Volume #25 - 313.|
CRISIS IN LEBANON AND JORDAN
RELATIONS AMONG THE ARAB STATES AND THE CREATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS OBSERVER GROUP IN LEBANON (UNOGIL)
Memorandum from Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Secretary of State for External Affairs
February 5th, 1958|
The ratification today of the February 1 proclamation by Presidents Nasser and Kuwatly and the subsequent popular referendum will be merely the first steps towards the creation of a detailed framework for the United Arab Republic. Some of the domestic and international implications of the move, such as its effect on Arab representation in the United Nations and possible changes in diplomatic accreditation, are being examined. For the moment, it is perhaps more important to attempt an assessment of the union in the narrower context of its immediate implications for Western diplomacy in the Middle East.
2. Some indication of the United Kingdom position (and inferentially that of the United States) is contained in the attached CRO telegram of February 3† reporting on views said to have been agreed at a meeting of the Council of the Baghdad Pact: it would be unwise for either power to take the lead in opposing the proposed union, and public reactions should be restrained and cautious. This course would appear to have much to recommend it: the rapidity of the movement and the emotional impetus behind it reflect the existence of strong nationalistic and historical impulses which could quickly take on an anti-Western character at the first hint of Western opposition. Arab nationalists have deeply-rooted feelings of resentment because of what they regard as the unjustifiable fragmentation of the Arab world at the close of the First World War, a development for which they hold the West responsible.
3. In the light of the decision to adopt a cautious public attitude, it may not be entirely clear why the balance of the attached telegram indicates a United Kingdom intention to encourage the remaining Arab states to voice opposition to the proposed union — an intention with which, according to this telegram, the United States is in agreement, although confirmation of this has not appeared in reports on direct talks which our Embassy in Washington have had with State Department officials. At this stage we are without full knowledge of the reasons which dictate this initial reaction of the two powers, but we can infer from known United States and United Kingdom attitudes towards, and interests in, the Middle East that the following considerations would have a strong influence on their thinking about the union:
(1) The United Kingdom would regard the consummation of the union as
(2) The United States, through the Baghdad Pact and the Eisenhower Doctrine,69is committed to the support of the régimes in the Arab kingdoms to whose dynasties the popular movement symbolized by the United Arab Republic poses a potential threat. Coupled with this is a recognized reluctance of congressional opinion to countenance United States approval of states which have entered into arms and economic deals with the Soviet bloc and whose anti-Western propaganda is viewed almost entirely as a manifestation of pro-Soviet sympathies in the cold war.
5. Implicitly the validity of these arguments is acknowledged by the United States and the United Kingdom. Their decision to abstain from public opposition is in itself an admission of the power, and even the inevitability, of the Arab urge towards unity; as is their quiet encouragement of the Arab kingdoms to form a competitive entente which would also attempt to appeal to this fundamental Arab impulse. If, in addition to creating competition for the union, the Arab kings actively oppose it or attempt to encourage internal opposition in Syria, they will paradoxically find themselves allied with precisely those Syrian communist and left-wing elements whose rising influence has been the main cause of Western concern.
6. If you agree with the foregoing analysis,70you may wish to authorize a telegram to some of our interested missions giving the general lines of the analysis and indicating that we should avoid adopting a critical attitude towards the union in recognition of:
69La doctrine Eisenhower, avancée à titre
d'essai par la Maison-Blanche à la mi-décembre 1956, autorisait le déploiement de forces armées américaines dans tout pays du
Moyen-Orient qui demanderait de l'aide contre une agression communiste. Elle a été exprimée
officiellement dans le message spécial du président au Congrès sur la situation au Moyen-Orient
le 5 janvier 1957. Voir United States, Public Papers of the Presidents of the
United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower 1957, Washington, D.C.: United States
Government Printing Office, 1958, pp. 6 à 16.
70Note marginale:/Marginal note: