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October 2, 1957

Memorandum by Frank Aiken [on an Interview with Scott McCleod and the Taoiseach]

Aiken made an immediate impression on his arrival in the Twelfth Session of the UN General Assembly in September 1957. He adopted an impartial posture of assessing each issue on its merits and campaigning to remodel international politics around self-determination, humanitarianism, and peace. His exhortation was that only the UN had the moral authority and political legitimacy to put forward global solutions. While he did not propose nuclear disarmament measures specifically, his intent was signaled by his recommendation for a mutual drawback of foreign forces (including their nuclear weapons) in central Europe and his endorsement of a proposal to discuss the representation of China in the United Nations. The Eisenhower administration was hostile to Aiken’s course as outlined in the U.S. ambassador’s audience with Taoiseach Eamon de Valera and Aiken in Dublin on 2 October. The record underlines the Irish concerns about accidental nuclear war due to the proximity of opposing U.S. and Soviet forces in central Europe.  

December 9, 1991

The Chancellor's [Helmut Kohl's] Meeting with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman on Thursday, 6 December 1991

Kohl and Tudman examine the situation in the Yugoslavia War and the state of EC sanctions against Yugoslavia. They discuss Germany's forthcoming recognition of Croatia. In addition, they review the correlation of military forces between Croatia and the Yugoslavian People's Army. 

March 15, 1963

John W. Bowling, GTI [Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Office of Greek, Turkish, and Iranian Affairs] to Mr. Kitchen, G/PM [Office of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs], 'General Wood’s Visit to Turkey'

Having accompanied General Wood on the mission to Turkey, Bowling provides Kitchen with a copy of the top secret record of the discussions with the Turkish General Staff (which remain classified). According to Bowling, Wood “accomplished his mission” by conducting the talks with “great skill and vigor”: “There will be no stalling on Jupiter removal from the Turkish military.” With the Turkish Chiefs of Staff “badly shaken up” by the implications of the Jupiter removal, Wood helped check “the slide in … morale” by addressing concerns about MAP funds, Turkish participation in Polaris targeting, the selection of a port for the Polaris visit (with Izmir preferred by Turkey), and the disposition of facilities at Cigli.

March 7, 1963

Department of State Telegram 808 to the American Embassy Ankara

Following up on earlier ideas about direct talks with Turkish officials, General Robert Wood, the director of Military Assistance Programs at the Department of Defense, would be visiting Turkey for talks. This State Department message notes that in light of proposed overall cuts of foreign aid, projected military aid to Turkey would total $120 million, and U.S. officials would emphasize Washington’s “continuing long term interest” in Turkey’s military capabilities. Issues for Hare’s consideration include the “adequacy” of the proposed approach and what needed to be done to bolster Turkish “confidence and morale” and to prevent any “stalling” on the Jupiters.

December 14, 1962

Memorandum of Conversation between Robert S. McNamara, Robert S. McNamara, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Paul H. Nitze, Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), Ilhami Sancar, Minister of Defense Turkey, 14 December 1962

During his meeting with Turkish defense minister Sancar, McNamara raised the risks posed by, and to, the Jupiter missiles and the need to withdraw those “obsolete” missiles and replace them with Polaris SLBMs. Turkish officials would play a role in targeting the missiles at NATO military headquarters. Worried about the implications of withdrawing the Jupiters, Sancar expressed concern about the impact that removal of the missiles would have on Turkish “confidence” in the U.S., the need to avoid “moral depression” (meaning morale) among “the people or the army” and stressed that the U.S. (“the best of allies”) was leaving Turkey “to a condition of ‘aloneness.’” McNamara did not believe that substituting Polaris for Jupiters would have that impact. Both agreed on the importance of proceeding in secrecy.

When Sancar observed that the late delivery of F-104G’s would adversely affect morale, McNamara said that an earlier date would be possible and suggested the possibility of announcing earlier delivery with the removal of the Jupiters. McNamara added that “time was of the essence.”

The State Department later sent a telegram to the ambassadors in Italy and Turkey reporting on McNamara’s meetings with Andreotti and Sancar.

November 13, 1974

United Nations General Assembly Official Records, 29th Session : 2282nd Plenary Meeting, Agenda Item 108, 'Question of Palestine (continued)'

As other documents in this collection on Moroccan nationalists in 1947 and 1950 have exemplified, the United Nations was an important arena in decolonization struggles for Arabs, as it was for Asians and Africans as e.g. Alanna O’Malley’s The Diplomacy of Decolonisation: America, Britain, and the United Nations during the Congo crisis, 1960-1964 (2018) has shown. In this regard, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was founded in 1964 and taken over by the Fatah movement in 1969, was no exception.

To be sure, Palestinian organizations including Fatah and the PLO decried key UN actions. One was the UN Palestine partition plan of 1947; another was UN Security Council resolution 242 of November 1967. Calling upon Israel to withdraw “from territories occupied” during the Six-Day War in June and calling for the “acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace,” it did not mention Palestine or the Palestinians. Even so, the PLO sought to get access to the UN and UN recognition. A crucial landmark on this road was the address to the UN in New York in November 1974 by Yassir Arafat (1929-2004), a Fatah co-founder in 1959 and from 1969 PLO chairman.

Arafat did not speak at the Security Council, which was and is dominated by its five veto-carrying permanent members Britain, China, France, the United States, and the USSR/Russia. Rather, he addressed the UN General Assembly (UNGA), where from the 1960s Third World states were in the majority; his speech was the first time that the UNGA allowed a non-state representative to attend its plenary session. The UNGA invited the PLO after having decided, in September, to begin separate hearings on Palestine (rather than making Palestine part of general Middle Eastern hearings), and after the PLO was internationally recognized as the sole representative of the Palestinian people, a landmark accomplishment for the organization. The UNGA president who introduced Arafat, Abdelaziz Bouteflika (1937-2021), was the Foreign Minister of Algeria, which since its independence in 1962 had supported the Palestinian cause organizationally, militarily, and politically. Arafat spoke in Arabic; the below text is the official UN English translation. Arafat did not write the text all by himself; several PLO officials and Palestinians close to the PLO, including Edward Said, assisted, as Timothy Brennan has noted in Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said (2021). Later in November 1974, the UNGA inter alia decided to give the PLO observer status and affirmed Palestinians’ right to self-determination.

1962

Lam‘i al-Muti‘i, 'From Bandung to Casablanca' (Excerpts)

While in 1947 the Indian organizers of the First Asian Relations Conference invited a Yishuvi delegation, eight years later the Bandung Conference organizers did not invite Israel. At the same time, the second half of the 1950s signaled the start of Israel’s long “African Decade,” which would end only when many African states cut their diplomatic ties with the Jewish State after the 1973 October War. The first two countries to establish diplomatic ties with Israel were Ethiopia, in 1956, and Liberia, in 1957; in the 1960s, many others followed, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Tanzania.

Thousands of Africans studied in Israel. Moreover, thousands of Israeli engineers, agronomists, architects, geologists and others who had participated in nation-state building in Israel worked often for years in development projects in Africa and also, though less so, in Asia and Latin America. And as Ronen Bergman’s 2007 PhD thesis “Israel and Africa: Military and Intelligence Liaisons” shows, Israel exported weaponry and Israeli officers shared with the militaries of recently decolonized African countries their expertise in warfare and in controlling civilians. After all, Israel blitzed through the Egyptian Sinai in 1956, had won its first war back in 1948-1949, and from then until 1966 kept its own Palestinian citizens under military rule.

In fact, the Israeli Defense Forces and the foreign intelligence agency Mossad were central to Israel’s involvement in Africa. The core reason for Israel’s interest in Africa was political and strategic. Israel needed allies in the United Nations, where postcolonial Asian countries were turning against it. And it wished to minimize the dangers of postcolonial Arab-African alliances and to extend to parts of Africa its “periphery doctrine” of honing relations with Middle Eastern countries that neighbor Arab states, like Iran and Turkey. As it did so, Israel at times shared some contacts and information with the US government; becoming a US asset was a boon to the Israeli government, though it remained fiercely independent-minded.

Hence, we have the text reproduced here: translated English excerpts from a 1962 Arabic-language book that shows how Arab nationalists read Israel’s Africa policy. Moreover, as works like Haim Yacobi’s Israel and Africa: A Genealogy of Moral Geography (2016) and Ayala Levin’s Architecture and Development: Israeli Construction in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Settler Colonial Imagination, 1958-1973 (2022) show, the afore-noted political and strategic imperatives were steeped in well-rooted Zionist aspirations—aspirations that were colonial in type though not name—to be a Western developmentalist pioneer in the world. These aspirations pertained especiallyto Africa, which, literally bordering Israel, has helped shape Israelis’ view of their place in the world. At the same time, however, Israelis explicitly framed this pioneering self-view within a view of Africans as people who, like the Jews, had recently escaped colonial conditions and reached independent statehood.

July 2, 1957

Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy in the Senate, Washington, D.C., July 2, 1957

On July 2, 1957, US senator John F. Kennedy made his perhaps best-known senatorial speech—on Algeria.

Home to about 8 million Muslims, 1.2 million European settlers, and 130,000 Jews, it was from October 1954 embroiled in what France dubbed “events”—domestic events, to be precise. Virtually all settlers and most metropolitan French saw Algeria as an indivisible part of France. Algeria had been integrated into metropolitan administrative structures in 1847, towards the end of a structurally if not intentionally genocidal pacification campaign; Algeria’s population dropped by half between 1830, when France invaded, and the early 1870s. Eighty years and many political turns later (see e.g. Messali Hadj’s 1927 speech in this collection), in 1954, the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) launched a war for independence. Kennedy did not quite see eye to eye with the FLN.

As Kennedy's speech shows, he did not want France entirely out of North Africa. However, he had criticized French action already in early 1950s Indochina. And in 1957 he met with Abdelkader Chanderli (1915-1993), an unaccredited representative of the FLN at the United Nations in New York and in Washington, DC, and a linchpin of the FLN’s successful international offensive described in Matthew Connelly’s A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era (2002). Thus, Kennedy supported the FLN’s demand for independence, which explains its very positive reaction to his speech.

And thus, unlike the 1952-1960 Republican administration of Dwight Eisenhower (1890-1969) that officially backed the views of NATO ally France and kept delivering arms, the Democratic senator diagnosed a “war” by “Western imperialism” that, together with if different from “Soviet imperialism,” is “the great enemy of … the most powerful single force in the world today: ... man's eternal desire to be free and independent.” (In fact, Kennedy’s speech on the Algerian example of Western imperialism was the first of two, the second concerning the Polish example of Sovietimperialism. On another, domestic note, to support African Algeria’s independence was an attempt to woe civil-rights-movement-era African Americans without enraging white voters.) To be sure, Kennedy saw France as an ally, too. But France’s war was tainting Washington too much, which helped Moscow. In Kennedy’s eyes, to support the US Cold War against the Soviet Union meant granting Algeria independence. The official French line was the exact opposite: only continued French presence in Algeria could keep Moscow and its Egyptian puppet, President Gamal Abdel Nasser, from controlling the Mediterranean and encroaching on Africa.

December 2, 1947

Report on the Activities of the Arab Office, Washington, for the First Six Months Beginning Nov.1.1945 (Excerpts)

In March 1945, the Arab League (AL) was founded in Cairo. It arrived at the tail-end of a gargantuan four-year-long endeavor to economically integrate the entire Middle East and North and northeast Africa in order to make its polities more self-sufficient during the world war, in which shipping with Allied countries was dangerous and when military trumped civilian needs. This endeavor was supported by national authorities, aided by the United States, and directed by officials of the British Empire. Britain was paramount in the region, and by 1943 its armies, with the US military, evicted all German and Italian troops from North Africa.

Towards the end of the war, the British Empire developed a greater interest in allied Arab countries cooperating more closely. Hence, it backed the establishment of the AL. The latter was not at all simply a British project, though. It also reflected a highly particular version of pan-Arab nationalism: rather than promoting territorial or political unification, it allowed key states to assert their voice in the Arab World.

The Arab League had six founding members. These were Saudi Arabia, a British ally, and Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Transjordan, which all were in various ways British-ruled; so was Yemen, which joined in May 1945. Though Palestinians worked with it, Palestine was not an official founding member. Britain was not keen. As Palestine’s Mandate power, it continued to heed Yishuvi interests. Moreover, AL member governments were not truly supportive either. They did, however, take a great interest in the Palestine conflict. In November 1945, the AL re-established the Arab Higher Committee (AHC), which first was founded at the start of the Palestine Revolt, in 1936, but outlawed by Britain in 1937. When the AHC imploded due to intra-Palestinian infighting, the AL in 1946 created the Arab Higher Executive, renamed AHC in 1947. Moreover, the AL in 1945 declared a boycott of all Jewish-owned businesses in Palestine. And in 1945, too, it executed plans going back to 1944 to open abroad public relations “Arab Offices” (AO), whose main writ was to explain why Palestine’s Arabs, not the Zionists, should become the sovereign in Palestine. One AO was in London. Another was in Washington, DC, open until 1948, and a third followed in 1946 in New York, open until 1947; they have been treated in Rory Miller’s “More Sinned against than Sinning?: The Case of the Arab Office, Washington” (2004) and Daniel Rickenbacher’s “The Arab League's Propaganda Campaign in the US Against the Establishment of a Jewish State” (2020). 

Supported by some British officials, the AL opened AOs in the United States because it feared Zionist lobbying and public relations there and because it knew the US government would help shape the postwar Middle East, even if Britain was still the premier power. The man behind the idea of the AOs, Musa Alami (1897-1984), and a majority of AO officials, including Ahmed Shukairy (1908-1980), were Palestinians. There were other Arabs, too. One was the Lebanese Nejla Abu-Izzedin (1908-2008), who had received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1934; another was the Anglo-Lebanese Cecil Hourani (1917-2020), brother of the famous historian Albert Hourani (1915-1993), who discussed the AO in An Unfinished Journey: Lebanon and Beyond (1984).

The text printed here, excerpts from a report, in English, reflects the work of the Washington AO, its travails, and the AL officials’ views of the US. It is noteworthy that the original of the text forms part of a broader file created by the Political Department of the Jewish Agency, Jerusalem, the para-state government of the Yishuv in British Mandate Palestine. The file is kept at the Central Zionist Archives, Jerusalem.

June 6, 1919

Letter, Saad Zaghloul to His Excellency President Woodrow Wilson

In January 1918, US President Woodrow Wilson in a speech to Congress outlined Fourteen Points to undergird the postwar peace and international politics. Vis-à-vis European empires’ interests and against Soviet anti-colonialism, he asserted a panorama of (actually self-interested) US ideals. Thus, point 5 called for “A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable government whose title is to be determined;” and point 14 insisted that “A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small nations alike.”

Around the world, many anti-colonialists rejoiced. They insisted these points apply to their case, and hoped Wilson would agree. Neither of these two things came to pass, as Erez Manela has shown in The Wilsonian Moment: Self-determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (2007). In Paris during the 1919 Peace Conference, Wilson rebuffed the advances of many, including the Egyptian delegation, which wrote and self-published, in Paris in 1919, the booklet containing the two letters below. While conceding British supervision of Egypt’s debt and of the Suez Canal, leading Egyptian nationalists had just after the end of World War I demanded independence and the right to address the upcoming Paris Peace conference. Britain rejected these demands and offers. An uprising ensued, which Britain tried to suppress, in March 1919 exiling leading nationalists, including Sa’d Zaghlul (1959-1927), to Malta. As this only worsened the uprising, the Britain’s new High Commissioner in Cairo, Edmund Allenby (1861-1936) released the nationalists—who made haste to Paris.

Pagination