81. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the President and the Secretary of State, Washington, June 15, 1958, 11:56 a.m.1


Sec read him the draft cable to Beirut (attached).2 Sec said we know British are prepared to act. This is a request made to us. Sec said there were two aspects—one, British, the other, French. Sec said we would rather do it alone, certainly from a political standpoint. Sec said the French particularly are a great liability. Sec said we have told Chamoun we do not want French invited in, but yesterday there were some indications they would invite the French. Sec said we should perhaps mention that in this cable and also the fact we have agreed to work with the British. Sec asked if the cable seemed all right to the Pres. Sec said all right, we will get this right off. Sec said this is going to be bad any way.

[Sec subsequently reported to Messrs. Rountree and Rockwell who were in the room with him that this was all right with the President, but he had raised the question of the British and the French. Sec said the President’s reaction was perhaps just not to go into it in this cable. Sec said he, the Sec., saw no reason why we could not say, however, that “We assume you recall our 4390”.]3

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, White House Telephone Conversations. Transcribed in Dulles’ office by Carolyn J. Proctor, with a notation that the conversation was “one-sided,” indicating that she heard only the Secretary’s side of the conversation.
  2. Not found attached, but printed infra.
  3. Brackets in the source text. Telegram 4390 to Beirut, May 19, instructed the Embassy, in the event of a request by the Chamoun government for intervention by U.S. and U.K. troops, to make clear that the United States would object strongly to French participation in such an effort, and to request that Chamoun limit any approach to France to more limited forms of assistance. (Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/5–1958; included in the microfiche supplement)