Eisenhower Doctrine (January 5, 1957)
Dwight David Eisenhower
In a special message to Congress, Eisenhower proclaims the sovereignty of the Middle Eastern nations and that the United States will ensure that force will not be used for any aggressive purpose in the world. The President seeks congressional authorization to employ the military in the Middle East to uphold this new policy.
First may I express to you my deep appreciation of your courtesy in giving me, at some inconvenience to yourselves, this early opportunity of addressing you on a matter I deem to be of grave importance to our country.
In my forthcoming State of the Union Message, I shall review the international situation generally. There are worldwide hopes which we can reasonably entertain, and there are worldwide responsibilities which we must carry to make certain that freedom—including our own—may be secure.
There is, however, a special situation in the Middle East which I feel I should, even now, lay before you.
Before doing so it is well to remind ourselves that our basic national objective in international affairs remains peace—a world peace based on justice. Such a peace must include all areas, all peoples of the world if it is to be enduring. There is no nation, great or small, with which we would refuse to negotiate, in mutual good faith, with patience and in the determination to secure a better understanding between us. Out of such understandings must, and eventually will, grow confidence and trust, indispensable ingredients to a program of peace and to plans for lifting from us all the burdens of expensive armaments. To promote these objectives, our government works tirelessly, day by day, month by month, year by year. But until a degree of success crowns our efforts that will assure to all nations peaceful existence, we must, in the interests of peace itself, remain vigilant, alert and strong.
The Middle East has abruptly reached a new and critical stage in its long and important history. In past decades many of the countries in that area were not fully self-governing. Other nations exercised considerable authority in the area and the security of the region was largely built around their power. But since the First World War there has been a steady evolution toward self-government and independence. This development the United States has welcomed and has encouraged. Our country supports without reservation the full sovereignty and independence of each and every nation of the Middle East.The evolution to independence has in the main been a peaceful process. But the area has been often troubled. Persistent crosscurrents of distrust and fear with raids back and forth across national boundaries have brought about a high degree of instability in much of the Mid East. Just recently there have been hostilities involving Western European nations that once exercised much influence in the area. Also the relatively large attack by Israel in October has intensified the basic differences between that nation and its Arab neighbors. All this instability has been heightened and, at times, manipulated by International Communism.
Evan Thomas talked about Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World, his narrative of the president’s 1953-1961 term in office. In the book he suggested that President Eisenhower used the threat of nuclear war to prevent open conflict with the Soviet Union while never fully revealing just how far he was willing to go in deploying the weapons.
He also detailed the personal aspects of Eisenhower and his presidency, including his relationship with his wife Mamie, his temper and health problems, and the 800 rounds of golf he played during his presidency. Topics included his relations with his contemporaries, including Central Intelligence Agency Director Allen Dulles, General Curtis LeMay, who pushed for a preemptive nuclear strike against the Soviets, and members of the press such as leading critic Joseph Alsop. Video clips were shown of Eisenhower home movies and his farewell address. Mr. Thomas also reacted to clips of previous appearances on C-SPAN.
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