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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 Suez OHP
Suez Oral History Project
1956, 1989-1991
Level of description
collection level
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
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.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

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.

Content & structure

Scope and content

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.

System of arrangement

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

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.


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.

Language/scripts of material

English. The Protocol of Sèvres is in French.

Finding aids

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

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

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

Existence and location of copies

Another copy of the Protocol of Sèvres was presented by Sir Donald Logan to the Public Record Office, Kew, in 1996 (PRO 22/88).

Related units of description

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 withe Sir Harold Beeley and Sir Frank Cooper relating to their Civil Service careers. The audio recording of the Suez Seminar (Ref: GB 0099 KCLMA NAME), held at King's College London on 5 Nov 1996, contains personal accounts of Maj Gen Denis Arthur Beckett, Second in Command, 3 Bn, Parachute Regt in airborne landings, 5 Nov 1956; Maj Gen Nicholas Francis Vaux, 2nd Lt, 45 Commando Royal Marines, 3 Commando Bde, in helicopter-borne amphibious assault, 6 Nov 1956 ; Dr Henry Cowper, lecturer in history, Napier University, Edinburgh, Corporal, 1 Bn, The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment), 19 Infantry Bde (on National Service) in Port Said, 14 Nov-22 Dec 1956.

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.



Compiled Oct 1999

Description control

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.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.


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

Personal names

  • Amery, Harold Julian, 1919-1996, Baron Amery of Lustleigh, politician
  • 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
  • Jay, Douglas Patrick Thomas, 1907-1996, Baron Jay of Battersea, politician
  • Makins, Roger Mellor, 1904-1996, 1st Baron Sherfield, public official
  • Parker, Sir, Arthur Douglas Dodds-, b 1909, Knight, politician
  • Powell, Sir, Richard Royle, b 1909, Knight, civil servant


  • Suez Canal, Egypt, North Africa
  • Suez, Urban, Egypt, North Africa

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