134. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Rountree) to the Acting Secretary of State 1


  • United States Participation in Baghdad Pact Activities

You asked yesterday, during the OCB briefing for the progress report on Iran,2 for a brief summary of U.S. activity in the Baghdad Pact organization. Reports from the field are very encouraging as to the enthusiasm and seriousness with which various Pact committees are attacking organizational and substantive problems. U.S. participation has been warmly appreciated, and our representatives are taking an active part in guidance and formulation of policy lines.

U.S. Personnel and Financial Contribution

The United States has agreed to contribute one-sixth of the cost of the Secretariat (U.S. share for current year approximately $75,000). The U.S. is also supplying five officers and one administrative advisor to the Secretariat. In addition, two officers and two clerk-stenographers are being assigned to the Embassy in Baghdad to work on Pact matters. A section with NEA is being set up in the Department for the same purpose to consist of two officers and clerical assistance.

Economic Committee

In the April meeting of the Baghdad Pact Council Mr. Henderson announced that the United States accepted membership in the Economic Committee and would participate fully in its activities. To date this commitment has been met. The Economic Committee, having met in Tehran, approved of the work of its committees, accepted U.S. membership, and passed a number of resolutions relating to future activities, is scheduled to meet again in Karachi next January. In the meantime the activities of the sub-committees are engaging the attention of the United States.

There are eleven sub-committees, each of which has been active since the original formation of the Economic Committee in Baghdad in January of 1956. These subcommittees are as follows:

  • Atomic Energy
  • Trade
  • Cooperation in Agricultural Planning
  • Education and Interchange of Staff
  • Animal Diseases and Animal Husbandry
  • Health and Sanitation
  • Soun Pest
  • Moroccan and Desert Locust
  • General Pest Control
  • Communications
  • Joint Projects

Each of the sub-committees is scheduled for meetings prior to next January, the Education and Exchange of Students Sub-Committee, the Veterinary Education Working Party of the Animal Husbandry Sub-Committee, the Agricultural Machinery Training Center Working Party of the Agricultural Planning Sub-Committee, and the Joint Projects Sub-Committee having already met since the Tehran meeting. U.S. representation is handled by designation of the U.S. delegation for each sub-committee at the time it is scheduled for a meeting, usually through designation of ICA and Embassy personnel in the country in which the meeting is being held. Depending upon the importance of the meeting and the anticipated problems, the delegation sometimes includes Washington representatives.

Specific guidelines for the U.S. are formulated for each sub-committee within the framework of the following general guidelines:

U.S. encourages and wholeheartedly supports mutual cooperative endeavors represented by the Economic Committee activities.
The U.S. has and expects to continue existing bilateral programs with each of the countries in the area in technical assistance and economic development.
We encourage the Economic Committee and its sub-committees to concern themselves primarily with isolation and identification of mutual economic problems and development of techniques and methods for their solution through the mechanism of the member countries, i.e., the committee structure should not take on operational or administrative tasks.
In the financial field the U.S. encourages member countries to examine and utilize to the maximum their own resources and the resources available in terms of private capital, the IBRD, the Export-Import Bank, but will give sympathetic consideration within resources available to needs for technical assistance and funds for mutual development purposes when other funding sources are inadequate.
We encourage the committees to look to and utilize the resources of the United Nations and its specialized agencies and coordinate its activities with them.

Military Committee—Significant U.S. Contributions

Provided an official U.S. Observer with the Pact’s Military Committee. He has attended all substantive meetings since the initial one of November 21, 1955.
JCS have reviewed and commented on military studies prepared by the Pact’s Planning Staff.
Provided Senior U.S. Military representation at the Council of Ministers’ November 1955 meeting in Baghdad and the April 1956 meeting in Tehran.

Announced intention to establish a small military liaison group with the Baghdad Pact on a permanent basis. Present plans envisage its establishment by September 1, 1956.

In connection with this item there has apparently been some shift in Defense’s position in this matter. It was our understanding that a General or Flag Officer would be stationed permanently at Baghdad, and in any case this was the tenor of the announcement made at the Tehran Council meeting. However, a recent letter from Mr. Gray indicates that the permanent stationing of this officer will be in Washington and that he would go to Baghdad for meetings of the Military Committee and other important functions of the committee as they take place. Although the Defense Department tends to equivocate as to their original intention in this respect, it is believed that their decision was made recently as the result of advice of the Military Attaché at Baghdad, who, with the concurrence of the Embassy, indicated that because no other government had as yet permanently stationed a Flag or General Officer in Baghdad, it seemed questionable whether the United States should do so. As a matter of tactics we believe it would be desirable for the Department to facilitate the establishment of the permanent liaison group at Baghdad now and raise the question of permanent stationing of the General or Flag Officer in the course of the next few months. Aside from general psychological factors, there is no particular need to station that officer in the immediate future.

Provided U.S. military representation at the Pact’s Military Deputies meeting in Baghdad July 15–18, 1956, which meeting considered the comments of the member governments upon the military studies previously prepared by the planning staff. Those studies, approved, have been forwarded to the Military Committee while others have been referred back to the Planning Committee for further study.
Currently providing a U.S. military representative to assist in the preparation of a naval study for the Pact’s Military Committee.

Liaison and Counter-Subversive Committees

Both the Liaison and Counter-Subversive Committees were proposed by the British and adopted at the Baghdad meeting of the Council in November 1955 (the proposal by the British was in pursuance of a suggestion made by the United States to the United Kingdom during the Middle East political-military bilateral discussions in Washington in the summer of 1955).
The actual organization of the Liaison and Counter-Subversive Committees was accomplished at the Tehran meeting in April, at which time the U.S. indicated its willingness to become a member of these committees.
The first full-scale meeting with the Counter-Subversive Committee was held in Ankara June 26–29. The U.S. was represented by delegates from the CIA and USIA working under the aegis of the American Embassy.
Previous uncertainty regarding the organization of the committee staff in relationship with the Public Affairs Division of the Pact Secretariat was resolved by the adoption of a new organization pattern currently being considered by the Council of Deputies in Baghdad. As a result of this a semi-autonomous Counter-Subversive Secretariat will be set up in Baghdad with sole supervision over the Public Affairs Division of the Pact Secretariat.
The Counter-Subversive Committee proposed to gather information in this field and to exchange information among the member countries. It will also study and devise methods for promoting activities in the Middle East favorable to the Pact and its members, also to counter any harmful activities that may originate in neighboring and other countries opposing the Pact, and to make recommendations to the Council on these matters.
  1. Source: Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 61 D 385, Box 2475, Baghdad Pact. Limited Official Use. Drafted by William O. Baxter and Ben F. Dixon. Sent through the Executive Secretariat.
  2. Not identified.