23 June 1956
Nasser elected president of the Republic of Egypt.
Earlier approval by the World Bank to finance the construction of the Aswan High Dam cancelled, as US and Britain withdraw their support. The official reason given was the poor state of the Egyptian economy, the real one being Egypt’s decision to recognise China and buy weapons from Czechoslovakia.
President Nasser announces the nationalisation of the Suez Canal.
Britain freezes Egyptian assets. British Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, imposes arms embargo on Egypt and tells Nasser he cannot have the Suez Canal.
Britain, France and the US hold talks on the Suez Crisis.
Britain mobilises armed forces.
International conference of 22 nations held in London on Suez Canal. Idea of international management of Canal accepted by 18 nations.
Egypt says it will negotiate on Suez ownership if Britain pulls out of the Middle East.
The Soviet Union (USSR) says it will send troops if Egypt is attacked.
Nasser agrees to a five nation conference on the Suez Canal.
The five nation conference collapses. Nasser rejects plans for international management after visit by Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies.
Britain, France and US say they are going ahead with plans for a Suez Canal Users Association (SCUA) despite Egypt’s rejection.
Egypt now in full control of the canal.
Soviet ship-pilots arrive in Egypt to help in running the Canal.
SCUA officially launched.
UN Security Council meets to discuss endorsing SCUA but no vote taken.
Israeli foreign minister Golda Meir says UN failure to resolve the Suez Crisis means Israel must take military action.
Anglo-French proposal for control of the Canal vetoed by the USSR.
Britain, France and Israel agree at Sèvres, on the outskirts of Paris, to a plan codenamed Operation Musketeer to invade Egypt. Israel is to attack the Egyptian army near the canal as a pretext for military intervention by Britain and France. The Sèvres Protocol is signed.
Israel invades the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip and troops progress towards the Canal Zone. The Sinai Campaign of 1956 was codenamed Operation Kadesh, commanded by Moshe Dayan with Ariel Sharon commanding the paratroopers battalion which launched the operation.
Britain and France veto USSR demand for Israel-Egypt ceasefire
Despite public protests, allies mount air strikes on Egypt. Nasser responds by sinking 40 ships to block the Canal.
First emergency meeting of UN General Assembly to discuss Suez. Calls for an immediate ceasefire are ignored and British and French forces mount airborne invasion of Egypt.
Anglo-French forces land at port Said. At Al-Gamil airfield 668 British paratroopers were dropped and 470 French paratroopers landed at two bridges on the canal after the UN ultimatum for agreement to a ceasefire expires.
After pressure from international community led by the US which threatens to withdraw support of the British currency -- an event which would have resulted in the financial collapse of England -- Britain and France agree to a UN ceasefire. UN General Assembly votes 65 to one that invading powers should quit Egypt, and 13 countries sign up to a United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF).
First UNEF land at Port Said.
Britain begins military withdrawal from Egypt.
Israel refuses to return Gaza to Egypt.
British and French troops complete withdrawal. Egyptians celebrate the day as Victory Day and jubilant masses in the streets of Port Said chant “long live Nasser”.
British and French troops depart Egypt.
5,580 Egyptian POWs exchanged for four Israelis. Operation to clear sunken ships in canal starts.
9 January 1957
Eden resigns and tells Harold Macmillan that his health was in danger if he stayed in office and that “there was no way out”. Macmillan, who was to succeed him as British prime minister was stunned.
British and French banks in Egypt are nationalised.
Israel announces that it was making a full and prompt withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in response to an imminent threat of international sanctions led by the USA.
UN takes over the administration of the Gaza Strip.
Nasser bars Israeli shipping from Suez Canal.
Suez Canal cleared under supervision of Egyptian Suez Canal Authority and first British ship pays Egyptian toll for use of the Canal.