18. Memorandum for the Record0


On June 9, 1958, the President telephoned Secretary McElroy asking the reason for the delay (a) in contracting with the British for offshore purchase of Hawker Hunters for Jordan and Lebanon and (b) in delivering F–86s to Iraq. After discussion with Admiral Bergin and General Hutchinson, Air Force, and Mr. Rountree of State, I explained the situation to Secretary McElroy. Later Mr. Sprague and General Twining reported that at the White House meeting,1 it was agreed that the Air Force would execute a letter of intent with the British for the offshore purchase of Hawker Hunters for Jordan and Lebanon in approximately one week and that we would deliver a few F–86s to Iraq with minimum support and with a few personnel in one week or as shortly thereafter as possible. The remaining aircraft approved for Iraq with normal support and the remaining MAAG and training personnel would be delivered within ninety days.

I telephoned Mr. Rountree, who had been at the White House meeting attended by General Twining and Mr. Sprague, to tell him that Defense was proceeding in accordance with the decisions taken at that [Page 64] meeting. However, State Department must accomplish an exchange of notes with Jordan and Lebanon and obtain an amendment to the Bi-lateral Agreements with these two nations. Likewise, the State Department must obtain agreement from Iraq for an increase in the strength of the MAAG and establishment of an Air Section. These State Department negotiations must be completed quickly in order to permit Defense to accomplish its mission within the time period discussed at the White House meeting. Mr. Rountree said that the State Department would accomplish its part in time for the Defense Department to meet its time schedule.

I further informed Mr. Rountree that Defense understood its commitment to Iraq was for 15 airplanes and one [a] year supply of spares; that there was no commitment to replace the airplanes and no commitment beyond the one year supply of spares; and that Gen. Rafiq Ariff, Baghdad, in a conversation with Mr. Sprague in Baghdad on 20 October 19572 had agreed that Iraq would pick up the cost of spares and recurring costs at the end of one year. Mr. Rountree accepted this as a correct understanding of Defense’s commitment.

John N. Irwin, II3
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD/ISA Files: FRC 62 A 1698, 452.1 Lebanon, Sensitive. Secret; Sensitive; Special Handling. Drafted by Irwin.
  2. Apparent reference to a meeting on June 9 among Eisenhower, Macmillan, Dulles, and others on military aid to Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International File, President, 6/58–9/30/58)
  3. No record of this conversation was found.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this stamped signature.