Thursday,27 April, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1321, (24 - 30 November 2016)
Thursday,27 April, 2017
Issue 1321, (24 - 30 November 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Collusion: the Sèvres Protocol

Al-Ahram Weekly

The Sèvres Protocol originally written in French and typed in three copies, was signed in a private villa in Sèvres, on the outskirts of Paris, on 24 October 1956 by Israel’s prime minister David Ben-Gurion , French foreign minister Christian Pineau and British assistant under-secretary at the Foreign Office Patrick Dean.

The British copy of the protocol was destroyed on Eden’s orders and that of France lost, while the Israeli copy was kept under lock and key in the Ben-Gurion Archives in Sede-Boker. The text of this document was first made public when Keith Kyle was allowed to see a photocopy of the protocol at the Israeli Embassy in London while researching his seminal book Suez (Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1991). The document was officially released in 1996 when Kyle and Avi Shlaim worked as historical consultants for a BBC documentary marking the 40th anniversary of the Suez War. The English translation below is included as an appendix in Avi Shlaim’s Anatomy of a War Plot , International Affairs, 73:3 (1997).

“The results of the conversations which took place at Sèvres from 22-24 October 1956 between the representatives of the Governments of the United Kingdom, the State of Israel and of France are the following:

“1- The Israeli forces launch in the evening of 29 October 1956 a large scale attack on the Egyptian forces with the aim of reaching the Canal zone the following day.

“2- On being apprised of these events, the British and French Governments during the day of 30 October 1956 respectively and simultaneously make two appeals to the Egyptian Government and the Israeli Government on the following lines:

“A. To the Egyptian Government

“(a) halt all acts of war.

“(b) withdraw all its troops ten miles from the Canal.

“(c) accept temporary occupation of key positions on the Canal by the Anglo-French forces to guarantee freedom of passage through the Canal by vessels of all nations until a final settlement.

“B. To the Israeli Government

“(a) halt all acts of war.

“(b) withdraw all its troops ten miles to the east of the Canal.

“In addition, the Israeli Government will be notified that the French and British Government have demanded of the Egyptian Government to accept temporary occupation of key positions along the Canal by Anglo-French forces.

“It is agreed that if one of the Governments refused, or did not give its consent, within twelve hours, the Anglo- French forces would intervene with the means necessary to ensure that their demands are accepted.

“C. The representatives of the three Governments agree that the Israeli Government will not be required to meet the conditions in the appeal addressed to it, in the event that the Egyptian Government does not accept those in the appeal addressed to it for their part.

“3- In the event that the Egyptian Government should fail to agree within the stipulated time to the conditions of the appeal addressed to it, the Anglo-French forces will launch military operations against the Egyptian forces in the early hours of the morning of 31 October.

“4- The Israeli Government will send forces to occupy the western shore of the gulf of Akaba and the group of islands Tirane and Sanafir to ensure freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Akaba.

“5- Israel undertakes not to attack Jordan during the period of operations against Egypt.

“But in the event that during the same period Jordan should attack Israel, the British Government undertakes not to come to the aid of Jordan.

“6- The arrangements of the present protocol must remain strictly secret.

“7- They will enter into force after the agreement of the three Governments.”

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