1. Editorial Note

The policies of the United States toward the Middle East in effect at the beginning of 1955 were substantially those that had been spelled out 6 months earlier in NSC 5428, “United States Objectives and Policies With Respect to the Near East.” For text, see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, volume IX, Part 1, page 525. President Eisenhower approved the paper on July 23, 1954, directing that it be implemented by all appropriate executive departments and agencies of the U.S. Government. Periodic progress reports on the implementation of NSC 5428, are printed in this compilation; several subsequent revisions of the paper with respect to the Arab-Israeli dispute are printed in volumes XIV and XV.

One important aspect of U.S. policy toward the Near East not included in NSC 5428 was project “Alpha,” a joint U.S.-U.K. effort to encourage a peace settlement between Israel and the Arab States. Planning for this project, which involved a number of regional questions, began in December 1954. U.S. involvement in Alpha is fully documented in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, volume IX, Part 1, and volume XIV.

At the beginning of 1955, questions of regional defense in the Middle East continued to be the subject of American interest. Following his return from a visit to the Middle East in the spring of 1953, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had suggested the formation of a defense arrangement among the states of the “northern tier” (i.e., Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan) to contain the Soviet Union. Such a [Page 2] configuration began to take place in 1954. Turkey and Pakistan signed an agreement for friendly cooperation on April 2, 1954 (211 UNTS 264), and in the fall of 1954 Turkey and Iraq began to negotiate a security pact. The Eisenhower administration welcomed and encouraged these developments as the first stages of a potential joint arrangement among the northern tier states for the defense of the Middle East, and the administration took an active interest in providing military assistance to those states.

Turkey and Iraq signed a Pact of Mutual Cooperation at Baghdad on February 24, 1955. For text, see 233 UNTS 199. This pact, known as the Baghdad Pact, was subsequently adhered to by the United Kingdom on April 5, by Pakistan on September 23, and by Iran on November 3.