Volume #26 - 377.|
RESUMPTION OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN AUSTRALIA AND THE UNITED ARAB REPUBLIC
Ambassador in United Arab Republic|
to Secretary of State for External Affairs
February 24th, 1959|
Reference: Your Tel C-83 Feb 11.?
1. Thank you for informing me, for my strictly confidential information, of Australian Cabinet's decision on questions outstanding with UAR. In this telegram I am submitting personal comments as requested.
2. I was glad to learn that Australian Cabinet has agreed in principle to envisage resumption of relations with Egypt (UAR). This decision seems to me very wise. Australia has played an important part in Mideast in two world wars, and it is I think desirable that Australia be in a position to play an active part diplomatically in present period of unstable peace.
3. I am somewhat doubtful about wisdom of making resumption of Australian diplomatic relations with UAR completely subject to a condition of not repeat not resuming before UK do so themselves. It may be of course that Australian Cabinet decided this condition would be necessary because of considerations of public opinion in Australia. If so this is of course a question entirely beyond my competence. However, as seen from here there would seem to be advantage from point of view of West as a whole (including that of UK itself) if a resumption of Australian-UAR diplomatic relations could be brought about fairly soon provided satisfactory arrangements could be made on other points.
4. As you know, UK Government is itself most anxious to re-establish diplomatic relations with UAR as soon as possible. Reluctance, pre-conditions and difficulties have all been put up on Egyptian side. It was because of Egyptian unwillingness to accede to UK desire for the re-establishment forthwith of regular diplomatic missions (even though for time being at chargé d'affaires level) that Mr. Selwyn Lloyd agreed to accept as second best the appointment of a UK representative in Cairo with diplomatic immunities and privileges to implement the terms of financial settlement. He will of course need a substantial staff so that there will be in effect a UK mission in Cairo. It is UK hope that Egyptians will in fact allow such a mission gradually but fairly rapidly after its establishment to take over consular and political functions, so that it can be converted as soon as possible in name also into an embassy.
5. Meanwhile UK-UAR financial agreement is not repeat not signed, although prospects now seem fairly good that it may be signed within a few days.506 I would hope that this would affect Australian position in two ways. It would remove technical difficulty of Qantas spare parts (my telegram 117 February 18)? which has thus far stood in way of UAR repeal of Proclamation 5B. But more fundamentally I would hope that Australian Government might consider a UK-UAR financial settlement and consequent establishment in Cairo of a UK mission with certain diplomatic privileges as meeting their first condition for a resumption of Australian-UAR relations, even though there would not repeat not yet be in full sense a resumption of UK-UAR diplomatic relations. I feel confident that UK itself would greatly value presence here of an Australian diplomatic mission, as would I myself and, I am sure, my non-communist colleagues.
6. On their side Egyptians have shown some signs of intending after signature of financial agreement with UK, to bargain resumption of diplomatic relations with UK against adjustment of UK foreign policy on various questions in Mideast. This as it seems to me, is another instance of tendency (also evidenced in USA policy toward China but generally considered heretical in British and European diplomatic doctrine) of regarding exchange of diplomatic missions as an accolade and almost a reward for pursuing acceptable policies, rather than as a technical instrument to make possible discussion between governments and thus to provide an opportunity of influencing and harmonizing policies of nations concerned. Arabs have of course carried this heretical recognition policy to an inverted extreme in the case of the so-called Provisional Government of Algeria.
7. I mention this to suggest that is not repeat not by any means safe to assume that on question of resuming diplomatic relations all will be clear-sailing on UAR side. As you know, UAR is at present going through an agonizing period of foreign policy re-appraisal, promoted inter alia by Russian policy in Iraq and prospect of large-scale emigration from communist bloc into Israel. There are important tendencies within UAR ruling group favouring a rapprochement with West, but there are also tendencies opposing this and wishing not repeat not to abandon their close co-operation with USSR and China which they feel has proved so useful to them in past few years. Often these two contradictory tendencies exist in same minds. It seems to me that it should be part of Western diplomacy discreetly to encourage the aban-donment of old recriminations and suspicions between Arab world and West and to work for gradual development of necessary minimum of confidence for reasonably friendly relations.
8. As you know, I took a rather similar line with Zulficar Sabry when I saw him on February 12 about repeal of Proclamation 5B507 (my telegram 117 February 18) in suggesting my own view that it was in UAR interests to settle old disputes and re-establish friendly relations with UK and Australia. Sabry acknowledged that this was probably so, but reverted to events of two years ago. He said that he could understand UK action at Suez, since UK feared that Egypt would throttle their trade by closing canal traffic. These UK fears were unfounded but understandable. But Sabry said he could only interpret attitude Australia had taken up at time of Suez crisis as based on malice, since Australia had no repeat no direct interest of its own at stake. I told Sabry that this was a misinterpretation and that I personally thought that Australian action could best be understood as a desire to stand by Britain. There was no repeat no malice involved. Sabry said that attitude Australia had taken in UN was nevertheless dangerous from Egypt's point of view since if other countries had adopted it the British and French would never in fact have stopped their aggression. I said I was glad to see that UAR ministers realized decisive role that international public opinion could play through UN in settlement of disputes and problems. For this very reason it was in interests of UAR to move toward normalization of relations with Australia and UK and not repeat not to allow future to be poisoned by the past. Sabry said that he was inclined to agree.
9. Zulficar Sabry wished time however to consider whether UAR should repeal proclamation 5B even if settlement with UK did not repeat not go through. It is my hope that in next few days this question may become academic. Mr. Black has just returned to Cairo in hope of clearing up the outstanding difficulty. If by any chance UK-UAR financial settlement is not repeat not signed. I will then need instructions on Qantas spares issue set out in my telegram 117 February 18. Otherwise however I can continue to press as I have been doing for repeal of proclamation 5B.
10. It is my understanding and that of Gardner that visa restrictions which in practice prevent Australians from visiting Egypt in transit or for business reasons (condition B(ii) of your reference telegram) is a corollary of proclamation 5B. Pending its repeal therefore we are inclined not repeat not to submit a separate formal request for the removal of visa restrictions, but we will do whatever is necessary (including submission of a formal request if this then seems desirable) to ensure that with repeal of proclamation 5B all visa discrimination is in fact ended.
11. With regard to condition B(iii) concerning removal of Anzac memorial from Egypt,508 this seems to me a wise decision. We shall of course do what we can to get best possible terms. We shall however do nothing on this matter until I get further instructions, presumably after conclusion of Australia's discussions with New Zealand and with servicemen's organizations.
12. Regarding desequestration charges,509 Gardner and I have done everything we could. We shall of course continue to do anything we can but for the reasons pointed out in my telegram 5 January 7510 I do not repeat not anticipate that we shall get any reduction in figure of 10 percent. Not repeat not only French but in effect also UK have now accepted this figure, as UK negotiators tell me that lump sum for desequestration charges which is embodied in agreement which they have initialled was in fact worked out by calculations based on this percentage. Size of this lump sum was one of last items to be settled before UK-UAR agreement was initialled, and UK negotiators tell me that despite all their efforts they could not repeat not succeed in getting Egyptians to give up this claim for a heavy sequestration charge.
13. I will look forward to receiving Australian Government's comments and clarification on point about resumption of relations and its relation to a UK-UAR settlement. Meanwhile, and unless instructed to contrary, I would not repeat not for time being envisage asking UAR on behalf of Australia for a resumption of diplomatic relations. I am inclined rather to take a suitable opportunity to tell UAR ministers that I personally (or as Canadian representative) believe that a resumption of Australian-UAR diplomatic relations is in interests of both sides, and that I would like to recommend this to Australia.
This might let me get some UAR reactions to idea in advance of putting forward any such proposal on behalf of Australian Government itself.
L'accord fut signé le 28 février.
Proclamation No. 5 of 1956 decreed that British and French citizens in Egypt would be treated as enemy nationals. Proclamation 5B imposed the same conditions on Australian citizens. Both 5 and 5B were repealed in March 1959.
Le monument au Desert Mounted Corps à Port Saïd avait été endommagé, de même que les sépultures de guerre à Port Saïd et à Suez. Les gouvernements australien et néo-zélandais décidèrent donc de transporter le monument ailleurs. Il se dresse maintenant sur l'esplanade Anzac à Canberra.
The Desert Mounted Corps Memorial at Port Said had been damaged, as were Anzac war graves at Port Said and Suez. The Australian and New Zealand governments therefore decided to remove the memorial and re-erect it elsewhere. It is now on the Anzac Parade, Canberra.
Un droit de « déséquestration » de 10 pour 100 fut prélevé sur les biens confisqués avant leur restitution à leurs propriétaires antérieurs.