261. Editorial Note

On April 1, Secretary Dulles and his senior staff discussed John Robinson Beal’s forthcoming book, John Foster Dulles: A Biography (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1957) during a meeting which began at 9:15 a.m. There was considerable discussion of Beal’s assertion that the Aswan Dam decision was taken deliberately to provoke a crisis and force the hand of the Soviet Union. “The Secretary said that there was a concatenation of circumstances and a number of reasons which underlay the [Aswan Dam] decision, three significant ones among which were the following:

  • “a. Two days earlier the Appropriations Committee had cut off any money which might have been used for the dam.
  • “b. He, in concert with the Under Secretary (Mr. Hoover), had concluded that any project which required 15 years of rigid austerity on the part of Egypt would be extremely unpopular and would be consistently blamed on the foreign governments—in this case on “American Shylocks’. The Secretary would prefer to have the USSR carry this unpopularity.
  • “c. The Secretary had been convinced that Egypt was playing both sides and that our association with Nasser caused increasing trouble with our close friends such as Turkey, Pakistan and Iraq. (Tentative Notes prepared by Howe, April 1; Department of State, Secretary’s Staff Meetings: Lot 63 D 75)