61. Editorial Note

British Prime Minister Macmillan and Foreign Secretary Lloyd were in Washington for an informal visit, March 19–23. They traveled to Camp David, Maryland, for meetings with U.S. officials. The President and Prime Minister met on March 22 at 9:30 a.m. for a general discussion of how to counter “Soviet probings for weak spots in the free world position.” In the Middle East, Eisenhower predicted that the Soviet Union would make its next move in Iraq by organizing the Kurds. The President also suggested that Nasser had undergone an “apparent change” for the better. (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International Series, Macmillan)

Later in the day, the Prime Minister, President, Foreign Secretary, and Herter went to Secretary Dulles’ residence for a meeting from 5:20 to 5:55 p.m. The Secretary’s account of the discussion, March 22, includes the following extract on the Middle East:

“It was the view of Macmillan and Lloyd that Nasser by attempting to array the Arab world against Kassem was forcing him into the hands of the Communists. Actually he was not pro-Communist and had not done anything to intensify his links with Communism during the past few months. The British felt that some one intermediary should be sought who would try to mediate a modus vivendi between Nasser and Kassem, whereby both states would exist within the Arab world, without the UAR attempting to dominate or absorb Iraq. I said Italy would perhaps like to play some such role. Lloyd said the Lebanese were, he thought, making this attempt.

“I said I felt it was somewhat ominous that we know nothing about what the Soviets were doing in relation to Iraq and Iran. It seemed to me that it was inevitable that they were doing something and that they had momentous plans, and that our lack of any knowledge should not be taken as proof that nothing was going on, but rather should make us more alert.” (Ibid., Dulles Papers, Meetings with the President)