In 'n toespraak aan die VN se Veiligheidsraad op 31 Oktober 1956 bespreek sir Brittanië, Sir Pierson Dixon, Franse en Engelse militêre operasies in reaksie op Egipte se nasionalisering van die Suezkanaal.
Wat ons geleer het: Die Suez -krisis
Die nege dae lange Suez-krisis van 1956 is aangevuur deur 'n reeks geskille wat agterna op speelplekke lyk, hoewel dit tot wêreldwye Armageddon kon gelei het. Daardie jaar het Egipte sy trou van Westerse wapenverskaffers na die Sowjetblok oorgeskakel en 'n pakket jetjagters, wapens en artillerie uit Tsjeggo -Slowakye gekoop. In reaksie hierop het die Verenigde State sy belofte van finansiering vir die kolossale Aswan Dam -projek teruggetrek. Die Egiptiese president, Gamal Nasser, het toe die Suez -kanaal in beslag geneem.
Die Britte was nie op die punt om die Egiptenare toe te laat om 'n waterweg wat hulle meen dat hulle besit te nasionaliseer nie - wat die Britte, wat die aandeel in die kanaalonderneming betref, gedoen het. Maar hulle het 'n verskoning nodig om binne te val. Betree Israel, met wie Brittanje en Frankryk in die geheim 'n koalisie teen Egipte gestig het. Die Israeli's sou Sinaï, 'n uitgestrekte kwadrant woestyn wat hulle lankal wou gehad het, op voorhand in beslag neem, en as hulle uit die ooste na die Suez toe vorder, sou 'n Anglo-Franse mag valskermsoldate en mariniers wes van die kanaal laat beland, oënskynlik om hul likiede bate te beskerm. Die knypers sou die Egiptiese leër vasgevang en vernietig. Die verskoning vir die inval sou wees die uitreiking van 'n Anglo-Franse ultimatum aan Israel en Egipte om vuur te staak en Westerse beheer oor die kanaal te aanvaar, wat die koalisie geweet het Nasser sou verwerp. Terwyl die Britse doedelsakters omgedwaal het en die Franse Foreign Legionnaires hulde gegroet het kepis, die 800 megaton gorilla in die kamer was die onvermydelikheid dat Egipte 'n beroep op die Sowjetunie sou doen om hulp.
Die Verenigde State was salig onbewus van die Anglo-Frans-Israeliese koalisie totdat dit amper te laat was. President Dwight Eisenhower het 'n hartaanval gekry en was besig om vir 'n tweede termyn te veg, en die Hongaarse rewolusie het almal se aandag gehad. Eisenhower was woedend oor sy bondgenote van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog. Op 1 November, onder swaar Amerikaanse druk, het die Algemene Vergadering van die VN gestem vir 'n skietstilstand wat 'n week later in werking getree het. Teen daardie tyd het die Israeliete Sinai besit, en die Britte het Port Said beset. Dit sou nie lank duur nie. Op 22 Desember trek Brittanje sy troepe uit Egipte en beëindig 74 jaar van die besetting van die kanaalgebied. Drie maande later het Israel aan Sinai teruggetrek.
Eindtelling: Egipte 3 Brittanje, Frankryk en Israel 0.
■ Laat 'n bondgenoot altyd weet as u iets gaan doen wat 'n kernoorlog kan veroorsaak.
■ Helikopters is handig. Die Royal Marines het die eerste helo-aanval van die geskiedenis op Port Said afgeskaf. Ongelukkig het hulle nog nie uitgevind hoe om 'n regte LZ-een te vestig wat in die middel van 'n Egiptiese stadion beland het nie.
■ Moenie die ou irriteer wie se karre twee keer so groot is as joune nie. Toe admiraal Arleigh Burke gevra word of die sesde vloot die Anglo-Franse invlootvloot kan stop, het hy gesê, hel ja, nie net die vloot nie, maar hy kon die Israeliete en Egiptenare in die winskopie uithaal.
■ Onopgeleide vegvlieëniers is nutteloos. Egipte het 'n versending nuwe MiG-15's uit Tsjeggo-Slowakye gekry, maar het nie tyd gehad om sy vlieëniers op te lei hoe om dit te vlieg nie.
■ Onopgeleide vegvlieëniers wat eerste generasie MiG-15's en de Havilland Vampires vlieg teen die tweede generasie Israeliese Dassault Mystère IV's is nie net nutteloos nie, maar dood.
■ As u 'n oorlog in 'n woestyn gaan voer, maak seker dat u voertuie het wat op sand kan ry. Die Israeli's het dit nie gedoen nie, want hulle was afhanklik van 'n versending Franse voorwielaangedrewe vragmotors wat nooit opgedaag het nie.
■ U is in die moeilikheid as u bevelvoerder 'n alkoholisgebruiker is, wat die onbevoegde Egiptiese generaal Abdel Hakim Amer beskryf het, wat homself 11 jaar later doodgemaak het nadat hy die Sesdaagse Oorlog aan Israel verloor het.
■ Die Franse het geleer om nie die Amerikaners of die Britte te vertrou nie. Frankryk het die NAVO verlaat as gevolg van die Suez -oorlog en uiteindelik sy eie kernmag ontwikkel, maar was nooit weer 'n wêreldmoondheid nie.
■ Die Israeli's het geleer om nooit op 'n ander land staat te maak vir taktiese hulp nie. Die Suez-krisis het Israel ook die waarde van die voorkomende aanval geleer-'n beginsel wat dit in die Sesdaagse Oorlog gevolg het.
Oorspronklik gepubliseer in die Julie 2011 -uitgawe van Militêre geskiedenis. Klik hier om in te teken.
Dit is die derde in 'n reeks poste wat op 'n geleentheid plaasgevind het ter viering van die 60ste herdenking van die Suez -krisis wat op 7 November 2016 aangebied is deur die Departement Strategie en Verdedigingsbeleid. Departement klankwolk.
Vanuit 'n Britse perspektief, 60 jaar na die krisis, het Suez 'n byna ikoniese status, wat dikwels as 'n kort hand gebruik word vir alles wat 'verkeerd' is in buitelandse beleid en besluitneming. Dit word gesê dat dit die oomblik is waarop Brittanje se status en reputasie as 'n wêreldmoondheid geëindig het, en daarmee 'n afname in Britse morele mag en aansien, die uiteindelike voorbeeld van Albion se volmaaktheid. Op hierdie manier roep 'Suez' 'n spesifieke reaksie op wat beoog om 'n gedeelde betekenis te gebruik wat vandag nog gebruik word.
Matthew Parris het byvoorbeeld in die konteks van die Brexit -debat geskryf Die tye op 15 Oktober: 'Soos in 'n slegte droom, het ek die gevoel om te val. Ons Britte is op pad om die grootste opskudding te maak sedert Suez, en êrens diep in die binneste weet die nuwe bestuursklas dit. Ons is op pad na nasionale vernedering, niemand is in beheer nie, en niemand weet wat om te doen nie. Hierdie Brexit -ding is buite beheer '.
In Brittanje en die Suez -krisis, het die historikus David Carlton aangevoer dat 'Geen gebeurtenis in die naoorlogse tydperk het die land so verdeel dat die Suez-krisis in geen geval die regering die waarheid so hard verduister het nie, en dat daar baie kontroversie was oor die uitwerking daarvan op Brittanje se posisie in die wereld. Gevolglik sal baie mense 1956 as een van die keerpunte in Brittanje se na-oorlogse geskiedenis beskou '.
Op hierdie maniere is Suez beide 'n verwysingspunt en 'n keerpunt.
Agtergrond van die Suez -krisis
Waaroor het die krisis dan gegaan? Wat was op die spel wat dit veroorsaak het wat Enoch Powell later '' 'n nasionale senuwee -ineenstorting '' genoem het?
Eerstens het dit nie oor die Canal Zone of die Suez Canal Company gegaan nie, en as dit was, kon dit op vreedsame wyse deur die VN opgelos gewees het. In plaas daarvan was dit 'n veelvuldige krisis op internasionale, streeks- en staatsvlak, en slegs die verwydering van Nasser sou die krisisse oplos omdat hy beskou word as die middelpunt van hulle almal.
Maar het dit werklik hoofsaaklik oor prestige gegaan? Ons is gewoond aan argumente wat dui op die belange van Brittanje in die Midde -Ooste en die instandhouding van haar informele ryk was hoofsaaklik gekoppel aan die beheer van belangrike hulpbronne en die veiligheid van noodsaaklike militêre fasiliteite. Brittanje wou nie sy militêre teenwoordigheid in die Midde -Ooste behou om olie te beskerm nie. In 1956 was daar 16 planne vir eensydige Britse optrede in die streek. Vyftien planne was vir nasionale ontruimingsoperasies en slegs een vir 'n konvensionele oorlog: om Jordan teen Israel te ondersteun. Brittanje wou ook nie in Egipte bly nie vanweë die belangrikheid van haar militêre fasiliteite. Dit was moontlik die geval in die Tweede Wêreldoorlog en die vroeë naoorlogse tydperk, maar teen 1956 was die Suez-basis in vredestyd beskou as van geen militêre belang nie. Tog weier die Britte steeds om aan die Egiptiese eise vir ontruiming te voldoen, omdat hulle aansienlik gevrees het dat dit as uitgedwing sou word en dus 'n nadelige invloed op hul aansien en invloed in die res van die Midde -Ooste sou hê.
Tradisionele berigte oor Brittanje en die oorsake van Suez beklemtoon die Britse verdediging van haar jarelange belange en invloed in die Midde -Ooste wat dateer uit die 1870's om die lewensbelangrike handels- en kommunikasieroete deur die Suezkanaal na die res van die Britse Ryk in die Verre Ooste te beskerm . In hierdie weergawes was die grootste bedreiging vir die Britse invloed die gebrek aan oplossing vir die Arabies-Israeliese geskil, die opkoms van Arabiese nasionalisme en die bedreiging van kommunisme.
Toe Nasser president van Egipte word, het hy hom as positief beskou en as 'n kliënt van die weste beskou en die sleutel tot 'n aantal Britse en Amerikaanse beleid in die Midde -Ooste. Egipte was byvoorbeeld sentraal in die Anglo-Amerikaanse Koue Oorlog-strategie in die Midde-Ooste, wat daarop gemik was om 'n verdedigingsorganisasie in die Midde-Ooste te stig volgens die NAVO. Vir die Verenigde State sou dit dien as 'n skans teen Sowjet -indringing in die streek. Vir Brittanje sou dit die bykomende voordeel hê om Brittanje se tweesydige reëlings in die streek te formaliseer en 'n sambreelverdedigingsorganisasie van bestaande Britse verdedigingsbelange met Egipte, Jordanië en Irak te word. Brittanje en die Verenigde State soek ook 'n oplossing vir die Arabies-Israeliese geskil, deur middel van plan ALPHA, in wese 'n vroeë weergawe van 'n land vir vredesooreenkoms: territoriale kompromieë en 'n ooreenkoms om grense te erken.
Maar in 1953 is die Amerikaanse beleid hersien. John Foster Dulles, minister van buitelandse sake van president Eisenhower, het deur die streek getoer en tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat die Britse rol in die verdediging van die Midde-Ooste en die Anglo-Egiptiese betrekkinge Westerse belange belemmer eerder as om dit te dien. Hy het geglo dat die gebrek aan vestiging op die Suezkanaalbasis potensiële Arabiese eenheid en belyning met die weste ondermyn.
Nasser word toenemend beskou as 'n bedreiging vir westerse belange. Terwyl die Anglo-Egiptiese ooreenkoms van 1954 Brittanje 20 maande gegee het om hul troepe uit die kanaalgebied te onttrek en die reg om die basis weer te aktiveer as die vryheid van die kanaal deur eksterne magte bedreig word, dui dit op 'n oplossing vir die probleem van die Anglo-1936. Nasser, 'n Egiptiese verdrag, ondermyn die Britse geborgde Verdedigingsorganisasie in die Midde -Ooste, die Bagdad -verdrag, deur Jordanië te druk om nie aan te sluit nie.
Nasser se opposisie teen Israel dreig om die gewapende konflik in die Midde -Ooste te hernu. Gevolglik is sy versoeke om militêre toerusting uit die weste geweier. In Julie 1955 wend hy hom eerder tot die Oosblok met 'n ooreenkoms met Tsjeggo -Slowakye. Maar, hoewel daar 'n westerse ooreenkoms was dat Nasser moes gaan, was dit om baie verskillende redes. Vir die Verenigde State was dit omdat Nasser die eenheid van die Midde -Ooste teenstaan teen die USSR en Brittanje, omdat Nasser die posisie van Brittanje in die streek en die res van die Britse ryk ondermyn het. Teenkanting teen Nasser se beleid het daartoe gelei dat Brittanje en die VSA hul beloofde finansies van die Aswan Hoogdam in die middel van Julie 1956 onttrek het. Nasser het 'n alternatiewe bron van inkomste gevind in sy nasionalisering van die Suez Canal Company op 26 Julie.
Die aand toe die nuus in Eden kom, het ons saam met die koning en premier van Irak geëet en gesê Nasser moet gaan omdat hy nie toegelaat kan word om 'sy hand op ons lugpyp te hou' en 'hom van sy sitplek af te slaan' nie. Maar dit sou nie vinnig of beslissend gebeur nie weens probleme met militêre vermoëns en gereedheid.
Privaat is voorbereidings getref vir die gebruik van geweld, insluitend samespanning met Israel en Frankryk vir 'n voorwendsel vir die gebruik van geweld, wat op 22 Oktober tot die Sevres -protokol gelei het. In die openbaar het Brittanje egter 'n diplomatieke skikking gevolg deur deeglike onderhandelinge: 'n Maritieme konferensie van 22 nasies in Augustus en die Amerikaanse geborgde Suez Canal Users Association in September.
Die militêre operasie het skielik geëindig toe die VN op 2 November 'n skietstilstand gevra het. Die konflik het gelei tot 'n styging in die pond en 'n skielike afname in die goudreserwes van Brittanje. Alhoewel lenings van die IMF die druk sou verlig het, was Amerikaanse steun hiervoor noodsaaklik en moes Brittanje dus buig voor Washington se eis om 'n skietstilstand. Die Britte het 'n verkeerde berekening gehad en het 'n gebrekkige opvatting van die Amerikaanse beleid: geglo dat hulle dit sou ondersteun of ten minste onverskillig sou wees, in die hoop op ten minste goedaardige neutraliteit. Eisenhower som toe hy op 1 November die Nasionale Veiligheidsraad toespreek: "Hoe kan ons moontlik Brittanje en Frankryk ondersteun en sodoende verloor ons die hele Arabiese wêreld?"
Resultate van die Suez -krisis: 'n keerpunt?
Die krisis het gelei tot 'n verandering in die plaaslike magsbalans, want terwyl die Egiptiese lugmag vernietig is, het Nasser die enigste Arabiese leier geword wat die weste kon uitdaag. Israel het behaal omdat Nasser nie afgesit is nie, maar die UNEF het vryheid van skeepvaart in die Golf van Akaba gewaarborg, en dit het Israel 'n hawe by die Rooi See gegee. Frankryk het haar lesse toegepas toe De Gaulle 18 maande later president geword het met 'n Europese fokus op die Franse buitelandse beleid. 'N Deel van de Gaulle se veto -toetreding van die Britse toetrede tot die EEG kan verklaar word deur die Suez -ervaring, waardeur Brittanje nie 'n Trojaanse perd van Amerikaanse belange kon wees nie. Frankryk onttrek hom aan die militêre struktuur van die NAVO en weier om die Amerikaanse beleid in Libanon en Viëtnam te ondersteun.
Wêreldwyd kan aangevoer word dat die krisis die oorheersing van die twee supermoondhede geformaliseer het en 'n magsbalans daargestel het wat van krag was tot die ineenstorting van die Berlynse muur.
Sommiges beskou Suez as 'n bevestiging dat Brittanje hopeloos te veel gestrek is, dat as 'n globale rol behoue moet bly, dit ondergeskik moet wees aan supermoondheidsbelange. Die grense van die na-oorlogse Britse mag is gedemonstreer en die verdere Britse agteruitgang as 'n keiserlike mag in die Midde-Ooste, Afrika en Suidoos-Asië is voorgehou. Ander kyk na die verhouding tussen Suez en die Britse besluit om by die EEG aan te sluit, asof die besluit die gevolg was van Brittanje wat erken en aangepas het by 'n nuwe werklikheid, waar dit 'n ryk verloor het en 'n nuwe rol gesoek het.
Margaret Thatcher het Suez beslis as 'n keerpunt en 'n verwysingspunt beskou. Sy was van mening dat die impak van Suez op die Britse beleidsvorming daarna, 'n 'Suez -sindroom', negatief was: 'nadat ons ons mag voorheen oordryf het, het ons ons impotensie nou oordryf'. En sy het Suez aangewend om haar prestasies in die buitelandse beleid te verbeter: 'Die betekenis van die Falklandoorlog was enorm, vir Brittanje se selfvertroue en vir ons posisie in die wêreld. Sedert die Suez -fiasko in 1956 was die Britse buitelandse beleid 'n lang terugtog. (The Downing Street Years).
Dit is ook belangrik om te onthou dat Britse beleidsaannames destyds dieselfde gebly het. Brittanje het homself nog steeds as 'n groot moondheid beskou en was steeds daarop gemik om die globale invloed te behou. En hoewel Brittanje wêreldwyd steeds invloed uitoefen, sou dit oor beslissende aangeleenthede dit slegs in noue oorleg met die VSA doen. Op hierdie manier het Brittanje steeds sy invloed uitgeoefen en was hulle steeds aktief in die Midde -Ooste. Britse mag het moontlik afgeneem, maar haar belange bly dieselfde. Brittanje was steeds bekommerd oor Arabiese nasionalisme, kommunisme en die Arabies-Israeliese geskil. Brittanje gebruik militêre mag in 1958 om in te gryp ter ondersteuning van Jordanië en Koeweit in 1961, veldtogte teen opstand is in Aden gevoer en Dhofar en Brittanje bly aktief en verloof selfs na die besluit van Oos -Suez tot 1991 en daarna.
Ofskoon Suez 'n keerpunt of 'n verwysingspunt is, het die Britse onvoorbereidheid vergroot om 'n beperkte oorlog te voer en die onsamehangendheid van Britse doelwitte, maniere en middele. Die vrees dat 'n versuim om Nasser rampspoedig vir Britse aansien sou wees, eindig in 'n ramp en skande. En op hierdie manier het Antony Nutting sekerlik tereg voorgestel dat die krisis die blywende betekenis van die krisis is Geen einde aan 'n les nie.
Beeld: Rook styg uit olietenks langs die Suezkanaal wat tydens die aanvanklike Anglo-Franse aanval op Port Said, 5 November 1956, via die Imperial War Museum.
As die langste kanaal in die wêreld sonder sluise, verbind die Suez -kanaal die Middellandse See en die Rooi see oor die Isthmus van Suez. Alhoewel die ou heersers van Eygpt 'n manier bedink het om die Nyl met die Rooi See te verbind, was die Franse ingenieur Ferdinand de Lesseps eers in die moderne tyd 'n werkbare ontwerp vir die kanaal van 163 km, wat in 1869. In 1956 het die kanaal die plek geword van 'n internasionale krisis wat Brittanje, Frankryk, Egipte en Israel betrek het. Vandag bly die kanaal 'n strategiese bewegingspunt van die wêreld se olietoevoer.
Vroeë geskiedenis. Sedert antieke tye het handel gedy in die Middellandse See en die Rooi See, en farao's het die voordeel erken wat hulle kon kry deur die twee liggame te verbind. So vroeg as 1500 V.C. , farao's van Egipte 's New Kingdom het die bou van 'n kanaal tussen die Nyl en die Rooi See opdrag gegee. Hierdie vroeë kanaal was bedek met sand, en alhoewel aan die einde van die sewende eeu V.C. Farao Necho II het probeer om 'n nuwe kanaal te bou, die projek sou eers voltooi gewees het tot die Persiese inval in Darius na 522 V.C. Hierdie kanaal het uiteindelik dieselfde lot bereik as sy voorgangers, en opeenvolgende heersers en die Grieke onder Ptolemeus I en Cleopatra, en later het die Romeine onder Trajanus probeer om dit te herstel, maar die kanaal het in elk geval verval.
Napoleon Bonaparte, toe hy Egipte in 1798 verower, herleef die idee van 'n kanaal, hierdie een om die twee seë direk te verbind. Die projek het egter eers 'n halfeeu begin as gevolg van wanopvattings van ingenieurs rakende relatiewe watervlakke. Uiteindelik het Lesseps, die voormalige Franse konsul van Egipte, 'n konsessie van 99 jaar op die kanaal van die khedive van Egipte ontvang. Met 'n bemanning van ongeveer 2,4 miljoen Egiptiese werkers het hy begin met die bouprojek, wat in die loop van 'n dekade meer as 125,000 lewens gekos het. Die kanaal het op 17 November 1869 met baie seremonie geopen.
Krisisse en bekommernisse. Tot die Suez-krisis van 1956 het die Anglo-Franse Suez-kanaalmaatskappy die kanaal beheer. Die Egiptiese president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, het toenemend noue bande met die kommunistiese blok ontwikkel, en daarom het hy, toe hy hulp versoek het vir die bou van die Aswan High Dam 𠅊 -projek, bedoel om die Nyl te tem en hidro -elektriese krag aan die Verenigde State, Brittanje en Frankryk het geweier. Op 26 Julie het Nasser teruggekeer deur krygswet in die kanaalgebied te verklaar en beheer oor die kanaal te neem.
Brittanje en Frankryk het eers diplomasie probeer, en toe dit misluk, het hulle gesoek dat Nasser omvergewerp word deur 'n alliansie met Israel. Die drie nasies het 'n klassieke " goeie cop/bad cop " strategie gevolg. Op 29 Oktober het die Israeliete Egipte binnegeval, waarna Brittanje en Frankryk hulself as vredesmagte voorgedoen het en aangebied het om namens die Verenigde Nasies (VN) die kanaalgebied te beset. Hulle optrede het sulke spanning onder die twee supermoondhede veroorsaak dat beide die Verenigde State en die Sowjetunie byna ingegryp het. Die VN het die ontruiming van die Franse en Britte op 22 Desember gedwing, en Israel het in Maart 1957 uitgetrek.
Na die Suez -krisis. Die Suez-krisis het Nasser se statuur aansienlik verhoog, en hy het 'n kragtige simbool gebly vir Arabiese nasionaliste soos Irak, Saddam Hussein, wyle Hafez al-Assad van Sirië, en Libië se Muammar al-Qaddafi. Die voorval was ook die einde van die Britse en Franse invloed in die Midde -Ooste, waar hulle die grootste deel van 150 jaar aansienlik swaai gehad het. Uit 'n intelligensie -oogpunt was die Suez -krisis beduidend vir die rol wat die Britse onderskeping van chiffer -uitsendings speel, 'n operasie bekend as Engulf.
Israel verower die Sinai-skiereiland in die Arabies-Israeliese oorlog in 1967, en vir die volgende ses jaar was die kanaal 'n buffer tussen Egipte en Israel. Dit is gedurende daardie tyd gesluit, en die Egiptenare, wat in 1973 weer beheer gekry het, het dit eers weer in 1975 heropen. Sedertdien het hulle dit twee keer verbreed en beplan om dit teen 2010 weer uit te brei om groter olievaartuie te kan huisves . Die Amerikaanse departement van energie het die Suezkanaal geïdentifiseer as een van verskeie geografiese en klein gate wat noodsaaklik is vir die internasionale oliehandel en uiters vatbaar is vir aanvalle of ongelukke.
V&A: Waarom het Brittanje nie probeer om Italië se inval in Abessinië in 1935 te belemmer deur die Italiaanse vloot te verhinder om die Suez -kanaal te gebruik nie?
Met die voordeel van agterna, lyk dit redelik verstandig om aan te dui dat die Britte die Italiaanse inval in Abessinië kon belemmer het deur 'n gang deur die Suezkanaal te blokkeer. Die Italianers was immers heeltemal afhanklik van die kanaal vir toegang tot Oos -Afrika en die Royal Navy was meer as in staat om so 'n operasie te onderneem.
Uit die perspektief van 1935 was daar egter 'n aantal faktore wat saamgesweer het om Brittanje se hand te bly. Eerstens, en die belangrikste, was Brittanje uiters versigtig om Mussolini te vervreem, wat nog steeds as 'n belangrike teengewig beskou word vir die groter bedreiging wat Hitler se Duitsland inhou, en inderdaad eers onlangs met Brittanje en Frankryk in die 'Stresa Front' gebring is, wat gepoog om Hitler te bevat.
Boonop was die openbare stemming in Brittanje nog grootliks pasifisties in 1935. Die beginsel van kollektiewe veiligheid was nog nie misluk nie, en gevolglik was daar 'n wydverspreide begeerte om uit te skakel na die Volkebond in die hantering van Mussolini se aggressie. Sanksies het natuurlik gevolg, maar dit was grootliks ondoeltreffend.
Daar was ook die kwessie van logistiek. Aangesien Italië twee ander kolonies in Oos-Afrika gehad het-Eritrea en Somaliland-en dat 'n groot deel van die opbou van troepe en materiaal reeds voor die inval self begin het, sou dit vir die Britte baie moeilik gewees het om Italiaanse voornemens te raai, laat alleen optree op so 'n presiese en aggressiewe manier.
Die Italiaanse inval in Abessinië sou diepgaande strategiese gevolge inhou: die ideale van kollektiewe veiligheid ondermyn en uiteindelik Mussolini in 'n steeds hegter verhouding met Hitler dryf. Tog het Brittanje weinig begeerte gehad om Italië se optrede te belemmer deur die Suez -kanaal te sluit. In die lig van die ernstiger en onmiddellike bedreiging wat Hitler inhou, was min bereid om Mussolini te vervreem deur sy ambisies in die verre Oos-Afrika te frustreer.
Suez -krisis van 1956
Op 26 Julie 1956 kondig Gamal Abdel Nasser, die president van Egipte, aan dat die Suez -kanaal genasionaliseer word. Op dieselfde dag is die kanaal en die Straat van Tiran gesluit vir Israeliese vervoer. Die stap was woedend vir sowel Frankryk as die Verenigde Koninkryk, wat groot aandeelhouers in die Suez Canal Company was. Beide lande en Israel het in die geheim ooreengekom om die kanaal weer te beset en Nasser af te sit.
Die Britse premier, Anthony Eden, se kabinet was verdeeld oor die gepaste optrede. Rab Butler, die leier van die huis, was die belangrikste teenstander van militêre optrede. Tog het Eden op 25 Oktober 1956 daarin geslaag om sy kabinet te oorreed om militêre ingryping goed te keur.
Op 29 Oktober 1956 het Israeliese troepe Egipte binnegekom.
Op 3 November 1956 het Anthony Eden 'n toespraak aan die nasie gelewer. Aan die begin van sy toespraak het Eden uitgeroep: "Daar is tye vir aksie, tye vir moed, en dit is een daarvan".
Eden het egter verder aangevoer dat die tyd reg is om vas te staan. Aksie was nodig om Nasser se optrede oor die Suez -kanaal ongedaan te maak. Na die toespraak het Eden 'n vloed van briewe ontvang van luisteraars wat sy benadering goedgekeur het.
Burgerlikes in Egipte het gewere gekry in 'n poging om 'n tydelike burgermag op te bou wat die weermag kan ondersteun en die ingryping kan teenstaan. Die weermag in Kaïro het 'n volskaalse Anglo-Franse inval verwag.
Op 4 November is 'n groot protesoptog teen die militêre opbou in Londen gehou. Baie betogers het baniere opgehang met die woorde “Law Not War”. Aneurin Bevan, bekend vir die baanbrekerswerk in die National Health Service, was die hoofspreker op Trafalgar Square. Hy het beroemd gesê dat as Eden opreg was in wat hy sê, hy te dom was om premier te wees. Die polisie is ontbied toe die betoging gewelddadig geword het.
Op 5-6 November het die Franse en Britse magte Egipte binnegeval. Op 5 November om 05:00 het mans van die 3de Bataljon van die Valskermregiment op die El Gamil -vliegveld geland. In totaal val 668 valskermsoldate in El Gamil. Weermagvegters sowel as burgerlikes het weerstand gebied. Franse valskermsoldate, vergesel van Britse steun, het wes van Port Said geland.
By El Gamil het die Egiptenare 'n sterker weerstand gebied as wat verwag is, wat gelei het tot meer ongevalle aan die Britse en Franse kant as wat verwag is. 3 PARA het die eerste en laaste bataljon -valskermaanval sedert die oorlog uitgevoer toe dit op 5 November 1956 die vliegveld El Gamil wes van Port Said aangeval het.
Op daardie dag het Eden egter minder positiewe nuus ontvang. Hy ontvang 'n brief van Bulganin, die president van die USSR, waarin Bulganin dit duidelik maak dat die Sowjets aksie sal neem indien 'n nasie Egipte aanval. Dit was veral kommerwekkend teen die agtergrond van die Hongaarse opstand. Op 4 November het Sowjet -troepe Hongarye binnegeval om die opstand te vernietig. Die Sowjets het gewys dat hulle bereid was om geweld te gebruik wanneer dit nodig was.
Na die Koue Oorlog het baie verwag dat Brittanje se groot bondgenoot, die VSA, sou saamtrek om Groot -Brittanje te ondersteun. Dit was egter ver van die geval. Amerika was te midde van 'n verkiesingsveldtog en president Eisenhower beywer hom vir herverkiesing. Die Eisenhower -administrasie wou homself nie as 'n bondgenoot van die Europese imperialisme voorstel nie. Dit was ook bekommerd dat die USSR sou ingryp om Nasser te ondersteun.
Dag een was militêr 'n sukses. Maar op die diplomatieke gebied sukkel Eden.
In 'n vergadering van die Britse kabinet op 6 November het Harold Macmillan skerp waarskuwings uitgespreek oor ekonomiese gevaar as gevolg van optrede in Egipte. Macmillan was voorheen een van die sterkste ondersteuners van vasberade optrede. Die Amerikaanse presidentsverkiesing lei tot die herverkiesing van president Eisenhower.
Die Britte en Franse het op 6 November seelandings geloods om die valskermsoldate op die grond te ondersteun. Die skepe van die Royal Navy het die dag begin deur na Port Said se verdediging te mik, en die Commandos en Royal Marines het hul aanval begin, met 45 kommando wat per helikopter op Port Said land. Egipte se verdediging word deur Franse en Britse valskermsoldate, Britse kommando's en die Israeliese weermag gestamp.
Maar die politiek van die inval sou nog morsiger word. Harold MacMillan het die land gewaarsku dat internasionale beleggers haastig hul pund verkoop, veral in New York. Brittanje het die werklike vooruitsig om die Britse pond te devalueer. Sy het ook die dreigende bedreiging van 'n Arabiese olie -embargo in die gesig gestaar - wat albei die Britse ekonomie bedreig het. Daar was ook die bedreiging van sanksies van die Verenigde Nasies. Eisenhower het aan sy kabinet duidelik gemaak dat Amerika nie die pes sal ondersteun nie, totdat Frankryk en Brittanje hul troepe uit Egipte geneem het.
Op 2 November het die Verenigde Nasies vir 'n skietstilstand gestem. Die Verenigde State en die VN het die inval veroordeel.
In die lig van hierdie ekonomiese en diplomatieke druk het Anthony Eden op 6 November 'n skietstilstand aangekondig.
Teen 6 November is Port Said ingeneem. Die weermag beraam dat die verkryging van volle beheer oor die Suezkanaal binne 'n dag bereik kan word. Troepe is egter beveel om om middernag op te hou veg. Britse troepe het op 23 Desember begin onttrek.
Daar word vermoed dat ongeveer 650 Egiptenare, insluitend burgerlikes, dood is. Ongeveer 2 000 is gewond. Anglo-Franse magte het 26 mans verloor. 129 is gewond.
Brittanje is verneder. In die Laerhuis op 20 Desember is Eden gevra of hy geweet het van die Israeliese aanval wat die Frans-Britse aanval voorafgegaan het. Eden het die Huis mislei deur aan die Huis te vertel dat hy nie vooraf kennis gehad het nie. Op hierdie stadium het Eden se gesondheid agteruitgegaan.
Op 8 Januarie 1957 het Eden vir die laaste keer sy kabinet toegespreek. Hy het op 9 Januarie bedank, en noem sy verswakkende gesondheid 'n belangrike faktor in sy besluit. Harold MacMillan volg hom op 10 Januarie as premier op.
In die nasleep van die krisis word Nasser beskou as 'n held omdat hy die 'imperiale ambisies' van Brittanje en Frankryk gestand gedoen het en dit verslaan het. Die opgelegde einde van die krisis het Nasser 'n opgeblase siening van sy eie mag gegee. In sy gedagtes het hy die gesamentlike magte van die Verenigde Koninkryk, Frankryk en Israel verslaan, terwyl die militêre operasie in werklikheid deur die Verenigde State onder druk gebring is. Die Sesdaagse Oorlog teen Israel in 1967 was toe die werklikheid begin het - 'n oorlog wat nooit sou plaasgevind het as die Suez -krisis 'n ander oplossing gehad het nie.
Intussen het die Suez -fiasko vir Brittanje bewys dat sy in 'n groot mate geïsoleer was van internasionale aangeleenthede, geen steun vir sy beleid het nie, en kortliks nie meer 'n top -wêreldmoondheid was nie. Die Suez -krisis word beskou as die laaste episode in die Britse koloniale geskiedenis. Na Suez was daar 'n toenemende besef dat Brittanje polities en finansieel afhanklik van die Verenigde State word, en dat geen ernstige poging om by die internasionale politiek betrokke te raak nie geïsoleer kan word nie.
Britse reaksie op die Suez -kanaalkrisis - GESKIEDENIS
Geplaas deur Pete op 29 Oktober 2017
Vandag 61 jaar gelede het Brittanje (in bondgenootskap met Frankryk en Israel) Egipte onwettig binnegeval.
Dit was alles net 'n groot misverstand natuurlik.
'N Misverstand wat Arbeidshelde Attlee, Bevan en Benn almal graag voor die deur van die destydse Tory -regering gelê het.
Anthony Eden se plan vir die Midde -Ooste
Die konserwatiewe premier Anthony Eden kon nie verder dink as Gamal Abdel Nasser nie - die radikaal anti -imperialistiese en duiwels charismatiese nuwe president van Egipte.
Eden en sy regering het geglo dat al die groeiende probleme van die Britse Ryk in die Midde -Ooste gedurende die vyftigerjare as gevolg van Nasser persoonlik was. Hierdie probleme, hulle logika het hulle oortuig, kon dus opgelos word deur hom weg te neem.
Nadat Nasser die Suezkanaal in Brittanje in Julie 1956 genasionaliseer het - 'n kanaal wat deur Egiptenare in Egipte gebou is - het Eden gestamp.
Die Britse regering het met Israel saamgespan om Egipte binne te val, sodat Brittanje en Frankryk dit as voorwendsel kon gebruik om die Canal Zone te beset. Hulle gedagte was dat dit Nasser in die oë van die Egiptiese volk sou legitimeer en uiteindelik tot sy omverwerping sou lei.
Dit was, om dit saggies te stel, 'n baie slegte plan.
Port Said: ingang na die Suez -kanaal vanuit die Middellandse See
'N Anti-imperialistiese terugslag
Nasser se bekendheid in die Midde -Ooste - soos Gandhi in Indië, of Che in Latyns -Amerika - was simptomaties van 'n wyer sosiale verskynsel: die onwilligheid van mense wat imperiale oorheersing ondergaan om dit langer te verduur.
En selfs die magtige Britse Ryk kon hierdie volksmag nie weerstaan nie.
Miskien is dit die rede waarom die laaste voog van die Ryk, Anthony Eden, die eenvoudiger antwoord verkies het om dit alles op een man, Nasser, te blameer.
Dit bly egter 'n eienaardige Tory -misverstand van die situasie, en word nie deur die Britse arbeidersbeweging gedeel nie.
In Trafalgar Square, Nye Bevan roared at Eden’s government:
In the House of Commons, a young Anthony Benn MP put it plainly:
And in the House of Lords an ageing Clement Attlee , having comprehensively taken apart the many moral and practical flaws of the invasion, concluded simply:
A global response to a fallen empire
Attlee was right to think the government were done for.
After just a few days of the Suez operation, the United States - angry at not being consulted - threatened economic sanctions if Britain and France didn’t withdraw. Unsurprisingly, the Soviet Union also opposed the invasion.
Faced with the anger of the world’s two superpowers, Britain had no choice but to back down and withdraw.
With this humiliation, Eden's career as Prime Minister was destroyed after only a couple of years in the job.
As for the British Empire? After far too many decades of oppression , it was out for the count.
The Suez Emergency: The forgotten war of the conscript soldier
Sixty-five years ago thousands of British conscripts were sent to Egypt to defend the Suez Canal in the wake of rising Egyptian nationalism. Poorly trained and under-equipped, they faced a brutal and bloody situation, protecting British interests in a conflict they wanted no part of.
In October 1951 a tense stand-off between the British and Egyptian governments broke down over the number of UK troops stationed in the country. In response, the British government mobilised 60,000 troops in 10 days, in what was described as the biggest airlift of troops since World War Two.
It was the beginning of the end of Western control of the Suez Canal and the start of the three-year Suez Emergency, which has been described as a "forgotten war fought by a forgotten army".
On the front line and defending the dying days of Britain's colonial interest in Egypt were men like Emmanuel Clark, who was 18 when he was called up for national service in 1951.
Just weeks after completing basic training, the dock worker from Fleetwood in Lancashire was sent to Egypt. "Everybody had to go in and if you were stuck in a mundane job you looked forward to it," he said.
In the years after World War Two the British government was struggling to maintain its colonial empire in Egypt and beyond national servicemen were seen as having a crucial role in keeping control.
By the 1950s males between 17 and 21 had to spend two years in the armed forces, with nearly two million going through national service between 1939 and 1960.
They were deployed all over the world to protect British economic and strategic interests - and nowhere was more important to these than the Suez Canal Zone.
Opened in the 1880s the British-French-owned canal, which connected the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, provided Britain with a shorter shipping route to its empire but also to the crucially important oilfields of the Persian Gulf.
In 1936 a treaty was signed with Egypt that agreed the British could stay in the country but concentrated in the Suez Canal Zone, an area running along the length of the waterway.
"Britain needed Egypt and the Suez very, very badly. it wasn't going to give it up lightly," said author and historian Dr Colin Shindler.
But Egyptian nationalists, led by Gamal Abdel Nasser, fought back and demanded a revision of the treaty and the immediate withdrawal of all British troops.
On 16 October 1951 Egyptians stormed the Army's Naafi storehouses in Ismailia. A British soldier was stabbed and two Egyptians were killed in clashes. Egyptian volunteers rushed to join the Liberation Battalions, as the Muslim Brotherhood branch in Ismailia declared a jihad against the British.
"The Egyptians were better equipped and had better arms. in a lot of cases you would end up in the middle of a demonstration then somebody would open up with a gun - it was a nasty business," said Mr Clark.
"If you went to Korea you knew where the front line was but in Egypt you didn't know who the enemy was, so you eventually you began to think everyone was the enemy and if they were in the line of fire, that was just too bad.
"Weɽ lost two or three guys to snipers so when we caught one, as soon as he divulged where the others were, I watched an officer shoot him. He was about 16 I think. but nobody bothered."
It was a shocking act to witness but Dr Shindler believes it was a product of the attitudes of the time: "There was a sense of 'we are white and superior and the ruling race'," he said.
"There was the attitude that that's how we treat the natives. don't for one minute think that they are your equals because they are not."
With hindsight Mr Clark is pragmatic: "We were being attacked and would have been overrun. you just accepted it and there was nothing you could do about it so you just got on with it."
The conflict placed huge pressure on inexperienced young men.
"I was 18 when I joined up and we were there to fight," said Michael Owen, 85, from Cheshire. He was sent out to the Suez in October 1951 just three months after completing his basic officer training.
"The situation was in turmoil and nobody knew what the Egyptian army was going to do, but it was vital for the British to keep that canal secure," he said.
In 1951, Egypt declared void the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 that had granted Britain a lease on the Suez base for a further 20 years. Tensions led to the declaration of an emergency period until 1954.
In October 1956, the British and French-owned canal was nationalised by the Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, prompting military action by Israel, Britain and France to restore Western control - the Suez Crisis. However, they were forced to withdraw as the action did not have the backing of the USA.
During the period from 1951 to 1956 there were 450 British military fatalities in the zone.
Mr Owen, who joined the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment as a transport officer, said: "I was totally untrained and had to learn pretty quickly.
"It was an immense amount of responsibility."
He found himself defending transport routes alongside the canal. "We were stationed in Port Said. Our job was to protect against terrorist attacks and we worked two days, one day off," he said.
"Learning on the job was very stressful - you had to learn how handle men considerably older and more experienced than you. Telling someone in their 30s what to do could be a very scary experience."
As the conflict continued, more British troops were shipped in.
Eric Osborne, a furniture restorer from Ilminster in Somerset, was 18 when he was called up.
Such was the urgency of the situation that when he was sent home from training he was called back the next day and within 48 hours he was despatched to the Suez.
"They didn't say what for - I had no idea," Mr Osborne said. "Iɽ never even heard of the Suez. We didn't find out where we were going until we were there.
"I was on death row for three months," said Mr Osborne, referring to his job driving a ration truck along a road by the Suez Canal.
Trucks travelling along the road were regularly ambushed and it soon acquired a reputation as "the most dangerous road in Egypt".
"I knew I had to do it. it wasn't an adventure, it was just something I had to do," he said.
"I have heard people saying ⟺ncy fighting over a body of water' but we had a perfect right to it and it made me grow up, that's all I can say."
In an army made up of conscripts it was up to the regulars to help them adjust to military life.
Sgt David Rose, who led the first wave of the forces that arrived in the Suez, was tasked with showing the men who joined his platoon military life.
"In the platoon there were only five regulars, all the rest were national servicemen," he recalls.
"They slotted in and they were very good but they were funny people a breed all on their own," said the 80-year-old former soldier.
"They all had to do it which they hated, but they loved it as well."
With a huge numbers of troops on the ground, the British were faced with a continuing crisis in Egypt.
Attitudes were hardening towards national service and the notion of "doing your bit for the country," said Dr Shindler.
"They [national servicemen] didn't want to spend a 'gap year' getting killed. They had no desire to be in the Army, no desire to stay in the Army, and just wanted to get back to the jobs theyɽ left behind."
However, about 70,000 thousand troops would remain stationed in the Canal Zone until 1954.
Living in huge tented camps the conditions were "very primitive", said Mr Clark: "There was no sanitation. more troops were going down with disease than action."
The living conditions of the troops were raised by Barbara Castle MP, who told Parliament: "Our men in the Canal Zone consider themselves to be the forgotten army of 1954 sitting as they are in a concentration camp behind barbed wire meditating on the futility of existence and wondering what is happening to their families."
"There was a huge difference in attitudes as the emergency came to an end," said Dr Shindler.
"The further we got from 1945 there was the belief that we were being ripped off and the bloody government was shoving us into a place we didn't know or care about.
"The idea of serving your country had dropped and there was a sense of the men just wanting to put on a sharp suit and go to the disco with some pretty girls."
Ken Foot, 83, certainly didn't feel that they were all in it together. The printer's apprentice from London, who initially got a deferment from national service, went to Egypt when he was 21.
"Most of the battalion were national service blokes. They were a good bunch of fellas but you were all mixed up with the regulars who got more looked after than us.
"It wasn't noticeable but youɽ find yourself bog cleaning a lot.
"Coming home felt bloody good - I felt like Iɽ done something but it was time to start living again."
The Suez CrisisCourtesy Reuters
SINCE I retired as United States Ambassador to Great Britain in February 1957, so much has been written about the events leading up to the seizure of the Suez Canal by the Egyptian Government in July 1956, and so much controversy has arisen over the reaction of the French, British and American governments to that event, that it might be useful for me to set down as briefly and clearly as possible the story of what happened as seen from the American Embassy in London.
The first intrusion of the Egyptian question into Anglo-American relations during my term as Ambassador in London came before Anthony Eden became Prime Minister and soon after I arrived at my post early in 1953. In May of that year, violent attacks were being made by the new Egyptian régime under General Naguib on the continued presence of British troops in the large British military base in the Suez Canal Zone. The British Government felt that United States policy was definitely sympathetic with the Egyptian point of view, and British opinion received the quite erroneous impression that we were putting pressure on Britain to withdraw its forces from the base. Later the feeling developed that but for this pressure the British forces would have remained there and Nasser could never have seized the Canal.
A further sense that America was unfriendly arose from misunderstandings between Eden, who had just become Prime Minister, and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, in connection with proposals for joint financing of the Aswan High Dam. Opposition to the plan developed in Congress, and finally Secretary Dulles cancelled American participation. He did so without informing the American Embassy in London. This was not unusual, as I was never asked my opinion on matters of policy except when Dulles was in London or I accompanied Eden to Washington.
Such were the preliminaries to the Suez crisis of July 1956.
On July 26 of that year I left London for New York by air on a short vacation. One hour later the British Government received news that the Egyptian police had taken over the headquarters of the Suez Canal Company under the decree of nationalization. Not knowing I had left, the Prime Minister immediately invited me to attend a meeting of the British Cabinet which was being called at once. Mr. Andrew Foster, who was Counsellor of Embassy, attended that meeting as charge d'affaires. The shock to the British Government was very great because it had received no warning from its Intelligence that seizure was imminent.
The Cabinet reached no conclusions at this meeting other than that there must be immediate consultation with the United States at a high level. While I was still airborne en route to New York, Mr. Robert Murphy, Deputy Under Secretary of State, left for London by air to confer with the British Government. On my arrival in New York I flew to Washington and went directly to Mr. Dulles' house where he was in consultation with the members of his staff. Mr. Dulles was just back from an official visit to Peru. A state of agitation prevailed. The Secretary was receiving reports that the British were planning to use force against Egypt unless the Canal was restored forthwith to the Suez Canal Company. I participated in the discussion but did not feel that much weight was given to what I had to say. Some extremely able men were among the participants, for example, Livingston Merchant, Herman Phleger and Robert Bowie.
On Tuesday, July 31, Secretary Dulles and I flew to England and had conferences for two days with top members of the British Government including Eden, Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd, Harold Macmillan and Lord Salisbury. Mr. Dulles persuaded the British to call a conference to be held in London as soon as possible it was to be composed of the parties to the Covenant of 1888, under which the Canal had been made an international waterway, and the other nations whose ships made the greatest use of the Canal.
This conference, August 15-24, which came to be known as the First Suez Conference, produced a plan, signed by eighteen nations, for the future operation of the Canal by an international board. The plan was taken to Nasser by a committee headed by Mr. Robert Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia. Mr. Menzies, a man of wisdom, eloquence and ability as a negotiator, seemed to me a perfect choice to head this important mission, and I believe he did everything humanly possible to persuade Nasser to accept the Eighteen Nations Plan.
The rapport between Mr. Eden and Mr. Dulles was not at all good at any time, and it now had deteriorated further. It should be noted that the original effect of the seizure of the Canal on the British Cabinet was to persuade it that force might have to be used, and there is no doubt in my mind that Dulles at this time gave the impression to Eden that the United States would also be prepared to use force if all else failed. As Dulles put it, he wanted to do everything possible to prevent the situation from reaching a point where there was no alternative except the use of force, but he also said in effect that, when the situation had reached a point where every other expedient to make Nasser "disgorge" had been tried ineffectually, then, to put it in Dulles' diplomatic language, the use of force was not excluded. One of the tragic things about the situation was that Eden did not see that in this language there was no commitment to use force and that when it came to the final and formal decision we might not be willing to use it.
After Nasser had turned down the Eighteen Nations Plan, the British were ready to take the matter up in the Security Council of the United Nations and to ask for immediate action against Egypt. Secretary Dulles, however, persuaded them not to do so. He had conceived of a new plan, afterwards known as the Canal Users' Association Plan. In retrospect it is apparent that the British and Secretary Dulles never saw eye to eye regarding this second plan. Almost at once it became plain that Eden thought of it as having been devised to justify the use of force as a last resort. Although every effort was made to make our position clear, the British regarded the plan as a slap in the face to Nasser. This became evident from Eden's statements in Parliament on September 1, in which he said he was urging its adoption as a preliminary to the use of force if Egypt did not coöperate. Secretary Dulles, on the other hand, thought of the plan as a desirable step in keeping the users of the Canal together in order to work out a good arrangement with Egypt for its operation. Failing this, it could still prepare the way for the submission of the matter to the Security Council. This difference in point of view led to great and continuing misunderstanding. A second conference of the canal users, called to consider this second plan, convened in London on September 19 and was attended by Secretary Dulles and a group of his advisers. At the end of that conference agreement was reached to set up the Suez Canal Users' Association, known as SCUA. The Ambassadors in London of the participating countries were instructed to complete the organization, but I doubt if any one of them believed that it could accomplish anything.
Up to this moment there had been no slightest indication of any collusion between the French and British Governments in dealing with the Suez crisis. Nor had there been any unusual circumstances which would have caused the United States Embassy in London to suspect that preparations were already underway by the British Government to intervene with force in Egypt.[i]
Indeed the American Ambassador to London and the Ambassadors of the countries party to SCUA were busily engaged, under the instructions of their respective governments and with Lord John Hope, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Great Britain in the chair, in perfecting and completing as rapidly as possible the organization of SCUA.
At this moment and while Secretary Dulles and his advisers were in the air on their way back to Washington, the British and French Governments, without first informing the U.S. Government, laid the situation resulting from the seizure of the Canal before the Security Council of the United Nations. This had the immediate effect of changing the scene of action to New York and Washington. Selwyn Lloyd, the then British Foreign Secretary, flew at once to New York to take charge for the British of the presentation of the joint appeal of the British and French to the United Nations. While Mr. Lloyd was still in New York, I received a cable from Secretary Dulles (addressed as well to our Ambassadors in France, Israel and other countries interested in Near Eastern affairs) saying that there was growing uncertainty about what Israel was up to, specifically in connection with the reported mobilization, and requesting any information available in London. I replied that as soon as Selwyn Lloyd returned from New York he had an appointment to dine with me so that I could inquire what the British Government knew about the intentions of Israel.
Accordingly, on Sunday evening, October 28, the day before the Israeli attack on Egypt, Mr. Lloyd had dinner with me, together with Walworth Barbour, my deputy, and Mr. Harold Beeley, the Middle East expert of the Foreign Office. I asked Mr. Lloyd if he was informed with regard to the size and significance of the Israeli mobilization. He replied that he was in the dark as to details, but that Her Majesty's Government had made a very strong statement to the Israelis to the effect that if they should attack Jordan, Great Britain would be obliged to fulfill its treaty obligation to come to Jordan's defense. He observed further that the Government would deplore this because it would mean that Britain would be engaged against Israel on the side of Nasser. I asked Lloyd specifically whether he did not think Israel might be planning to attack Egypt, to which he replied that he had no evidence to show that the Israeli mobilization was directed against Egypt.
When I pressed him, he reiterated that the British Government had no information as regards a possible attack on Egypt, that it was very much more concerned about a possible Israeli attack on Jordan. In the house of Commons Selwyn Lloyd repeated the statement that he did not know what the Israeli mobilization signified at that moment. Since no ambassador can admit that he does not credit the statements of the Foreign Secretary of the country to which he is accredited, I have always taken the position that, in spite of later evidence to the contrary, Mr. Lloyd did not deliberately mislead me.[ii]
The next day, October 29, on hearing the news of the Israeli attack on Egypt, I asked at once for an appointment with Mr. Lloyd. At 10 a.m. the day following, he and Mr. Beeley met with me and Mr. Barbour in the Foreign Office. I asked Mr. Lloyd what the British Government intended to do in view of Israel's action. He replied that he thought Her Majesty's Government would immediately cite Israel before the Security Council of the United Nations as an aggressor against Egypt. Surprising as it may be in retrospect, that was his exact statement. He added that the French Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary were on their way to London and that the British Government would want to discuss the situation with them before taking action, as they wished to act in concert with the French. Moreover, he said, the British had shipping and cargo of great value in the Canal and it would be necessary to take this into consideration. Mr. Lloyd concluded by saying that he could not tell me definitely what action the British would take until after the meeting which was to be held at once, but that he would inform me of the decision immediately after luncheon. I reported Mr. Lloyd's statements to Washington by cable and arranged to keep a telephone line open to Washington for further communications.
At 1:30 p.m. Mr. Lloyd's private secretary called James Moffett, my private secretary, and said that Mr. Lloyd would have to go directly to the House of Commons after luncheon, so he could not see me at the time arranged. However, Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, Permanent Under Secretary of the Foreign Office, would see me at 4.45 and tell me exactly what had been decided. When I saw Sir Ivone at the appointed hour, he started the interview by handing me two sheets of foolscap paper. When I asked what they were he replied, "They are ultimatums, one addressed to Israel and the other to Egypt." I then read the documents and asked whether the demand that Egypt withdraw all armed forces to a point ten miles from the Canal meant that these forces must withdraw to a point ten miles west of the Canal. He replied, "To points ten miles away from the Canal on both sides." After reading these ultimatums, I expressed the opinion that Egypt could not possibly accept the conditions addressed to her. At this, Sir Ivone simply shrugged his shoulders. I then asked whether they had been already served and he replied, "Yes. The ultimatum to Egypt was served at 3:20 p.m. and that to Israel at 3:30 p.m., in each case on their Ambassadors in London."
I asked if the ultimatums had been made public and he answered, "Yes. The Prime Minister is making the announcement in the House at the present moment."
"In that case," I said, "the only thing I can do is telephone the contents of these documents to Washington immediately, but of course the President and the Secretary of State will have already learned of this action taken by Her Majesty's Government on the news services."
It is worth noting that the ultimatums stated that the British and French intended to go in and occupy Port Said, Ismailia and Suez whether or not the Egyptians and Israelis complied with the demand that they withdraw their forces from the vicinity of the Canal. When Mr. Barbour and I telephoned the news to Washington we were, as expected, met by the statement that it had already appeared on the news tickers. The only thing we could contribute was to read the actual text of the ultimatums to the State Department.
The effect on our Government of this sudden and unexpected British and French move and of the actual opening of hostilities against Egypt two days later was catastrophic. The British Government had been told over and over again at the highest levels that we wished to do everything possible to avoid the use of force, and for force to be used without any warning came as a profound shock.
Prime Minister Eden and the British Government were immediately subjected to terrific pressure. President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles would have no further direct communication with Eden, and the Canal was at once blocked by Nasser. In Parliament the opposition of the Labour Party increased from day to day and even Harold Macmillan and others of Eden's supporters in his own party began to weaken moreover the value of sterling was falling rapidly in the international markets. On top of all this the United States was coöperating with Russia in the United Nations to bring about the withdrawal of British and French troops from Egypt. Eden was ill and seemed incapable of coping with the situation which had arisen.
From that moment the duties of the American Embassy in London consisted in (1) trying to make clear to the British Government the reasons for our attitude as expressed by President Eisenhower and Secretary Dulles in Washington and Ambassador Lodge at the United Nations (2) coöperating with the British and our Sixth Fleet in efforts to protect and evacuate safely American citizens in Egypt (3) assisting the American attempts to aid in the unblocking of the Canal (4) coöperating with the magnificent efforts of the American oil industry to see to it that European needs for oil were met by diverting tankers around the Cape of Good Hope and shipping large reserves of oil from the United States and (5) last but not least, assisting in the efforts of the United States Government to bring about first a cease-fire and then a withdrawal of the British forces in accordance with the resolutions of the General Assembly.
With Eden's increasing difficulty in coping with the situation because of his growing physical weakness,, I was enormously helped at this time by the willingness of several important members of the British Cabinet to exchange views with me with great frankness and to permit me to convey their view and ideas directly to Washington, without passing through the Foreign Office. This condition of affairs continued from the date of the attack on Egypt until Eden retired and Mr. Macmillan succeeded him as Prime Minister on January 9, 1957.
I want to emphasize that Eden's departure to Jamaica and his retirement shortly after his return were brought about at the time entirely by serious illness and not by political considerations, although I believe that he would no doubt have retired as Prime Minister later in any case.
There are several matters growing out of the invasion of Egypt which I would like to refer to particularly.
Rumors that the invasion of Egypt by the British and French forces was in any manner interfered with by the Sixth Fleet are completely unfounded. At that time the Sixth Fleet in the Eastern Mediterranean was primarily engaged in the evacuation of American citizens from Egypt. Absolutely no incident of any kind occurred. After hostilities commenced, I was much concerned that the British agree that a corridor should be provided between Cairo and Alexandria where no bombing would take place, so that American citizens could be evacuated in safety. This agreement was entered into and carried out.
When the British thought it necessary as a result of the Suez operations to strengthen their position in dollar reserves, the United States Government coöperated fully and gladly in making available the full amount which could be drawn by the British from the International Monetary Fund and in dealing with the approaching installment of the British debt to the United States. Furthermore, it did everything in its power to bring about an increase of shipments of crude oil and gasoline from the Western Hemisphere to Great Britain and Europe in order to make good as far as possible the deficits resulting from Nasser's blockade of the Suez Canal and the sabotage of the pipeline pumping stations by the Syrians.
For some reason, Washington had come to the conclusion that if Eden should retire the new Prime Minister was going to be R.A.B. Butler. I was convinced that the Queen would summon Harold Macmillan, since Salisbury, in whom I knew the Queen had great confidence and who I felt sure would be consulted, had come to the conclusion that Macmillan was the person best fitted to deal with President Eisenhower because of the close association they had had in Africa during the war. This proved to be the case. While Eden's retirement was a very sad event, the ultimate designation of Macmillan as his successor was most helpful in improving relations between our two governments.
There has been much discussion of why the British forces which intervened in Egypt did not progress further than Ismailia. General Keightley, who was in command, was very much blamed by certain people for not seizing the entire Canal immediately, which he could easily have done because the Egyptians had been so thoroughly defeated by the Israelis. General Keightley told me later that the reason he stopped near Ismailia was that his instructions were to go into Egypt in order to bring about a ceasefire between the Egyptians and the Israelis, and that when this purpose had been accomplished he had no other mission in Egypt. He also observed that if the enterprise had been mounted for the purpose of throwing Nasser out, it would have required much greater preparations than those actually made. He also said the British and French in fact went in to bring about a cease- fire and in the hope of preventing interference with the Canal.
Of course the invasion did bring about a cease-fire and did prevent the Israelis from overrunning Egypt. But if the real purpose of the invasion was to eliminate Nasser, the fact remains that the Canal was blocked immediately and the ensuing events made the operation as a whole a classic example of what diplomats would call a completely "counter-productive enterprise."
One very important point raised by Professor Herman Finer of the University of Chicago in his book "Dulles Over Suez" (which is to my mind a remarkably valuable historical essay despite the fact that the author is evidently strongly prejudiced against Secretary Dulles) requires correction.
A resolution had been adopted in the General Assembly of the United Nations on November 7 calling on Britain and France to withdraw their forces from Egypt. The Indian delegation, headed by Krishna Menon, proposed that it be superseded by a resolution demanding that these forces be withdrawn "forthwith." Whereupon Paul-Henri Spaak of Belgium introduced an amendment to eliminate "forthwith," thus leaving a phased withdrawal a possibility. As Professor Finer describes the situation, Spaak,
tried to influence Lodge, and succeeded momentarily in doing so, to such effect that Lodge, also influenced by the other members of the U.S. delegation (some of them strongly anti-Soviet) thought of voting for the Belgian Amendment. At noon that day, a victorious vote seemed possible. The NATO countries pressed for such a vote and some Latin American countries asked why it was thought necessary to inflict another humiliation on America's allies. But the State Department was consulted. This meant that the President was consulted. This meant, further, that Dulles was consulted. And this resulted in Henry Cabot Lodge's being told to do what he had it in his heart to do before the nations of the Western world had begun to trouble his mind and conscience about justice and Russia and Western power. He led the abstentionists. The vote was 37 against the Belgian Amendment and 24 for it, with 18 abstentions, including the United States. The French delegates judged that if the U.S.A. had voted against, so, too, would the Latin Americans.[iii]
What actually happened was as follows. On November 22, which was over a weekend, I happened to be staying with Lord Salisbury at his place in the country and I was called to the telephone by Deputy Under Secretary Murphy from the State Department in Washington, who said in effect, "You will be very glad to know that the State Department is instructing Henry Cabot Lodge to vote in favor of the Belgian Amendment and if the Belgian Amendment is not adopted to refrain from voting on the Afro-Asian resolution." I replied in effect that I thought it would be very helpful to have Lord Salisbury, Harold Macmillan and R.A.B. Butler listen in on the conversation and hear what to my mind was the most encouraging thing that had happened since the invasion of Egypt had taken place. The necessary telephone connections were made so that these three important members of the cabinet could hear the good news immediately.
The purpose of the Belgian Amendment was, of course, to enable the British and French to withdraw in an orderly manner and without undue humiliation. With the news that the United States would support this amendment, I went to bed in a happier frame of mind than at any time since the crisis had started. The next morning, however, we found to our astonishment and dismay that Mr. Lodge had abstained from voting for the Belgian Amendment, that it had been defeated and that Mr. Lodge had then voted in favor of the Afro- Asian resolution, which had been adopted without change. In other words, the action taken by the United States Delegation to the United Nations was diametrically opposite to the instructions which I had been informed Lodge had received from the State Department.
In this case the statement in Professor Finer's book is wrong. The State Department was not responsible for the action taken by Lodge on November 23.[iv]
Nothing during my term as Ambassador in London injured the relations between the United States and Great Britain so much as Lodge's reversal of the instructions which Deputy Under Secretary Murphy told me he had received from the State Department and which he had repeated directly over the telephone to top members of the British Government.
I have never been able to find out how the reversal actually occurred. Of course, President Eisenhower himself may have authorized Lodge's action. In any event I feel that it was most unfortunate that the original critical decision made by the State Department should have been reversed.
One of the chief difficulties during the Suez Crisis was that Eden was in doubt whether the various plans put forward by Dulles were intended to bring about the results which Eden himself desired, or to thwart them. For example, it was a question whether the Users' Association was intended by Dulles to be a means of ultimately justifying the use of force. In his book "Full Circle," Eden states that Dulles actually told him that SCUA would "mobilize the opinion of the world in case it became necessary to use force." On the other hand, while I do not think any of the foreign ambassadors with whom I was dealing in connection with the formation of SCUA believed any more than I did that the plan would be effective, I do not think any of us supposed that it was a device for mobilizing world opinion in case the use of force became necessary. I cannot verify personally Secretary Dulles' use of the quoted words, for although when he came over to London I was with him in all the formal interchanges, I cannot be sure what he and Eden said to one another in their private talks. I did everything in my power to prevent Eden from misunderstanding Dulles' position, but I do not think I was successful. I believe that even at the last moment Eden thought that, faced with a fait accompli, we were going to recognize what he believed was Britain's vital interest and would support him.
In retrospect I believe that one of the underlying reasons why so much bitterness arose between Great Britain and the United States during the Suez Crisis was that the British felt that they were justified in ultimately using military measures to enforce an international treaty which had been unilaterally violated by Nasser, and when his action created a direct threat to the national interests of Great Britain.
On the other hand there were some Americans in Washington and New York who felt that the invasion of Egypt by British and French forces without warning not only was a betrayal of its ally, the United States, but was also another example of colonialism, which they regarded as a world evil that must be destroyed.
In a speech which I delivered at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York in April 1957, I said, "I am convinced that the complete reëstablishment of the close relations which formerly existed between the United States and Great Britain is essential to the welfare and security of the Western World and I believe that this will be brought about in the near future with the exercise of patience, understanding and steadfastness of purpose on the part of the people of both countries." In the ten years which have lapsed since that speech, the confidence I then expressed has been most happily and completely justified.
[i] In the book by Terence Robertson, entitled "Crisis: The Inside Story of the Suez Conspiracy," the following quotation appears from an account by Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury (appointed Minister of Defense in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Mollet of France, January 1, 1956): "Once our own preparations were under way and the Israelis decided when to attack, our assistance programme was speeded up and I had to consult with the Americans to get spare parts and items of equipment we lacked. The Americans knew just about everything that was going on in Paris. I saw Ambassador Dillon about once every two weeks to request further supplies from the United States, and in my opinion he was quite aware that they were destined for Cyprus, from where a proportion was sent on to Israel. "It was Ambassador Dillon who told me that the British were also asking United States Ambassador Aldrich in London for equipment and supplies from the United States. In total, we asked for and received ninety different items of arms equipment, and the British received a hundred and sixty-seven different types. It is quite pointless for the Americans to continue to say they were kept in the dark about our plans. Certainly Mr. Dillon was a clever man, and not likely to be deceived. In fact, on one occasion I asked him why, in view of the readiness with which the United States met our requests for arms and supplies, it was being politically so anti-French and anti-British, particularly in New York. He replied that Washington was exerting heavy pressure on the English in the hope that they would stop the French. If that was the case, Ambassador Aldrich must have been lacking powers of persuasion in his dealings with Whitehall." (New York: Athenaeum, 1965, p. 148.) The fact is that at no time while I was Ambassador did the British ask for military equipment and supplies from the United States, and when I called Ambassador Dillon's attention to the foregoing statement he assured me that there was not one word of truth in the entire quotation set forth above.
[ii] Under the circumstances, I arranged to have all telegrams to Washington from that time on drafted by Mr. Barbour and myself jointly. And thereafter I never had any conversation with the British without having Mr. Barbour with me.
[iii] Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1964, p. 448.
[iv] It may be worthwhile to correct at this point an error in Robertson's book, "Crisis" (op. cit. p. 313). He refers to a telephone call from Under Secretary Hoover to me just after these events had taken place, instructing me to protest to the Foreign Office because a revolt in the ranks of Eden's own party was being construed in Washington as a direct attack on President Eisenhower. No such telephone conversation took place.
[. ] On the whole, as Albert Hourani declared in Suez 1956: the crisis and its consequences, crisis had been in Egyptian eyes, a kind of declaration of independence. Egypt had shown that it was determined and able to pursue its own interests.' Indeed, from the Suez Canal crisis derived the increased revenues, the appropriation of foreign private interests and the support for the High Dam by the Soviet Union gave rise to the hope of greater freedom of action and greater economic growth. [. ]
[. ] Indeed, the Conservative Party, which supported the government's action during the crisis, seemed to stop supporting the &lsquogunboat policy' of the government and to forgive the Americans for their hostility to the Suez operation while the impact of the crisis on the Labour Party was to strengthen its anti-imperialist sentiment. Moreover, we can notice the effect of the crisis through the economic and financial crisis that it created in the British's budget and which forced MacMillan and his chancellor, Peter Thorneycroft, to take drastic measures to balance the budget. [. ]
[. ] Contemporaries were divided as to impacts of Suez, some, for example Brian Lapping, argued that Suez was at the origin of these radical changes in British policy and others such as Anthony Low claimed that the only impact of Suez was perhaps to accelerate changes that were already in train, that is to say that Suez had little or no effect. Finally, what can be said with certainty is that Britain was weaker after Suez precisely because the crisis revealed to all in a lightening flash&rdquo Britain's weakness. [. ]
[. ] In this case, it seems that the Suez crisis did not engender this new kind of relation but really reflected the fact that the general community of nations considered Israel as a &ldquospecial case&rdquo not subject to the general principles regarding the navigation in the canal. The crisis also had some impacts in Israel's relation with Arab states. Indeed, Israel's attack on Egypt seems to have changed the nature of the conflict between Israel and Palestine. After Suez, it changed from a quarrel related to the question of the disposition of Palestine into an inter-state conflict for regional hegemony. [. ]
[. ] About this subject, the view of the American journalist Donald Neff is that Great Britain, France and Israel discredited themselves in the Suez Crisis and, as he claims, longer after Suez, could the West assert that it was uniquely to be trusted as the champion of man's aspiration for a just world&rdquo. As regards to Britain's role in the world, we can notice that the decade following the Suez crisis saw the rapid decolonisation of Britain's Empire in Africa and the withdrawal from bases East of Suez. [. ]