328. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State and the Director of Central Intelligence (Dulles), Washington, May 15, 1957, 6:25 p.m.1


The Sec said he has been looking over the draft letter re intelligence on the Israeli-French-British attacks. The Sec doubts it is the right way to handle it—there is doubt as to what is the right way. Maybe they should talk about it. The Sec does not believe there was any way to get intelligence because he does not think on the part of the Br at any rate the decision was communicated to more than 1–2 people. They agreed we knew about the military build-up. A said the intelligence people in Britain told him they did not know about it. The Sec said you can’t expect the impossible—can’t read peoples’ minds. A thinks we might drop it for the time being in any event. He does not think he will need it. He has had word today and thinks things have gone pretty well. The Sec said he could go the limit as to the value of the Agency to State. A said to lay it aside and if it becomes a matter of urgency he will take it up with the Sec.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Telephone Conversations. Transcribed by Bernau. A marginal notation on the source text by the Secretary’s Special Assistant, Richard D. Drain, reads: “Relayed to Howe in detail and Norm Paul (CIA/LC) in general 16 May.”

    In a memorandum to Dulles sent earlier on May 15, Drain indicated that the CIA had learned from a member of the House Appropriations Special Subcommittee that Chairman Cannon intended to raise the charge of an intelligence failure, connected with the events of the previous autumn, during subcommittee hearings on the CIA budget scheduled for the following week. Drain also expressed his belief that Allen Dulles was not being pressed to produce a letter similar to the one drafted on May 2 (see attachment to Document 314), a copy of which Drain attached to his memorandum, but would perhaps benefit from a short letter from the Secretary indicating that “intelligence was satisfactory but official notification was non-existent”. Drain recommended that Dulles discuss the matter with Allen Dulles. A marginal notation on Drain’s memorandum by Macomber reads: “Sec called AWD—agreed skip the ltr.” (Department of State, Central Files, 711.5280/5-1757)