US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (1953-1959):

“The United States recalls that on 28 January 1950, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the United States that the Egyptian occupation of the two islands of Tiran and Sanafir at the entrance of the Gulf of Aqaba was only to protect the islands themselves against possible damage or violation and that ‘this occupation being in no way conceived in a spirit of obstructing in any way innocent passage through the stretch of water separating these two islands from the Egyptian coast of Sinai, it follows that this passage, the only practicable one, will remain free as in the past, in conformity with international practices and recognized principles of the law of nations.

The United States believes that the Gulf of Aqaba is international waters and that no nation (e.g. Egypt) has the right to prevent free and innocent passage in the Gulf and through the Straits giving access thereto.  We have in mind not only commercial usage, but the passage of pilgrims on religious missions, which should be fully respected.”

Source: Regional Development for Regional Peace: A New Policy and Program to Counter the Soviet Menace in the Middle East, Washington, DC: Public Affairs Institute, 1957