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Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 1–25 | Cite as

Anglo-American Relations, the Cold war and Middle East Defence, 1953–1955

  • Kevin Ruane
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Notes

  1. 1.
    All references prefixed with CAB, FO, DEFE or PREM refer to materials held at the UK National Archives in London. Research at the Truman and Eisenhower Presidential libraries was made possible by financial support from the British Academy.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The Baghdad Pact has generated considerable scholarly interest. See Magnus Persson, Great Britain, the United States, and the Securift of the Middle East: The Formation of the Baghdad Pact (Lund: Lund University Press, 1998); au2a_Ara Sanjian, ‘The Formulation of the Baghdad Pact’, Middle Eastern Studies 22/2 (1997), pp.226–66; au2b_Elie Podeh, The Quest for Hegemony in the Arab World: the Struggle over the Baghdad Pad (Leiden: Brill, 1995); au2c_Nigel Ashton, ‘The Hijacking of a Pact; the Formation of the Baghdad Pact and Anglo-American Tensions in the Middle East, 1955-58’, Review of International Studies, 19/2 (1993), pp. 123–37; au2d_Richard L. Jasse, ‘The Baghdad Pact: Cold War or Colonialism?’, Middle Eastern Studies, 27/1 (1991), pp. 140–56; au2e_Ayesha Jalal, ‘Towards the Baghdad Pact: South Asia and Middle East Defence in the Cold War’, International History Review, 11/3 (1989), pp.409–33; au2f_Brian Holden Reid, ‘The “Northern Tier” and the Baghdad Pact’, in John W. Young, ed., The Foreign Policy of Churchill’s Peacetime Administration 1951-55 (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1988), pp. 159–80. au2g_See also the discussion of the Baghdad Pact in Kevin Ruane and James Ellison, ‘Managing the Americans: Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan and the Pursuit of “power by proxy” in the 1950s’, Contemporan British History, 18/3 (2004), pp. 147–67. The present artide represents a development and amplification of some of the Middle Eastern issues raised in ‘Managing the Americans’.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Eden to Cabinet, 15 Mar. 1955, CAB 128/28, CC(55)24.Google Scholar
  4. 3a.
    Notable works on British policy and Anglo-American relations in the Middle East in this period that have appeared in the last 15 years include: Robert McNamara, Britain, Nasser and the Balance of Power in the Middle East, 1952-57 (London: Cass, 2003)Google Scholar
  5. 3b.
    Ray Takeyh, The Origins of the Eisenhower Doctrine: the United States, Britain and Nasser’s Egypt, 1953-1957 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 3c.
    Michael J. Cohen, ‘Prologue to Suez: Anglo-American Planning for Military Intervention in a Middle East War 1955-56’, Journal of Strategic Studies, 26/2 (2003), pp. 152–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 3d.
    Tore Tingvold Petersen, The Middle East Between the Great Powers: Anglo-American Conflict and Cooperation, 1952-57 (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 3e.
    W. Scott Lucas, Divided We Stand: Britain, the US and the Suez Crisis (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1991 )Google Scholar
  9. 3f.
    Ritchie Ovendale, Britain, the United States, and the Transfer of Power in the Middle East, 1945-1962 (Leicester: Leicester University Press. 1996)Google Scholar
  10. 3g.
    Nigel Ashton, Eisenhower, Macmillan and the Problem of Nasser: Anglo-American Relations and Arab Nationalism, 1955-1959 (Basingstoke: Macmillan. 1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 3h.
    David R. Devereux, The Formulation of British Defence Policy towards the Middle East, 1948-1956 (Basingstoke; Macmillan, 1991).Google Scholar
  12. 4.
    State Department Position Paper, 11 Jul. 1955. State tel. to Baghdad, 15 Jul. 1955, Foreign Relations of the United States 1955-57 XII (Washington: GPO, 1991), pp. 131, 133, hereafter FRUS.Google Scholar
  13. 5.
    Peter Catterall. ed., The Macmillan Diaries: The Cabinet Years 1950-1957 (Basingstoke; Macmillan. 2003). p.449, 14 Jul. 1955.Google Scholar
  14. 6.
    Anglo-American talks, Washington, 11 Aug. 1955, FRUS 1955-57 XII, p. 141. See also State Department aide memoire, 29 Sep. 1955, FO371/115521/1073.Google Scholar
  15. 7.
    Anthony Eden, Full Circle (London: Cassell, 1960). p.336.Google Scholar
  16. 8.
    Wright min., 13 Nov. 1959, FO370/258; Eden tel. 1349 to Washington. 31 Mar. 1955. FO371/121282/48; Eden letter to Eisenhower, 4 Mar. 1956, Dwight D. Eisenhower Library, Abilene. Kansas (hereafter DDEL), Presidential Papers, International File.Google Scholar
  17. 9.
    Eden was not so much anti-American as ‘pro-British’, John Charmley has argued; ‘when the interests of the two countries clashed, he put his own country first - a policy which perhaps only seems odd in the light of that of his successor’. John Charmley, Churchill’s Grand Alliance: the Anglo-American Special Relationship 1940-57 (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1995), p.294.Google Scholar
  18. 9a.
    See also discussion in David Dutton, Anthony Eden: A Life and Reputation (London: Arnold, 1997), pp. 141–76.Google Scholar
  19. 10.
    Butler memo., 31 Oct. 1951, CAB129/48 C(51)l.Google Scholar
  20. 11.
    David Reynolds, Britannia Overruled: British Policy and World Power in the 20th Century (Harlow: Longman, 1991), p. 183Google Scholar
  21. 11a.
    Peter Hennessey, Never Again: Britain, 1945-1951 (London: Vintage, 1993), p.415. The cost of Britain’s worldwide interests in 1951-52 was £241.5 million - or almost two-thirds of the balance of payments deficit.Google Scholar
  22. 11b.
    Corelli Barnett, The Verdict of Peace: Britain Between Her Yesterday and the Future (London: Pan, 2002), p.83.Google Scholar
  23. 12.
    Evelyn Shuckburgh, Descent to Suez: Diaries 1951-56 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1986), pp.207–10.Google Scholar
  24. 13.
    COS memo., ‘Defence Negotiations with Egypt’, 6 Dec. 1952, CABL31/12, D(52)50. In general see Peter L. Hahn, The United States, Great Britain and Egypt, 1945-56: Strategy and Diplomacy in the Early Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991), pp. 155–79Google Scholar
  25. 14.
    John Kent, ‘The Egyptian Base and the Defence of the Middte East, 1945-55’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History,21/3 (1993), pp.45–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 15.
    Ritchie Ovendale, ‘Egypt and the Suez Base Agreement’, in Young, ed., Churchill’s Peacetime Administration, pp. 135–58.Google Scholar
  27. 14.
    John Baylis and Alan Macmillan, ‘The British Global Strategy Paper of 1952’, Journal of Strategic Studies. 16/2 (1993), p.204.Google Scholar
  28. 15.
    COS memo., ‘Defence Policy and Global Strategy’. CAB 131/12, D(52)26, 17 Jun. 1952.Google Scholar
  29. 16.
    Eden memo., CAB 129/53 C(52)202, 18 Jun. 1952; Reynolds, Britannia Overruled, pp. 177-8.Google Scholar
  30. 17.
    Ruane and Ellison, ‘Managing the Americans’, pp. 150-51.Google Scholar
  31. 18.
    See Peter L. Hahn. ‘Containment and Egyptian Nationalism: the Unsuccessful Effort to Establish a Middle East Command, 1950-53’, Diplomatic History, 11/1 (1987), pp.23–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 19.
    PPS memo., 21 May 1952. FRUS 1952-54 IX (Washington: GPO, 1986), p.233; also pp.222-6, NSC 129/1, 24 Apr. 1952. and pp.237-47, State-JCS meeting, 18 Jun. 1952.Google Scholar
  33. 20.
    Eden memo., 5 Mar. 1952, CAB129/50, C(52)63; Eden min., 10 Mar. 1952, PREM 11/91; also Eden memo., 16 Feb. 1953, CAB 129/59. C(53)65.Google Scholar
  34. 21.
    Acheson tel. Secto#24, 27 Jun. 1952, FRUS 1952-54 IX, pp.251-4.Google Scholar
  35. 22.
    FO memo., Jun. 1952, FO371/98279/53; COS meeting, 4 Dec. 1952, DEFE4/45 COS(52)165; FO brief, 23-24 Mar. 1953, FO371/125032/ZP3/19; State Department memo., 6 Sep. 1952, FRUS 1952-54 IX, p.272.Google Scholar
  36. 23.
    Reynolds, Britannia Overruled, p. 191.Google Scholar
  37. 24.
    Eden min. to Churchill, 10 Mar. 1952, PREM 11/91.Google Scholar
  38. 25.
    Reflections on the first year of negotiations in Eden memo., 16 Feb. 1953, CAB 129/58, C(53)65 and Cabinet discussion, 17 Feb. 1953, CAB 128/26, CC(53)12.Google Scholar
  39. 26.
    NSC 147th meeting. 1 Jun. 1953, and 153rd meeting, 9 Jul. 1953, DDEL. Ann Whitman File, NSC Records, Box 3/4; NSC 155/1, 14 Jul. 1953, FRUS 1952-54 IX, pp.399-406. The prospect of Iran playing a role in area defence increased in August 1953 when the CIA engineered the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadeq and the Shah, restored to power, subsequently expressed interest in the Northern Tier.Google Scholar
  40. 27.
    Dulles to Wilson. 8 Sep. 1953, FRUS 1952-54 IX, pp 416-7.Google Scholar
  41. 28.
    Lucas. Divided We Stand, p.31.Google Scholar
  42. 29.
    FO brief, 15 Jan. 1954, FO37!/l 10819/12.Google Scholar
  43. 30.
    Cabinet discussion, 2 Jun. 1954, CAB 128/27 CC(54)37; see also Lloyd memo., 31 May 1954, CAB 129/68 C(54) 181. Reappraisal was also dictated by the fractious state of Anglo-Egyptian relations, the expense of maintaining the Suez base, and the implications of Turkey’s accession to NATO in 1952. Devereux, Formulation of British Defence Policy, pp.100-120.Google Scholar
  44. 31.
    Eden to Cabinet. 22 Jun. 1954, CAB 128/27 CC(54)43.Google Scholar
  45. 32.
    Cmd. 9296, ‘Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Egyptian Government regarding the Suez Canal Base, 19 October 1954’ (London: HMSO, 1954).Google Scholar
  46. 33.
    Falla, Kirkpatrick and Eden mins, 9 Jan. 1954, and MOD tel. COS(W)387 to BJSM Washington, 12 Jan. 1954, FO371/110819/6G.Google Scholar
  47. 34.
    FO memo., 9 Jan. 1954 and Eden min., 12 Jan. 1954, FO371/110819/8.Google Scholar
  48. 35.
    See Eden tel. 315 to Washington, 20 Jan. 1954, FO371/110819/8.Google Scholar
  49. 36.
    Makins letter to FO, 25 Jan. 1954, CAB 129/66 C(54)53.Google Scholar
  50. 37.
    Hooper (Baghdad) letter to Shuckburgh, 8 Jan. 1955, FO371/115485/54; see also den’s views in Dutton, Eden, p.355.Google Scholar
  51. 38.
    Lucas, Divided We Stand, p. 17.Google Scholar
  52. 39.
    Anglo-American memorandum, 26 Feb. 1954, FRUS 1952-54 IX, pp.2371-4. Under the MDAP for Iraq for 1954-55. $ 10.9 million was set aside for military aid, of which some $3 million was sanctioned via off-shore purchases with British arms suppliers. FRUS 1955-57 XII, pp. 147-8.Google Scholar
  53. 40.
    Lloyd memo., 31 May 1954, CAB129/68 C(54)81.Google Scholar
  54. 41.
    Evelyn Shuckburgh, unpublished diary (in the possession of Professor John Charmley). 5 Nov. 1954.Google Scholar
  55. 42.
    Eden memo., 14 Mar. 1955, CAB 129/74 C(55)70. See also Daniel C. Williamson, ‘Exploiting Opportunities: Iraq Secures Military Aid from the West. 1953-56’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 36/1 (2004), pp.89–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 43.
    Cmd. 9859, ‘Pact of Mutual Co-operation between His Majesty the King of Iraq and the President of the Republic of Turkey, 24 February 1955’ (London: HMSO, 1956).Google Scholar
  57. 44.
    Bowker (Ankara) desp. 23, 8 Feb. ?955, FO 487/9.Google Scholar
  58. 45.
    FO brief, 3 Mar. 1955, FO371/l 15496/416.Google Scholar
  59. 46.
    Eden memo., 14 Mar. 1955,CAB 129/74 C(55)70, and Cabinet discussion, 15 Mar. 1955, CAB 128/28 CC(55)24; see also Lloyd memo., 31 May 1954, CAB 129/68 C(54) 181.Google Scholar
  60. 47.
    Cmd. 9429, ‘Accession of the United Kingdom to the Pact of Mutual Co-operation between Turkey and Iraq signed at Bagdad on February 24, 1955, with Special Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of Iraq and Iraq’ (London: HMSO, 1956).Google Scholar
  61. 48.
    Stevenson (Cairo) desp. 24, 10 Feb. 1955, FO371/115491/244; Cairo tel. 1120 to State, 6 Feb. 1955, FRUS 1955-57 XII, p. 15; Podeh, Quest for Hegemony, pp. 103-25.Google Scholar
  62. 49.
    Stevenson (Cairo) tel. 359 to FO, 7 Mar. 1955, and FO (Eden) tel. 1058 to Washington, 15 Mar. 1955, FO371/115496/410 and 429.Google Scholar
  63. 50.
    Podeh, Quest for Hegemony, p. 125Google Scholar
  64. 51.
    Shuckburgh unpublished diary, 11 Dec. 1954; see also Rose min., 31 Jan. 1955, FO371/115488/175.Google Scholar
  65. 52.
    Stevenson (Cairo) tel. 92, 20 Jan. 1955, FO371/115485/57; Stevenson desp. 24, 10 Feb. 1955, FO371/115491/244.Google Scholar
  66. 53.
    Kirkpatrick min., 30 Oct. 1955, FO37I/115469/19.Google Scholar
  67. 54.
    Nasser-Eden meeting, Cairo, 20 Feb. 1955, FO487/9; Eden-Dulles meeting, Bangkok, 24 Feb. 1955, FRUS 1955-57 XIV (Washington: GPO, 1989), p.71.Google Scholar
  68. 56.
    Cabinet discussion, 20 Oct. 1955, CAB 128/29 CM(55)30; Macmillan tel. 721 to Amman, 7 Nov. 1955, FO371/115527/1224; Cabinet discussion, 24 Nov. 1955, CAB 128/29 CM(55)43; Eden to Cabinet, 28 Feb. 1956, CAB128/30 CM(56)17.Google Scholar
  69. 57.
    Ashton, ‘Hijacking of a Pact’, p.129.Google Scholar
  70. 58.
    Dulles-Congressional Leadership meeting, 10 Apr. 1956, FRUS 1955–1957 XV, pp.506-07.Google Scholar
  71. 59.
    Cited in David Carlton, Anthony Eden (London: Unwin, 1986), p.381.Google Scholar
  72. 60.
    State circular tel., 15 Feb. 1955, State-DefenseWorkingGroupmemo., 6 Jun. 1955, FRUS 1955-57 XII, pp.19, 69-70; Washington tel. 1955, 5 Feb. 1955, FO 371/115488/161; Cabinet discussion, 15 Mar. 1955,CAB L28/28 CC(55)24.Google Scholar
  73. 61.
    Byroade memo., 1 Apr. 1955, FRUS 1955-57XII, pp.48-50; Eden annotations on Cairo tel. 368, 9 Mar. 1955, FO371/115496/429; Eden tel. 1349 to Washington, 31 Mar. 1955, FO371/121282/48; Shuckburgh letter to Stevenson, 1 Apr. 1955, FO371/! 15500/533.Google Scholar
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    See Orna Almog, Britain, Israel and the United States 1955-1958: Beyond Suez (London: Routledge, 2003), pp.44–53Google Scholar
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    Shimon Shamir, ‘The Collapse of Project Alpha’, in Roger Owen and William Roger Louis, Suez 1956: The Crisis and its Consequences (Oxford, 1989), pp.73–100;.Google Scholar
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    Ashton, ‘Hijacking of a Pact’, pp. 129-31.Google Scholar
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    Podeh, Quest for Hegemony, p. 127.Google Scholar
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    Hoover memo., 11 Jul. 1955, FRUS 1955-57 XII, p.132; Dulles tel. 3132, 5 Dec. 1955, FRUS 1955-57 XIV, 821.Google Scholar
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    MacArthur memo., 7 Apr. 1955, FRUS 1955-57 XIV p. 146; Bailey letter to FO, 13 Apr. 1955, FO371/115507/721.Google Scholar
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    Dulles-Macmillan talks, Paris, 14 Jul. 1955, FRUS 1955-57 XIV, p.297; Anglo-American talks, Washington, 11 Aug. 1955, FRUS 1955-57X11, p.141.Google Scholar
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    Anglo-American talks, Washington. 13 Jan. 1956, FRUS 1955-57 XII, p.220.Google Scholar
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    DOD memo., 20 Jun. 1955, FRUS 1955-57 XII, p.98; also Anglo-American talks, Washington, 18 Jan. 1956, FRUS 1955-57 XII, p.226.Google Scholar
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    Scott Lucas, ed., Britain and Suez: the Lion’s Last Roar (Manchester: MUP, 1996), p. 15.Google Scholar
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    Macmillan memo., 13 Jul. 1955, CAB129/76 CP(55)75, and Cabinet discussion, 13 Jul. 1955, CAB 129/29 CM(55)23. Tanks had been excluded from the original MDAP package, much to British, and Iraqi, disappointment.Google Scholar
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    Dulles-Eisenhower meeting, 11 Aug. 1955, DDEL, Dulles Papers, Meetings with the President File.Google Scholar
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    Shuckburgh memo., 14 Dec. 1955, FO371/115469/30G.Google Scholar
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    Hahn, United States, Great Britain and Egypt, p. 198. Nasser later claimed that Eden had reneged on a promise given in April 1955 ‘that Britain would not try by any means to have any other Arab country joining the Baghdad Pact’, hence the angry Egyptian reaction to Templer’s visit to Jordan. Nasser’s claim was denied by Eden. Suez Ten Years After(London: BBC, 1967), p.33; Avon (Eden) letter to Selwyn Lloyd, 14 Jun. 1966, Avon Papers, AP23/44/70.Google Scholar
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    D. R. Thorpe, Eden (London: Chatto and Windus, 2003). pp.400–01, 412, 414-15Google Scholar
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    David Dutton, ‘Anthony Eden’, in T. G. Otte, ed., The Makers of British Foreign Policy: From Pitt to Thatcher (Basingstoke, 2002), p.232.Google Scholar
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    on Indochina see James Cable, The Geneva Conference of 1954 on Indochina (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1986).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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© Taylor & Francis Group 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Ruane
    • 1
  1. 1.Canterbury Christ Church UniversityUK

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