780.5/1–1152

No. 62
The Secretary of Defense (Lovett) to the Secretary of State

top secret

Dear Mr. Secretary: I refer to your letter of December 29, 1951 with regard to Organizing and Establishing the Middle East Command.1

I am in general agreement with your suggestions for the early establishment of a Middle East Command Headquarters. In this regard, it is desired to emphasize that it is the position of the Department [Page 192]of Defense that the establishment of a Middle East Command must not be allowed to jeopardize the accession of Greece and Turkey to the North Atlantic Treaty.

The details of effecting coordination of effort between a Middle East Command and contiguous NATO commands cannot be determined until after Greece and Turkey are members of NATO. Any arrangements which would tend toward integration of the two commands (the British “two-hat” concept) should be opposed.

Your proposals to establish an informal State–Defense Working Group at this time to study the various problems connected with the establishment of a Middle East Command and to make recommendations for their resolution is concurred in. The Joint Chiefs of Staff will provide the Department of Defense representation on the Working Group.

Prior to the time that a United States position on the matter of the Middle East Command Headquarters is reached, I do not agree with your suggestion that the United Kingdom be informed of the establishment of the Working Group. When the United States position is reached, it is agreed to use Defense channels to advise the United Kingdom of this Working Group.

Sincerely yours,

Robert A. Lovett
  1. For the Dec. 29 letter, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. v, p. 265.