780.5/6–2152: Telegram

No. 77
The Secretary of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom


6830. US comments on UK memo re estab of Middle East Defense Org handed Brit Emb office June 20.1 Substance of comments [Page 248]follows (1) Agree to proceed with dipl prep for the org among the seven-sponsoring powers after US and UK views have been brought into line. Fol development of agreed position among the seven, US, UK, France, and Turkey shld make dipl approach to Arab states, and only after Arab reaction assessed shld further decision be made as to additional steps in establishing MEDO. (2) US prepared to participate in staff of Middle East defense org, but this in no way implies commitment to supply forces for defense of area. (3) US willing continue provide mil assistance to area, but without any present alteration in existing priorities. (4) Agree proposed change in name desirable. (5) Agree functions. (6) Do not believe organizational structure shld be strictly on Command lines or that provision shld now be made for a SACME designate. Prepared to support Brit natl as Chairman of Planning Org. (7) As to Arab participation, do not believe necessary apply qualifying standards. (8) As to Higher Direction, agree to establishment of a Mil Representatives Comite including all participating states. Believe chairmanship of body shld rotate. Opposed to the establishment of Middle East Steering Group with same membership as NATO Standing Group. (9) Agree necessary that Middle East Planning Group shld work with benefit of relevant NATO plans and that a coordinated US–UK–Fr–Turk view shld be brought bear on work of Planning Group as it develops, but believe this can be accomplished by devising ad hoc arrangement for coordinating views of four powers on continuing basis.

In ans questions Brit representative, Dept officer amplified several pts.

Dept considers substantial amt Arab participation essential to enterprise but Egypt cooperation regarded as indispensable only if other Arab States refuse cooperate without it.

Reason for preferring organizational structure on other than command lines, and postponing provision for SACME primarily feeling this will reduce Arab distrust. Since clear from UK memo that estab operative Command considerable distance off, reasonable avoid difficulties with Arabs which wld be involved in providing for it now.

Same considerations underlie desire eliminate qualifications for membership. Provision of substantial assets not practical issue until later stage in organization’s development. Therefore no need to raise problem now.

Believe identification of NATO Standing Group members with MEDO wld cause difficulties both with Northern Eur NATO states and Arab States as well. Agree with Brit objectives, but believe these can be met by means which will create fewer difficulties.

[Page 249]

No firm position on Higher Polit Direction. Obviously some such device as UK proposes wld have desirable aspects. However org which included such body as integral part wld raise more serious polit question US.

  1. On June 18, officers of the British Embassy called at the Department of State with a draft memorandum on the Middle East Defense Organization. The memorandum suggested changing the name from Command Organization to Defense Organization and stated that the British no longer favored delay in establishing the organization in the hope of an early settlement of the Anglo-Egyptian deadlock. They made the following suggestions for setting up the organization: 1) a preliminary and secret exchange of views among the original Seven Powers to agree on a policy before the official conference, 2) a London Conference of the Seven Powers, with Egypt and the six Middle Eastern States concerned (Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Lebanon) invited to attend on an equal basis with the original sponsors. It would be made clear to the Middle Eastern States, however, that their position in the organization would depend on the contributions they made. A memorandum of the June 18 conversation and the British memorandum is in Department of State file 780.5/6–1852.

    A letter to the Secretary of Defense, dated June 27, not printed, enclosed a copy of the U.S. comments on the British draft memorandum handed to an officer of the British Embassy on June 20. The letter informed the Secretary that the comments were based on the State–Joint Chiefs of Staff discussion of Middle East problems on June 18, and noted that copies of a previous draft of the comments had been informally furnished to the offices of the Secretary of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff on June 20. (780.5/6–2352)

    No copy of the final comments was attached to the letter to the Secretary of Defense in Department of State files. There is, however, a copy of the original draft of the comments, dated June 19. (780.5/6–1952) A letter from the Deputy Director of the Policy Planning Staff to General Cabell, Director of the Joint Staff, dated June 24, not printed, informed Cabell that the original draft had been revised to take account of two points raised by the Joint Strategic Survey Committee. (PPS files, lot 64 D 563, “S/P papers, May-June, 1952”) A memorandum from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Secretary of Defense, dated June 24, not printed, with the formal JCS recommendations on the June 19 draft comments, was transmitted to the Department of State with a letter of June 28 from Foster to Acheson; see footnote 2, Document 80. (780.5/6–2652)