both sides requested it, & invited us to do it, all wd. be well.  But they won't.

P.T. 

We have said we meant, not merely to stop hostilities, but to interpose force - to avoid resumptn. & secure final settlement.  Will be major reverse for us.

I.M. 

Put para-troops down - and use next 24 hrs. for negotiating in U.N.   Adjourned : 15 mins.

S.Ll. 

Fr. think we shd. go on.  Alternatives:-
  i)   If we do, inform U.N. tht. force shd. be put on ground to
    prevent resumptn.  Ready to hand over to U.N., but going
   on m'while.
  ii) Draft B - as amended.  Mght get negative by 2. a.m.  Face
   H/C. w'out landing.  Wd. be pressed strongly to do no more.

J.S. 

Prefer (i).
   ALB., P.T., AH. agreed.
W.M. Prefer (ii).  Nasser must lose prestige fr. what has happened.
Can't go on w'out notice to U.N.

K. 

Prefer (ii)

N.B. 

So do I.

H.

x// Go on with 1st. phase - in hope tht. 2nd. phase needn't go on because U.N. force promised.
  Several Ministers agreed with that.

H.A. 

Wd. accept that - don't like unlimited commitment.

S.Ll. 

Further formula : drafted by I.K.

P.M. 

Alternatives : defer mil. opns. for 24 hrs. - or go ahead with plan.

K. 

Respect for U.N. will make it easier to save Pakistan.
Sal. See no advantage in delay.  Real diffy. is to move fr. ground tht. object was to stop hostilities.

P.M. 

Then we shd. have to call of opn. - and wait to see what happens.
   Views taken around table.

R.A.B. 

Will support resolute action.
   Message from Israel.  Not prepared to accept cease-fire.

P.M. 

Then we shd. give f'coming answer to Canadian resoln.

Taken from C.M. 79(56) - Meeting held on 4 November 1956.