Suez Canal - 7 November 1956

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Suez Canal - 7 November 1956

H.M. 

F/A. debate.  P.M. shd. take line that out of this v. gt. issues are emerging, and Govt. can't be expected to define policy in detail.

A.H. 

Mil. Situation.  Br. forces ½ way to Cantara.  No one knows how far Fr. forces have got : can't say they haven't got to Ismailia. Sniping by franc-tireurs is continuing in Pt. Said – tho' no organised mil. fighting.
 Working on block-ships in Pt. Said.  They will soon ask wtr they can work on sunk ship s. of where Br. troops are.

S.Ll. 

Attitude to Israelis.  Shd. we formally ask them to w'draw?  I think we must play that slow : our earlier posn. was tht. we wdn't require this until we were in place, & we aren't.  Agreed.
 Statement of our intentions.  We have stopped fighting : are in posn. to prevent resumptn:  makg. start on clearing Canal.  Want to add : won't be deflected from those tasks : but, if U.N. force is put there to carry those tasks out, we will not make any diffies.

P.M. 

Compn. of internatl. force.  Are large Powers to be excluded? On reflectn. I wd. accept that, provided U.S. puts its support behind it & will undertake to act if the force is threatened.  Fr. wd. accept that. 
 If Afro-Asians refuse to accept that kind of force, we shall be in better posn.
 U.S. favour this & think U.N. wd. never accept the other.  Must give answer to President to-day.
 If a large-Power force, R. wd. be there in large nos.

H.M. 

First aim of Afro-Asians will be, in U.N., to order us out.  We need U.S. support for good vote on that.  Best way of getting that is to accept "small-Power" force.  So long as we can stay until we hand over to it.
Sal. Must get good will of U.S. & small Powers.  Suggest therefore we make it clear early that we will accept small-Power force.

P.M. 

Read messages to & fro' President. – last night.

P.T. 

Insist that it be competent : don't insist on Anglo-Fr. inclusion : But ask searchingly wtr it will be competent.

P.M. 

If we favour small-nation Force, don't hesitate.  Get together with U.S. on this.
Sal. Changed my mind on this.  Agree with P.M.  Let it turn on hand-over to effective Force.

S.Ll. 

Depends on future U.S. policy.

D.S. 

Must know what its objectives will be.  E.g. Canal settlement.  Will it stay until final settlement in area.

P.M. 

Evidence of R. coming in to aid Egypt.

P.T. 

Are we approaching moment for direct talks – U.S., U.K. & R.

P.M. 

Shd. Pres. call top-level mtg. 

K. 

Over-riding considn. now is Anglo-U.S. solidarity.

P.M. 

Prs. go for top-level mtg.
 M'while offer to clear Canal under U.N. auspices.  Agreed.
 On composn. : not opposed in principle provided satisfd. competent to discharge its task.

Taken from C.M. 81(56) - Meeting held on 7 November 1956.