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Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London

Suez Oral History Project


Reference code(s): GB 0099 KCLMA Suez OHP

Held at: Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King's College London

Title: Suez Oral History Project

Date(s): 1956, 1989-1991

Level of description: Collection (Fonds)

Extent: 1 box (0.01 cubic metres)

Name of creator(s): Suez Oral History Project


Administrative/Biographical history:

The decision of Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of Egypt, to nationalise the Suez Canal in July 1956 provoked, in the following October, Great Britain and France to launch an amphibious and airborne assault on Port Said, Egypt, while Israeli armed forces attacked Egyptian forces in the Sinai. Britain, France and Israel, under diplomatic pressure from the UN, USA and USSR, withdrew their forces, to be replaced by UN peacekeepers. The Suez Oral History Project, an initiative of the Institute of Contemporary British History, London, and sponsored by the Nuffield Foundation and King's College London, consisted of a series of interviews with British political, diplomatic and military figures involved at a senior level in the Suez Crisis of 1956. The interviews were undertaken between 1989 and 1991 by Anthony Gorst of the University of Westminster and Dr W Scott Lucas, then of the University of Birmingham. Transcripts of the twenty one interviews were subsequently produced and returned to the interviewees for review and correction where necessary. Some alterations were made, which, apart from a few amendments for security purposes, were mainly for grammar and clarification of expression.


Scope and content/abstract:

Transcripts of interviews relating to political, diplomatic and military aspects of the Suez Crisis of 1956, with Rt Hon Julian Amery, Baron Amery of Lustleigh; Sir Harold Beeley; Sir Frederick Arthur Bishop; Rt Hon Sir Frank Cooper; Sir Patrick Henry Dean; Sir (Arthur) Douglas Dodds-Parker; Sir William Goodenough Hayter; Rt Hon Alexander Frederick Douglas-Home, Baron Home of the Hirsel; Brig Kenneth Hunt; Rt Hon Douglas Patrick Thomas Jay, Baron Jay of Battersea; Gen Sir Frank Douglas King; Sir Donald Arthur Logan; Roger Mellor Makins, 1st Baron Sherfield; Sir Guy Elwin Millard; Sir David Bruce Pitblado; Sir Richard Royle Powell; (George Frank) Norman Reddaway; Sir (D'Arcy) Patrick Reilly; Sir Archibald David Manisty Ross; Sir (Charles Arthur) Evelyn Shuckburgh; Sir Denis Arthur Hepworth Wright. Copies of the Protocol of Sèvres, 24 Oct 1956, recording the agreements reached between the governments of Great Britain, France and Israel during discussions held in France, 22-24 Oct 1956, on a joint politico-military response to Egypt's nationalisation of the Suez Canal.


Language/scripts of material: Mainly English. The Protocol of Sèvres is in French.

System of arrangement:

Files of transcripts are arranged in alphabetical order based on the surname of the interviewee.

Conditions governing access:

Twenty of the twenty two files are open, subject to signature of reader's undertaking form. Access to the transcripts of the interviews with Brig Hunt, and Sir Patrick Reilly is subject to the permission of the interviewees themselves.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue available on line and also in hard copy in the Centre's reading room.

Detailed catalogue



Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Transcripts of interviews were presented to the Centre by Dr W Scott Lucas in 1993. Copies of the Protocol of Sèvres, 1956, were presented to the Centre by Sir Donald Logan in 1996.


Existence and location of originals:

The original Israeli copy of the Protocol of Sèvres is kept within the Ben-Gurion Archives, Sde Boqer, Israel.

Related material:

The Civil Service Oral History Project of the Institute of Contemporary British History (Ref: GB 0099 KCLMA MISC 74) contains interviews conducted by Gorst and Lucas in 1989 with Sir Harold Beeley and Sir Frank Cooper relating to their Civil Service careers.

Publication note:

The interviews of the Suez Oral History Project were used by Dr W Scott Lucas for his Divided we stand, Britain the US and the Suez Crisis (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1991). Several of the interviews refer to the article 'Suez 1956: strategy and the diplomatic process', by Anthony Gorst and Scott Lucas in the Journal of strategic studies (Dec 1988). A number of the interviewees have previously written related memoirs including Political eunuch (Springwood, Ascot, 1986) by Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker, The Kremlin and the embassy (Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1966) by Sir William Hayter, Change and fortune (Hutchinson, London, 1980) by Lord Jay, and Descent to Suez (Weidenfield and Nicolson, London, 1986) by Sir Evelyn Shuckburgh.


Archivist's note: Revised by Alan Kucia July 2003

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Oct 1999, revised July 2003

Diplomacy | Foreign relations | International relations
Suez Crisis (1956) | Wars (events)
War | International conflicts

Personal names
Amery | Harold Julian | 1919-1996 | Baron Amery of Lustleigh | politician x Amery of Lustleigh | Baron
Cooper | Sir | Frank | 1922-2002 | Knight | civil servant
Dean | Sir | Patrick Henry | b 1909 | Knight | civil servant and diplomat
Hayter | Sir | William Goodenough | 1906-1995 | Knight | diplomat
Home | Alexander Frederick | Douglas- | 1903-1995 | Baron Home of the Hirsel | statesman x Douglas-Home | Alexander Frederick x Home of the Hirsel | Baron
Jay | Douglas Patrick Thomas | 1907-1996 | Baron Jay of Battersea | politician
Makins | Roger Mellor | 1904-1996 | 1st Baron Sherfield | public official x Sherfield | 1st Baron
Parker | Sir | Arthur Douglas Dodds- | b 1909 | Knight | politician x Dodds-Parker | Sir | Arthur Douglas
Powell | Sir | Richard Royle | b 1909 | Knight | civil servant

Corporate names

Suez | Urban | Egypt | North Africa
Suez Canal | Egypt | North Africa