780.5/6–2852

No. 80
The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of Defense (Lovett)

secret

My Dear Mr. Secretary: I enclose for consideration by the Department of Defense a copy of Secto 24, London, June 27, 19521 which contains a paper on the Middle East Defense Organization agreed to ad referendum by the United States and United Kingdom [Page 255]following discussions between members of the group accompanying the Secretary of State and the British in London. This paper is a revision of the earlier United Kingdom draft memorandum on the same subject, which was modified to take account of a number of changes suggested by the United States in the course of the discussions. Although Mr. Foster’s letter of June 28, 1952 forwarding the views of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the United Kingdom memorandum2 had not been received at the time these discussions occurred, it will be noted that the present revision of that paper meets several of the points raised by the Joint Chiefs.

There is also attached a copy of a memorandum handed to this Department July 73 by officers of the British Embassy in which the United Kingdom proposes certain changes in the draft of June 27. Also attached is a draft reply to the British proposals,4 in which we indicate that the suggested changes are not acceptable and ask that the draft of June 27 be circulated.

In the opinion of the Department of State, the draft of June 27 provides a suitable basis for the proposed initial exchange of views among the sponsoring powers. In the course of such exchange of views, the United States Government can make such further suggestions with respect to the Middle East defense arrangements as may seem desirable. The paper as now drafted does not, in any [Page 256]case, provide a definitive blue-print of the proposed Organization, and there will be need for further deliberation before the Military Representatives Committee is convened or a planning group established. Moreover, the United States has already indicated to the United Kingdom that after the Arab States have been approached the situation should be reassessed before further steps are taken. There will thus be further opportunity for the United States to propose changes in the Organization as presently outlined, particularly where these changes are essentially of a supplementary nature.

Subject to the concurrence of the Department of Defense, this Department proposes that the United Kingdom should be informed, in the general terms of the attached memorandum, that the changes proposed in their paper of July 7 are not acceptable, but that the United States approves the draft of June 27 as the basis for an initial exchange of views among the sponsoring powers. The United Kingdom is most anxious to circulate the memorandum to the other sponsoring powers, and we would be grateful to receive the views of the Department of Defense as soon as possible.

Sincerely yours,

For the Acting Secretary of State:
H. Freeman Matthews
Deputy Under Secretary
  1. Supra.
  2. Neither the letter nor the Joint Chiefs of Staff views under reference here is printed. The letter concluded by saying that Foster believed further discussion between the Departments of State and Defense would be necessary prior to discussion of the Allied Military Command with the British.

    The Joint Chiefs of Staff memorandum, dated June 24, requested deletion of a section in the original June 19 Department of State draft saying that the United States would question the wisdom of proceeding with the establishment of the Middle East Command in the absence of reasonable prospects of participation by at least some of the Arab States. (780.5/6–2852)

    Further information on this topic is in telegram 6830 to London, Document 77.

  3. Not printed.
  4. The draft reply, entitled “Proposed US Comments on Revised MEDO Paper of June 27, and UK proposals for changes in that paper, dated July 7,” is not printed. The U.S. paper considered the changes proposed by the British in paragraphs 6 and 9 inconsistent with the U.S. view that coordination among the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Turkey, as members of NATO and participants in MEDO, should be achieved by ad hoc arrangements outside of MEDO.

    With regard to the paragraph on the Arabs, the United States considered the problem of the approach to the Arab States of crucial importance and planned to give it additional study, and did not want to take a final position on the matter without consultation with the Chiefs of Mission in the Arab capitals. The final paragraph of the paper ended by saying, “Moreover, we are not prepared at this time to make a commitment to proceed with the establishment of the organization regardless of Arab sentiment. As the Secretary clearly stated to Mr. Eden, we would have serious reservations about proceeding and would wish to reassess the situation if the Arabs appear hostile to the Organization. In our opinion, the language of the draft of June 27, which provides essential flexibility on this point, should be retained.” (PPS files, lot 64 D 563, “Near and Middle East, 1952–3”)