Suez Canal - 6 September 1956

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Suez Canal - 6 September 1956

S.Ll. 

NATO mtg.  For. Ministers attendg.  Spaak & Pearson both said:  we shd. deny act of natn. and go to S. Council.  Perm. Repves., w'out instructns., said nothing (incldg. U.S.).
 French are dubious about S.C. – fr. angle of Fr. opinion not necessary.  But recognise others' need for it.  They want, however, to get first some assurances fr. Dulles – i) no departure fr. Ldn. Confce. resoln. at all. ii) no weakening of our posn., by manoeuvre on his part.
 Diffes. : i) when shd. we announce ii) can we avoid undue delay.


P.M. 

Menzies' answer.
 Oppn. are mtg. this a.m. – will ask for recall of Parlt. & refce. to U.N.  I therefore suggest we announce to-day recall of Parlt. for Wed.
 We can't announce to-day our intentn. re S.C. unless we don't wait for D.'s assurances : & ii) is v. important. 
 Also 1(b) of M.'s answer is valid.
 Our announcemt. cd. cover Parlt. – & then go on to say tht. Govt.'s future course of action must turn on outcome of M.'s mission.


R.A.B. 

Alternative : recall Parlt. Tues. & spend that day on Cyprus.  But I wd. prefer Wedy.


P.M. 

Wed./Thurs.  For Suez : and take Cyprus on Friday, with extra hour.
 Only diffy : certain ships shd. sail on Wed. if D. Day is to be unchanged.  Wd. prob. mean putting back D. Day by one day.

A.H. 

They start sailing Mon.  Mght put those back.  But after Tues. a delay wd. mean corrresp. delay in D. Day.


P.M. 

Was anxious to get Parlt. to endorse addl. precautionary measures.  These wd. be the first M.T. ships to go.
 Wd. like to move minimum before Parlt. meets.


H. M.

also willing to b'cast.  Cd. do this on Tues. p.m.
   Agreed : Recall Parlt. for Wednesday.


P.M. 

Views of U.S. Govt.  Message from President read.


S.Ll. 

Read message from Dulles. 
  Practical diffes. in D.'s plan.  But it does show tht. U.S. are thinking in terms of denying dues on N's refusal.  We shd. get that into opern. at once – and go on discussing plan for constituting a new authority based on 1888 Convn.


P.M. 

Shows tht., when we are tough, U.S. move.


S.Ll. 

French take that view too.
 Aim : by Tues. get U.S. into line on dues.


H.M. 

Agree : the other economic sanctions hurt us too much.  And the dues have a political, as well as economic, significance.


P.M. 

Read draft reply to Eisenhower. Suggestions a) Add : Korea was another example – p. 2.  b) A reference to next steps.  The dues etc.,  This draft deals wholly in terms of war, as final step.  Amendment : pp. 2-3.
D.E. Have we worked out consequences?  Much opinion here is v. use of force : this means that, if we use it, we must be quick.
 Moreover, have U.S. promised to support our gold reserves.  The sterling rate wd. collapse otherwise.


P.M. 

U.S. will provide oil.


H.M. 

But prob. won't provide it free.  At least they won't promise it.


D.E. 

With World opinion divided, run on sterling seems inevitable.  Unless mil. opn. can be v. short, it is surely risky to embark on it w'out U.S. underwriting our financial position.

Taken from C.M. 63(56) - Meeting held on 6 September 1956.