Suez Canal - 28 November 1956

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Suez Canal - 28 November 1956

S.Ll. 

Atmosphere in U.N. has improved.  But face recurrent debates, weekly, demanding w'drawal.  U.N. Force will be over 4.000 wi'in 2 wks & thereafter by another 2.000 to 2 combat brigades.  Build-up will depend on adminve. diffies.
 Clearance.  S. Genl. has authy. to proceed.  McCLoy as adviser : Genl. Clay i/charge.  Survey parties ready to go in next wk., subject to announcement of our w'drawal.  Our resources likely then to be used on civil basis.
 Future of Canal.  E. is willing to negotiate on basis of H.'s lr. of 24/10.  Scheme consistent with 6 principles.  Sufft. to secure restriction, tho' not control.  Unlikely we shall get any better basis.  Mght work out better than new internatl. company.
 Settlement in M/E.  No progress yet.  U.S. resoln. pending – but condns. aren't yet ripe.  Tho' period while U.N. Force is in posn. is the time to tackle it.
 Functions of Force.  Resoln. of Nov. 2 includes refce. to free navigation thro' Canal.  Also injunction v. sending arms into area.
 U.S. attitude.  Efforts made to get our views to President.  But posn. is tht. he gave an order : we haven't obeyed it : until we do, we can stew in own juice.  They are impervious to argument.  Condn. precedent to any help is our w'drawal fr. Pt. Said.  Asked Lodge if he had any message for us : he said "No".  Public opinion, in East anyway, is much more friendly and v. critical of Adminn.  But even our best friends in or near the Admn. think we must "purge our contempt for President" before any help can be given.
 Doms. at U.N.  N.Z. loyal.  Also Austr., tho' disagreeing privately with our policy.  Canada v. helpful.  S. African help no use in U.N.  Pakistan:  no public support.  Evil genius = Menon, who loses no chance to whip up feeling v. us.  R. inactive while Menon does their work.

R.A.B. 

Can't avoid statement in H/C. by S.Ll. on Thurs.  Opposn. has asked for debate next week.  Will prob. have to be Monday.  They expect a motion : better they shd. table it & force debate on vote of censure.
 Statement by H.M. Tues.  Better to have F.A. debate over before that. 

S.Ll. 

In U.N. we cd. go on arguing about phases time-table for some days.  Ques is wtr we get any advantage from delay.

H.M. 

Effect of delay in Arab States?

S.Ll. 

Diffies. in Iraq and Lebanon wd. grow.
 Adv. of delay : mght force E. agreemt. on clearance.
 Believe tht. on long-term we may have gained by action taken.  But diff. to m'tain tht. in short term we have gained anything.

A.L.B. 

Will U.S. continue to support resolns. for our w'drawal.

S.Ll. 

Lodge's final instruction re voting cam from W'ton – probably from President.
 U.N. Force.  Compn. is clearly w'in descretion of S. Genl.  Functions are less clear, but we can argue tht. it's concerned with all matters in Resolns. of 2., 5 & 7 Nov.  Duration : for U.N.
 Israel : wants access to Gulf of Aqaba : assurance tht. Sinai won't again be used as base : open mind on Gaza.  Likely they won't w'draw until they have negotiated these points.

D.S. 

Why is clearance of Canal made condl. on Anglo.Fr. w'drawal but not Israeli w'drawal.

R.A.B. 

Does S.Ll. advise tht., qua U.N., U.S. Alliance & NATO., w'drawal is wise?

S.Ll. 

We cdn't out-face world opinion for more than 4 wks.  What advantage in staying 4 wks vice 15 days?  None – we shd. not get any better terms by staying longer.  Announcemt tht. we shall complete w'drawal by 15/12 will expedite clearance, improve relns. with Arabs, put us in v. diff. posn. with our friends in U.N. and with U.S.  W'drawal of 1st. battn. made v. big impact.
 Clearance. H. has assured me of intn. to take urgent action.  Survey teams will go at once.  No bar on U.N. using any resources he wishes – tho' unlikely they will use naval units.  U.N. salvage units will be available in 2 wks.  H. has promised also to try to start opns. at w-end, even before our w'drawal is complete.

D.S.

   | Base our w'drawal on arrival of U.N. Force.  Don't pretend tht. by
 x|  w'drawal we have secured a deal on clearance.

P.T. 

Treatment of nationals.  Diff. to go, if that get's worse.
 U.N. Force.  When will it be organised mil. force?

S.Ll. 

14/12, I think

S.Ll. 

Its immedte. task will be to preserve order in Pt. Said when we go.  With 1200 Scandinavians that shd. be all right. 

H. 

Wd. help if H. wd. say i) Canadians will be included
  ii)  Survey parties wd. go in this week & he wd. order clearance to begin as soon as their work was done.
  iii) he will call mtg. on future of Canal on a named date.

S.Ll. 

On i) I can say tht. he has right to include it when, on practical grounds, he wishes.  On ii) tht. he wants to proceed as quickly as he can.  On iii) he won't fix a date, but he & E. agree tht. it's necessary & E. wd. be ready to start immediately after our w'drawal.

P.T. 

Shd. we not offer to begin w'drawal on 15/12 & complete it in 2 wks.

S.Ll. 

Effect wd. be to delay start of clearance until 15/12.
 I support x/.  Disconnecting Canal from the bargain.

D.E. 

Get our w'drawal offer out in advance of H.M.'s statement on Tues.  Ques : do we make it condl. – or merely state what we expect to happen in fact, not because of any bargain.

H.M. 

We cd. stay, resume war & clear Canal.  We shd. bankrupt ourselves in the process.  That isn't on.  If so, sooner we get out the better.  We have got all advantage we can extract fr. our presence in Pt. Said.
 When I make statement on reserves, want to say at once what measures I am takg. to support sterling.  Fr. that angle, I need good sitn. in U.N. and with U.S.  Don't therefore want delay.  Aside fr. our public opinion, clearly right to w'draw at once.  How present this – to avoid breach in Party & later to convince public tht. we have gained somethg. 
 If we let this run on with vague statements Party will become more divided.  Believe we shd. bring it to a head on Thurs. & rally Party in censure debate on Mon.
 We can't claim there is an agreemt.  Better say we are ordering w'drawal because of our understandg. of what will happen in fact – build-up of U.N. force, clearance of Canal, negotns. on future of Canal – & long-term settlement is up to U.N.

I.M. 

Endorse that approach.  Diffy. is 1st. step.  If we decide to go, better go by 15/12 vice 30/12.
 What have we to convince Party?  Competence of Force – O.K.  That clears first diffy.  Second is Canal clearance.  Diff. to convince Party we can go until somethg. happens S. of our area.  It may.  Can we say : we believe U.N. will do it : we are ready to put our resources at its disposal – formally.

J.S. 

N.Yk. 1430 seems to give us about enough.  Don't delay w'drawal.

P.T. 

But, while posn. of nationals is uncertain, can we promise unconditional w'drawal by 15/12.

D.S. 

Meet that by proviso tht., if any attack on our nationals, new sitn. will be created & reserve all rights.

L.P. 

Wd. have preferred guarantee re clearance.  But, if we ask for it & fail to get it, we shall be in worse posn. on Mon.  The assurances S.Ll. has had go a v. long way.
 Adequacy of U.N. Force doesn't depend on its size, but on fact tht. it represents U.N.

K. 

Agree with L.P.  But say early what we have decided.  We shan't get any more informn. – only weakness to delay.  Firmness is the essential point.

P.T. 

If we make firm statement of w'drawal, what can we get fr. U.S.?

S.Ll. 

If we state to-morrow that we will complete w'drawal by 15/12, I believe U.S. will begin to act. 

L.P. 

Don't approach President. 

S.Ll. 

Agree : the U.S. Govt. long to come out in our favour. 

A.L.B. 

Cdn't support w'drawal w'out firm guarantee of some kind from U.N.  Don't believe we have exhausted our Pt. Said card.  Believe Nasser may be rocky.  Arabs may be having 2nd. thoughts (intercepts):  they may be beginning to crack.  Others may be on worse hooks than us.
 Opinion is swinging our way.  Public opinion e.g. in Canada favours us much more than Govt.  We shall lose respect of those who support us. 
 How reconcile this action with D.E.'s speech and R.A.B.'s endorsement of it.
 Favour playing this a little longer.
 This decision wd. make us a satellite of U.S.A.

D.S. 

Have agreed with A.L.B. h'to. 
 I advocated course I did because assume H.M. will tell us to-morrow we can't afford delay because sterling.  If so, our cards are exhausted.

H.M. 

May I give econ. picture at outset of to-morrow's Cabinet. But I advocated firm, but quick, action v. Egypt.  We have failed in that.  What else can we do now?  What have we to gain by delaying w'drawal.

H. 

A.L.B.'s view wd. involve S.Ll. returng. to N. York to try to get more. 

S.Ll. 

Don't think I can get more.  H.M.'s statement won't enhance my bargaining position.
 Consultation with French.
  Agreed : S.Ll. to ascertain their views to-night on outline of what
    he proposes to say.  Report to Cab. to-morrow. 
    May be necessary to defer statement until Friday.

Taken from C.M. 90(56) - Meeting held on 28 November 1956.