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Sayed-Ahmed, Mohamed Abd El-Wahab (1987) US-Egyptian relations from the 1952 revolution to the Suez Crisis of 1956. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00028539

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Abstract

If the late 1940s and early 1950s were a period of close and friendly relations between the United States and Egypt, the late 1950s and early 1960s mark the deterioration in those relations. US-Egyptian relations from the 1952 revolution to the Suez crisis resembled to some extent a game of chess between Nasser of Egypt, and Secretary John Foster Dulles of the US. The Free Officers' rise to power in Egypt in July 1952, raised the hope of the American policy-makers in the establishing of closer and, moreover, cordial relations with Egypt. They felt that it was to their advantage to deal with the military officers who were not associated with the corrupt ancien regime of politicians. Moreover, the Free Officers did not have any political commitment nor a predetermined position in foreign policy. Therefore the Eisenhower administration, especially Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, expected that Egypt under Nasser and his military colleagues would help achieve objectives of American strategy in the area, such as the containment of Soviet penetration, and peace between the Arab states and Israel. These hopes or aspirations, however, could not be easily translated into practical policy. Dulles looked to Nasser for support of US initiatives, without appreciating problems Nasser might face. Nasser's policy was soon to clash with American strategy in the Middle East and Egypt's foreign policy would be marked to a great extent by recurrent clashes with the US, especially from 1955 onwards. Nasser saw US policy becoming reflexively pro-Israel and he felt that Washington was jeopardising his leadership of the Arab world, especially after the formation of the Baghdad Pact in February 1955. The honeymoon between the Free Officers' regime in Egypt and the US was now over. Nasser felt he had to confront the US and the Western powers on their own terms, in a more forceful and radical way. Nasser found the Soviet Union a willing partner in furthering his aims, even though he still left his options open regarding his relations with the US. As for the Eisenhower administration, the turning-point came in mid-March 1956 when Secretary of the Navy Robert Anderson returned from his mission to promote peace between Egypt and Israel empty-handed. Dulles was determined to show Nasser how tough he could be. Events then moved rapidly to the Suez crisis. The documentary and other evidence proved that Nasser's ambitions for a regional leadership of the Arab Middle East were in conflict with those of the US as a global power in the Middle East, The Eisenhower administration, for its part, had hoped and intended to contain Nasser's influence in the area and not to promote him into a major Third World leader, but in vain. The American policy turned Nasser from a local Arab leader of Egypt into the charismatic leader of the Arab world and a major political figure in the Third World. This research mainly depends on American documents which were declassified during the past two years.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00028539
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:58
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/28539

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