Dwight D. Eisenhower: Soldier, President, Statesman

By Joann P. Krieg | Go to book overview
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21
Congress and the Middle East: The Eisenhower Doctrine, 1957

Philip J. Briggs

U.S. rivalry with the Soviet Union in the Middle East provided one of the earliest incidences of Cold War conflict between the two superpowers following World War II. The first complaint the Security Council of the United Nations received was supported by the British and lodged by the Iranian government against the Soviet Union on January 19, 1946. Soon thereafter, the Iranians charged the U.S.S.R. with keeping their troops in Iranian Azerbaijan past the agreed upon date for their withdrawal. The Soviet Union retaliated by claiming that British troops in Greece and Indonesia were a threat to peace. However, the Security Council, by a vote of 8 to 3 overruled a Russian request that the Iranian dispute not be placed on the agenda. All Soviet troops were evacuated from Iran on May 6, 1946, after President Harry S Truman sent Premier Joseph Stalin an ultimatum stating that he "would send troops if he [ Stalin] did not get out." 1

During that same year, the Soviet Union also sought an agreement whereby British influence would be eliminated in Turkey and strategic bases commanding the Dardanelles Straits would be obtained. Strongly backed by the United States, which quickly dispatched a naval task force to the Mediterranean, the Turks rejected these proposals.

The following year the United States adopted the Truman Doctrine which was aimed at stopping communistFsupported partisans in Greece through the unilateral intervention of American economic and military aid. Via the implementation of this policy, governments friendly to the United States were maintained in both Greece and Turkey. The Truman Doctrine was also a general statement of American foreign policy which substantially differed from the nation's pre-World War II isolationism. The policy of isolationism itself had given way to collective security as the new foreign policy only four years before ( 1943), as a result of congressional approval of the Fulbright and Connally Resolutions. 2

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