19. Transcript of a Telephone Conversation Between the President and the Secretary of State, Washington, January 12, 1957, 10:55 a.m.1
Regarding reports on the Mid East situation. Israel is still violating the armistice. The President noticed in one report they are going close to bankruptcy; that the Communist Party is growing by leaps & bounds. Dulles said our Ambassador is on his way back, will be here Monday, & that we do want to talk to him. He said it really is a tricky situation; & that the UN wants to put in a resolution regarding Israel’s not withdrawing.
On the other side, Dulles said the Egyptians also are guilty of some violations. The President does think Israel has got to get out of Sinai. The Gaza is confusing—who would want it? Dulles said Israel does not want it; it has no natural resources—on the other hand, Israel does not want the Egyptians to go back there. The President said that perhaps it should be made a UN protectorate.
Mr. Dulles said he believes a letter is in from Nehru.2 The President has it. Said it is very mild. Nehru does not think there is any chance of aggression in Mid East by the Soviet Union. His slogan nowadays is “Nationalism is stronger than Communism.”
Discussion on the Senate hearings for Monday. The President mentioned that Johnson, & a few others, stay on our side. But Dulles named 5 others: Fulbright, Sparkman, Mansfield, Humphrey & Morse; then on the Armed Services Committee, those like Kefauver. Dulles said the big question they pose is whether or not President has authority constitutionally to use armed forces—they say they won’t give the authority, because President already has it.
The President said that, after all, we are seeking peace, & the only way to do it is to show that our hands are not tied—he feels we have to put the world on notice that we are serious about this. Secy. Dulles said a lot of the people will go along with the military authority, but refuse to deal with the economic. The President hopes we will get a victory in the House, & does think we might. Dulles said President may have to call in some of the leaders again for a private talk, to have them back him up.