328. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, October 25, 1957, 10:30 a.m.1



  • Syria in the United Nations

[Here follows the same list of participants as Document 324.]

Mr. Rountree said that the US delegation had been in close consultation with the UK delegation on the Syrian item in the General Assembly.2 It was now planned to have ready a resolution calling on the Secretary General to investigate the Syrian-Turkey situation. Mr. Rountree pointed out that the timing of any action at the UN on this problem was extremely delicate and should be worked out in New York. It was most important that the position of the friendly Arab states be taken into account. The US did not wish, by prematurely putting in a resolution, to assume the onus of rejecting King Saud’s offer of mediation if it was still valid, but on the other hand the US did not wish to count too heavily on King Saud’s mediation offer if the Arabs turned from it and the Syrians should be prepared to put in a resolution unacceptable to us. The issue would probably clarify itself during the session this afternoon, but possibly not in time for the US to table the draft resolution which it had prepared.

Mr. Lloyd said that the Arab delegations had held a meeting last night and all had agreed, with the exception of the Egyptians, that Syria should accept King Saud’s offer of mediation. Mr. Rountree said he had heard the same report from an Egyptian journalist who had added that the meeting of the Arab delegations had been adjourned [Page 831] until noon today. Mr. Rountree said we had received word from New York and elsewhere which supports the thesis that attempts of King Saud to mediate had been a blow to the Russian position and a source of embarrassment to the Syrians.

Mr. Lloyd pointed out that there was only one slight difference in tactics between the US and UK positions on the Syrian problem. Of course, the UK and US would prefer King Saud’s mediation but they must be ready with an alternative solution. The UK would prefer in the first instance the tabling of a fairly strong resolution from our viewpoint, and then under pressure yield to modifications. In this manner we could eventually accept an investigation by the Secretary General, thereby giving the impression that we had made an important concession.

The Secretary commented that, from many years of experience at the UN, he had felt that it was necessary to have a definite line of action. This would give an opportunity to line up supporters for a specific resolution. It was impossible to maneuver rapidly in the UN since many delegations would feel it necessary to receive instructions before taking a final position. Insofar as the US position was concerned, the Secretary was inclined to give Ambassador Lodge a free hand on tactics employed in New York since the Ambassador’s long experience had served him in good stead.

Mr. Lloyd commented that, provided the resolution was not revised or watered down considerably in order to obtain the necessary two-thirds vote, the UK would have no objection to supporting the US resolution as it appeared in the original wording.

The Secretary emphasized the fact that we could not permit the investigating committee to investigate Turkey alone, but that Russia and Bulgaria would also have to be included. He added that we have sensitive installations in Turkey in connection with our NATO commitments, and it would be impossible to permit a committee of neutralists to inspect these installations unless the committee was also permitted to visit military installations in Russia and Bulgaria.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 926. Secret. Drafted by Dorman, approved by Dulles and Greene, and circulated to appropriate U.S. officials on October 25.
  2. Reference is to the U.N. General Assembly debate on Syria’s complaint about Turkish threats to its security, October 22 and 25.