70. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Jones) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Murphy)0


  • Baghdad Pact

Existing NSC policy guidance on U.S. association with the Baghdad Pact is general in nature. Thus, for example, paragraph 39 of NSC 5821/11 speaks of exercising a “positive role” in Pact affairs, but short of adherence. It does not cover the spectrum of operating problems confronting us in day-to-day Baghdad Pact relationships. Hence, needed positions on specifics have customarily been developed through interagency consultation and clearance. Final Department of State approval has usually been at Assistant Secretary or higher level. From an operational viewpoint, this arrangement has been satisfactory. It has permitted us to support reasonable Baghdad Pact proposals. Conversely, it has allowed us to demur on unreasonable Baghdad Pact demands (i.e., U.S. support of unrealistic Baghdad Pact land force goals) or on Baghdad Pact proposals incompatible with our area-wide interests.

Our Embassy in Ankara has recently expressed concern that the United States may not be supporting the Pact adequately on a number of the major issues, viz., (a) full U.S. membership, (b) agreement to a Baghdad Pact Command Structure and to the related question of the Shah as Baghdad Pact Commander-in-Chief, (c) agreement to Baghdad Pact military contingency planning against Afghanistan and Iraq, and (d) increased economic assistance for Baghdad Pact multilateral economic programs. Clearly, all of these issues are in the sensitive zone of doubtful acceptability.

The Department still does not favor U.S. membership in the Pact, which is hardly likely to solve any of our basic problems with the regional states. Our recently concluded bilaterals with the three regional states have already set up a similar, but parallel, obligation to that contained in the Baghdad Pact, i.e., to cooperate for security and defense, and thus lessen the need for formal U.S. adherence. The establishment of a Baghdad Pact Command Structure would have an unsettling effect in the Middle East and remains politically premature. The Shah’s interest in becoming Baghdad Pact Commander-in-Chief is an old problem, and we share Tehran’s view that it is not really a burning issue with him. [Page 230] We think it can be effectively handled by reiterating to him, informally, our opposition to a Command Structure, which makes consideration of a Commander-in-Chief unnecessary. Finally, our limited grant-aid funds and vast global commitments preclude us from increasing materially our grant-aid support of Baghdad Pact economic programs. DLF assistance may, however, be possible. Moreover, we should be able to accelerate our disappointingly slow implementation of U.S. supported Baghdad Pact economic projects.

We think Ankara’s estimate of the Baghdad Pact situation is overdrawn. None of the above positions should occasion any surprise to the regional states. We doubt that they will cause any of the regional states to jettison the Pact. The Shah’s attitude remains a knotty problem, as it does in our bilateral relationship with him. It is doubtful that we can ever fully satisfy him. We should continue to support those Pact activities which further sound regional cooperation and are in consonance with U.S. area-wide interests. We should not support Baghdad Pact aspirations which are potentially harmful to our over-all area interests. An NSC policy paper defining the extent to which we should support Baghdad Pact political, military and economic programs might be helpful. The Department would be happy to participate in its preparation. Such a paper would also be useful for the forthcoming U.S.-U.K. reappraisal of the Baghdad Pact.

  1. Source: Department of State, NEA Regional Files: Lot 66 D 8. Secret. Drafted by Eilts.
  2. Document 257.