223. Memorandum From the Secretary of State to the President1


  • Near Eastern Policies

In view of the negative outcome of our efforts to bring Colonel Nasser to adopt a policy of conciliation toward Israel, we should, I believe, now adjust certain of our Near Eastern policies, as indicated below.

The primary purpose would be to let Colonel Nasser realize that he cannot cooperate as he is doing with the Soviet Union and at the same time enjoy most-favored-nation treatment from the United States. We would want for the time being to avoid any open break which would throw Nasser irrevocably into a Soviet satellite status and we would want to leave Nasser a bridge back to good relations with the West if he so desires.

The policies indicated below would in the main be coordinated with the United Kingdom.

I. As regards Egypt

Export licenses covering arms shipments to Egypt, whether from Governmental or commercial sources, will continue to be denied by the US and the UK.
The US and the UK will continue to delay the conclusion of current negotiations on the High Aswan Dam.
The US will continue to delay action on pending Egyptian requests for grains and oil under Title I of PL 480.
The US will hold in abeyance any decision on a CARE program for Egypt for 1956 (last year’s program amounted to $40 million and the present tentative program for 1956 anticipates aid amounting to as much as $100 million) or, alternatively, approve an $8 million program for the first quarter, leaving until later a decision of the balance for the year.
Expanded radio facilities will be offered to Iraq to counter Egyptian broadcasts.
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II. As regards other countries

The US and UK will commence negotiations with the Sudan with a view to developing … a situation of influence in that country which would minimize Egyptian influence and its control of the head waters of the Nile.
Intensify present efforts to stabilize the situation in Libya.
Encourage the UK to maintain present treaty relationships with Jordan and help it to prevent a situation in which a pro-Egyptian coup d’état would succeed… .
Give increased support to the Baghdad Pact without actually adhering to the Pact or announcing our intention of doing so. In addition to accelerated aid to the Pact countries, this support will consist of amending the nature of our participation in the Military Committee of the Pact, such as by assigning high level officers who could join more actively in military discussions than our observers have in the past. We will also display an increased interest in the economic aspects of the Pact by endeavoring to coordinate our aid programs with the Pact organization, wherever feasible, and by sending high level officers to represent the United States in economic meetings related to the treaty organization.
We will undertake an intensified program in Ethiopia to enhance the Western position in that country.
We will continue to take all practicable steps to counter Egyptian and Soviet influence in Yemen and the other Arabian principalities. King Saud’s assistance will be solicited.
The US will seek to dissuade the Israelis from undertaking work at Banat Ya’qub, or from taking other precipitate steps which might bring about hostilities and thus endanger the whole Western position in the Near East to the direct advantage of the Soviets.
For a further indefinite period the US will continue to deny export licenses for any major military items to Israel and the adjoining Arab States (this excepts Saudi Arabia and Iraq). We would, however, be sympathetic if other Western countries wished to sell limited quantities of defensive arms to Israel.
We will continue to press for effective UN action to reduce area tensions.
We will endeavor to strengthen pro-Western elements in Lebanon by immediately offering economic aid in the form of grants or loans for projects designed to create the most favorable impact on public opinion. (The French might sell limited quantities of military equipment.)
It is extremely important that the American position in Saudi Arabia be strengthened. We must find ways, in connection with the negotiation of a new air base agreement which should be [Page 421] promptly concluded, of assuring King Saud that some of his military needs will immediately be met and others provided for subsequently. We will press the British to undertake a generous agreement on the Buraimi issue, settlement of which is of paramount importance to the Western position in Saudi Arabia.

III. In addition to the foregoing course of action, planning should be undertaken at once with a view to possibly more drastic action in the event that the above courses of action do not have the desired effect. …

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DullesHerter Series. Top Secret. The following handwritten notation by Dulles appears on an uninitialed carbon copy of the memorandum “Approved by President—March 28. JFD” (Department of State, S/SNEA Files: Lot 61 D 417, Omega #1)