JULY 18, 1958
HYDE PARK—I got my first inkling of the disturbing news from Iraq over the radio as I was driving into New York City the other morning. So I had plenty of time to think over the past and the series of events that has led up to the present situation.
Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan make up the Moslem membership of the Baghdad pact. The United States has never joined, but has always recognized that the heads of these countries were pro-West and were anxious not to fall under the Cairo-Nasser domination.
President Gamal Abdal Nasser of Egypt, on his part, has been studiously building up his control over the Arab nations. Already having complete control in Syria, his ultimate goal is domination over Saudi Arabia and all the small countries on its borders. Iraq, situated between Syria and Saudi Arabia, was his logical next stop.
President Nasser must have some hidden talents that have been injudiciously discounted, for as we look back we realize that he has succeeded in making our representatives in Cairo believe that he was struggling to better his country, that he did not want to be under Soviet domination, and that he accepted aid from the Soviets because he could not get it from us.
We had hurt him, he said; we had not helped him in his legitimate desire to better the conditions for his people.
We even believed, apparently, that in spite of the hidden arms discovered in the Sinai desert that he really had no evil intentions against Israel. And we lent color to the strange tale that Israel, not Egypt, was the aggressor in the difficulties between them.
On top of all that, the very able Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold, only recently visited President Nasser and returned apparently without any inkling of the efforts being carried on in Iraq against the government that has just been overthrown. He also made light of the interference in Lebanon from Syria, which now, of course, is Egypt's close ally.