Dulles: U.S. Commits to Baghdad Pact
Three U.S. Air Force F-4E Phantom II aircraft parked at Shiraz Air Base, (pre-revolutionary) Iran, as part of military alliance, 1 August 1977. Photo: Public Domain

January 30, 1958

At a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles tells Baghdad Pact states that the United States is committed to assisting their defense programs. This statement is seen as an extension of the Eisenhower Doctrine, the idea that any Middle Eastern country can request American economic assistance if it is threatened by a Communist regime.

Dulles says at one Ankara meeting that Baghdad Pact nations — Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey, as well as the United Kingdom — fall under the authorization by President Dwight Eisenhower for economic assistance if they request military aid. Dulles’ statement is seen as coming as close as the United States can to joining the pact, formed in 1956.

While the United States does not become a member of the Baghdad Pact, it does support the organization and participates in several of its committees, including those addressing economics, military cooperation and responses to subversive activities. The U.S. reluctance to join the pact stems largely from its close association with Egypt, an ally of the Soviet Union. But Dulles also cites “the pro-Israel lobby and the difficulty of obtaining congressional approval.”

The Baghdad Pact is dissolved in 1979.