558. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the President and the Secretary of the Treasury (Humphrey), Washington, November 8, 1956, 3:15 p.m.1

The President called Secretary Humphrey and said that this morning he had called to talk about spending2—and now he has just figured a way we can save a lot. He referred to the Mid East. If settlement is gone through with, as now seems hopeful, we have got to move in to try to repair damage and to secure the area against the Russians; we have got to help these arrangements through bilateral treaties and be prepared to spend some money in the ultimate hope of reducing our defense budget. Can gain much through friendships and close ties with peoples of these countries.

President said he wanted something constructive to talk to the leaders of Congress about tomorrow. Wants Humphrey’s approval of modest amounts. I will go back in the Aswan Dam, but I want these people to see we will deal with them. Willing to give 75 million loan to Egypt [Israel].

We want to demonstrate that we will be friends with them.3

The Secretary agreed, and thought that private capital could do much to help their developments.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries. Prepared in the Office of the President.
  2. The memorandum of this telephone conversation, which took place at 12:43 p.m., is not printed. (Ibid.)
  3. Eisenhower made the following remarks concerning economic assistance to the Middle East during a bipartisan legislative meeting held on November 9: “The President spoke strongly on the great importance of the Middle East in the cold war and his conviction that the United States has to step up its efforts to assist the cause of freedom in that area. He felt that the United States could start with some advantage now that the pitfall of Russian assistance is evident, hence our efforts might be more successful in the future than in the past. He thought our efforts ought to be concentrated to a greater degree on helping these nations strengthen their economies, by which it would be possible to prevent growth of sympathies for Russia and perhaps win back those already sympathetic.” (Memorandum of discussion by Minnich, November 9; ibid., Legislative Meetings)