The Suez Canal Crisis And Its Impact On The Relationship Between Britain And Egypt


It is not the Suez Canal that distraught the relationship between Britain and Egypt. Since the establishment of Israel in the year of 1948, the then Egypt President, Nasser had harassed Israel while passing through the Suez Canal. In response to such action, the United Nation’s Security Council Resolution directed upon Egypt to “terminate restrictions for passing goods through the Suez Canal herein.” Following the dispute, Egypt started attacking Israel and proposed a coup on Suez Canal as well. After such incident with Israel, Nasser pursued several policies that strained the relationship of Egypt with Britain during the post Israel incident. The main purpose of Nasser was to frustrated British aims at the Middle-East regions herein. Such pursuance on the part of Nasser only increased the hostility between Britain and Egypt herein. Thus, herein we shall critically assess and discuss the relationship between Eden’s podcast of 1956 and the Suez Canal Crisis impact on Britain with reference to the contextual relationship between Egypt and Britain.

Eden’s Podcast on 1956 and Suez Canal Crisis – A Context


The continuous hostility between Britain and Egypt was not a strange incident. During the tough time of decolonization when all the colonial countries had a strained and hostile relationship with Britain, Egypt frustrated Britain by instigating Jordan and extremely pursued Jordan from not committing to the Hashemite Alliance. Hussain, being afraid that he might lose the throne, sacked Glub Pasha in order to appease the rioters who were influenced and essentially instigated by Nasser.

After the sacking of Glub Pasha by Jordan, the then British President Eden took personal hatred towards the then Egypt president Nasser. As it has been pointed out by historian Mason, even though Jordan assured British of the Hashemite Alliance, the sacking of Glub Pashs in order to appease the rioters cost Britain a lot during the time of decolonization. Also, as it has been pointed out by the historian Donald Neff, Eden pursued Nasser as a rigid obstacle in the pathway of British imperialism and that due to Nasser, Britain is going through tough economical condition which is only the half truth as Britain already had a frail economical condition due to their decolonization policy herein.

The Impact of Eden broadcast to the Nation, 8 August 1956 on Suez Canal Crisis

On 8th August, 1956, Eden publicly announced his view towards Nasser before the whole country by a podcast herein. In this podcast, he had essentially held Nasser being the leader of a fascist government. In this podcast, he pointed out how Nasser has attempted to cut the source of the British livelihood and how Nasser is a dictator, worse than Benito Mussolini. He strongly opposed the moves made by Nasser in order to create a hindrance towards Britain’s oil import and also stated that how both West and East could make a pact to be in peaceful relationship regarding the oil import-export from the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.

Such statements made by Eden were only influenced by the Nasser’s act on nationalising Suez Canal on 26th July, 1956. While Britain wanted the help of USA to resolve the issue, USA strongly rejected Britain’s approach of having military troops. It is true that Britain still was a big power and party of the Cold War, but due to the decolonization, the frail economical condition of Britain could not be ignored. As it has been pointed out by historian Donald, USA only wanted to have the issue of Suez Canal resolved peacefully. But given the previous issue of Britain and Egypt, Britain strongly opposed and declined any proposal to have peaceful resolution with Nasser, who was viewed as a dictator by Eden.

Thus, as it has been stated in the given document (c), Eden was more on the view of deploying military troops to resolve the Suez Crisis and later had a pact with France to do the same. As it has been mentioned above that Israel had a strained relationship with Egypt, the protocol of Sevres was signed on October, 1956 by France, Britain and Israel to take a military stand at the Suez Canal Crisis.

The Aftermath

However, the military deploy on the Suez Canal crisis did not go well due to Britain’s frail economical condition as it has been stated above. After a year, Britain published the Sandy’s White Paper to declare how the military power of Britain has only absorbed and drained Britain economically and later Britain was forced to retreat, owing to such economical conditions herein.

Conclusion – Critical Analysis

Thus, if we critically asses the podcast of 1956 by Eden to the Suez Canal crisis, we can assess how the podcast had overshadowed Britain’s stance at resolving the Suez Canal Crisis and it only indicated Britain had a pessimistic view towards Egypt’s stance regarding the Suez Canal Crisis. In critically connecting both the dots and the relationship Eden’s podcast and the Sandy’s White Paper, it shows the cause and effect of Britain’s stand at the Suez Canal Crisis herein.



Majid Khadduri. "Closure of the Suez to Israeli Shipping" (1968). Law and Contemporary Problems. Duke Law School. Vol. 33, p.151

Lapping in: Brian Lapping & Anthony Low, “Controversy: Did Suez hasten the end of empire?” (1987). Contemporary Record, Vol. 1, No. 2, p.33


Neff, Donald: “Warriors at Suez. Eisenhower takes America into the Middle-East (1981)”. New York: Simon and Schuste,

Mason, Edward & Asher, Robert. “The World Bank since Bretton Woods, 1973”. Washington: Brookings Institution

N. Frankland (ed.), ‘Documents on International Relations 1956 (1959)’, pp. 159-160


After the Second World War, the world essentially faced the events of decolonization in several Asian and African countries which mostly were colonies of the British force. The frail economical condition of British were caused by the rebellions going on in the colony countries of the Great Britain and also, the Cold War had a severe affect on the British economy as well. Thus, during the Suez Canal crisis during the time of decolonization, Britain had to be in alliance with the United States of America to deal with the issue collectively and as the crisis took a complicated turn with Egypt and its military policy, the Suez Canal crisis became a watershed for the British Colonial Policy. Thus, herein we shall connect the relationship between the Sandy’s White Paper to the Suez Canal Crisis with reference to related contexts herein.

The British and the Suez Canal Crisis – The Context

During the time of the decolonization, Britain was going through a phase where Britain was going through a tough economical condition. The colonies and the ex-colonies of Britain not only weakened them politically but also impacted their economical conditions as well. In the post Second World War, Britain was healing from the trauma of maintaining warfare and a welfare state at the same time. Also, the decolonization also plagued Britain with immigrants and the political unrest within Britain was not good as well.

Britain never was on good terms with Egypt. Thus, the then Britain President Eden made sufficient plans to overthrow then Egypt President Nasser owning to the dispute over Glub Pasha. In the words of American historian Donald Neff, Eden viewed Nasser as a dictator “akin to Benito Mussolini” and such view of Eden was published by one Anglo-American newspaper as well. Also, the then Britain President Eden held a special broadcast on 8th August, 1956 where he openly discussed the governmental characteristics of Egypt and called Nasser a fascist government herein. Since the timeline of such broadcast by Eden, it became quite clear that Britain were forced to deploy a military force which they were not economically supported to do so. Thus, Britain eagerly wanted to tame Nasser and Egypt and asked for the help of the USA. During such crisis time, the Suez Canal issue in the year of 1956 only got intense with Egypt’s President’s move on nationalizing the Canal. Since the year of 1875, Suez Canal belonged to British and the French and the Canal was extremely important to Britain as it helped Britain to retain the oil supremacy which Britain used to transport from the Persian Gulf.

As it has been postulated by Historian Anthony Law, Britain’s possession over Suez Canal was under threat since the time of Britain started losing the status of imperialism and the Suez Canal crisis did not cause the process of decolonization but it was just a cherry on top. In the year of 26th July of 1956, when Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, the British and the French had no trump card in their hands to have a peaceful dispute resolution system but they had to deploy military troops instead. Eminent historians, Anthony Gorst and Lewis Johnman states that the Protocol of Sevres which was signed on 24th October, 1956 by the British Cabinet Members under President Eden along with France and Israeli, only led to the fact that Suez Canal shall stand as the death of Britain economy herein.

The Impact of the Sandys White Paper, April 1957 on Suez Canal Crisis

Before the announcement of the nationalization of the Suez Crisis, the Sandy’s White Paper was presented by President Eden in April, 1957 herein. It was presented just a year after the nationalization of the Suez Canal and the military troops on behalf of the Britain and France was already deployed to tame Nasser and gain control over the Suez Canal herein. As it has been pointed out in the clause 2 and 6, Sandy’s white paper stated that defense or military power of the country had absorbed 10% of the GNP and the military system has affected the economical condition of Britain to a large degree. Also, in the clause 67 to 69, as it has been set out in the given document herein, it has been stated how the defense of the country needs to change and Britain had to adopt a new defense policy herein.

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Thus, the Sandy’s White Paper is essential to the Suez crisis in the sense that the decolonization and the strained relationship between Britain and its colonies has affected Britain’s ability to plan out the right military force in Suez Canal. As it has been said in the clause 67, “The new defence policy set out in this paper involves the biggest change in military policy ever made in normal times. In carrying it through a certain amount of disturbance is unavoidable”, Britain was forced to retreat from the Suez Canal crisis due to economical shortcomings and they could not launch the desired military troop as they hoped that could. Thus, as it has been pointed out by historian Dixon, Sandy’s white paper has essentially highlighted how the Suez Canal Crisis became the final nail to the Imperialistic British Coffin herein.

Conclusion – A critical Analysis

Thus, if we critically connect and assess the connection between Sandy’s White Paper and Britain’s stand at the Suez Canal Crisis, it can be said that Sandy’s White Paper predicted the future retreat of Britain from the Suez Canal beforehand. The Sandy’s White Paper only showed how Britain is draining its economy over fighting the colonial countries and Suez Canal Crisis is nothing but a coffin nail on the top of that. The paper only showed how Britain needed to retreat from the Suez Canal Crisis to save its economical condition from getting completely in debt herein.



Mason, Edward & Asher, Robert. “The World Bank Since Bretton Woods” (1973), Washington: Brookings Institution

N. Frankland (ed.), “Documents on International Relations 1956” (1959)

Kissinger, Henry. “Diplomacy” (1994). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, p.530

Darwin, John. “The Rise and Fall of the British World-System, 1830-1970” (2009). Cambridge. Cambridge University Press, 575

Anthony Gorst & Lewis Johnman. “The Suez Crisis” (1997). London: Routledge, p.100


Lapping in: Brian Lapping & Anthony Low, “Controversy: Did Suez hasten the end of empire?” (1987). Contemporary Record, Vol. 1, No. 2, p.33

Dixon, Louis, “Minute by Dixon”. 1952, FO 371/96920


British Government, “The Sandys White Paper on Defence”. Outline of Future Policy, Parliamentary Papers, Cmd 124, April 1957

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