Suez Crisis - Our Passports
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Suez Crisis


British passport and its usage in Egypt at the time.


One of the memorable events of the 1950’s was the ill-fated Suez Crisis and its aftermath.


The Sinai Campaign is also known as the Tripartite Aggression or in Israel as Mivzta Kadesh (Kadesh Operation). Israel even handed out to its participants a special ribbon with the colors of orange, blue, red & light blue at the center.


The short lived operation began when Israel invaded Egypt’s Sinai on October 29th 1956 and this followed by British and French intervention shortly later on by the landing of their troops as well. The main purpose was to prevent the closure of the Canal to Western sea passage and the removal of the charismatic Arab leader Gamal Abdel Nasser.


The conflict ended not in favor for the two European countries, mainly for Britain, that resulted in the resignation of its Prime Minister Anthony Eden. Some historians even see the campaign signaling Britain’s decline from being a world super power.


For Israel, this was a different matter and outcome. It was seen as a success by the fact that most of its objectives had been achieved: the opening passage for free navigation of Israeli vessels through the Straits of Tiran (another important achievement by the young State of Israel, 1-2 days before the invasion, was the bringing down of half of Egypt’s General Staff who were returning back from Damascus. Their military plane was downed by Israeli Air force pilot Yoash Tzidon in what was dubbed “Operation Rooster; Israel believed that the Chief of Staff would be on the plane itself at first).


Another outcome of the war was the creation of UNEF: the first United Nations Emergency Force was established by the UN General-Assembly via a resolution 1001 (ES-I) on November 7th in order to end the crisis.


The key dates are for October 29th to November 7th.


The passport in this article is an interesting example of one being issued in Egypt and used after the conflict ended: it was extended several times at Port Said NOT by British diplomatic missions, since there was a break in relations due to the Diplomatic crisis at the time, and thus Switzerland was acting as representing British interests in Egypt. The passport registration was thus done by the Swiss consulate at Port Said in 1957 through 1959, as seen by the annotations and stamps on page 29.


Renewing of ties was done around 1960 and this can explain the British consul’s passport extension from April 12th as seen on page 5.


I have added images of this passport and also of a safe-passage large folding sheet that was jointly issued to the 3 armies when deployed to Sinai in 1956.



Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.

Neil Kaplan
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