2. Memorandum by the Secretary of State1

Barco will prepare a memorandum of my luncheon talk with Hammarskjold.2 He spoke quite vaguely and circuitously, and it was not easy to find out just what was in his mind. As a result however of questions that I put, I deduced that he has a general philosophy and strategy towards the area quite different from our own.

He basically believes that the trouble in the area is not due primarily to the State of Israel, but to the sense of weakness and divisiveness within the Arab countries. He feels that if they had a greater sense of unity they would feel stronger and more self-confident and would neither feel so hostile toward Israel or be as willing as some of them are to receive aid from Communist sources. Therefore he believes that his project to begin to create economic unity through some sort of a regional development organization is a key move.

He indicated that he does not believe that there should be any direct attack upon the refugee problem but that this problem should be gradually whittled away as economic development projects create a “market” for refugee labor.

He does not believe that it is wise or necessary to deal directly with the Israel-Arab problem, believing as I gather that this is unsolvable in the present context but that it would not assume great proportions [Page 7]if there could be brought about a greater sense of Arab unity. He points out that the most [less then 1 line of source text not declassified] anti-Israel states are Saudi Arabia and Iraq, which have the least direct contact with Israel, and that Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt are in his opinion disposed to accept Israel as an inevitable fact of life.

Whether or not Hammarskjold’s philosophy is valid I do not know. Perhaps it reflects primarily an Egyptian viewpoint. In any event I think it deserves consideration.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 684A.80/1–258. Secret. Drafted by Dulles and sent to Herter (who also initialed the source text), Murphy, and Rountree.
  2. Supra.