780.5/5–352: Telegram

No. 73
The Secretary of State to the Embassies in Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon1


Brit Emb Apr 28 handed Dept memo re preparatory mtg MEC2 substance of which corresponds summary provided Lon’s 4909 Apr 29.3 NE Missions and Ankara requested comment on following views which Dept considering stating in oral reply.

Dept agrees desirable postpone preliminary mtg on MECO until outcome Anglo-Egypt negots clearer. Dept also agrees that procedures for establishing MECO must be adapted to circumstances as affected by development these negots. Dept’s present comments assume circumstances which will not diminish willingness Arab States to cooperate in venture.
Dept agrees desirable consult Arab states while MECO still in planning stage. However, doubts wisdom of exclusive invitation Iraq and Egypt to planning mtg at least unless these countries alone indicate willingness provide important base rights to MECO. Otherwise such discrimination would violate principle area-wide cooperation on basis equality which Dept considers feature fundamental to success MECO concept.
Dept appreciates difficulties and probable futility holding 13 power mtg including all Arab states for purpose initially drafting form of org for MECO. Believes that coordination views of seven sponsors re outline general form and structure organization acceptable to them and essential elements which cannot be compromised [Page 232]for sake Arab cooperation necessary before consultation with Arabs likely to be feasible and useful. On other hand, believes essential avoid creating impression seven powers intend present Arabs with completed arrangements which they must either accept in full or reject.
Dept had heretofore hoped that above problem might be solved by holding seven-power preliminary mtg in secret and keeping agmts tentative pending consultation with Arabs but recognizes that risk security leak may make it desirable effect seven power coordination through diplomatic channels. After such diplomatic coordination Dept believes all Arab states could be approached about same time and on same basis. This approach should be made in manner to convince each Arab state it receiving equal treatment with all other Arab states. On basis Arab reactions, could then be determined how best work out definitive form of org. End Proposed Statement.

Impt that govts NE states receive no intimation these ideas under consideration and Missions requested not discuss any aspect this message with them.4

  1. Sent as 995 to Ankara, 1704 to Cairo, 759 to Baghdad, 429 to Jidda, 357 to Amman, 463 to Damascus, and 1141 to Beirut; copies were sent for information to the Embassies in the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Israel.
  2. Supra.
  3. Not printed, but see footnote 1, supra.
  4. Telegrams 1935 from Cairo on May 5, 323 from Amman, 1185 from Ankara, 974 from Baghdad, and 1199 from Beirut on May 6, 656 from Damascus on May 7, and 645 from Jidda and 1171 from Tel Aviv on May 9 all concurred with the position stated in this telegram. Documentation is in Department of State file 780.5. On May 20, the Department of State delivered an oral reply to the British that was essentially the same as the position stated in this telegram. (Comments on U.K. memorandum of Apr. 29 on Middle East Command to be made orally; 780.5/4–2952)