Britain, Nasser and the Balance of Power in the Middle East by Robert McNamara

By Robert McNamara

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However, his career was blighted by the refusal of Churchill to give up the top job and by poor health exacerbated by a botched bile duct operation in 1953. This was to lead him to require considerable doses of drugs to control the resulting pain for the rest of his life. The pain might have been more manageable on a less highly strung workaholic than Eden but his demeanour and style added to the stresses. A desperately unhappy first marriage contributed to these workaholic tendencies. He did not even own a house for many years.

The new regime in Egypt could be credited with this. After negotiations with the Sudanese parties it agreed on the right of the Sudan to selfdetermination. Perhaps the reason for this was that Farouk had a royal claim to the Sudan. The Free Officers were unencumbered by dynastic claims. While NEW REGIME AND BASE AGREEMENT 33 they believed for strategic and mainly economic reasons on the need for unity in the Nile Valley they were convinced that the Sudanese would accept Egyptian sovereignty Why Egypt failed to win union with the Sudan is somewhat of a mystery Hubris is one reason.

He remained an inveterate opponent of compromise with the Egyptians. Bevin ignored Churchill’s concerns and proceeded to withdraw British troops from Cairo and the other major cities to the Canal Zone by March 1948. He also tried to renegotiate a more palatable agreement on future British use of the base. The Chiefs of Staff had laid down in 1946 what the minimum requirements of any new treaty with Egypt should be. These were that base installations would be built up and that the base could be activated as soon as the British decreed that a state of emergency existed.

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