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Digital Archive International History Declassified

1953

UNTITLED REPORT ON RELATIONS BETWEEN SYRIA AND EGYPT

This document was made possible with support from the Youmna and Tony Asseily

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    An attempted coup in Egypt casts doubt over the stability of the Syrian government, and Al-Shabeshkeli and Muhammed Najeeb discuss prospects for the future of Syrian-Egyptian cooperation and British-Egyptian engagement.
    "Untitled report on relations between Syria and Egypt," 1953, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Emir Farid Chehab Collection, GB165-0384, Box 12, File 83/12, Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119901
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The recent coup attempt by Adeeb Al-Shabashkeli, in Egypt, was injured deeply when General Muhammed Najeeb Al-Shabeshkeli found out he was forced to delay his visit to Syria until further notice.  General Muhammed Najeeb alleged that he was too busy at the present time, which forced him to remain in Egypt.  However, the real reason for Muhammed Najeeb’s delaying his visit to Syria is that he thinks that the Al-Shabeshkeli’s position in Syria has become shaken and unstable.  They are saying that Muhammed Najeeb, currently, is not interested in creating enemies out of the Muslim Brotherhood, who do not approve the extremely oppressive policy that Al-Shebashkeli is practicing against their brothers in Syria.  These facts do not indicate that Muhammed Najeeb has rejected the agreements reached by Al-Shabeshkeli in the recent visit to Egypt.

Therefore, Muhammed Najeeb’s position toward his friend Al-Shabeshkeli is currently marked with caution and stoicism.

Al-Shabeshkeli had reached an agreement with Muhammed Najeeb during his visit to Egypt to stress the necessity of joint work to unify the Arab states.  Al-Shabeshkeli suggested to Muhammed Najeeb to merge Egypt Liberation Organization with Arab Liberation Movement.  This idea was accepted by Muhammed Najeeb.  As for the details, they were left to be Cairo.  General Muhammed Najeeb is the Egyptian Ambassador to Syria.  Among the matters agreed upon is that final agreement between Al-Shabeshkeli and Muhammed Najeeb be reached during his visit to Syria.

They are saying that Al-Shabeshkeli was impressed with the scope of knowledge Muhammed Najeeb has in Egyptian-British relations in Sudan.  He explained to Muhammed Najeeb that Britain controls the source of the Nile outside Sudan.  He also said to Muhammed Najeeb that it is in Egypt’s interest that the topic of negotiations between Britain and Egypt be about the Nile, not about Sudan, because Nile projects are partly in Sudan and the other part is in Uganda.

Al-Shabeshkeli announce to Muhammed Najeeb that Britain is the natural ally to the Arabs and that they should not put big hope in the United States’ involvement because America’s policy is based on preparing the West militarily.  Therefore, the United States cannot do away with Britain, it being the spine of the NATO for the Arabs.  He also told Muhammed Najeeb that it is preferred that Egypt resolve its issues with Britain through direct agreement.  He told Muhammed Najeeb that accomplishing the hope of Arab Nationalism is tied directly with Britain.  They were also saying that Muhammed Najeeb had agreed with Al-Shabeshkeli on many of his points of view.

Al-Shabeshkeli is currently listening to the consult of his two friends, Faris Al-Khouri and Faiz Al-Khouri, the Syrian Ambassador to Britain.

There are claims that Al-Shabeshkeli had promised President Muhammed Najeeb that Syria will stand with Egypt and stick by it to achieve its national demands.  There are also claims that Muhammed Najeeb promised Al-Shabeshkeli that Egypt will not make one step in Arab politics without consulting Syria about it.  There are claims that Muhammed Najeeb said to Al-Shabeshkeli that Egypt cannot practice positive Arab politics based on unification or unity before Egypt resolves its outstanding problems with Sudan.  However, this does not stop Egypt from cooperating with Syria and sticking by it to spread the message of Arab liberation.  There are claims that Muhammed Najeeb offered Al-Shabeshkeli to specify a timeframe that Egypt can reach an understanding with Britain while Al-Shabeshkeli works on establishing the liberation movement’s bases, and spreading its principles among the Syrian people.  For when Egypt and Syria can go through this phase, that’s when the Arab liberation movement and the Egyptian Liberation Organization can cooperate together for popular endeavor to unify the Arab states.

Al-Shabeshkeli and Najeeb had agreed not to enter into any engagement relating to joint defense without resolving the British-Egyptian problems first.  Muhammed Najeeb believes that that should not take longer that three or four months.

The following was also noted:
1- The dwindling of enthusiasm in Egypt-Syrian relations.
2- Muhammed Najeeb delaying his visit to Syria.
3- Postponing the Unification Program and Arab Unity until Egypt resolves its issues with Britain.
4- Arab cooperation with Britain in foreign policy.
5- Egypt is not against Al-Shabeshkeli in his commencement to implement his unification programs.
6- Egypt advising Al-Shabeshkeli to the necessity of garnering popular influence and spreading the liberation movement among the Syrian people.

Addendum

I found out that following Muhammed Najeeb’s dismantling of the Egyptian parties, Al-Shabeshkeli had contacted Ali Najeeb to express his anger at the steps taken by Muhammed Najeeb in Egypt, and told the Egyptian Ambassador that the time has come for Egypt and Syria to proceed with the joint program to unify the Arab states and to coordinate the work of the Arab Unification Movement and the Liberation Organization.  There are claims that Al-Shabeshkeli is currently attempting to get financial aid from Egypt to help overcome his internal difficulties in Syria.

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