JULY 5, 1958
HYDE PARK—Rarely do I disagree with Walter Lippman, but his recent column entitled "Against Intervention" seemed to me to contain certain fallacies.
No one could be more violently opposed than I am to putting our soldiers into combat in any country of the world. I think it would bring us misunderstanding and bitterness and accomplish no good.
But, since this is the case, then I think we should support any action by the United Nations that would provide for an expanded international police force to guarantee non-aggression across a country's borders and even providing arms when it is evident the Soviet Union or its satellites are doing so.
A negotiated settlement is not always a happy one, but negotiations should always go on. When we said we would help to protect nations from aggression, however, I think we meant we would throw our whole diplomatic weight and strength into action, backed by the U.N. police force.
The Lebanon situation is not like Suez. There our allies attacked Egypt. Lebanon is asking for help against aggression, and if we interfere unilaterally we would be doing so at the invitation of a government under attack.
In the case of Lebanon, it is not an open attack but infiltration, although on a large scale. Men from Syria and arms from Czechoslovakin, furnished by Syrians and used by Syrians in Lebanon, are flowing across the Lebanese border. U.N. observers actually are not enough help to prevent this.
If we do not protect Lebanon in this situation, there will develop throughout the Near East the feeling that friendship with the West has no value. We cannot allow this feeling to become prevalent anywhere in the world.
From reliable sources I am told that in Lebanon, as in any country, there are a few people who have been discontented but that, by and large, President Camille Chamoun is a statesman of stature and respected in the West and his government has the support of the majority of the Lebanese people.
This is attested to by the fact that the Lebanese say they can settle their internal difficulties if infiltration of men and arms from Syria can be stopped.
It is difficult for the average citizen to know what the Administration's policy on Lebanon is, but it is obvious that we should be urging the establishment of an adequate emergency U.N. force to protect Lebanon's borders. Our Near East allies, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, all wish to see Lebanon protected and none wishes to see Nasser's power allowed to grow and flourish.
If the Administration has ever given Nasser a promise to uphold an extension of his power in the Near East, I hope it has long since realized its mistake, for consolidation of power under a dictator such as Nasser, who cooperates closely with the Soviets, would be extremely dangerous to all nations who wish to remain non-Communist and free.