17. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the President and the Secretary of State, Washington, May 2, 19581

[Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]

3. I spoke of the situation in Lebanon. The President felt strongly that we should try in every possible way to do something to help out. He even indicated that he thought we should try to find some grant aid. He thought that it was much cheaper to try to hold the situation than to try to retrieve it. I said I thought the situation could be met if, in addition to our present package which I outlined, we gave some P.L. 480 Title 22 aid. I said the Canadians might not like this but that I thought we might have to ignore that. The President felt that the Canadians should accept any commercial disadvantage, having regard [Page 28]to the great importance of the political objective.3 I said that I had at my staff meeting indicated that we should not look too closely into the local disaster because the important thing was to act quickly. The President said that he would do anything which he had to do in this connection to insure prompt action.4 We also spoke of the element of military assistance and he concurred in that.

[Here follows discussion of unrelated subjects.]

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Meetings with the President. Secret; Personal and Private. A note on the source text indicates that Herter was also present.
  2. Title II of Public Law 480 authorized the President to use U.S. agricultural commodities as emergency aid to combat famine and malnutrition abroad. For text of Title II as amended, see 7 USC 1721. The Title II commodity envisioned here was wheat.
  3. On May 5, Dulles spoke to Canadian External Affairs Minister Sidney E. Smith at the NATO meeting in Copenhagen about the proposal to provide P.L. 480 wheat to Lebanon. Smith said that he was aware of the situation and raised no objection. (Secto 13 from Copenhagen, May 5; Department of State, Central Files, 411.83A41/5–358)
  4. The offer of additional P.L. 480 assistance was transmitted to Beirut in telegram 4162, May 3. (Ibid., 411.83A41/4–2958) McClintock reported, however, in telegram 3671 from Beirut, May 3, that Malik was still pressing for large-scale, direct U.S. aid which he described as a test of the Eisenhower Doctrine, and Malik dismissed offers of Development Loan Funds and P.L. 480 assistance as too little and too late. (Ibid., 783A.5–MSP/5–358) Both telegrams are included in the microfiche supplement.