22. Memorandum of Conference With President Eisenhower0
- Secretary Dulles, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Reinhardt, Mr. Rountree, Mr. Cummings, Mr. Allen Dulles, Secretary McElroy, General Twining, Mr. Sprague, General Persons, General Goodpaster
Secretary Dulles said he proposed to send Mr. Murphy out to Beirut via jet aircraft, having in mind that he could establish better [Page 73] relations as among our own military and diplomatic people, Lebanese military, and the Lebanese government. The President approved this action. Mr. Dulles thought this was especially important if the Lebanese were to attack U.S. forces. It might be possible for Mr. Murphy to improve the relations between Chamoun and Chehab also.
Mr. Dulles then went on to say that the Jordanian situation is rapidly becoming extremely dangerous. We have information of a planned attack against King Hussein on July seventeenth. A severe petrol shortage exists, because the Jordanians are not getting their normal supplies from Iraq, and have no storage. Mr. Rountree said we are studying the airlift of packaged POL, but are unsure whether we will get Saudi Arabian clearance to fly it in from that direction. We will plan to use the Aqaba base, but this will be slow in developing. The suggestion was made of obtaining POL for Jordan from Israel; he said this would be very dangerous, and would have to be approached most carefully. Mr. Allen Dulles suggested that Israel might turn it over to the United States or United Kingdom who in turn could convey it to Jordan.
The President said he is concerned that, if the Armed Forces we are supporting in the area are unreliable and seditious, we really seem to have nothing on which to base our action. He emphasized the need for one or more good radio stations in the area. Mr. Murphy suggested setting up a “black Iraqi” radio in Turkey. Mr. Rountree thought a shortwave station could be opened in Jordan, and that it might be possible to move the USIA radio ship up to Beirut. The President stressed the need to identify ourselves in the area with nationalism. We need to get some clever and convincing people from the populations and to carry the message that their progress lies in association with the West. Allen Dulles said he would get some of his people to work on this.
The President referred to a report from a Senator earlier in the day that the Voice of America had sought a statement from him, and might well be seeking statements from others opposing the President’s action. He thought this was very unwise and asked Secretary Dulles to look into the matter. He stressed that he feels the Voice of America should be used to put out our official story.
Secretary Dulles informed the group that Selwyn Lloyd would be arriving the following day; the question was whether the situation in Jordan would hold until his arrival. He also mentioned that he had received a message from the Shah of Persia. He referred to the President’s statement that we must bolster Iran and Turkey, and indicated we must consider going up from ten to sixteen divisions in Iran in response to the Shah’s request. The President thought it might be better to stress improvement of the combat capability of the existing divisions. [Page 74] Mr. Sprague suggested bringing up the status of the divisions in question, which are now at very low strength.
As a step that will give confidence and encouragement to the Turks, General Twining reported the movement of a composite tactical air unit into Adana. Secretary Dulles said he would send messages advising them that we will give them help. The President asked that they go out quickly, and that the aid be quickly provided. To a question by Mr. Sprague as to what the President was thinking of for Turkey, he said he wanted to send whatever would give them confidence. He felt it was of great importance to give the Shah a radio station to counteract hostile propaganda. [2 lines of source text not declassified]
General Twining said that if there is any military action contemplated with respect to Jordan, either by ourselves or the British, the Defense Department needs to be advised. The President said he knew of no basis on which we could move in, and Mr. Dulles thought we should wait to see what the British are doing, and talk to Selwyn Lloyd. The President commented that the British may be planning to move in light of the threat to Hussein. Secretary Dulles said this intelligence came from the British who gave a digest of it to Hussein. He said he assumed the British would go in by air, and Mr. Reinhardt confirmed this, adding that they will need logistic reports from us. General Twining thought the British should get their forces in at once, but Secretary Dulles said he had no enthusiasm for British forces going in. Lebanon has not been swept by pan-Arabism, but in Jordan and Iraq, pan-Arabism could sweep the country very quickly. To his question as to whether Jordan would welcome the British, Allen Dulles thought there were ties going back to the old Arab Legion which would tend to create a good relationship, even though the legion has been scattered. (At this point Mr. Macomber and Mr. Dillon joined the group.)
Secretary Dulles next took up the point as to whether we should press Hussein to make a call for the British to come in. Mr. Allen Dulles thought we should not do so. Secretary Dulles believed that if any troops were sent in they should be British, although we might provide air logistical support. [3 lines of source text not declassified]
[3 lines of source text not declassified] He thought we should strengthen Turkey and Iran but did not feel we could send our troops further than Lebanon. Secretary Dulles said that if Iraq were to drop out of the Baghdad Pact, he thought there would be good reason for our joining. It would be premature to do this today, but the action should be considered soon.
The discussion next turned to the Mutual Security appropriation. The President recalled that one Senator had proposed that we should send a request up for an additional authorization, with the thought that this action would help to get appropriations up to the total of previous [Page 75] authorizations. We should also tell the committees that if trouble develops we will meet it, perhaps spending more in the first six months of the year than a proportionate amount—and that we would in this case make a deficiency request in January. Mr. Dillon said there is not enough difference between the request we initially submitted and the present authorization to warrant making a new authorization request. He would check at once to see if Senator Knowland and Senator Bridges are willing to press for appropriations amounting to the full authorization.
Referring again to the Mid-East crisis, General Twining recalled that a Marine battalion had been sailed to the Saudi Arabian area at the time of the Suez crisis. He said the Chiefs suggest moving a combat team from Okinawa to the Dhahran area. Secretary Dulles commented that in case of an attempted coup in Saudi Arabia, this force could go into this country; likewise it could go into Kuwait. He asked whether this movement would weaken us too much in Okinawa, and General Twining said that more than 6,000 troops would be left. It would take two or three weeks for the force to reach the Persian Gulf according to General Twining. Secretary Dulles thought the situation in Kuwait may go bad before then, and commented that the British have nothing there. (He commented on the British folly in decreasing their conventional forces in the various areas on which their world position depends in order to create a nuclear force of small size at tremendous expense). Mr. Allen Dulles recalled that Iraq has always claimed Kuwait, which is the biggest oil producer in the Mid-East today. Mr. Rountree thought it would be wise to get the Marines started, and the President approved this movement.
Mr. Murphy inquired as to what part Turkey might take in the present situation. He understood that Turkish operations in northern Iraq are entirely possible. Mr. Dulles referred to the “silence” from Turkey during the last few days. They were set to move at the time of Syria, and were very vocal about it. Their present silence is disturbing. Mr. Rountree said they have put two divisions on the alert in the Far East, and have closed their border with Syria. Mr. Murphy said there is a possibility of forming a shadow Iraqi government in Turkey, and this should be explored. Secretary Dulles commented that the Iraqis have no doubt seized the Baghdad Pact records as well as the Crown Prince’s records and Nuri’s files.
[4-½ lines of source text not declassified]. Mr. Sprague suggested we should find out if the British are going to send any troops into Kuwait.
The President concluded by saying that the problem of disloyal troops was an extremely grave part of this whole situation which will require intensive thought.
Brigadier General, USA
- Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Staff Memos, July 1958. Top Secret.↩