194. Letter From President Eisenhower to Prime Minister Macmillan1

Dear Harold: Your cable of July 182 just reached me. Foster and Selwyn have had useful talks and I believe that our thinking on common problems is identical. Our operations seem to be satisfactorily coordinated. I recognize that your decision as regards Jordan was a very close and difficult one. We have of course fully supported your decision.

What the immediate future will bring we cannot tell. We can however face it together with the consciousness, I believe, that we have responded in a manner befitting our traditions. Whatever happens in Iraq and other parts of the area, we must, I think, not only try to bolster up both loyalties and the military and economic strength of Lebanon and Jordan, we must also, and this seems to me even more important, see that the Persian Gulf area stays within the Western orbit. The Kuwait–Dhahran–Abadan areas become extremely important and Turkey and Iran have become more important. We shall seek ways to help them be sturdy allies, first in quality and second in quantity, insofar as that quantity can be usefully provided and maintained.

Pakistan is important but the fears of India compel some caution in the extent of giving more military help there.

One factor that has helped to create for us the serious Mid East problem has been the Western inability to counteract or effectively neutralize the Nasser propaganda in that region. Of course, we cannot match his extreme positions. We cannot, like the Russians, support anti-Israel propaganda nor can we, like the Russians, support programs for confiscating the oil properties and the like. These are themes which appeal to the Arab masses and seem to win for Nasser the enthusiastic, even idolatrous, support of the largely illiterate populations in the region.

We shall, however, have to try to do a better propaganda job than we have done up until now. Particularly we should be able to do so in regions where the particular theme of extreme Pan Arabism and anti-Israelism does not carry much weight, and where more emphasis can be put upon nationalism which, in fact, Soviet Communism tries to destroy.

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Of course, the foundation for all that we do is understanding here at home. I am struggling hard these days to overcome the reluctance of Congress to appropriate money for information programs and mutual security costs and the economic development of the less developed nations.

The problems are immense and we are not free of danger. We can, I think, however, recognize that the danger is not here because of what we have done. What we have done has made apparent and overt a danger that was always there.

Let us together face these dangers with such wisdom as the Lord gave us to bring about a more prosperous and peaceful world.

With warm regard,

As ever,

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 780.00/7–1858. Secret; Presidential Handling. Drafted by Dulles, cleared by Rountree and Eisenhower. Transmitted to London in telegram 597 with instructions to deliver to Prime Minister “soonest.” Telegram 597 is the source text.
  2. Supra.
  3. Telegram 597 bears this typed signature.