29. Editorial Note

As part of a trip that took him also to Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, and Italy, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson stopped in Beirut on August 23, 1962, and visited Tehran August 24–26. Documentation relating to his trip is in the Johnson Library, Vice Presidential Security File, Burris’ Memos to Vice President; ibid., Vice President’s Travels, Vice President Johnson’s Trip to Middle East; Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 65 D 533, CF 2147-2149; and ibid., Central File 033.1100-JO. An account of Johnson’s one-half hour call on Lebanese Prime Minister Karame is in telegram 206 from Beirut, August 23 (ibid., 033.1100-JO/8-2362); see the Supplement, the compilation on Lebanon. While in Tehran, Vice President Johnson held substantive conversations with the Shah of Iran and Prime Minister Alam, which were reported respectively in telegrams 284 and 285 from Tehran, August 26. (Department of State, Central Files, 033.1100-JO/8-2662) Both are in the Supplement, the compilation on Iran.

Johnson reported to President Kennedy on the results of his trip on September 28. In his report, Johnson offered the following advice concerning Iran:

“In Iran, we must accept the Shah, with his shortcomings, as a valuable asset. We must cooperate with him and influence him as best we can, since we have no acceptable alternative. We should continue to prod him in the direction of social reform to prevent his losing the affections of the masses of his people. He has accepted the termination of defense support, and we must remain firm against any demands for its resumption. We should carefully determine the real military potential, present and future, of the Shah’s military forces and allocate MAP to them in a context of global U.S. security interests, without regard to alliance membership.”

In regard to Lebanon and Cyprus, the report indicated:

“Lebanon and Cyprus are delicately balanced and contrived entities which are a long way from a true national spirit. Nevertheless, it is in the U.S. interest to maintain them as independent states. Accordingly, it is in our interest for them to remain ‘non-aligned’ and thus protected from the internal repercussions of vigorous foreign policies. We would do well to assist in whatever quiet ways we can the Lebanese to cross the hurdle of their next Presidential elections.” (Department of State, Central Files, 033.1100-JO/9-2862)