S/P-NSC files, lot 63 D 351, “NSC 155 Memoranda”

No. 134
The President’s Special Assistant (Cutler) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Dear Foster: The NSC Planning Board has labored for many weeks to prepare for Council consideration the attached statement of policy on the Near East.1 The Board believes, however, that the Council should not consider this report until you and Harold have returned from your trip, in order that the Board might profit from your firsthand impressions of the area.

Although it is not usual to send Council Members drafts of staff papers, I thought you might find it useful to take this draft with you on your forthcoming visit to the Near East.

The following points seem to me to call for closer scrutiny and clarification before the Council finally acts on a Near Eastern policy: [Page 377]

The degree of importance which the United States attaches to the area from the point of view of our security interest, having in mind the oil resources of the area or preventing these resources from falling into the hands of the enemy.
The kind of military assistance to be rendered and the objectives of such military assistance, both in “cold war” and in the event of armed conflict.
Alternatives for MEDO. Could the Arab League supply the basis for a practicable defense organization?
The possibility of a regional economic approach to the area by the United States, Britain, and France in view of the remote prospects of building viable economies in the individual states of the area.
Definition of our relationship with the U.K.

When you return, we hope for more light on these and other points which occur to you, in order to give the paper more meaning.

  1. The May 4 Draft Statement of Policy is not printed.

    There was attached to the source text a memorandum from Byroade to Bowie, dated May 31, not printed. According to the memorandum, the May 4 Draft Statement of Policy and Staff Study were discussed with the Secretary of State on his Near Eastern trip. The memorandum reads, in part: “Time did not permit the working out of a detailed revision of the paper to correspond to our findings during the trip. Discussion of the substantive matters covered by the paper was extensive however and I believe the suggested revisions in the attached memorandum would closely correspond to his view. I shall endeavor to clear these exact changes with him [Dulles] personally as soon as time permits. If this does not prove possible prior to the next scheduled Planning Board meeting on this paper, I suggest tabling the proposed changes on the part of the Department. Such changes would, of course, be subject to his approval when he must of necessity consider the paper at a subsequent meeting of the Council itself.” The memorandum mentioned by Byroade, entitled “Suggested Changes to Planning Board’s Statement of Policy and Staff Study of May 4 on the Near East,” undated, is not printed but is attached to this letter in the S/PNSC files, lot 63 D 351, “NSC 155 Memoranda”.

    Two later draft statements of policy dated June 10 and June 17, are similar to the May 4 text. The June 17 text was considered and amended at the July 9 meeting of the National Security Council; see Document 144. The June 10 draft is in the S/PNSC files, lot 61 D 167, “Near East (NSC 155)”, and the June 17 draft is in the S/SNSC files, lot 63 D 351, “NSC 155 Memoranda”.