Acheson and Empire: The British Accent in American Foreign Policy

By John T. McNay | Go to book overview

7

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

____________________
1.
None of the studies on U.S. policy in Egypt adequately focuses on the roots of Truman- Acheson diplomacy. Most studies jump to the Nasser era and Eisenhower-Dulles. There are nevertheless useful works on Egypt and the West. See especially Peter L. Hahn, The United States, Great Britain, and Egypt, 1945-1956: Strategy and Diplomacy in the Early Cold War. Hahn's valuable analysis examines strategic objectives of American policy. Three other useful volumes are Peter Mansfield, The British in Egypt; M. E. Yapp, The Near East since the First World War; and P. J. Vatikiotis, The History of Modern Egypt: From Muhammad Ali to Mubarak.

-158-

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Acheson and Empire: The British Accent in American Foreign Policy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Acheson and Empire - The British Accent in American Foreign Policy *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Champion of Empire 11
  • 2 - The Special Relationship 39
  • 3 - Bonds of Loyalty 61
  • 4 - The Ulster Connection 81
  • 5 - The Kashmir Connection 101
  • 6 - The Iran Connection 129
  • 7 - The Egypt Connection 158
  • 8 - Epilogue 193
  • Bibliography 203
  • Index 217
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