Volume #21 - 566.|
VISITE DU MINISTRE DES AFFAIRES ÉTRANGÈRES À OTTAWA, 28-30 JUIN 1955
Note du secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures|
pour le sous-secrétaire d'État aux Affaires extérieures
le 1er juillet 1955|
In the two conferences I have had with the Egyptian Foreign Minister during his visit to Ottawa, he brought up one or two political questions on which I should report.
1. On the general situation he agrees that there has been some easing of tension lately, but that we should be cautious. Egypt recognizes the communist imperialist threat and is strongly anti-communist, but is unable to take part in collective defence arrangements against communist aggression because of the Palestine situation and Middle East difficulties generally. In this regard, however, the recent settlement of the Suez question with the British represented a great step forward and removed one important source of division between Egypt and her Western friends.24
2. Dr. Fawzi deplored the Turkish-Iraqi Pact as cutting across and interfering with wider and, he thought, more important Arab collective security arrangements.25 It would have been far better, in his opinion, for delay in peripheral security arrangements in that part of the world until these more far-reaching plans could have matured. However, he recognized that they were now confronted with a fait accompli and, therefore, the Egyptian Government should do what it could to correct the situation. By this I gather he meant bring Iraq back into the Arab field and eventually possibly Turkey, though he felt that any security agreement with Turkey at this time was impossible. Dr. Fawzi, while regretful of these developments, expressed no bitterness or resentment, and spoke more in sorrow than in anger at what he considered to be, from the Egyptian and, indeed, from a broader point of view, an unfortunate and premature development.
3. Palestine. We had a long and frank talk about Palestine. He takes a very serious view of the situation and feels that if something is not done to improve it there is a real danger of war. The Arab states have 45 millions of people who are getting stronger economically and politically, and they are, without exception, adamant in their refusal to recognize the State of Israel in its present form and under present conditions.
I told Dr. Fawzi that I had in the past taken a view about Palestine which I realized had not made me very popular with Arab States. I felt, and still feel, that some form of Jewish state was essential. However, the past should not be allowed to confuse and determine the future, and the question, therefore, now was what could be done to remove the danger of war in that area. I asked him if he would give me his own views on this question. He said that he would answer my question in two ways, one formally and the other frankly. The first answer is the kind he would have to give in public, namely that there could be no peace until Israel accepted the United Nations resolutions. He realized, however, that this was not a feasible or practical proposition, and that no settlement could be reached on that basis, so he came to his second answer to my question, which, if he were taxed publicly with it, he would deny and disavow.
Two things had to be done before there could be any prospect of a negotiated settlement with Israel. First, the claims of the Palestine refugees to full compensation for material damage would have to be admitted and met. They also had a legitimate claim to non-material damage through having been evicted from their homes and their fatherland, but this, he realized, could not be met. The most satisfactory course would be to have the State of Israel pay full compensation, but if this could not be done then the United Nations should accept some part of the obligation. It would be a small price to pay for peace. Second, there would have to be a territorial adjustment in the south by which, I gather, Dr. Fawzi meant that Transjordan or Saudi Arabia would have to be given some part of the Negeb to link up with Egypt. He admitted that this would be difficult for Israel to accept, but he felt that it would surely not be too great a price to pay for peace and security. Israel in the long run would be a far better and stronger state without this territory, but without also the implacable hostility of her neighbours which, in the long run, would weaken and destroy her.
I told Dr. Fawzi that I thought that his approach was wise and moderate. He would recognize, of course, that concessions of this kind would be difficult for the Israeli Government to make and might result in extremists taking over if they were attempted. Dr. Fawzi felt that this was true, and yet with the proper kind of leadership the Israeli people might be brought around. I then asked him what would be the chances of public opinion in Egypt and the other Arab states accepting this solution, which fell short of their public demands. He thought it could be done and the fact that extremists on both sides would be angered might make it easier.
He hoped that we would do anything that we could here to advance the cause of a settlement in Palestine, and he did not seem to think that our past attitude on this problem disqualified us in any way from exercising the right kind of influence. He said that Canadian views always commanded respect because of their sincerity and objectivity!
Dr. Fawzi expressed admiration for the work that General Burns was doing in Palestine. He said that he had won a deserved reputation for impartiality and honesty.
Dr. Fawzi hinted that it would be a good thing if I could speak to Dulles and Macmillan along the above lines and impress on them that a solution for the difficulties in Palestine must soon be found or there would be serious trouble.
4. We also talked about trade problems during which Dr. Fawzi expressed the hope that we might make progress in this field to the advantage of both countries. He realized that the possibilities of a big trade were not great, but he thought that there could be improvement. He also hoped that Canadian capital might find it worth while to invest in Egyptian development projects, possibly in joint schemes with Egyptians.
He was particularly anxious that we should co-operate in the development of atomic energy for civilian purposes. His visit to Chalk River had obviously made a great impression on him and he hoped that we would be able to make some of our knowledge in this field available to Egyptian scientists. He said that he had mentioned to Mr. Howe the possibility of sending two Egyptians to Chalk River for the above purpose. He was not thinking of a Canadian gift of a reactor to Egypt, so much as of the possibility that Canada might co-operate with and assist the Egyptian Government in the latter's plans to build one.
The Egyptian Foreign Minister was loud and obviously genuine in his praise of the friendly reception he had received in Ottawa. In his turn he has made a very good impression on all with whom he came into contact. He is a moderate, wise and honest person and if his views prevailed in Arab policies, we would have far more ground for optimism over developments in that part of the world than is at present warranted.