The Egypt Connection
Egypt presented Dean Acheson with special problems. There, as in Ireland, India, and Iran, Acheson shortsightedly locked U.S. foreign policy to that of Britain facing another trauma of imperial decline, symbolized this time by the looming loss of Suez. The result again was disaster for the British and defeat for Acheson, though even Acheson came in his last weeks in office to see the folly of what the British were doing and to what he was acquiescing. 1.
Through all the turmoilin Egypt, Acheson worked to maintain the principle of Anglo-American partnership even as he urged the British to pursue a policy that might enable them to retain Suez. In fact, Ernest Bevin appears to have been moving toward just such a policy before he had to step down as foreign secretary in March 1951 because of failing health. With Herbert Morrison in charge from March through October 1951, British policy reverted to its traditional vision of empire. Acheson's effort never went beyond friendly persuasion in trying to convince the British, in one of his favorite dictums, to accept the world as it was rather than as they wished it to be. His differences with the British were always over how to maintain their position in Egypt, not whether they should try to do so. Here, too, then, Acheson followed the imperial paradigm he imbibed from his Ulster heritage.
Acheson's chief objective in Egypt was to maintain the British imperial presence as a bulwark of Western strategic interests in the cold war, and____________________