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Digital Archive International History Declassified

August 22, 1955

MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE SOVIET AMBASSADOR TO EGYPT D.S. SOLOD AND THE DIRECTOR OF THE PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE, A. SABRI

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    President Nasser criticizes the Israeli attack at the Gaza strip which involves Egyptian soldiers. He requests immediate military aid from the Soviet Union in case of future incidents by Israeli or British forces.
    "Memorandum of Conversation between the Soviet Ambassador to Egypt D.S. Solod and the director of the Prime Minister’s office, A. Sabri," August 22, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, AVPRF, fond 087, opis 18, papka 37, delo 4, listy 42-44. Obtained and translated for CWIHP by Guy Laron https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112287
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Sabri called the embassy and asked to be received to discuss an urgent issue. In the conversation, on behalf of the Prime Minister, he said the following:


Recently, the al-Azhari government in Sudan has shown a tendency to move away from Egypt…


The Egyptian government is deeply disturbed by the fact that today, at seven AM, an armed Israeli unit attacked a part of Gaza. During this unprovoked incident one Egyptian officer was killed and four soldiers were injured. It should be noted that for a long time there have not been any incidents along the Egyptian-Israeli demarcation line.


The Egyptian government, according to Sabri, thinks that the recent incident in Gaza is related to the events in South Sudan and was provoked by the Israelis, under British pressure to drive Egyptian attention away from the events in Sudan and prevent Egypt from taking measures which would pacify the Sudanese situation.

After considering the complicated and thorny situation which had been created, Nasser thought that the British provocations in South Sudan and Palestine would cease if the British saw that Egypt had a well-equipped army. Therefore Nasser wanted to submit to the Soviet government the Egyptian government's request to speed up the delivery of the weapons which were the subject of talks between the Egyptian military delegation and Soviet representatives in Prague. The Egyptian government's first priority was transport and bomber aircraft, in any number and as soon as possible. Moreover, the Egyptian government was prepared to give permission to Soviet pilots to land these planes in Cairo's “al-Maze” airport.

The Egyptian government believed that the expedient delivery of weapons to Egypt, especially airplanes, was needed so that the Egyptian army's substantial ability to resist would appear as an established fact to the English. Besides, Egypt needed the transport airplanes in case an understanding would be reached with the Sudanese government regarding the landing of Egyptian troops in south Sudan. In such a case, the Egyptian government would have no way to land troops there other than by [air]. Sabri noted that the Egyptian government had no way of sending instructions to its military delegation in Prague regarding the speeding up of the negotiations, since the delegation was instructed to avoid any contact with the Egyptian embassy in Prague unless circumstances made this an absolute necessity.

I told Sabri that I would bring Nasser's request to the attention of the Soviet Foreign ministry…