JULY 22, 1958
HYDE PARK—The radio announcement on Saturday that rebels in Lebanon had shot down one of our planes points up the need for everyone to maintain a cool head during the critical events in which we are involved. Still undefined is the question of what can be considered an uprising genuinely representative of the people, as against one fomented from without and therefore as much a true aggression as the old type of military crossing of borders. The latter was the only type of aggression thought of at the time of writing the U. N. charter; and until this matter is clarified, no action should be taken by way of reprisal.
The question is one that must be settled by the General Assembly, for it is a technique likely to be followed in many parts of the world by the Soviet Union or its puppets, such as Nasser. We should never interfere with a genuine desire of the people of a nation to change their form of government. But we should press for the United Nations to be used to supervise changes of this type, which should be brought about through free elections and the use of the secret ballot. Stirring up trouble from without, however, seems to me true aggression if it goes beyond using open means of persuasion.
The new government of Iraq has announced that it will "honor its agreements with the parties involved." These "parties," of course, are the Western oil companies who have interests in the Iraqui oil fields. The United States has already called a meeting of the oil interests to prepare for any kind of emergency that may arise where the interests of the West are involved in the oil fields of the Middle East.
It would be well to remind the countries where these oil resources exist that their wealth comes from the fact that the British and Americans have paid on their contracts. If these countries plan to isolate themselves and deal with the Soviet Union only, they will find that cash is less easily obtained—and if it is in Soviet rubles, it will not have value in some of the parts of the world from which the Middle Easterners need to buy. The Soviet Union also does business more frequently on a barter system, which may or may not always bring the Middle Eastern countries the things they most wish for.