189. Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation Between the Secretary of State in Washington and the President in Augusta, Georgia, February 1, 1958, 2:45 p.m.1


The Sec. said he thought it a good thing he had gone to Ankara. The Syrian-Egyptian union was having a disturbing impact.

The Sec. reported he had gone over the President’s proposed cable to King Saud and read to the Pres. the corrected version. The Sec. said this cut out any reference to the Communists. The Pres. Said [Page 414]he thought it was now a much better telegram and he thought this would do it.2

The Sec. said we would probably authorize a statement of a general character through Link White commenting on the proposed Syrian-Egyptian union to the effect that if the two peoples want it and if it is consistent with the peace and welfare of the area as a whole, we look upon it with favor.3 The Pres. asked if this would be said as a public statement and wondered about putting it out before getting Saud’s views. The Sec. said perhaps we had better hold back if we could. The Pres. mentioned the union having to be on a plebiscite. The Sec. said we had the ticker that it was officially announced and there was great celebration in Cairo.4 The Sec. suggested being more reserved and saying we were awaiting further details—something like that. Pres. said it should be something to the effect that the people principally concerned were the friendly Arab states and would probably first make some statement to the public. The Sec. thought this sound. The Pres. said the cable to Saud should go right off.

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, White House Telephone Conversations. No classification marking. Transcribed by Asbjornson.
  2. Tedul 34, January 31, transmitted to Secretary Dulles the proposed text of President Eisenhower’s message to King Saud. (Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 63 D123, CF 970)
  3. A copy of this statement, which reserved the U.S. position until more complete information was available, was transmitted in circular telegram 701, February 1, 5:20 p.m. (Ibid., Central Files, 674.83/2–158) Two drafts of the statement and a memorandum of a telephone conversation with Berry about them at 2:43 p.m. are in the Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, General Telephone Conversations.
  4. Presidents Nasser and Kuwatly signed a proclamation in Cairo, February 1, merging Egypt and Syria subject to a plebiscite to be held on February 20.