Anglo–Egyptian Treaty (1954)

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The 1954 AngloEgyptian Treaty terminated the British armed forces presence along the Suez Canal by June 1956.

The AngloEgyptian Treaty ("Heads of Agreement") was signed on 27 July 1954, ending more than seventy years of British occupation of the Suez Canal Zone. When Britain relinquished its military presence in other parts of Egypt after the end of the Second World War, it continued to keep its forces in scores of camps, a number of airfields, and other military installations along the Canal. Despite the British withdrawal from India and other colonies "East of Suez" in the late 1940s, British and U.S. strategists continued to consider the installations along the Canal vital in case of war with the Soviet bloc.

The "Young Officers" who took power in Cairo in July 1952 persisted in the demand for total British withdrawal as one of the main items on their political agenda, and they resorted to guerrilla warfare using fidaʾiyyun (suicide attackers) against British troops in the Canal Zone. Given the urgent need to further curtail its financial burdens, and under some pressure from U.S. president Eisenhower's administration, Great Britain decided to quit the Canal. The treaty provided, however, for British civilian contractors to maintain some of the installations in peacetime, because Egypt agreed that British forces would be allowed to return and use the Canal base in the event of war. The last British troops left the Canal, according to treaty provisions, in June 1956, a few weeks before the eruption of the Suez Crisis sparked by President Nasser's July 26 announcement of the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company. The failed SuezSinai War at the end of October 1956 rendered the AngloEgyptian Treaty null and void. The civilian maintenance team did not return to the bases, and the last remnants of British presence along the Canal came to a final end.

see also suez canal; suez crisis (19561957).


Cohen, Michael. Fighting World War Three from the Middle East: Allied Contingency Plans, 19451954. London: Frank Cass, 1997.

Devereux, David. British Defence Policy Towards the Middle East, 19481956. London: Kings College, 1990.

Hahn, Peter. The United States, Great Britain and Egypt, 19451956: Strategy and Diplomacy in the Early Cold War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1990.

Mordechai Bar-On