PPS files, lot 64 D 563, Near and Middle East

No. 84
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Politico-Military Adviser of the Bureau of Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Daspit)



  • MEDO

On August 26 representatives of the Department of State, the Department of Defense and the Joint Staff met at 3:45 to discuss certain points raised in the JCS memorandum1 on the UK proposals for the establishment of MEDO (Secto 24, London June 27, 1952)2 as a preliminary to the preparation of U.S. comments on the UK proposals for circulation to the several sponsoring powers. Present at the meeting were:

  • Maj. Gen. A. P. Fox, USA, JSSC
  • Maj. Gen. E. J. Rogers, Jr., USAF, JSSC
  • R. Adm. W. F. BOone, USN, JSSC
  • R. Adm. H. P. Smith, USN, OSD–OFMA
  • Capt. E. Grant, USN, OSD–OFMA
  • Cdr. R. K. Kaufman, USN, JSSC
  • Mr. J. D. Jernegan, State Department
  • Mr. J. H. Ferguson, State Department
  • Mr. A. B. Daspit, State Department
  • Mr. P. T. Hart, State Department
  • Mr. W. Stabler, State Department

Mr. Daspit opened the conversation by stating that the Department of State had studied the memorandum of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which suggested that four elements should be included in any US position on the MEDO. The proposals made in paragraphs 3a and 3c3 of the memorandum were obviously desirable but the [Page 269]Department of State was not altogether clear as to the other two points:

They were not certain as to what was meant by a “Middle East defense Council” and the exact character of the Allied Planning Group as suggested in paragraph 3d of the Joint Chiefs’ memorandum.4
They were not entirely clear as to whether the Joint Chiefs actually desired the setting up of a Steering Group of the UK, Turkey and one Arab State which they suggested as a negotiating position in paragraph 3b(3) of their memorandum.5

In addition, the State Department desired to know Defense’s views on the French Aide-Mémoire6 which proposed that MEDO should receive its direction and guidance through the NATO Standing Group in Washington and the method which should be used in dealing with this proposal.

In reply to the first point raised by the State Department, General Fox stated that he was not sure as to whether the proposal for an Allied Planning Group and a Middle East defense council was intended as an alternative to the MEDO proposal, to be adopted in the event the Arab States were unwilling to participate in MEDO, or as an outright substitute approach to the general problem of Middle East defense. There appeared to be agreement as between the representatives of State and Defense that the approach to the Arab States should be sufficiently flexible and informal to permit the adoption of various alternative courses in the further development of MEDO and that, depending on the nature of their reaction to the initial approach, an invitation to the Arab States to attend a “council” or “conference” to discuss problems of Middle East defense might be considered. There was no disagreement as to the desirability of the Western Powers making plans for the defense of the Middle East even though there should be no Arab participation in a MEDO. It was pointed out however that such planning might [Page 270]be accomplished in a number of different ways and the State Department representatives emphasized that it would be a mistake to advertise the creation of an exclusively Western Planning Group to study Middle East defense problems.

In reply to the second point raised by the State Department, General Fox stated that the JCS was fundamentally opposed to having the NATO Steering Group function for MEDO and to having any Steering Group in MEDO with more than three states represented. The particular suggestion for a Steering Group to be composed of the UK, Turkey and one Arab State was put forward as a suggested negotiating position, since the Joint Chiefs were convinced that the question of a Steering Group would undoubtedly arise in the course of the negotiations looking toward the establishment of the organization. He thought however that the Joint Chiefs agreed that it would be desirable, if possible, to avoid the establishment of a Steering Group of any sort during the initial planning stage of MEDO.

There was entire agreement as to the unacceptability of the proposal in the French Aide-Mémoire that the NATO Standing Group should also provide direction for MEDO, and the discussion centered on the problem of how best to persuade the French to drop their proposal. The State Department could of course inform the French through a diplomatic note that the US rejected the proposal but there was some doubt as to whether the French would accept this as the final word on the subject. Another way would be to hold a three power meeting (US, UK and France) at which the French could be told by a ranking US military officer that the proposal was completely unacceptable; in the view of the State Department this procedure was likely to have greater effect. However, there was danger that news of such a meeting would leak to the other sponsoring powers and to the Arab States, with adverse effects. On balance it seemed best to reject the proposal in a diplomatic note and to arrange, if possible, to clinch the matter by General Bradley stating the position to his colleagues on the Standing Group. The State Department might suggest to General Bradley the desirability of such action.

Mr. Daspit handed around an outline of points which he proposed should be made in drawing up the U.S. comments on the British memorandum. It was agreed that these points, modified to take account of the discussion of the Planning Group and the Middle East Defense Council, were appropriate for inclusion in the proposed comments.

  1. The Joint Chiefs of Staff memorandum of July 29 is not printed. (780.5/7–2952) It was enclosed in a letter dated Aug. 11 from the Deputy Secretary of Defense which informed the Department of State that Frank Nash, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, was prepared to discuss the matter with any representatives the Department might designate. (780.5/8–1152)
  2. Document 79.
  3. Paragraph 3a of the July 29 memorandum stated that the Joint Chiefs of Staff believed it should be made clear that the planning function of the Middle East Defense Organization should not include plans “for the operations in war of forces which may be introduced into the area but which are not specifically allocated for the defense thereof.”

    Paragraph 3c suggested that paragraph 8 of Secto 24 was ambiguous on the source of military guidance for the planning group, as to whether it would come from the Military Representatives Committee or their respective governments. The Joint Chiefs of Staff believed the planning group should receive military guidance from the Military Representatives Committee.

  4. Paragraph 3d stated that the Joint Chiefs of Staff considered the importance of the Middle East to be such that planning should proceed regardless of whether the Arab States decided to participate in a Middle East Defense Organization at that time. It reads, in part, “They are of the opinion that such planning arrangements in the form of an Allied Planning Group might lead to the eventual participation of some or all of the Arab States in the broader politico-military MEDO envisaged. To this end, the Middle East states should, simultaneously with the establishment of an Allied Planning Group, be invited to join with the Western nations in the formation of a Middle East defense council to study the over-all problem of a cooperative defense for this area.”
  5. Paragraph 3b(3) reads that the Joint Chiefs of Staff “propose that consideration be given to the establishment of a steering group consisting of one representative each from the United Kingdom, Turkey, and one of the Arab States.”
  6. Not printed. (780.5/8–1652) For a discussion of the French position, see Document 87.