193. Message From Prime Minister Macmillan to President Eisenhower1

Events moved so quickly yesterday that I had no time to communicate with you, but it was immensely heartening to have two conversations with Foster.2

I only wish that it had been possible to defer the decision about Jordan until after the Foreign Secretary had had his talks in Washington. Clearly this is a situation in which we ought ideally to have had a proper joint long-term plan before embarking on any operations. And of course, as Foster rightly said in his message, it is not really Jordan but Iraq which is the real problem. Furthermore I very much dislike from the military point of view the sort of operation to which we are now committed in Jordan, where our troops will have no port, no heavy arms, and no real mobility. Without your help our logistic support passing over a country at least nominally neutral would be tenuous. If the gamble with the Jordan army does not come off, our troops will indeed be in a difficult position. Despite these difficulties I believe that you agreed with me that in the face of King Hussein’s appeal and the plots which we knew would otherwise be sprung in Jordan today, it seemed to us even more dangerous to do nothing than to try the operation on which we are now engaged. My great consolation is that we are together in these two operations in Lebanon and Jordan. We must at all costs not be divided now when we have been forced to play for such high stakes. I am sure that Foster and Selwyn will be able to work out together a joint plan for the future. Now that we have started on this difficult road, I do not see how we can withdraw until we have somehow restored stability and strength, in at least some areas of the Middle East. If we hesitate now, we shall indeed get the worst of all worlds, but what we do will require the most searching and careful weighing.

I am certainly not despondent. I refuse to believe that our close and intimate cooperation together will not in the end produce the results for which we both hope.

With warm regards,

as ever,

Harold Macmillan3
  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International Series. Secret. The text of this message was conveyed to the White House on July 18 under cover of a note from Lord Hood which indicated that the message was personal for the President from the Prime Minister.
  2. See Documents 182 and 184.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.