The Suez Canal was of strategic importance to Britain, both for international shipping (particularly to India) and for its rule in Egypt. When Egypt was granted nominal independence in 1922, the security of British interests in the Suez Canal were maintained by a permanent military garrison.
British forces withdrew from the Suez Canal Zone in 1956, in which year the canal was nationalized by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.
Britain and France secretly plotted with Israel to invade Egypt and regain control. Following the conflict in 1957, the Suez Canal was returned to Egypt by the United Nations, along with reparations.
Even so, the actions of Britain and France had drawn Egypt into allegiance with the USSR.