41. Editorial Note

A “Special Report on the Sudan,” prepared by the Operations Coordinating Board Working Group on the Near East, dated August 18, 1958, stated that in a conversation on July 14 with Ambassador James S. Moose, Jr., and a later conversation with the British representative in Khartoum, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Khalil asked what assistance he could count on from the United States and the United Kingdom in the event of direct or indirect Egyptian aggression against the Sudan. The report summarized discussions on this subject with the British and recommended assuring Khalil that in case of direct aggression, the United States and the United Kingdom would take every feasible step through the United Nations to extend assistance. Concerning indirect aggression, it recommended stressing the U.S. conviction that effective action against subversion was best taken by the country directly concerned. It also suggested possible steps to provide economic and military aid contingent on the Prime Minister’s reaction and subsequent Sudanese actions. (Department of State, OCB Files: Lot 62 D 430, Near East)

At the 377th meeting of the National Security Council on August 21, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Gordon Gray informed the Council of the special report and stated that some of its recommendations appeared to the Operations Coordinating Board to go beyond existing policy guidance. Acting Secretary of State Christian Herter agreed that the Department of State would prepare a policy paper on the Sudan for consideration by the NSC Planning Board and by the Council at its next meeting. (Memorandum of discussion by Deputy NSC Executive Secretary S. Everett Gleason, August 22; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)

At the Council’s next meeting on August 27, however, Acting Secretary Herter told the Council that the Department of State felt it could take necessary action within the terms of existing national security policy to meet current problems related to the Sudan, and that additional policy guidance was not immediately necessary. Gray asked whether the Planning Board should consider other policies related to the Sudan in connection with its current review of Near East policy, [Page 174] and Herter replied in the affirmative. (Memorandum of discussion by Director of the NSC Secretariat Marion W. Boggs, August 28; ibid.) That NSC review culminated in the approval on November 4 of NSC 5820/1, “U.S. Policy Toward the Near East,” which included a section on the Sudan. The text is scheduled for publication in volume XII.

Telegram 361 to Khartoum, September 18, instructed Ambassador Moose to discuss Prime Minister Khalil’s request for assurances with him at the same time that he informed him of a newly-approved U.S. aid program. The telegram reads in part as follows:

“While stressing US conviction that most effective action against subversion can best be taken by country directly concerned, you should point out that, as PriMin knows, US role in UN in defense of independence of sovereign nations has been often and unmistakably demonstrated. US actions in Lebanon and Jordan are clear evidence US does not intend ignore appeals of legally constituted governments when independence and integrity of their nations are seriously threatened by acts of indirect aggression. This connection, PriMin’s attention should be invited to President’s speech before UNGA August 13 in which he said: “I would be less than candid if I did not tell you that the US reserves, within the spirit of the Charter, the right to answer the legitimate appeal of any nation, particularly small nations.”

“You should make clear to PriMin and in subsequent conversations with SAR and such others as may be considered desirable, our continuing desire to assist Sudan in maintaining its independence and thus moving forward as constructive force for peace and stability in the area. You should point out, however, that practical US support, in terms of economic, military, internal security and other programs, in final analysis only justifiable if it in fact contributes to determination of Sudan Government to protect its independence. We know PriMin himself recognizes that, if Sudan Government does not take action in this direction along lines of which he himself best able judge, US support would then be meaningless and ineffective.” (Department of State, Central Files, 745W.5/9–1858)

Ambassador Moose reported in telegram 414 from Khartoum, September 24, that when he met with Khalil on September 23, the Prime Minister expressed satisfaction with the projected aid program and told Moose that he considered the actions taken by the United States in Lebanon and Jordan in recent months “as assurance of U.S. support.” He further stated that with such assurances and with Sudan’s urgent financial needs met, he foresaw “no difficulty” in maintaining Sudan’s independence and integrity. (Ibid., 745W.5/9–2458)