UK To Join Protest of Egyptian Blockade of Israeli Shipping
CONCLUSIONS of a Meeting of the Cabinet held at 10, Downing Street, S.W.I.,
on Thursday, 21st January, 1954, at 11.30 a.m.
The Prime Minister drew attention to the decision of the Egyptian Government to intensify their blockade of Israel. This would lead to increased interference with the passage of ships through the Suez Canal and the black-listing by Egypt of many ships of all flags trading with the Levant. The Israel Government were proposing to raise the matter in the Security Council and had asked whether they could count on our support, and that of the United States Government.
The Prime Minister said that he hoped we should give prompt and effective support to the Israel Government in this matter. In Parliament members of all parties would welcome an initiative designed to assert the rights of free transit through the Canal; and it would be convenient if we could transfer the emphasis, in our current differences with Egypt, from the Base to the Canal.
The Foreign Secretary said that he was anxious to gain support for Israel's protest against Egypt's interference with her trade. The Cabinet should realise, however, that the Egyptian Government had legal grounds for their action, in that their war with Israel had not legally been terminated. It was therefore desirable that we should not take any public position in this matter until we had assured ourselves that we should have the support of some of the other maritime Powers. He had, in the first instance, approached the United States Government; and, as soon as he knew that they were willing to support Israel's complaint, he would take steps to verify that some of the other maritime Powers would be willing to take the same line. The Israel Government could then be informed that, if they raised the matter in the Security Council, they would have the support of the leading maritime Powers.
Invited the Foreign Secretary to continue to enlist the support of leading maritime Powers for the protest which Israel proposed to make in the Security Council against the decision of the Egyptian Government to intensify their blockade of Israel.
Sources:British Archives: CAB/128/27/4