200. Editorial Note

On July 19, a message from Nikita S. Khrushchev, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, to President Eisenhower was presented to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The text of the message was transmitted to Washington in telegram 170 from Moscow, July 19, and subsequently released in Moscow and Washington. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International Series; text of the letter is printed in Department of State Bulletin, August 11, 1958, pages 251–233) In the letter, Khrushchev stated that “armed intervention” by the United States in Lebanon and by Britain in Jordan, and the danger of intervention in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East posed the danger of a general conflagration. To prevent such a catastrophe, Khrushchev proposed a conference of the heads of government of the Soviet Union, the United States, Great Britain, France, and India to meet to consider the crisis in the Middle East. He also proposed participation by the U.N. Secretary-General, and suggested that the conference be held in Geneva on July 22, although he was prepared to meet anywhere else if preferable. He noted that he had addressed similar letters to the leaders of the other three countries involved, and to the Secretary-General. (Copies of all of the letters were released by the United Nations on July 20 as U.N. doc. S/4059)

On July 20, Presidential Press Secretary Hagerty issued the following statement in response to the Khrushchev letter: “The United States is carefully studying the Soviet note and intends promptly, after appropriate consultations, to make a calm and constructive response. It will not undercut and, we hope, will enhance the work of the United Nations which has been so well begun. We think it vital that the work of the United Nations Security Council energetically go on.” For full text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1958, page 994.