234. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Radford) to the Secretary of Defense (Wilson)1


  • Termination of Operation “Whiplash”
In late June 1956 Operation “Whiplash” was initiated to provide immediate arms assistance to the nation attacked in the event of an outbreak of hostilities in connection with the Arab/Israeli situation. The USS Oglethorpe was dispatched to the Mediterranean with a selected loading of weapons and ammunition for assignment to Egypt in the event of Israeli aggression. Similar arrangements were made to provide Israel with combat aircraft in the event of Arab aggression.
Recent developments in Egypt (the Suez Canal situation) indicate that it is now highly improbable that Operation “Whiplash” will be executed as planned in the near future. The present employment of the USS Oglethorpe constitutes a loss of one effective unit of the Amphibious Forces, Atlantic Fleet, and due to the highly selective nature of the Oglethorpe’s cargo it is not readily adaptable to any other mission; however, certain portions of her cargo could be used to augment existing U.S. stocks in the European–Mediterranean area. Aircraft and equipment slated for augmentation of the Israeli Defense Force are maintained on 48 hours notice for movement by air from units now available in Europe.
In view of the above, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend that the Secretary of Defense initiate action to obtain governmental approval to terminate Operation “Whiplash”. Upon release of the USS Oglethorpe, steps will be taken to redistribute the cargo to the [Page 524] best advantage of the Services and reassign the ship as a unit of the Atlantic Fleet.2
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Arthur Radford3
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 784A.5622/9–2556. Top Secret; Limited Distribution; Eyes Only. Attached to a letter from Secretary Wilson to Dulles, dated September 25, which reads: “I am attaching a copy of the memorandum from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in which the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend the termination of Operation “Whiplash”. I concur in their recommendation and if you feel that the situation requires it I would be glad to take the matter up directly with the President, provided you agree to this action.”
  2. According to a memorandum from Radford to Secretary Wilson dated January 18, 1957, only that portion of the plan pertaining to arms assistance to Egypt was terminated as a result of this memorandum. The remainder of the plan, which had provided for augmentation of the Israeli Defense Force with aircraft and equipment from USAF units currently in Europe was terminated in response to Radford’s memorandum of January 18. (Memorandum from Radford to Wilson, January 18, 1957; Decision on J.C.S. 2105/49, January 18; and NH J.C.S. 2105/49, February 26; all in JCS Records, CCS 092 Egypt (7–28–56) sec 3)
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this stamped signature.