Eisenhower Cool to Proposal on Direct U.S. Action in Arab-israel Issue
Menu JTA Search

Eisenhower Cool to Proposal on Direct U.S. Action in Arab-israel Issue

Download PDF for this date

A proposal that President Eisenhower appoint “a competent Middle East team of experts” to study Arab-Israel issues and to make recommendations to him on how to solve them will be given “thoughtful consideration,” the President indicated. However, he pointed out that he “must reserve judgment for the present” as to whether this proposal would “at this moment” be prudent and productive.

The proposal was advanced by Congressman Victor L. Anfuso in a report to the President following the former’s visit to Middle East countries on a food study mission. The exchange of communications between Rep. Anfuso and President Eisenhower was made public today.

In his report to the President, the New York Democrat advocated “a complete revaluation and turnover in our present foreign policy.” He said: “We have not completely lost the Middle East, but it will not be long before we do if we fail to change our do-nothing policy until a crisis occurs, to a positive policy of action before the danger arises.”

Asserting that “the United Nations is impotent” to bring about a solution of the Arab-Israel problem, Rep. Anfuso told President Eisenhower that “the proof of this statement is in the very fact that nine years have gone by without any semblance of a solution; on the contrary, the problem has worsened.”


“I had, at first thought that the United States team should call both the Arab states and Israel together to settle their differences, but this, for the time being, seems impossible, “Rep. Anfuso reported to the President. “Therefore, I would urge that the United States team go to each country involved, to determine from each how far they are willing to go to attain peace in the Middle East. I am certain that a strong personal effort on your part to bring about these negotiations will make the United States team welcome in all these countries.”

The New York member of Congress, who conferred with Premier David Ben Gurion during his visit to Israel, emphasized in his report to President Eisenhower that he knows “Israel will not refuse to sit down with the United States team, and that it will make concessions.” He also said he knows that “once we can get the Arab states to start negotiations and bargaining, they will see the advantages to peaceful coexistence.”

Mr. Anfuso drew President Eisenhower’s attention to the fact that the Eisenhower Doctrine is meaningless unless supplemented by acts which show a genuine interest in the peoples involved. “We need not fear that Syria will attack her neighboring sister states,” he stressed. “This will never happen, because there is a strong bond holding these states together. The attack, when it comes, will be against Israel. For this reason, pouring arms in the Middle East will only advance the date of a bloody struggle between the Arab states and Israel,” he pointed out.

President Eisenhower, in his reply, said that he knows of hardly any other problem that has had his more “constant and earnest attention” than the Middle East. He enumerated the efforts made by him and other members of the U. S. Government to alleviate the tensions of the area, and emphasized that he is not content with these efforts. He expressed appreciation to Mr. Anfuso for the proposals submitted, promising that they would receive “thoughtful consideration.”

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund