When the Bombs Started Falling: Suez and the Arab Hero
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It started out as such a good day. Nasser, on 29 October 1956, had just returned from four days’ relaxing holiday. The military danger appeared to be over. Talks to settle the Suez Canal issue once and for all were soon to take place in Geneva. Foreign Minster Fawzi was busy working on an Egyptian plan to implement the Six Principles agreed in New York, based on a draft submitted by Hammarskjöld the week before. Provided that he could go to Geneva on equal terms with Eden, this might present an opportunity for Nasser himself to play a more personal part in the grand international drama as it drew to a close. That morning he had an amiable meeting with the new American Ambassador, Raymond Hare. President Eisenhower was calling for restraint as usual, although this particular appeal seemed puzzlingly ill-timed. Nasser made it plain that he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. ‘Could it be that Israel really wanted war? If so, he could not see why.’331 At last, following a brief but significant noon meeting with the Paris Embassy press attaché, he took the afternoon off to enjoy his son’s birthday party.
KeywordsMiddle East Arab World Suez Canal Canal Zone Military Headquarters
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