74. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State and the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Quarles), Washington, June 14, 1958, 4:50 p.m.1


The Sec. told Q. that he came back early because of Lebanon and that he had talked with the Pres.2 Sec. said he told the Pres. not to come back quite yet.

Sec. said we had talked on the telephone with our Ambassador there about an hour ago and he reported the situation as somewhat less disturbing than we had gotten through Malik and Chamoun. However, Sec. would estimate that there is a pretty fair chance that Chamoun may call on us to come in there, perhaps not because his own forces cannot hold the situation, but because they are not willing [Page 117] to try adequately. Q. said you mean Chamoun and the Cabinet. Sec. said yes. Sec. would like to have one of his people check up on what orders would be under the circumstances. Q. said they have certain part of forces that are nearby and available and are alerted to be ready to move in—there are other forces a bit more remote. Sec. asked Q. what they do when they get there. Q. said they move ashore, establish themselves (probably Beirut and Tripoli), and meet forces if attacked. Sec. would like to [have] someone from State check on what these orders really would be. Q. said fine. Sec. said political situation in Lebanon is not simple and we do not know what cooperation we can get. Sec. said he did not think Defense had political guidance they need and it is extremely confusing. Sec. said our original concept was that we would go in to help Army do its job and possibly hold positions in Beirut and Tripoli releasing their Army to take up problems elsewhere. The cooperation from the Army is not clear. President will have to make final decision. Sec. said it is one thing to go in as helpers of Lebanese Armies and another thing if they are hostile. Q. said we are wondering whether this indicates if we should have Task Force set up of joint staffs here and someone from State. Q. said they could have report tomorrow or Monday morning. Sec. said if Q. could set something up tonight or tomorrow morning it would be fine. Q. said he thought he better get hold of General Picher and have him at Pentagon or a satisfactory alternate. Sec. said he thought meeting should be held at Pentagon—State can only contribute political judgment. Q. asked for name. Sec. said either or both Bill Rountree and Stuart Rockwell. Sec. asked that Picher call Rountree. Q. said he would be available tomorrow should Sec. need him through White House phone.3

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Telephone Conversations. Transcribed in Dulles’ office by Jane Morris.
  2. See supra .
  3. Dulles accepted a call from Twining after completing his conversation with Quarles. He told Twining that he had spoken with Quarles because Twining was not available. He outlined his conversation with Quarles. (Memorandum of a telephone conversation; Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Telephone Conversations)