222. Memorandum for the Record by the Acting Secretary of State1


  • Conversation between Mr. Herter and Ambassador Lodge

Ambassador Lodge phoned Mr. Herter to say that he had just talked with the Secretary General, who is planning departure on Saturday and wants guidance from us. He wants to be told what we would be telling Hare, if Hare were doing the job. He wants us to realize the room for negotiations is very small and what point he breaks off in terms of the General Assembly that would follow a break off. He says there are several different positions to consider: (1) presence of token Egyptian personnel, which is unsatisfactory to Egypt because they want more and unsatisfactory to Israel because it recognizes [Page 417] Egypt has status; (2) what Nasser himself is now asking, namely a complete civil administration but no military, which means taking over Palestine police and bossing them and which he thinks will make raids and fedayeen activities less likely but, of course, is enough to trigger Israel. He says the big question is how far the US would be willing to go beyond the idea of token Egyptian forces.

Mr. Herter remarked that anything beyond token forces would put the US right in the “hopes and expectations” area and that the President has gone on record on this point. He added that there are terrific pressures on the President now to put the heat on Nasser in the same fashion as was done earlier on Israel. Mr. Herter also called Ambassador Lodge’s attention to the last points in last night’s wire to Ambassador Hare,2 i.e., the “carrot” of an early resumption of normal US-Egyptian relations, including the possibility of economic aid, provided Egypt complies with the UN resolution. Ambassador Lodge stated that there has not yet been time for the influence of Fawzi to have been felt in Cairo but that the Secretary General is hopeful this will take place before he arrives. Mr. Herter said he thought the best the US could say would be that we are doing everything possible to bring about a lessening of tensions and resumption of normalcy. He personally could not conceive that the Israelis would take the risk of trying to move in through the UNEF in Gaza, that this would be incredibly stupid. He added that Mr. Rountree does not entirely agree with him. Mr. Herter also gave the highlights of last evening’s session with Ambassador Eban,3 which he summarized as the “playing up of tension between Egypt and Israel”, and specifically the manning of border watch towers, raids and other border incidents. Mr. Lodge said that Nasser had pledged to Bunche there would be no more commando raids. Mr. Herter observed that if Nasser could deliver on this point it would help a lot. Ambassador Lodge suggested that the crux of our policy should be the development of an issue on which we could go to the General Assembly and get a strong vote against Egypt. He suggested that he would draw up a statement to be given to the Secretary General and that he would give it to Mr. Herter for his approval this afternoon. He concluded that his staff is already making a study on possible bases for a resolution against Egypt.4

Christian A. Herter 5
  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversations: Lot 64 D 199. Confidential. The signed original of this memorandum is in the Eisenhower Library, Herter Papers. Lodge confirmed the contents of this telephone conversation in telegram 635 from USUN, March 14. (Department of State, Central Files, 674.84A/3–1457)
  2. Document 220.
  3. See Document 218.
  4. On March 20, Lodge forwarded to Dulles a memorandum by Richard F. Pederson of the U.S. Delegation on the subject of “Egyptian Actions Which Would Violate Its Obligations Under UN Resolutions”. Lodge’s covering note and the paper are in Department of State, Central Files, 320.5780/3–2057.
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.