46. Editorial Note
On October 3, the National Security Council Planning Board revised the basic paper on U.S. Policy in the Near East, NSC 5801/1 (Document 5), and designated it NSC 5820. The complete text of NSC 5820, October 3, with its disputed language, is in Department of State, S/P–NSC Files: Lot 62 D 1, Near East, U.S. Policy Toward (File 20, NSC 5820–5820/1). All ellipses and brackets in the following quoted material are in the source text. One of the major differences between NSC 5801/1 and the revised paper of October 3 concerned the question of primary and secondary U.S. objectives in the Near East. Paragraphs 5 and 6 of NSC 5820 describe the objectives as follows: [Page 163]
- “5. It is essential that the following primary objectives be
- “a. Denial of the area to Soviet domination,
- “b. Continued availability of sufficient Near Eastern oil to meet vital Western European requirements on reasonable terms.
- “6. It is desirable that the U.S. also achieve the following
secondary objectives to the extent compatible with the two
- “a. Peaceful resolution as early as possible, in whole or in part, of the Arab-Israeli dispute.
- “b. Continued availability to the U.S. and its allies of rights of peaceful passage through and intercourse with the area in accordance with international law and custom and existing international agreements.
- “c. Political evolution and economic and social development in the area to promote stable governments, popularly supported and resistant to Communist influence and subversion.
- “d. Continued availability to the U.S. and its allies of important strategic positions, including military overflight, staging and base rights in the area.
- “e. The expansion of U.S. and, where appropriate, Free World influence in the area, and the countering and reduction of Communist influence.”
There were numerous disagreements among the members of the Planning Board as to language for NSC 5820. In paragraph 4 of NSC 5820, the representatives of the Departments of Defense and the Treasury suggested the following first two sentences:
“It has become increasingly apparent that the prevention of further Soviet penetration of the Near East and progress in solving Near Eastern problems depends on the degree to which the U.S. is able to work more closely with authentic Arab nationalism and associate itself more intimately with the legitimate aims and aspirations of the Arab people. Of significance also will be the position which the U.S. adopts regarding the foremost spokesman of radical pan-Arab nationalism, Gamal Abdel Nasser.”
The majority of the Board recommended the following language:
“It has become increasingly apparent that the prevention of further Soviet penetration of the Near East and progress in solving Near Eastern problems depends on the degree to which the U.S. is able to establish a working relationship with radical pan-Arab nationalism as represented by the United Arab Republic (UAR). In the eyes of the great mass of Arabs, the test of U.S. sincerity will be whether we appear to get along with the foremost spokesman of radical pan-Arab nationalism, Gamal Abdel Nasser.”
The representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Departments of the Treasury and Defense proposed the following language for paragraph 7 of NSC 5820:
“Endeavor to work with Arab nationalism and other legitimate aspirations of the peoples of the area, but encourage only those aspirations which conform to U.S. objectives, recognizing that a policy of U.S. accommodation to radical pan-Arab nationalism as symbolized by Nasser would include many elements contrary to U.S. interests. Deal with Nasser as head of the UAR on specific problems and issues affecting the UAR’s legitimate interests, but not as leader of the Arab world. Encourage Arab nationalism to resist the expansion of Soviet influence.”
The rest of the Board recommended the following for paragraph 7:
“Endeavor to establish an effective working relationship with radical pan-Arab nationalism while at the same time seeking constructively to influence and stabilize the movement and to contain its outward thrust. Encourage its resistance to the expansion of Soviet influence in the area, and to that end seek understandings with Nasser and other radical pan-Arab leaders in areas of mutual interest, without abandoning our position where differences are irreconcilable.”
The representative of the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization recommended the following for the first two sentences of paragraph 10:
“On the grounds that wide pro-Western orientation is unattainable in the near future, and that efforts toward that end would be counterproductive to our principal objectives in the area as a whole, encourage neutralist policies of states in the area, even though …”.
The majority of the Board favored the following language:
“While seeking pro-Western orientation, accept neutralist policies of states in the area when necessary, even though such states maintain diplomatic, trade and cultural relations with the Soviet bloc (or receive military equipment), but endeavor to insure that these relations are reasonably balanced by relations with the West.”
The Board was also split on language encouraging an Arab-Israeli settlement. In the first sentence of paragraph 24, the majority of the Board favored the following language: “Seek opportunities to take the initiate [initiative] through the UN or through third parties, toward an Arab-Israeli settlement within the context of the Secretary of State’s speech of August 26, 1955.”
The representatives of the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization suggested deleting the phrase, “Seek opportunities to …”.
There were also differences of opinion and language on paragraphs specifically relating to individual countries of the Near East.[Page 165]
In subparagraph 37–d, relating to U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia, the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed deletion of the sentence in brackets as follows:
“Maintain a military assistance program, primarily in the form of procurement assistance arrangements and training for the Saudi Arabian armed forces for internal security purposes. Continue to cooperate with Saudi Arabia at the Dhahran Airfield in accordance with existing agreements. [Should the Saudi Arabian Government seek the reduction or withdrawal of U.S. facilities at Dhahran or should the rights there be substantially curtailed, be prepared to reduce or withdraw personnel on the most favorable basis for the United States.] Anticipate a request for a substantial change in United States relationships at Dhahran upon expiration of the present agreement (1962).”
In subparagraph 38–b, relating to U.S. policy toward Jordan, Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization and Joint Chiefs of Staff representatives suggested deletion of the sentence in brackets as follows:
“Bearing in mind that an abrupt change in Jordan’s status would be viewed generally as a political defeat for the West, be prepared in the interim, for essentially political reasons, to provide necessary assistance which might be used for economic development, budgetary support, and military assistance. [Seek to transfer to Jordan’s Arab neighbors major responsibility for economic support of Jordan if at all possible.]”
In subparagraph 39–a, relating to U.S. policy to Iraq, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended deletion of the sentence in brackets as follows:
“Seek to maintain friendly relations with the new Iraqi regime on a reciprocal basis. [Continue to offer United States technical assistance as an indication of friendship and with a view to limiting Soviet influence.]”
In paragraph 36, concerning U.S. policy toward the United Arab Republic, representatives from the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Departments of Defense and the Treasury suggested the deletion of the entire text of subparagraph 36–a, which reads as follows:
“Seek to normalize relations with the UAR. While recognizing our fundamental differences with Nasser, deal with him as head of the UAR on specific problems and issues affecting the UAR’s legitimate interests, but not as leader of the Arab world.”
Finally the Joint Chiefs of Staff representative dissented on language on an Arab-Israeli settlement in the annex, paragraph 15, subparagraphs c and d. The differing language reads as follows:
|[Majority Preference||[ JCS Preference|
|“c. Initiative in seeking a solution to this problem would appear to be appropriate only when a sufficient common interest in the long-range stability of the areas exists on the part of the several elements concerned to enable each to press for the sacrifices or pressures necessary to make possible a genuine solution. In the absence of such common interest not even the pressures of external force would seem capable of establishing a satisfactory or lasting settlement.”||“c. Action to establish the boundaries of Israel and resettle the refugees, including repatriation of a substantial number, will be wholly acceptable to the parties concerned only in the unlikely event that each is willing to press for arbitration of the problem. In the absence of such common interest, a settlement can be achieved only by external pressure.”|
|“d. Initiative toward a settlement of the Arab-Israel issue would require at least the tacit concurrence of the Soviet Union as well as of the states in the area. Within these limitations it might be possible to work toward a solution of individual outstanding issues between Israel and the Arab states.”||“d. The tacit concurrence of the Soviet Union would assist in the settlement of the Arab-Israeli issue.”|