Eisenhower Doctrine

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Eisenhower Doctrine (1957).After the Suez Crisis of 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, citing the danger of the spread of “international Communism,” told Congress on 5 January 1957 that the United States regarded “as vital to the national interest and world peace the preservation of the independence and integrity of the nations of the Middle East.” He asked for authorization to develop economic and military programs, including the use of armed forces, to assist any “nation or group of nations in the general area of the Middle East desiring such assistance” to preserve their independence. After two months of acrimonious debate, Congress approved the “Eisenhower Doctrine” in a joint resolution on 9 March 1957.

The United States first invoked the Eisenhower Doctrine in the Jordanian crisis of April 1957, and again in August 1957 when a perceived Syrian‐Soviet rapprochement threatened the stability of the region. But Eisenhower did not dispatch armed forces. A military coup against the pro‐Western regime in Iraq on 14 July 1958 sparked the most visible manifestation of the Eisenhower Doctrine during the Lebanon Crisis, when Lebanese president Camille Chaumon requested immediate military assistance to counter perceived Egyptian‐Syrian attempts to destabilize his government. On 15 July, Eisenhower deployed the Sixth Fleet and landed nearly 15,000 U.S. troops to ensure that Lebanon could elect its own president without external interference.

Seldom mentioned after 1958, the Eisenhower Doctrine was indicative of American preoccupation with the Cold War. Characterized by some historians as an extension of the Truman Doctrine, Eisenhower's policy lent credence to the belief that the United States had assumed a global role in the preservation of regional stability and the promotion of its own national interests.
[See also Middle East, U.S. Military Involvement in the.]


Dwight Eisenhower , The White House Years: Waging Peace, 1956–1961, 1965.
Roger Spiller , ‘Not War But Like War’: The American Intervention in Lebanon. Leavenworth, Papers, 1981.
Stephen E. Ambrose , Eisenhower: The President, 1984.
Alan Dowty , Middle East Crisis: U.S. Decision‐Making in 1958, 1970, and 1973, 1984.
George Lenczowski , American Presidents and the Middle East, 1990.

Cole C. Kingseed

Eisenhower Doctrine

views updated May 23 2018


EISENHOWER DOCTRINE. Following the Suez Crisis and the decline of British influence in the Middle East, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles believed that Soviet assertiveness and growing Arab nationalism, especially that of Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser, posed a threat to vital U.S. interests. On 5 January 1957, Eisenhower announced that the United States would use military force to defend the independence and territorial integrity of Middle Eastern states against communist aggression. Congress voted its approval two months later.

The Eisenhower Doctrine defined itself as a defensive move to contain Soviet expansionism, but response from the governments of the Middle East was mixed. Jordan and Lebanon welcomed the declaration. Egypt and Syria denounced it as a threat to their security. Israel responded skeptically and Iraq and Saudi Arabia opposed a U.S. military role in the region.

Eisenhower did not invoke the doctrine in 1958, when he ordered troops to Lebanon to thwart an uprising by Muslim rebels, because there was no evidence of communist involvement. In late 1958 Eisenhower replaced the activist principles of his doctrine with a new policy of seeking accommodation with Arab nationalists to preserve U.S. influence in the Middle East. The Carter Doctrine of 1980 revived the military emphasis in U.S. policy toward the region.


Ashton, Nigel John. Eisenhower, Macmillan, and the Problem of Nasser: Anglo-American Relations and Arab Nationalism, 1955–59. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996.

Brands, H. W. The Specter of Neutralism: The United States and the Emergence of the Third World. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989.

Takeyh, Ray. The Origins of the Eisenhower Doctrine: The US, Britain, and Nasser's Egypt, 1953–57. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.

Max PaulFriedman

See alsoCarter Doctrine ; Egypt, Relations with ; Israel, Relations with ; Lebanon, U.S. Landing in .

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