210. Memorandum of a Conversation Between the President and the Secretary of State, White House, Washington, July 21, 1958, 5:05 p.m.1

Press Conference—President and Secretary decided to cancel their respective press conferences this week.
Lebanon—The President read Murphy’s 571 from Beirut.2 He and the Secretary agreed with Murphy’s and Admiral Holloway’s view that the present line in Lebanon should be followed contrary to Admiral Brown’s recommendation that our operations be expanded throughout the country. The President commented that if these people are not capable of doing their business with us protecting their capital and their rear, then there is little more that we can do about it. The Secretary felt that we should stay in Beirut and look for a resolution of the problem through the UN and an internal political solution. The President thought that if we started pushing around too much we would shortly have the whole Arab world against us. He noted that he had canceled the plans to embark the 101st Airborne Division and the 2nd Marine Division, although elements of the latter were being held ready.
Reply to Khrushchev—The Secretary described the differences in the U.S., U.K. and French positions on the reply to Khrushchev’s call for a meeting of heads of government.3 Both the British and the French found our proposal a bit too negative. The President thought the British approach better than the French and noted that in his letter Khrushchev referred to the spirit of the Charter more than once. The Secretary said he would be willing to be a little more affirmative in our reply with respect to our acceptance of a special Security Council meeting with heads of government and Foreign Ministers participating. The President said he would be willing to go that far, remarking that he had been under the impression, after yesterday’s meeting at the White House,4 that that was in fact what we were going to do. He thought we could use the language which was in the Secretary’s draft no. 3.5 There was further discussion in the formulation of our reply and it was decided to inform the British and French immediately of our position.
The President read a draft message to the King of Afghanistan which he approved with a minor amendment.6

The meeting was attended by the President, the Secretary of State, Frederick Reinhardt, James Hagerty for item one, General Goodpaster for items 3 and 4.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Meetings With the President. Secret; Personal and Private. Drafted by Reinhardt.
  2. Supra.
  3. In a telephone conversation with the President earlier in the afternoon, Dulles had explained that the British “have been strong for a Heads of Government meeting at the Security Council instead of just pointing out that the way is open as we have.” He added: “The French are opposed to the British and more in line with us in this respect.” (Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, White House Telephone Conversations; included in the microfiche supplement)
  4. See Document 205.
  5. Not found.
  6. The message from President Eisenhower to King Zahir was sent to Kabul in telegram 49, July 21. The message responded to the King’s concerns about developments in Lebanon, as expressed in an undated letter to Eisenhower. Eisenhower regretted the necessity to use military force in Lebanon and assured Zahir that the United States would work through the United Nations as much as possible to seek a solution. (Both in Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International Series, Afghanistan)