202. Editorial Note

At 1:53 p.m., September 10, Secretary Dulles telephoned President Eisenhower. Their conversation, as transcribed by Bernau, went as follows: “The Sec said the French Amb was in and repeated the suggestion which he made yesterday that if they had to reroute ships and buy oil here, would we help them get the dollars. The British are in a worse position than the French but are not holding out their hands. The Sec wondered re his reaction. The Pres said [Page 463]Congress would have to do it. The Sec said that was the line he took—we could help the British by letting them off on the payment of interest on the amortization of the loan. The Sec does not know re the French. The Pres and the Sec do not think there is money in ICA for this. The Pres said they [presumably the French] are encouraging pilots to quit. The Sec said they [the pilots] are likely to quit en masse this week. The Sec is inclined to think from the talks he had with the Br and Fr Ambs that they will follow our lines rather than resort to force. The Pres said he might get just a small amount of money without going to Congress. The Sec referred to the Pres’s transfer authority. The Pres said he would not encourage it without a session of Congress. They agreed if Congress were called back and were mad, there would be trouble.” (Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, White House Telephone Conversations)

At 5:06 p.m. that day, President Eisenhower telephoned Secretary Dulles. Their conversation on Suez, as transcribed by Whitman, went as follows:

“In reading daily Suez reports [telegram 1158, supra ], President finds Pineau is upset because of our decision, backing and filling, etc. President thought we had taken a pretty plain attitude on this from the start, & does not know exactly what he means.

Dulles saw it—has no explanation except things we read in the press. He thinks the sort of things that upset them are stories such as Homer Bigart’s in N.Y. Times this morning, which says we never thought the 18-nation plan would go through, & have another plan up our sleeves along the lines of the Spanish amendment. But there’s no feeling on the part of diplomatic people here. President said Amb. Alphand seemed to understand where we stood.

“Mr. Dulles thought, too, perhaps they misinterpreted President’s last press conference [September 5] statement as turning toward appeasement. President does not know what he said, but added that he always said the same thing as far as he understood language.” (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries. A separate memorandum of this telephone conversation, transcribed by Bernau, is ibid., Dulles Papers, White House Telephone Conversations.)