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Henderson Returns from Middle East; Says Syrian Situation Very Serious

Loy Henderson, Undersecretary of State, said today on his return from a special mission to the Middle East that he found the situation in Syria “extremely serious” and that he has brought back suggestions on how to cope with it.

Mr. Henderson told reporters at Washington’s National Airport that the seriousness of the Syrian situation pertains not only to the Middle East but might affect the whole free world. He refused to say what Syria’s neighbors were thinking, but made known that he had consulted in detail with American ambassadors to the countries directly concerned.

Mr. Henderson met this afternoon with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and submitted a verbal report on his talks with rulers of the Arab countries neighboring on Syria as well as of his conferences in Turkey, sandwiched in between Syria and the Soviet Union. Officials here indicated that Mr. Henderson’s report may be decisive in the development of a U.S. program to counter the effects of Soviet influence in Syria.

It was indicated here today that the United States is not inclined to accept Turkey’s suggestion that it become a full member of the Baghdad Pact which now unites Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran and Britain in a joint force against Communist aggression in the Near East. Officials said that any pact by the United States with Arab countries would necessitate a similar pact between this country and Israel. This, they stated, is also one of the reasons the State Department would not agree to become a formal member of the Baghdad Pact, although the United States participates informally in the military planning activities of the pact organization and sends military and economic aid to strengthen them against possible Communist aggression.

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