230. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the President’s Special Assistant (Richards) in Athens and the Acting Secretary of State in Washington, May 1, 1957, 10:10 a.m.1

Ambassador Richards telephoned me this morning from Athens regarding the question of his going to Israel. I told him that there was very strong feeling on the Hill that he should go and that if he came back here without visiting Israel it might jeopardize our entire Mutual Security Program before Congress. Ambassador Richards said he realized the kind of pressures we had from Congress but still felt strongly that, since he will not be going to Syria, Egypt or Jordan, he should not go to Israel; that if he went it would be over his protest; and that he felt it would do more harm among the Arab countries than the good it would do on the Hill. He said he would be willing personally to go to the Congress and explain why he did not go.

I told Ambassador Richards that we were up against a choice between two evils but that we had tried to weigh all the considerations and thought he should make a quick trip there. I told him that I had been present yesterday afternoon when the Secretary discussed this with the President just before the Secretary left for Bonn,2 and it had been decided then that Ambassador Richards should go. I told him, however, that in view of his feelings, I would talk with the President [Page 526] again telling him that Ambassador Richards was doing this under protest, and then telephone Ambassador Richards again later in the morning.

Ambassador Richards said he would appreciate this being checked with the President once again, and said that if he was ordered to go to Israel he would, of course, go but he wanted to make it a matter of record that he was doing so under protest.

At the end of the conversation, it was agreed that Ambassador Richards should be back in Washington on May 8th.

Christian A. Herter3
  1. Source: Department of State, NEA Files: Lot 57 D 616. Confidential. Prepared in the Office of the Secretary of State.
  2. On April 30 at 12:48 p.m., Secretary Dulles spoke with President Eisenhower, who was then in Augusta, Georgia, about the Richards Mission, The memorandum of the telephone conversation is in the Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, White House Memoranda of Telephone Conversations.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this stamped signature.