4. Editorial Note
Speaking before a joint session of Congress on January 5, President Eisenhower stressed the importance of the Middle East to the United States and warned of the danger which international communism posed to governments in that part of the world. Eisenhower then proposed that the United States, through joint action of the President [Page 8]and the Congress, manifest its determination to help those Middle Eastern nations desiring assistance. Specifically, the President sought authority from the Congress to act in four areas:
- to cooperate with and assist any nation or group of nations in the general area of the Middle East in the development of economic strength dedicated to the maintenance of national independence;
- to undertake in the same region programs of military assistance and cooperation with any nation or group of nations that desired such aid;
- to employ the armed forces of the United States to secure and protect the territorial integrity and political independence of nations requesting such aid, against overt armed aggression from any nation controlled by international communism; and
- to employ, for economic and defensive military purposes, sums available under the Mutual Security Act of 1954 as amended, without regard to existing limitations.
That same day a joint resolution was introduced in Congress to provide the President of the United States with this authority. (Introduced as House Joint Resolution 117, 85th Congress, 1st session, January 5, by Representative Thomas S. Gordon of Illinois, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs)
For text of Eisenhower’s address to Congress, see Department of State Bulletin, January 21, 1957, pages 83–87, or United States Policy in the Middle East, September 1956–June 1957, pages 15–23. For text of House Joint Resolution 117, see ibid., pp. 23–24. For text of the Joint Resolution as enacted into law in Public Law 85–7, March 9, see 71 Stat. 5. Documentation on the Eisenhower Doctrine is scheduled for publication in volume XII.