134. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the Secretary of State and the Minister of the British Embassy (Lord Hood), Washington, July 14, 19581

Last evening Lord Hood brought me two messages to the President from Harold Macmillan.2

With respect to the Prime Minister’s wish to feel “that it is our joint intention, not merely to be content with rescuing Lebanon (not very important in itself), but to face the wider issues together”, I told Lord Hood that in general we would agree, although it is hard to see at the moment what the course of events will be in Iraq or what we could do. I also indicated we would be prepared to help in meeting the problem of oil if, as the Prime Minister’s message suggests, the pipelines are cut.

On the point in paragraph 4 as to whether we want the British in on the Lebanon landing, I said that if it is militarily feasible for the British to hold back from the initial operation as planned, that would be agreeable to us.

I said we would instruct Ambassador Bunker to inform Nehru and that we have already informed the Canadians.

As to the Jordanian request for assurance that we will come to their assistance, I told Lord Hood that this was a totally new question, not covered by our present military planning, and that I did not therefore feel that at the moment we could either give King Hussein the assurance he sought or accept the British suggestion that we urge him to request the assurance at once. We would, however, give this matter urgent study.

We discussed where the 3700 British troops earmarked for the initial operation in Lebanon might go if they do not join our forces. Lord Hood said that HMG would be prepared to send them to Jordan and emphasized that action in Jordan is seen in London as a necessary complement to action in Lebanon.

I said that I could not give any considered view of what to do about Jordan without consulting our military and political advisers but that my off-hand thought was that Hussein has a better chance of pulling through without western military assistance than with it.

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I told Lord Hood also with regard to Selwyn Lloyd’s message to me3 that I had earlier in the evening told Ambassador Alphand in general terms of our intention to give Chamoun an affirmative reply to his request for our military presence in Lebanon.

John Foster Dulles 4
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/7–1558. Top Secret. Drafted by Greene on July 15. The source text indicates that the meeting took place in the evening at the Secretary’s residence. Dulles sent a copy of this memorandum of conversation, in the form of a letter, to the President on July 15. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, DullesHerter Series)
  2. See Document 132 and footnote 3 thereto.
  3. The following message was passed from Lloyd to Dulles through the British Embassy on July 14:

    “The French Government have been pressing to know how we intend to reply to Chamoun’s appeal. I expect they have been pressing you too. So far we have said nothing, but clearly they must be told something as soon as possible. I assume that you will inform them of your intentions”. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International Series, Macmillan–President 6/58–9/30/58)

  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.