Protocol of Sèvres

Protocol of Sèvres

Overview
The Protocol of Sèvres was a secret agreement reached between the governments of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 during discussions held between 22 and 24 October 1956 at Sèvres
Sèvres
Sèvres is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the centre of Paris.The town is known for its porcelain manufacture, the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres, making the famous Sèvres porcelain, as well as being the location of the International Bureau of Weights...

, France. The protocol concerns their joint political and military collusion
Collusion
Collusion is an agreement between two or more persons, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair advantage...

 to topple Gamal Abdul Nasser, by invading and occupying parts of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 in response to President Nasser's nationalization
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 on 26 July. The planning for and the agreements contained in the protocol began the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 on 29 October 1956.

On 22 October, Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

 David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, Director General of the Ministry of Defense Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 and Chief of Staff
Ramatkal
The Chief of the General Staff, also known as the Commander-in-Chief of the Israel Defense Forces is the supreme commander and Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. At any given time, the Chief of Staff is the only active officer holding the IDF's highest rank, Rav Aluf , which is usually...

 of the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

 secretly travelled from Israel to an isolated house in Sèvres to meet the French Minister of Defence
Minister of Defence (France)
The Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs is the French government cabinet member charged with running the military of France....

 Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury
Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury
Maurice Jean Marie Bourgès-Maunoury was a French Radical politician who served as Prime Minister in the Fourth Republic during 1957.He is famous, especially, for fulfilling prominent ministerial role in the government during the Suez Crisis....

, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Foreign Affairs (France)
Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs ), is France's foreign affairs ministry, with the headquarters located on the Quai d'Orsay in Paris close to the National Assembly of France. The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs in the government of France is the cabinet minister responsible for...

 Christian Pineau
Christian Pineau
Christian Pineau was a noted French Resistance fighter.He was born in Chaumont-en-Bassigny, Haute-Marne, France and died in Paris.His father-in-law was the writer Jean Giraudoux, who was married to Pineau's mother...

 and Chief of Staff of the French Armed Forces General Maurice Challe
Maurice Challe
Maurice Challe was a French general during the Algerian War, one of four generals who took part in the Algiers putsch...

, and British Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State...

 Selwyn Lloyd
Selwyn Lloyd
John Selwyn Brooke Lloyd, Baron Selwyn-Lloyd CH PC CBE TD , known for most of his career as Selwyn Lloyd, was a British Conservative Party politician who served as Foreign Secretary from 1955 to 1960, then as Chancellor of the Exchequer until 1962...

 and his assistant Sir Patrick Dean
Patrick Dean
Sir Patrick Henry Dean, GCMG, was Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations from 1960 to 1964 and British Ambassador to the United States from 1965 to 1969....

.

Together, they and their aides secretly planned a two-step invasion of Egypt, including the cover story
Cover story
Cover story may refer to:* a story in a magazine whose subject matter appears on its front cover* a fictitious account that is intended to hide one's real motive, e.g. when a terrorist pretends to be farmer to buy fertilizer or to provide an explanation in case it is found; the story in the case of...

.
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Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Protocol of Sèvres was a secret agreement reached between the governments of Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 during discussions held between 22 and 24 October 1956 at Sèvres
Sèvres
Sèvres is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the centre of Paris.The town is known for its porcelain manufacture, the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres, making the famous Sèvres porcelain, as well as being the location of the International Bureau of Weights...

, France. The protocol concerns their joint political and military collusion
Collusion
Collusion is an agreement between two or more persons, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair advantage...

 to topple Gamal Abdul Nasser, by invading and occupying parts of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 in response to President Nasser's nationalization
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 on 26 July. The planning for and the agreements contained in the protocol began the Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

 on 29 October 1956.

Sèvres meeting


On 22 October, Prime Minister of Israel
Prime Minister of Israel
The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of the Israeli government and the most powerful political figure in Israel . The prime minister is the country's chief executive. The official residence of the prime minister, Beit Rosh Hamemshala is in Jerusalem...

 David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, Director General of the Ministry of Defense Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 and Chief of Staff
Ramatkal
The Chief of the General Staff, also known as the Commander-in-Chief of the Israel Defense Forces is the supreme commander and Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. At any given time, the Chief of Staff is the only active officer holding the IDF's highest rank, Rav Aluf , which is usually...

 of the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

 secretly travelled from Israel to an isolated house in Sèvres to meet the French Minister of Defence
Minister of Defence (France)
The Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs is the French government cabinet member charged with running the military of France....

 Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury
Maurice Bourgès-Maunoury
Maurice Jean Marie Bourgès-Maunoury was a French Radical politician who served as Prime Minister in the Fourth Republic during 1957.He is famous, especially, for fulfilling prominent ministerial role in the government during the Suez Crisis....

, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Foreign Affairs (France)
Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs ), is France's foreign affairs ministry, with the headquarters located on the Quai d'Orsay in Paris close to the National Assembly of France. The Minister of Foreign and European Affairs in the government of France is the cabinet minister responsible for...

 Christian Pineau
Christian Pineau
Christian Pineau was a noted French Resistance fighter.He was born in Chaumont-en-Bassigny, Haute-Marne, France and died in Paris.His father-in-law was the writer Jean Giraudoux, who was married to Pineau's mother...

 and Chief of Staff of the French Armed Forces General Maurice Challe
Maurice Challe
Maurice Challe was a French general during the Algerian War, one of four generals who took part in the Algiers putsch...

, and British Foreign Secretary
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, commonly referred to as the Foreign Secretary, is a senior member of Her Majesty's Government heading the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and regarded as one of the Great Offices of State...

 Selwyn Lloyd
Selwyn Lloyd
John Selwyn Brooke Lloyd, Baron Selwyn-Lloyd CH PC CBE TD , known for most of his career as Selwyn Lloyd, was a British Conservative Party politician who served as Foreign Secretary from 1955 to 1960, then as Chancellor of the Exchequer until 1962...

 and his assistant Sir Patrick Dean
Patrick Dean
Sir Patrick Henry Dean, GCMG, was Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations from 1960 to 1964 and British Ambassador to the United States from 1965 to 1969....

.

Together, they and their aides secretly planned a two-step invasion of Egypt, including the cover story
Cover story
Cover story may refer to:* a story in a magazine whose subject matter appears on its front cover* a fictitious account that is intended to hide one's real motive, e.g. when a terrorist pretends to be farmer to buy fertilizer or to provide an explanation in case it is found; the story in the case of...

. First Israel would attack Egypt in the Sinai, and then Britain and France would invade on the pretext of "separating the combatants" and protecting the canal, under the terms of the 1954 Anglo-Egyptian agreement to withdraw all British forces from Egypt. One of the most painstaking aspects was formulating a plan both Britain and Israel could agree on. The Israelis distrusted the British but, as the French were not prepared to act without their British allies, they were forced to deal with them. The British maintained strong links with a number of Arab countries and did not want any involvement with Israel that might damage them.

After 48 hours of negotiations and compromise the seven points agreement was signed by Ben-Gurion, Pineau and Dean. At the insistence of the Israeli diplomats, wanting to prevent being abandoned in the middle of the invasion, each group left Sèvres with a signed copy, written in French.

Although not part of the protocol, the occasion allowed Israel to secure French commitment to constructing the Negev Nuclear Research Center
Negev Nuclear Research Center
The Negev Nuclear Research Center is an Israeli nuclear installation located in the Negev desert, about thirteen kilometers to the south-east of the city of Dimona. The purpose of Dimona is widely assumed to be the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, and the majority of defense experts have...

 and the supply of natural uranium for it http://users.ox.ac.uk/~ssfc0005/The%20Protocol%20of%20Sevres%201956%20Anatomy%20of%20a%20War%20Plot.html.

The Protocol


An English translation of the Protocol includes the following:

The results of the conversations which took place at Sèvres from 22-24 October 1956 between the representatives of the Governments of the United Kingdom, the State of Israel and of France are the following:

1. The Israeli forces launch in the evening of 29 October 1956 a large scale attack on the Egyptian forces with the aim of reaching the Canal Zone the following day.

2. On being apprised of these events, the British and French Governments during the day of 30 October 1956 respectively and simultaneously make two appeals to the Egyptian Government and the Israeli Government on the following lines:
A. To the Egyptian Government
a) halt all acts of war.
b) withdraw all its troops ten miles from the Canal.
c) accept temporary occupation of key positions on the Canal by the Anglo-French forces to guarantee freedom of passage through the Canal by vessels of all nations until a final settlement.
B. To the Israeli Government
a) halt all acts of war.
b) withdraw all its troops ten miles to the east of the Canal.

In addition, the Israeli Government will be notified that the French and British Governments have demanded of the Egyptian Government to accept temporary occupation of key positions along the Canal by Anglo-French forces.
It is agreed that if one of the Governments refused, or did not give its consent, within twelve hours the Anglo-French forces would intervene with the means necessary to ensure that their demands are accepted.
C. The representatives of the three Governments agree that the Israeli Government will not be required to meet the conditions in the appeal addressed to it, in the event that the Egyptian Government does not accept those in the appeal addressed to it for their part.

3. In the event that the Egyptian Government should fail to agree within the stipulated time to the conditions of the appeal addressed to it, the Anglo-French forces will launch military operations against the Egyptian forces in the early hours of the morning of 31 October.

4. The Israeli Government will send forces to occupy the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba and the group of islands Tirane and Sanafir to ensure freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aqaba.

5. Israel undertakes not to attack Jordan during the period of operations against Egypt. But in the event that during the same period Jordan should attack Israel, the British Government undertakes not to come to the aid of Jordan.

6. The arrangements of the present protocol must remain strictly secret.

7. They will enter into force after the agreement of the three Governments.

(signed)

David Ben-Gurion Patrick Dean Christian Pineau

British denial


Although reports of the pre-arrangement had leaked out within days, Sir Anthony Eden, the British Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 later denied the existence of such an agreement. When the existence of signed copies of the secret protocol was leaked, Eden sent Dean back to France on the 25 October to collect all copies and leave no trace of the agreements. Christian Pineau at the Quai d'Orsay
Quai d'Orsay
The Quai d'Orsay is a quai in the VIIe arrondissement of Paris, part of the left bank of the Seine, and the name of the street along it. The Quai becomes the Quai Anatole France east of the Palais Bourbon, and the Quai de Branly west of the Pont de l'Alma.The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is...

 refused to comply, since the Israeli diplomats had already left France. "For Eden, the existence of the Protocol was a catastrophe: a smoking gun that exposed the full extent of collusion between Britain, France and Israel." He was concerned that revelation of the agreement would be a threat to all three governments.

The original Israeli copy of the Protocol of Sèvres is said to be kept within the Ben-Gurion Archives, Sde Boker
Sde Boker
Sde Boker is a kibbutz in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Best known as the retirement home of Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, it falls under the jurisdiction of Ramat HaNegev Regional Council.-History:...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

.

The Protocol in action


Four days after the Sèvres meeting, Israeli forces invaded Egyptian territory. The British and French vetoed an American-sponsored resolution in the UN Security Council calling for an end to the Israeli invasion; they then issued their own call for both Israel and Egypt to withdraw from within 16 km of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

. When Egypt refused, the British and French launched their own invasion to secure the Canal zone, under the guise of separating Egyptian and Israeli forces.

External links