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Middle East Defense Organization (MEDO)


u.s.-proposed group for military security in the middle east; never formed.

The beginning of 1952 saw riots in Egypt and a continuing erosion of Britain's position in the Middle East. The U.S. foreign policy establishment considered plans to replace Britain as the preeminent power in the Middle East. Paul Nitze, then head of the U.S. Policy Planning Staff, proposed the creation of a Middle East Defense Organization that would protect the Suez Canal and provide military security to the petroleum-producing regions and to the Northern Tier countries of Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. Cosponsored by Turkey, MEDO was not endorsed by Egypt's President Gamal Abdel Nasser, who viewed MEDO as a tool of American imperialism.

Although both U.S. President Harry Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson were committed to MEDO, Egypt's resistance and the generally lukewarm reaction of other Arab states made the realization of MEDO impossible. In 1953, Truman left the White House, and MEDO became defunct. The ideal of a NATO-like security arrangement for the Middle East remained alive, however, and aspects of MEDO were included in the Baghdad Pact.

see also baghdad pact (1955).


Hurewitz, J. C., ed. The Middle East and North Africa in World Politics: A Documentary Record, 2d edition. 2 vols. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1975-79.

Leffler, Melvin. A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1992.

Lenczowski, George. The Middle East in World Affairs, 4th edition. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1980.

zachary karabell

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