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their complaints through the United Nations."
Following the September proposal, John Foster Dulles, replying to a question at
a press conference, said that "the United States is skeptical of these arrangements with
the Soviet Union for 'hands-off. What they are apt to mean is our hands off and their
hands under the table." This appears to be the only public comment the US government
saw fit to make on the matter.17
It may be instructive to speculate upon the reaction of the Western nations if the
Soviet Union had announced a "Khrushchev Doctrine", ceding to itself the same scope
of action in the Middle East as that stipulated in the Eisenhower Doctrine.
In January 1958, Syria and Egypt announced their plans to unite, forming the
new nation of the United Arab Republic (UAR). The initiative for the merger had come
from Syria who was motivated in no small part by her fear of further American power
plays against her. Ironically, under the merger arrangement, the Communist Party,
already outlawed in Egypt, was dissolved in Syria, an objective which a year and a half
of CIA covert activity had failed to achieve.
Two weeks after the birth of the UAR, and in direct response to it, Iraq and
Jordan formed the Arab Union, with the United States acting as midwife. This union
was short lived, for in July a bloody coup in Iraq overthrew the monarchy, the new
regime establishing a republic and promptly renouncing the pact. The trumpets of
Armageddon could once more be heard distinctly in the Oval Office. "This somber turn


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of events," wrote Eisenhower in his memoirs, "could, without vigorous response on our
part, result in a complete elimination of Western influence in the Middle East."18
Although the president would not be so crass as to mention a concern about oil, his
anxiety attack was likely brought on by the fact that one of the greatest oil reserves in
the world was now under rule of a government which might well prove to be not as
pliable an ally as the previous regime, and too independent of Washington.
The time for a mere show of force was over. The very next day, the marines,
along with the American navy and air force, were sent in”not to Iraq, but to Lebanon.
Of all the Arab states, Lebanon was easily the United States' closest ally. She
alone had supported the Eisenhower Doctrine with any enthusiasm or unequivocally
echoed Washington's panic about Syria. To be more precise, it was the president of
Lebanon, Camille Chamoun, and the foreign minister, Charles Malik, a Harvard Ph.D.
in philosophy, who had put all their cold-war eggs into the American basket. Chamoun
had ample reason to be beholden to the United States. The CIA apparently played a role
in his 1952 election,19 and in 1957 the Agency furnished generous sums of money to
Chamoun to use in support of candidates in the Chamber of Deputies (Parliament) June
elections who would back him and, presumably, US policies. Funds were also provided
to specifically oppose, as punishment, those candidates who had resigned in protest over
Chamoun's adherence to the Eisenhower Doctrine.

As is customary in such operations, the CIA sent an "election specialist" along
with the money to Beirut to assist in the planning. American officials in Washington
and Lebanon proceeded on the assumption, they told each other, that Egypt, Syria and
Saudi Arabia would also intervene financially in the elections. The American
ambassador to Lebanon, Donald Heath, argued as well, apparently without ironic
intention, that "With both the president and the new chamber of deputies supporting
American principles, we'd also have a demonstration that representative democracy
could work" in the Middle East.
To what extent the American funding helped, or even how the money was spent,
is not known, but the result was a landslide for pro-government deputies; so much so,
that it caused considerable protest within Lebanon, including the charge that Chamoun
had stacked the parliament in order to amend the constitution to permit him to seek an
otherwise prohibited second six-year term of office the following year.20
By late April 1958, tensions in Lebanon had reached bursting point. The
inordinate pro-American orientation of Chamoun's government and his refusal to dispel
rumors that he would seek a second term incensed both Lebanese nationalists and
advocates of the Arab nationalism, which Nasser was promoting throughout the Middle
East. Demands were made that the government return to the strict neutrality provided
for in the National Pact of 1943 at the time of Lebanon's declaration of independence
from France.
A rash of militant demonstrations, bombings and clashes with police took place,
and when, in early May, the editor of an anti-government newspaper was murdered,
armed rebellion broke out in several parts of the country, and US Information Agency
libraries in Tripoli and Beirut were sacked. Lebanon contained all the makings of a civil
war.
"Behind everything," wrote Eisenhower, "was out deep-seated conviction that
the Communists were principally responsible for the trouble and that President
Chamoun was motivated only by a strong feeling of patriotism."
The president did not clarify who or what he meant by "Communists". However,
in the next paragraph he refers, without explanation, to the Soviet Union as "stirring up


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trouble" in the Middle East. And on the following page, the old soldier writes that "there
was no doubt in our minds" about Chamoun's charge that "Egypt and Syria had been
instigating the revolt and arming the rebels".21
In the midst of the fighting, John Foster Dulles announced that he perceived
"international communism" as the source of the conflict and for the third time in a year
the Sixth Fleet was dispatched to the eastern Mediterranean; police supplies to help
quell rioters, as well as tanks and other heavy equipment, were airlifted to Lebanon.
At a subsequent news conference, Dulles declared that even if international
communism were not involved, the Eisenhower Doctrine was still applicable because
one of its provisions stated that "the independence of these countries is vital to peace
and the national interest of the United States." "That is certainly a mandate," he said, "to
do something if we think that out peace and vital interests are endangered from any
quarter."22 Thus did one of the authors of the doctrine bestow upon himself a mandate.
Egypt and Syria, from all accounts, supported the rebels' cause with arms, men
and money, in addition to inflammatory radio broadcasts from Cairo, although the
extent of the material support is difficult to establish. A UN Observation Group went to
Lebanon in June at the request of Foreign Minister Malik and reported that they found
no evidence of UAR intervention of any significance. A second UN report in July
confirmed this finding. It is open to question, however, what degree of reliance can be
placed upon these reports, dealing as they do with so thorny an evaluation and issued by
a body in the business of promoting compromise.
In any event, the issue was whether the conflict in Lebanon represented a
legitimate, home-grown civil war, or whether it was the doing of the proverbial "outside
agitators". On this point, historian Richard Barner has observed:

No doubt the Observation Group did minimize the extent of UAR participation.
But essentially they were correct. Nasser was trying to exploit the political
turmoil in Lebanon, but he did not create it. Lebanon, which had always abounded
in clandestine arsenals and arms markets, did not need foreign weapons for its
domestic violence. Egyptian intervention was neither the stimulus nor the
mainstay of the civil strife. Once again a government that had lost the power to
rule effectively was blaming its failure on foreign agents.23

President Eisenhower”continuing his flip-flop thinking on the issue”wrote
that it now seemed that Nasser "would be just as happy to see a temporary end to the
struggle ... and contacted our government and offered to attempt to use his influence to
end the trouble."24
Camille Chamoun had sacrificed Lebanon's independence and neutrality on the
altar of personal ambition and the extensive American aid that derived from subscribing
to the Eisenhower Doctrine. Lebanese Muslims, who comprised most of Chamoun's
opposition, were also galled that the Chtistian president had once again placed the
country outside the mainstream of the Arab world, as he had done in 1956 when he
refused to break relations with France and Great Britain following their invasion of
Egypt.
Chamoun himself had admitted the significance of his pro-American alignment
in a revealing comment to Wilbur Crane Eveland. Eveland writes that in late April,
I'd suggested that he might ease tensions by making a statement renouncing a
move for reelection. Chamoun had snorted and suggested that I look at the
calendar: March 23 was a month behind us, and no amendment to permit another
term could legally be passed after that date. Obviously, as he pointed out, the
issue of the presidency was not the real issue; renunciation of the Eisenhower
Doctrine was what his opponents wanted.25


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Instead of renouncing the doctrine, Chamoun invoked it. Although scattered
fighting, at times heavy, was continuing in Lebanon, it was the coup in Iraq on 14 July
that tipped the scales in favor of Chamoun making the formal request for military
assistance and the United States immediately granting it. A CIA report of a plot against
King Hussein of Jordan at about the same time heightened even further Washington's
seemingly unceasing sense of urgency about the Middle East.
Chamoun had, by this time, already announced his intention to step down from
office when his term expired in September. He was now concerned about American
forces helping him to stay alive until that date, as well as their taking action against the
rebels. For the previous two months, fear of assassination had kept him constantly
inside the presidential palace, never so much as approaching a window. The murder of
the Iraqi king and prime minister during the coup was not designed to make him feel
more secure.
The Eisenhower Doctrine was put into motion not only in the face of widespread
opposition to it within Lebanon, but in disregard of the fact that, even by the doctrine's
own dubious provisions, the situation in Lebanon did not qualify: It could hardly be
claimed that Lebanon had suffered "armed aggression from any country controlled by
international communism". If further evidence of this were needed, it was provided by
veteran diplomat Robert Murphy who was sent to Lebanon by Eisenhower a few days
after the US troops had landed. Murphy concluded, he later wrote, that "communism
was playing no direct or substantial part in the insurrection".26
Yet, Eisenhower could write that the American Government "was moving in
accord with the provisions of the Middle East Resolution [Eisenhower Doctrine], but if
the conflict expanded into something that the Resolution did not cover, I would, given
time, go to the Congress for additional authorization".27 Apparently the president did
not place too much weight on John Foster Dulles having already determined that the
Resolution's mandate was open-ended.
Thus it was that American military forces were dispatched to Lebanon. Some 70
naval vessels and hundreds of aircraft took part in the operation, many remaining as part
of the visible American presence. By 25 July, the US forces on shore totaled at least
10,600. By August 13, their number came to 14,000, more than the entire Lebanese
Army and gendarmerie combined.28
"In my [radio-TV] address," wrote Eisenhower, "I had been careful to use the
term 'stationed in' Lebanon rather than 'invading'."29 This was likely a distinction lost
upon many Lebanese, both high and low, supporters of the rebels and supporters of the
government, including government tank forces who were prepared to block the entrance
into Beirut of US troops; only the last-minute intercession on the spot by the American
ambassador may have averted an armed clash.30
At a meeting between Robert Murphy and Lebanese Commander-in-Chief
General Faud Chehab”related by Eveland who was briefed by Murphy afterwards”
the American diplomat was warned that the Lebanese people were "restless, resentful,
and determined that Chamoun should resign and U.S. troops leave at once. Otherwise
the general could not be responsible for the consequences. For fifteen years his officers
had acted behind his back; now, he feared, they might revolt and attack the American
forces."
Murphy had listened patiently, Eveland relates, and then ...

escorted the general to a window overlooking the sea. Pointing to the supercarrier
Saratoga, swinging at anchor on the horizon, the President's envoy had quietly
explained that just one of its aircraft, armed with nuclear weapons, could



96
obliterate Beirut and its environs from the face of the earth. To this, Murphy
quickly added that he'd been sent to be sure that it wouldn't be necessary for
American troops to fire a shot. Shehab [Chehab], he was certain, would ensure
that there were no provocations on the Lebanese side. That, Murphy told me,
ended the conversation. It now seemed that the general had "regained control" of
his troops.31

None of the parties seem to have considered what would have been the fate of
the thousands of American military personnel in a Beirut obliterated from the face of the
earth.
Civil warfare in Lebanon increased in intensity in the two weeks following the
American intervention. During this period, CIA transmitters in the Middle East were
occupied in sending out propaganda broadcasts of disguised origin, a tactic frequently
employed by the Agency. In the case of one broadcast which has been reported, the
apparent aim was to deflect anti-US feelings onto the Soviet Union and other targets.
But the residents of the Middle East were not the only ones who may have been taken in
by the spurious broadcast, for it was picked up by the American press and passed on to
an unwitting American public; the following appeared in US newspapers:

BEIRUT, July 23 (UPI)”A second mysterious Arab radio station went on the air
yesterday calling itself the "Voice of Justice" and claiming to be broadcasting
from Syria. Its program heard here consisted of bitter criticism against Soviet
Russia and Soviet Premier Khrushchev. Earlier the "Voice of Iraq" went on the air
with attacks against the Iraqi revolutionary government. The "Voice of Justice"
called Khrushchev the "hangman of Hungary"and warned the people of the
Middle East they would suffer the same fate as the Hungarians if the Russians got
a foothold in the Middle East.32

On 31 July, the Chamber of Deputies easily chose General Chehab to succeed
Chamoun as president in September, an event that soon put a damper on the fighting in
Lebanon and marked the beginning of the end of the conflict which, in the final
analysis, appears to have been more a violent protest than a civil war. Tension was
further eased by the US announcement shortly afterwards of its intention to withdraw a
Marine battalion as a prelude to a general withdrawal.
The last American troops left Lebanon in late October without having fired a
shot in anger. What had their presence accomplished?
The authors of the Pentagon study referred to earlier concluded that "A balanced
assessment of U.S. behavior in the Lebanon crisis is made difficult by the suspicion that
the outcome might have been much the same if the United States had done nothing.
Even Eisenhower expressed some doubt on this score."33

American intervention against the new Iraqi government was more covert. A
secret plan for a joint US-Turkish invasion of the country, code-named Operation
CANNON-BONE, was drafted by the US joint Chiefs of Staff shortly after the coup in
1958. Reportedly, only Soviet threats to intercede on Iraq's side forced Washington to
hold back. But in 1960, the United States began to fund the Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq
who were fighting for a measure of autonomy.34
At the same time, the Iraqis, under Brig. General Abdul Karim Kassem, started
to work towards the creation of an international organization to counter the power of the
Western oil monopolies. This was to become OPEC, and was not received with joy in
certain Western quarters. In February 1960, the Near East Division of the CIA's
clandestine services requested that the Agency find a way to "incapacitate" Kassem for
"promoting Soviet bloc political interests in Iraq". "We do not consciously seek


97
subject's permanent removal from the scene," said the Near East Division. "We also do
not object should this complication develop."
As matters turned out, the CIA mailed a monogrammed handkerchief containing
an "incapacitating agent" to Kassem from an Asian country. If the Iraqi leader did in
fact receive it, it certainly didn't kill him. That was left to his own countrymen who
executed him three years later.35

The significance of the Lebanese intervention, as well as the shows of force
employed in regard to Jordan and Syria, extended beyond the immediate outcomes. In
the period before and after the intervention, Eisenhower, Dulles and other Washington
officials offered numerous different justifications for the American military action in
Lebanon: protecting American lives; protecting American property; the Eisenhower
Doctrine, with various interpretations; Lebanese sovereignty, integrity, independence,
etc.; US national interest; world peace; collective self-defense; justice; international
law; law and order; fighting "Nasserism" ... the need to "do something" ...36
In summing up the affair in his memoirs, president Eisenhower seemed to settle
upon one rationale in particular, and this is probably the closest to the truth of the
matter. This was to put the world”and specifically the Soviet Union and Nasser”on
notice that the United States had virtually unlimited power, that this power could be
transported to any corner of the world with great speed, that it could and would be used
to deal decisively with any situation with which the United States was dissatisfied, for
whatever reason.37
At the same time, it was a message to the British and the French that there was
only one Western superpower in the post-war world, and that their days as great powers
in the Lands of Oil were over.



14. Indonesia 1957-1958

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