WASHINGTON (Apr. 4)
President Eisenhower told a press conference today he would never send U. S. forces into any kind of action which could be interpreted as war without previous approval by Congress. He made this statement when asked about possible use of U. S. Marines to stop aggression in the Middle East.
The questioner wanted to know if Mr. Eisenhower might commit the Marines to action without Congressional consent. With a show of anger and exasperation, the President told the questioner that sometimes he gets discouraged. He pointed out that he has said time and time again that he would never engage American troops in any kind of action which could be interpreted as war without first getting Congressional approval. He added, however, that a time might come when it would be necessary for U. S. forces to defend themselves from attack.
The President revealed that he has been in personal touch with British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden on the Middle East but said the British have not pressed him to take a firmer line. He said that nearly all communications exchanged between him and Prime Minister Eden had something to say about the Middle East. There might be slightly different viewpoints on details such as the Baghdad Pact, he indicated.
President Eisenhower stated that no radical change has taken place in the Middle East since last week and that his most recent communication from Eden came about two weeks ago. Such discussion of personal views took place in addition to normal diplomatic exchange, he said. He stressed the importance of the Middle Eastern region and said that everything possible must be done to preserve peace there. This he declared could be done only if all peoples in the region are given their legitimate aspirations, but this is very difficult to do, he emphasized.
The State Department today discussed current Middle Eastern problems with the British and French Ambassadors, but State Department spokesman Lincoln White said he did not know if the Israel quest for arms was mentioned in the talks.
The tripartite powers are continuing talks, Mr. White stated. He described the meetings as separate talks with the British and French Ambassadors, and said he did not know if a decision had been reached on joint action that might be taken in the event of Arab-Israel hostilities.