Dulles Outlines U.S. Plan for Middle East
(R-L) Secretary of State Dulles pictured with President Eisenhower. Photo: Eisenhower Presidential Library

August 26, 1955

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles delivers a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations that points to the Eisenhower administration’s new plan to launch covert discussions between Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Dulles, who visited Egypt, Israel and other Middle Eastern nations during a fact-finding tour in the spring of 1953, says the United States will play an increasingly direct role in guaranteeing the fixed borders of Israel and the Arab states. He acknowledges that the borders under the 1949 armistice are not expressly permanent. Eisenhower and Dulles envision providing a loan to Israel to aid in reparation payments to Arab refugees. The United States devotes itself to ensuring that the United Nations reviews the jurisdiction of Jerusalem and the topic of resettlement.

In 1956 the United States takes part in a failed shuttle diplomacy mission with Egypt and Israel known as Operation Alpha. The failure of Alpha helps turn hope for progress toward peace into disillusionment between the neighbors, and Israel invades the Sinai in October 1956 in a plan for Britain and France to seize control of the Suez Canal and restore freedom of navigation for Israeli shipping through the Straits of Tiran.