5. National Security Council Report0

NSC 5801/1



  • A. NSC 54281
  • B. NIE 30–2–572
  • C. NSC Action No. 17713
  • D. NSC 5801; Staff Study on NSC 58014
  • E. Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated January 20, 19585
  • F. NSC Action No. 18456

The National Security Council, Mr. Fred C. Scribner, Jr., for the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director, Bureau of the Budget, at the 352nd Council meeting on January 22, 1958, adopted the amendments to NSC 5801 set forth in NSC Action No. 1845–c.

The President has this date approved the statement of policy in NSC 5801 as amended, adopted, and enclosed herewith as NSC 5801/1; directs its implementation by all appropriate Executive departments and agencies of the U.S. Government; and designates the Operations Coordinating Board as the coordinating agency.

NSC 5801/1 supersedes NSC 5428.

James S. Lay, Jr. 7

[Here follows a table of contents.]

[Page 18]



General Considerations

1. The Near East is of great strategic, political, and economic importance to the Free World. The area contains the greatest petroleum resources in the world and essential facilities for the transit of military forces and Free World commerce. It also contains the Holy Places of the Christian, Jewish, and Moslem worlds and thereby exerts religious and cultural influences affecting people everywhere. The security interests of the United States would be critically endangered if the Near East should fall under Soviet influence or control. The strategic resources are of such importance to the Free World, particularly Western Europe, that it is in the security interest of the United States to make every effort to insure that these resources will be available and will be used for strengthening the Free World. The geographical position of the Near East makes the area a stepping-stone toward the strategic resources of Africa.

2. Current conditions and political trends in the Near East are inimical to Western interests. In the eyes of the majority of Arabs the United States appears to be opposed to the realization of the goals of Arab nationalism. They believe that the United States is seeking to protect its interest in Near East oil by supporting the status quo and opposing political or economic progress, and that the United States is intent upon maneuvering the Arab states into a position in which they will be committed to fight in a World War against the Soviet Union. The USSR, on the other hand, has managed successfully to represent itself to most Arabs as favoring the realization of the goals of Arab nationalism and as being willing to support the Arabs in their efforts to attain those goals without a quid pro quo. Largely as a result of these comparative positions, the prestige of the United States and of the West has declined in the Near East while Soviet influence has greatly increased. The principal points of difficulty which the USSR most successfully exploits are: the [Page 19] Arab-Israeli dispute; Arab aspirations for self-determination and unity; widespread belief that the United States desires to keep the Arab world disunited and is committed to work with “reactionary” elements to that end; the Arab attitude toward the East-West struggle; U.S. support of its Western “colonial” allies; and problems of trade and economic development.

3. The U.S. role in the United Nations and elsewhere in the circumstances surrounding the emergence of the State of Israel, subsequent U.S. official and private economic assistance to Israel, and U.S. political support of Israel, are the primary bases for criticism of the United States in the Arab world. Extremist Arabs call for the extinction of Israel by force, but the containment and isolation of Israel is the general Arab objective, because the fear of Israeli expansionism pervades the Arab world. Israel seeks to establish itself as a permanent entity in the Near East, viable both territorially and economically, in the context of the fulfillment of its self-ordained mission to maintain a sovereign Zionist state, and to “ingather the exiles”, and bringing a majority of the Jews of the world to live in Israel. Since about 1952, the USSR has been a partisan of the Arabs against Israel. In 1950 the United States joined with Britain and France in a Tripartite Declaration to the effect that the three Governments would seek to prevent an arms race in the area and that, should the three Governments find that any of the Near East states was preparing to violate frontiers or armistice lines, the three Governments would, consistent with their obligations as members of the United Nations, immediately take action, both within and outside the United Nations, to prevent such violation.9 The United States has adhered to the principles of that Declaration, but the British and French in fact disavowed it at the time of the Suez invasion.

4. The United States supports the continued existence of Israel and also supports the territorial integrity of the Arab states against Israeli aggression. The United States strongly desires to see a settlement of the Palestine problem. Specific points of friction between the Arabs and the United States on the Arab-Israeli problem include:

Israeli military superiority. Even though the United States has not been a major supplier of arms to Israel, the Arabs contend that it is only because or massive United States support that Israel is able to maintain a powerful military machine.
The problem of the Arab refugees. The Arabs contend that the 900,000 Arab refugees should be permitted to return to their former homes in Israel; the Israelis maintain that they would pose an unsurmountable security problem to Israel and should be resettled in the Arab states. The Arabs believe that the United States supports Israel in this position.
United States public and private aid to Israel. The Arabs believe that the United States Government has given more aid to Israel with a population of 2 million than it has to the Arab states with a population of 40 million. The Arabs complain that United States Government action in permitting gifts to the United Jewish Appeal to be deducted as charitable contributions in calculating United States income tax constitutes a further subsidy on the part of the United States Government to Israel.
Israeli immigration policies. The Arabs believe that the Israeli policy of encouraging Jews from all over the world to settle in Israel is bound to result in further Israeli demands for lebensraum in the area. The Arabs believe that the United States supports Israel in this position.
Israeli use of the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba. The United States supports the right of Israel to use the Suez Canal on the basis of the Constantinople Convention of 1888 and the UN Security Council decision of 1951.10 The U.S. aide-mémoire of February 11, 1957,11 recognizes a right of innocent passage through the Straits of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba. The Arabs look upon both these U.S. positions as U.S. support for Israel in its efforts to circumvent the effects of the Arab economic boycott, and our views on Aqaba are considered a reward for Israeli aggression against Egypt in 1956.

5. The Arab countries display a jealous and exaggerated concern over their present sovereignty. The majority of Arab opinion feels that the Arab place in the sun cannot be achieved in the context of the present situation, where human and physical resources are divided among eleven separate national entities and parts of the Arab world are still under the control of Western Powers. While there are probably decisive historical, ethnic and cultural obstacles to Arab unity in the sense of an Arab empire reaching from Casablanca to the Persian Gulf, it has become a widespread aspiration, particularly among the growing semi-educated urban element. Historically speaking, it might well be argued that the tendency of the area is toward fragmentation. Nevertheless, the mystique of Arab unity has become a basic element of Arab political thought. Our economic and cultural interests in the area have led not unnaturally to close U.S. relations with elements in the Arab world whose primary interest lies in the maintenance of relations with the West and the status quo in their countries—Chamoun of Lebanon, King Saud, Nuri of Iraq, King Hussein. These relations have contributed to a widespread belief in the area that the United States desires to keep the Arab world disunited and is committed to work with “reactionary” elements to that end. The USSR, on the other hand, is not inhibited in proclaiming all-out support for Arab unity and for the most extreme Arab [Page 21] nationalist aspirations, because it has no stake in the economic, or political status quo in the area.

6. Communism in both its domestic and international guises has appeared in the area as the latest of a series of foreign ideologies. The area’s indigenous institutions and religions lack vigor (partly as a result of the impact of nearly 200 years of Western culture), and native resistance to Communism per se has, therefore, been disappointing. Furthermore, Communist police-state methods seem no worse than similar methods employed by Near East regimes, including some of those supported by the United States. Many Arabs incline to the belief that their own interests are best served by a competition between the Free World and the Soviet bloc for Arab favor. The Arabs are confident of their ability to play such a game. The Arabs sincerely believe that Israel poses a greater threat to their interests than does international Communism. The USSR freely endorses Arab aspirations for the elimination of all Western influence from the area, particularly Arab-Western military arrangements, which cause concern to Soviet leaders. The USSR repeatedly calls attention to its propinquity to the areas as against the remoteness of the West.

7. The Joint Resolution of March 9, 1957,12 states that “the United States regards as vital to the national interest and world peace the preservation of the independence and integrity of the nations of the Middle East. To this end, if the President determines the necessity thereof, the United States is prepared to use armed forces to assist any such nation or group of such nations requesting assistance against armed aggression from any country controlled by international communism. …”13 The Resolution also authorized the President to extend economic and military assistance to carry out the purposes of this Resolution. After passage of the Resolution, Ambassador James P. Richards visited the area for discussions with the Governments of the Near East states. As a result of this trip, and other developments, Iraq, Israel and Lebanon have formally accepted the Joint Resolution. Jordan has welcomed military and economic assistance extended under the Joint Resolution but has publicly rejected formal adherence. While Saudi Arabia has not formally accepted the Joint Resolution, it has publicly endorsed its underlying principles. Syria, Egypt, Yemen, and the Sudan have rejected the Resolution.

8. Certain Arab states have surplus agricultural commodities which compete with our own in world markets but which the Soviet bloc is willing to purchase. Where the United States and its friends seek a level of stability in the area to permit peaceful economic and social [Page 22] progress, nationalist Arabs and the Soviets need continuing chaos in order to pursue their separate aims. Many Arabs remain unconvinced of their stake in the future of the Free World. They believe that our concern over Near East petroleum as essential to the Western alliance, our desires to create indigenous strength to resist Communist subversion or domination, our efforts to maintain existing military transit and base rights and deny them to the USSR, are a mere cover for a desire to divide and dominate the area. Both the Baghdad Pact and the American Doctrine are interpreted as having this motivation. There is also opposition to them based on the fear that they increase the risk of bringing World War III to an area which escaped the horrors of and indeed profited from World War II. The “stand up and be counted” character of the American Doctrine is incompatible with traditional Arab reluctance to be committed.

9. The Soviet Union has been quick to exploit this situation. It has formed de facto alliances with Egypt and Syria, while seeming to support their professed policy of non-alignment. It has provided these countries with substantial military and economic credits and technical assistance. It has given public indications of its willingness to come to their aid if they should be involved in hostilities. It is acquiring an increasing stake in the area—in terms of influence and prestige. It may well be willing to incur substantial risks to maintain that stake. This willingness, coupled with bitter disputes between its de facto allies and other states in the area, creates a continuing risk that instability in this area may eventually give rise to widening hostilities.

10. Of the countries covered by this paper, only Iraq had received U.S. military grant aid prior to FY 1957 ($48.2 million programmed, FY 1954–57). During the past year the United States has agreed to provide $35 million in military assistance to Saudi Arabia, $10 million to Jordan and $3.8 million to Lebanon. Percentages of national budgets devoted to military purposes range from 59 per cent for Jordan and 28.6 per cent for Iraq to 18 per cent for Israel and nine per cent for the Sudan. All countries of the area have forces capable of maintaining internal security (in the case of the Sudan, just barely). Israel, Iraq and Egypt could defend themselves against invasion by their neighbors, except that Egypt could, at best, hold Israel at the Suez Canal. Only Israel would be capable of effective delaying action against a major power; Iraq would be capable of some minor harassing action. Should Soviet military support continue at roughly the present level—as is likely—and should Western assistance remain limited, the military power of Egypt and Syria will constitute a growing pressure on their neighbors and a threat to Israel.

11. Since the British-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in November 1956, the United States has been the undisputed leader of Free World interests in the area, and there has been tacit recognition of that fact by [Page 23] our British and French allies in all areas except the Persian Gulf and the Aden area. The continuing and necessary association of the United States in the Western European Alliance makes it impossible for us to avoid some identification with the powers which formerly had, and still have, “colonial” interests in the area. The United Kingdom is convinced that its continued predominance in the Persian Gulf is essential to guarantee the flow of oil necessary to maintain the British domestic economy and international position. Saudi Arabia undoubtedly over the long run envisions the reduction or elimination of British influence in the Gulf and the reduction of British-protected rulers to a position of Saudi vassals. The Persian Gulf States and the Aden Colony and Protectorate are considered by Arab nationalists as terra irridenta in the Eastern Arab world. The Western alliance makes the United States a target for some of the animus which this situation generates. The continuing conflict in Algeria excites the Arab world and there is no single Arab leader, no matter how pro-Western he may be on other issues, who is prepared to accept anything short of full Algerian independence as a solution to this problem. There is fertile ground for Soviet and Arab nationalist distortion of the degree of U.S. and NATO moral and material support to the French in Algeria.

12. There has been a substantial increase in production in the area since the close of World War II and a significant rise in living standards except in Egypt. This rise has only served to whet the mass appetite for more progress and more material advantages. The rise in living standards has in many cases had the effect of moving people from a settled tribal or village environment into an urban realm of potential conflict with new forces and new ideas. Even with this rise in living standards, the economic levels throughout most of the area continue to be very low and extremes of wealth and poverty remain.14

13. The tendency in the area is to ascribe the blame for the gap between the present living standard and popular desires with respect to economic progress and development to external factors such as “colonialism”, unfair arrangements with the oil-producing companies, and a desire on the part of the West to keep the Arab world relatively undeveloped so that it may ultimately become a source of raw materials and the primary market for Israeli industry. The Arabs have failed to realize what is involved in the planning of major development programs either on a national or regional basis, or in establishing orderly processes of capital formation within the area. U.S. economic and technical assistance [Page 24] programs have contributed substantially to the economic development of the area. However, we have become victims of our own reputation for rapid, skillful and imaginative execution of major engineering works, and the Arabs feel that we have the resources with which to perform miracles in their countries if only we desired to do so.

14. A further problem is created by the fact that certain of the agricultural commodities produced by the area have become surplus to and competitive with the needs and products of the West. This is particularly true with respect to Egyptian and Sudanese cotton and is periodically true of such crops as Syrian grains, Iraqi cereals and dates, and Lebanese fruit.

15. The United States is not without assets in the area. Our long tradition of philanthropic and educational efforts in the Near East; the respect which is engendered by our military power; our own revolutionary tradition and our identification with the principle of self-determination; the abundance of our wealth; the advancement of our science and technology; all contribute to our position in the area. There are no basic impediments of personality, background or culture to the establishment and maintenance of close personal friendships between the peoples of the Near East and Americans. Nevertheless, we must recognize that unless we are willing to work actively toward a solution of the political, economic and military problems of the area, particularly with respect to Arab-Israeli differences, we cannot exclude the possibility of having to use force in an attempt to maintain our position in the area. Yet we must recognize that the use of military force might not preserve an adequate U.S. political position in the area and might even preserve Western access to Near East oil only with great difficulty.


16. Availability to the United States and its allies of the resources, the strategic positions and the passage rights of the area, and the denial to the Soviet bloc of strategic positions and control over such resources.

17. Stable, friendly and progressive governments in the area, consolidated into politically and economically viable units where consonant with our interests; aware of the threat to their own independence and integrity posed by international Communism.

18. An early resolution of the Arab-Israeli dispute.

19. Prevention of the further extension of Soviet influence in the area and reduction of existing Soviet influence.

General Policy Guidance

20. Provide Free World leadership and assume, on behalf of the Free World, the major responsibility toward the area; acting with or in consultation with other Free World countries, particularly the United [Page 25] Kingdom, to the greatest extent practicable, but reserving the right to act alone.

21. In all relations with the peoples of the area, demonstrate our peaceful intentions, strengthen our influence, and reduce the risk of turmoil and conflict by:

Emphasizing U.S. concern for the economic, social and cultural advancement of the peoples of the area, without minimizing the dangers of Communism and Soviet aggression.
Emphasizing the political and economic aspects of our policy over its military aspects.
Making clear to the peoples of the area that the United States and the Free World generally (as contrasted with the USSR and international Communism) desire to see established in the area conditions of peace, stability, and economic and human development.
Demonstrating to the Arab states that we are prepared to support political measures looking toward a system of strong and independent sovereign states in the area, including the union of two or more Arab states.

22. Rather than attempting merely to preserve the status quo, seek to guide the revolutionary and nationalistic pressures throughout the area into orderly channels which will not be antagonistic to the West and which will contribute to solving the internal social, political and economic problems of the area.

23. Encourage the economic development of the area through:

Measures of national self-help.
Soundly-conceived regional Arab economic development projects supported to the maximum extent possible by indigenous revenues.
Attempting to increase the availability of Free World resources for the economic development of the area.
Continuing U.S. economic assistance, while encouraging its gradual replacement by loans from indigenous sources, the IBRD and the Export-Import Bank, and by private enterprise.
Continuing U.S. technical assistance for country and regional programs at a level within the capacity of the recipients effectively to utilize.

24. Be prepared, if the situation requires, to increase U.S. aid for special economic problems and for economic development (especially regional).

25. Continue to study the possibility of establishing an Arab economic development institution (supported by indigenous revenues and external contributions) to finance country and regional projects, determining at the appropriate time the extent of U.S. contribution and participation.

26. Provide military aid to friendly countries to enhance their internal security and governmental stability and, where necessary, to [Page 26] support U.S. plans for the defense of the area. To the extent consistent with U.S. security interests, limit military aid to the economic capabilities of the recipient countries. Endeavor to reduce the current preoccupation of area states with fancied needs for growing military establishments.

27. Encourage those indigenous regional defense arrangements which serve to increase the stability and strengthen the security of the area against Communist aggression. Participate in such arrangements to the extent that U.S. interests, taking into account the political climate in the area, make such participation practical and desirable from the U.S. point of view.

28. Support leadership groups which offer the best prospect of orderly progress toward the objectives of this policy. Seek to discredit groups which promote pro-Soviet thinking. Seek to increase the participation of urban “intellectuals” in Western-oriented activities.

29. Strengthen U.S. training, cultural, educational, information, and personnel exchange programs, and stimulate private U.S. activities in the area, and continue technical assistance programs for these purposes. Seek to create a climate favorable to the United States through the maximum encouragement of effective direct relations between U.S. citizens and peoples of the area.

Specific Policy Guidance

Arab-Israeli Dispute

Resolution of Arab-Israeli Dispute

30. Constantly explore the prospects and possibilities of an effort by the United States directly, or by a third party inspired or encouraged by the United States, to persuade the Arab states and Israel to work toward a settlement along the lines of the Secretary of State’s speech of August 26, 1955.15 Such a settlement should include the following elements:

Adjustment of Israeli-Arab boundaries by mutual agreement; the United States to participate if necessary to obtain agreement in formal treaty arrangements to prevent or thwart any effort by either side to alter the boundaries by force.
A satisfactory solution of the refugee problem which might include (1) repatriation to Israel to the extent feasible and resettlement in Arab states or other areas of refugees not repatriated; (2) compensation by Israel to the refugees, partly financed by an international loan; (3) U.S. participation in financing rehabilitation projects for refugee resettlement.
A United Nations review of the Jerusalem problem, involving a possible United Nations General Assembly decision recognizing Israeli [Page 27] and Jordanian sovereignty over portions of Jerusalem but reserving an international interest in the Holy Places themselves.
An agreed and equitable division of the waters of the Jordan River system between Israel and the interested Arab states, including action with respect to segments of such a system where practicable, and the establishment of any necessary control authority.
Relaxation of the secondary and, if feasible, the primary boycott by Arab states. Lifting of the Arab blockade of the Suez Canal. Establishment of Arab transit rights across Israel and vice versa.
Agreed limitation of annual immigration into Israel. Examination with other Free World countries of means of accepting immigrants who are excluded from Israel by such limitation.

Be prepared to accept, if necessary, a settlement short of formal peace and addressed to only some rather than all of the outstanding issues, and with only some rather than all of the Arab states.

Thwarting of Aggression

31. Seek to maintain the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization (UNTSO) and the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF), with possibly a limited expansion of their missions, until such time as major differences between Israel and her neighboring states have been resolved and the likelihood of armed conflict has been significantly reduced. Seek full compliance with the Armistice Agreements of 1949 by the parties thereto. Remain alert to the possibilities of constructive UN action in such fields as Arab-Israeli tensions or other intra-area disputes.

32. Continue limitations on shipments of arms to Israel except for the minimum numbers and types necessary for maintenance of internal law and order, and on a realistic basis for legitimate self-defense. Solicit the assistance of other Free World nations in implementing this policy.

33. In the event of major Israeli-Arab armed conflict not coming within the American doctrine, the United States should be prepared to take the following concurrent actions against the state or states which are determined by a United Nations finding or, if necessary, by the United States, to be responsible for the conflict or which refuse to withdraw their forces behind the Palestine Armistice line of 1949:

Raise the matter in the United Nations with a view to halting the aggression.
Discontinue U.S. Government aid.
Embargo U.S. trade.
Prevent the direct or indirect transfer of funds or other assets subject to U.S. control.
Seek a United Nations resolution calling on all states to desist from sending military matériel and personnel to such state or states.

34. Take the following actions either before or concurrent with measures outlined in paragraph 33:

Urge other countries, as appropriate, to take action similar to that of the United States.
Make every effort to secure United Nations sanction and support for all such actions.

35. Because the actions in paragraph 33 above may not be sufficient to end the hostilities promptly, be prepared to take military action (including a blockade) against the aggressor.

Immediate Steps

36. Make clear as appropriate that, while U.S. policy embraces the preservation of the State of Israel in its essentials, we believe that Israel’s continued existence as a sovereign state depends on its willingness to become a finite and accepted part of the Near East nation-state system, and be prepared to extend economic assistance at a reduced level.

37. a. Without advance commitment, be prepared to support and contribute not more than 70 percent maximum to the budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) throughout the remaining period of its mandate, which terminates on June 30, 1960. If during the remainder of its mandate budgetary difficulties force UNRWA to discontinue vocational training and permanent resettlement programs, consider the establishment of bilateral programs by the United States and friendly governments (e.g., Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq) for the maintenance of such activities.

b. While opposing extension of UNRWA’s mandate under its present terms of reference, develop and put forward in the near future proposals for handling of the refugee problem by the international community upon termination of that mandate.

38. Support Israel’s legal right to use the Suez Canal but discourage Israel from asserting that right for the time being.

39. Seek to prevent resort to force by any party over the question of use of the Gulf of Aqaba by Israeli or Israel-bound shipping. If circumstances require, arrange an initiative in the United Nations to obtain a determination of the rights of the parties and the maritime community by the International Court of Justice.

40. Support the development of segments of the Jordan River system when not in conflict with the unified plan for development of the Jordan River basin.

The East-West Conflict

41. Implement the policy established by the American doctrine to counter Communist military aggression.

42. Support, but do not join at this time, the Baghdad Pact participating actively in the work of the Economic Committee and Counter-Subversion Committee, and of the Military Committee to the extent required by our own plans for the defense of the area.

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43. Resist Soviet proposals for agreements designed to obtain explicit and formal acknowledgment of the Soviet presence and interests in the area. Be prepared to consider arrangements (such as a verifiable arms embargo) advanced by the Soviets only if they provide for substantial restrictions on Soviet activities in the area and no more than comparable U.S. concessions.

44. When pro-Western orientation is unattainable, accept neutralist policies of states in the area even though such states maintain diplomatic, trade and cultural relations with the Soviet bloc (including the receipt of military equipment) so long as these relations are reasonably balanced by relations with the West. Be prepared to provide assistance, on a case-by-case basis, to such states in order to develop local strength against Communist subversion and control and to reduce excessive military and economic dependence on the Soviet bloc.

Arab Nationalist Aspirations

45. Proclaim U.S. support for the ideal of Arab unity. Discreetly encourage a strengthening of the ties among Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iraq with a view to the ultimate federation of two or all of those states; but promote area understanding of the special status of Lebanon and Israel as minority enclaves in the Arab world.


46. a. Seek to counterbalance Egypt’s preponderant position of leadership in the Arab world by helping increase the political prestige and economic strength of other more moderate Arab states such as Iraq, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.

b. Seek to determine whether Nasser’s neutralist policy and his desire to remain free of great power domination provides the basis for understanding and cooperation, e.g., in the limitation of Communist influence and control in the area and in the reduction of Egyptian dependence upon Soviet trade and military assistance. Cooperate with Egypt in circumstances where there is a clear-cut quid pro quo for the Free World (e.g., reducing Communist control in Syria; the Suez Canal).


47. Seek [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] in Syria a pro-Western or, if this is not possible, a truly neutral government. Seek to demonstrate to the Syrians that their future lies in close collaboration with Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia rather than with the USSR, and in freedom from domination by Egypt.

Saudi Arabia

48. a. Maintain friendly relations with King Saud and continue endeavors to persuade him to use his influence for objectives we seek [Page 30] within the Arab world, being careful not to over-estimate his capacity to influence political trends. Make clear to Saud, under appropriate circumstances and with due respect for the sensitivities involved, our belief that the future of his regime depends very heavily on a program of judicious financial, economic and social reform.

b. Maintain military assistance programs, primarily in the form of procurement assistance arrangements and training for the Saudi Arabian armed forces, at levels adequate to ensure internal security and continuing U.S. rights at Dhahran Airfield.

c. Seek to increase U.S. influence and understanding among groups in Saudi Arabia from which elements of leadership may emerge, particularly in the armed forces and the middle-level Saudi Arabian Government officials.

d. Encourage efforts to bring about British-Saudi understanding with respect to Buraimi and other Persian Gulf questions. Encourage King Saud to take a more active part in Yemen affairs and assist him in establishing a useful degree of influence there.


49. In order to maintain the present orientation of Jordan, provide necessary aid for economic development, defense support and, to the extent required to retain the loyalty of the Army to the King, military assistance. While maintaining support for the present regime in Jordan, continue efforts to strengthen Iraqi and Saudi influence there, with a view to increasing political, economic and military ties between the three countries. Seek the continuing acquiescence of Israel in these moves and make clear to Israel U.S. support therefor.


50. Maintain support of the present regime in Iraq. Maintain military assistance programs at a level adequate to ensure internal security and continuing Iraqi support of the Baghdad Pact. Encourage trends favoring a peaceful change from the present system of government to a more broadly-based moderate progressive government. Stress the theme of Iraq’s growing economic strength and increasing capability to exercise constructive leadership within the Arab world.


51. Provide Lebanon with political support, and with military assistance for internal security purposes. Reduce grant economic assistance as feasible and emphasize Lebanon’s capacity to borrow from international lending institutions for purposes of economic development. Stress within and outside Lebanon the theme of Lebanon as a highly successful experiment in which many peoples of diverse religion [Page 31] and culture work together amicably and effectively for the advancement of their country.


52. Seek to create a position of influence for the United States in Yemen through the establishment of resident diplomatic representation, the rapid implementation of a few sound development projects with high impact value, and the encouragement of U.S. private economic activity. Seek through cooperation with other friendly Western Powers to restrict Soviet penetration. Seek to lend good offices to the extent possible to improve United Kingdom–Yemen relations.


53. Respond to reasonable requests for economic and technical assistance. Be prepared to consider a small program, if requested, directed at increasing the internal security capabilities of the Sudanese security forces. Work to keep the Sudan uninvolved in Arab quarrels and free of Egyptian domination. Seek to strengthen Sudanese relations with friendly African states, especially Ethiopia. Give recognition to the Sudan’s interests in international development of the Nile.

Roles of Other Powers

54. a. Keep the United Kingdom currently informed and work with it through both overt and covert channels on area problems to the extent compatible with U.S. area objectives. Endeavor to influence peaceful and equitable solutions to questions in which Britain is interested, such as Buraimi and Saudi Arabia; the Yemen-Aden Protectorate frontier; the Persian Gulf Sheikdoms, islands and seabed. Support an important British role in Iraq so long as it is constructive and effective, but exercise U.S. responsibility as the situation demands. Seek to establish open cooperation in military assistance matters among the United States, the United Kingdom and Iraq.

b. Inform the French generally and with caution of our activities in the area, always bearing in mind France’s increasing alliance with Israel. Consult and exchange views with other Free World countries interested in the Near East, including Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Italy, and the German Federal Republic.


55. Be prepared, when required, to come forward, as was done in Iran, with formulas designed to reconcile vital Free World interests in the area’s petroleum resources with the rising tide of nationalism in the area. Encourage broad diversification of means of transporting oil from the area as the best method of assuring these resources to the Free World.

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Agricultural Surplus Problems

56. Seek to find appropriate means whereby Free World countries, particularly the NATO countries, can work together to obtain markets for critical surpluses of the area and encourage adjustment of production of such commodities to probable markets.

57. In carrying out U.S. surplus disposal programs:

Give particular attention to the economic vulnerabilities of Near East states and, unless political considerations dictate otherwise in a particular case, avoid, to the maximum extent practicable, detracting from the ability of these countries to market their own exportable produce.
Give particular emphasis to the use of such surpluses to promote multilateral trade and economic development.


58. Further and explain U.S. policies and objectives, stressing U.S. support for major goals of the Arab people, including:

Freedom and independence of Near East nations.
Self-determination of area peoples.
Local responsibility for local problems.
The ideal of Arab unity.
Opposition to external dominance and infringement on local sovereignty.

Also stress the U.S. desire to contribute to local economic development and U.S. support for the United Nations.

  1. Source: Department of State, S/SNSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, 5801 Memoranda. Top Secret. The statement of policy and a related staff study were prepared by the Department of State and submitted to the NSC Planning Board, where they were discussed and revised. The texts of those drafts and revisions are ibid. A two-page annex, “Summary of Publicly Announced United States Policy on Near Eastern Questions” and a four-page financial appendix to NSC 5801/1 are not printed.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 3.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 4.
  4. See footnote 7, Document 4.
  5. See footnotes 8 and 9, Document 4.
  6. See footnote 10, Document 4.
  7. See footnote 14, Document 4.
  8. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
  9. Includes Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Sudan, and the Arabian Peninsula Sheikdoms. Takes into account as appropriate, the importance of Iran, Turkey and Pakistan to the Near East, but does not attempt full coverage of U.S. policies toward Iran, Turkey and Pakistan, which are included in other NSC reports (NSC 5703/1, NSC 5708/2, and NSC 5701). [Footnote in the source text. NSC 5703/1, “U.S. Policy Toward Iran,” approved February 8, 1957, is in Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. XII, pp. 900910; NSC 5708/2, “U.S. Policy on Turkey,” June 29, 1957, is ibid., vol. XXIV, pp. 720727; and NSC 5701, “U.S. Policy Toward South Asia,” approved January 10, 1957, is ibid., vol. VIII, pp. 2943.]
  10. For text, see American Foreign Policy, 1950–1955: Basic Documents, vol. II, p. 2237.
  11. For a translated text of the Constantinople Convention, see Department of State, The Suez Canal Problem, July 26–September 22, 1956 (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1956), pp. 16–20. For text of the 1951 U.N. Security Council resolution, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1957, pp. 907–909.
  12. For text, see ibid., 1950–1955: Basic Documents, vol. II, pp. 2251–2252.
  13. For text, see ibid.: Current Documents, 1957, pp. 829–831.
  14. Ellipsis in the source text.
  15. The country with the highest gross national product, Israel, with roughly $607 per capita had a higher per capita GNP than any Latin American country except Venezuela. On the other hand, the per capita GNP’s of countries such as Jordan are extremely low. [Footnote in the source text.]
  16. See Summary in Annex. [Footnote in the source text.]