172. Message From Prime Minister Macmillan to President Eisenhower 1

I have just read a telegram saying that the King of Jordan has specifically asked for an assurance both from your Government and from ours, that we will come to his assistance militarily if he thinks this necessary to preserve the integrity and independence of Jordan. I very much hope that you will agree that we ought both to give this assurance at once. But I think it would be to our advantage not to let the situation drift, as it has done in the Lebanon. We ought, in my opinion, to urge the King to make his request at once, since if our military support is to be effective and have a real impact upon the whole situation in the Middle East, it will have to be given promptly. Moreover, we ought to act before disorder develops, and while we can be sure that the airfields are in friendly hands. If we are asked to send British forces, we should use for this purpose the forces now earmarked for the Lebanon. It would help us to know what forces you would be able to make available. Here again, we should have to deal with the United Nations, and all the public presentation, on the same lines as for the Lebanon. There has been an attempt to subvert the Jordanian Army and the revolution in Iraq is clearly fostered and supported from Cairo.

2. I should be grateful to have your views urgently. I hope you will feel with me that this action is the necessary complement to what is proposed for the Lebanon.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International Series, Macmillan-President 6/58–9/30/58. Top Secret. For additional information on this message, see footnote 1, Document 132. Regarding the British decision to intervene militarily in Jordan, see Documents 131 and 134.