556. Memorandum by the President1

Information, not yet official, indicates that both Israel and Egypt have now fully accepted the terms of the United Nations cease-fire plan, and that peaceful conditions should prevail soon in the Mid East.
If the above hope is borne out by events of the next day or so, we should be promptly ready to take any kind of action that will minimize the effects of the recent difficulties and will exclude from the area Soviet influence.
Measures to be taken under these elements, would be:
Rapid restoration of pipe line and Canal operation. This might have to be done almost wholly by American technical groups, but I should think that we might also mobilize some people from Germany and Italy. This work should begin instantly.
Push negotiations under the United Nations so as to prevent renewed outbreak of difficulty [hostility?].
Provide to the area, wherever necessary, surplus foods, and so on, to prevent suffering.
Simultaneously we must lay before the several governments information and proposals that will establish real peace in the area and, above all, to exclude Communist influence from making any headway therein. There are a number of things to do.

One of the first is to make certain that none of these governments fails to understand all the details and the full implications of the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian revolt. We should, I think, get all the proof that there is available, including moving pictures taken of the slaughter in Budapest.

We must make certain that every weak country understands what can be in store for it once it falls under the domination of the Soviets.

And beyond this, however, are the constructive things that we can do once these nations understand the truth of the immediately preceding paragraph.

For example, we can provide Egypt with an agreed-upon amount of arms—sufficient to maintain internal order and a reasonable defense of its borders, in return for an agreement that it will never accept any Soviet offer.

We should likewise provide training missions.

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We can make arrangements for starting the Aswan Dam on a basis where interest costs would be no higher than the money costs ourselves. This, of course, would be contingent upon Egypt negotiating faithfully on the Suez Canal matter and in accordance with the six principles laid down by the United Nations.

We could assist with technicians in the repair of damage done in Egypt in the late unpleasantness and could even make an economic loan to help out.

In Israel we could renew the compact (Eric Johnston plan) and take up again the 75 million dollar economic loan that they desire.

We could possibly translate the tripartite statement of May 1950 into a bilateral treaty with each of the countries in this area.

We could make some kind of arms agreement—particularly maintenance and training—with Israel of exactly the same type we could make with Egypt.

We could explore other means of assisting the Arab States of Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, and develop ways and means of strengthening our economic and friendly ties with each of these countries, either on a bilateral or group basis.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries. No drafting officer is indicated on the source text, but in Waging Peace (pp. 96–97), Eisenhower acknowledged authorship and quoted extensively from the memorandum.