66. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Dillon to President Eisenhower0
- Hosting Baghdad Pact Council Session in Washington1
The Baghdad Pact Council of Deputies in Ankara, at Iran’s behest, has requested the United States to consider again the possibility of [Page 222] inviting the Baghdad Pact Ministerial Council to hold its next session in Washington. The session would be of three-day duration. The most likely date would be early October, possibly October 7–9. Twice previously we have declined to invite the Baghdad Pact Council to meet here, but on both occasions pointed out that our action did not rule out the possibility of a future session here.
I have weighed the pros and cons of acceding to this request and I have concluded that on balance the time has come when it is in our interests to invite the Baghdad Pact Council to meet here. Secretary Herter has concurred from Geneva. Although there is apt to be difficulty with various elements in Congress, we are on technically sound ground and consider that the meeting has to be held here if we are to further our policy of strengthening the Pact and its objectives. Continued hesitation on our part to hold a meeting here might create serious misgivings in the minds of the members of the Pact, in particular Iran, and could even confront us with a demand for full United States membership as the price for maintaining the Pact.
We feel, however, that the question should be submitted to you before any action is taken. I am enclosing a memorandum giving pertinent background information.
It has been customary for the Chief of State of the host country to welcome the Council in some manner. I recommend that, if you concur in inviting the Council and if convenient to you, you agree to make such an address to the opening session.2
If you concur we would plan to inform the appropriate Congressional committees of our decision prior to the extension of the invitation.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 780.5/5–2259. Confidential. Drafted by Eilts ↩
- In a May 14 memorandum to Herter, Henderson recommended that the United States should come out “wholeheartedly” in support of the Baghdad Pact. He went on to state that although there were disadvantages in holding the next pact ministerial meeting in Washington, he felt that the advantages outweighed them.↩
- According to a May 26 memorandum from Goodpaster to John A. Calhoun, Director of the Executive Secretariat, which was attached to the source text, the President “indicated general acceptance of the recommendations” in this memorandum, ordered the Department of State to prepare for “a short speech of welcome” rather than a “major address,” and instructed the Department to consult with congressional leaders.↩
- Printed from a copy that bears this stamped signature.↩
- Confidential. Drafted by Eilts on April 15.↩
- See Document 56.↩
- See Document 58.↩