A role in search of a hero: America and Egypt from Roosevelt through Eisenhower.
AuthorHolland, Matthew Floyd.
Committee ChairSchaller, Michael
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation discusses diplomatic relations between the United States and Egypt from 1945 through 1960. During these years, the massive oil reserves in the Middle East became vitally important to the security of the United States. To protect the free flow of oil, American policymakers looked to Egypt to provide the progressive, pro-Western leadership that they believed would insure stability in the region. The approach to this story is unique and could he termed a post-Cold War revision. Most diplomatic histories concerning America and the Middle East have overemphasized the Cold War context. To understand America's relationship with Egypt one must set aside the Cold War albatross and view the story from a Middle Eastern perspective. As a framework for this study. the author relied on L. Carl Brown's work on Middle Eastern international relations. Brown's theory that the Eastern Question (the period that marked the slow disintegration of the Ottoman Empire) still drives relations in the region proved invaluable in understanding the diplomatic culture of the area. Using this approach, the diplomatic relations between Egypt and America take on a new perspective. Rather than seeing everything driven by the Cold War, one can identify the long-standing interests, the diplomatic styles. and the cultural differences of each country. In a classic example of realpolitik. each side sought to manipulate the other for its own gain. Thrown together amid the struggles of the Cold War, America and Egypt found themselves uneasy allies. America looked for help in their tight against the Soviet Union, and Egypt endeavored to achieve independence for itself and for the Arab Middle East. Franklin D. Roosevelt began with high hopes in grooming Egypt as a pro-American force in the region, but his death derailed the policy. With the beginning of the Cold War, America's traditional anti-imperialist policy had to be balanced with the support of Great Britain, the big power in the region. Throughout the period, Egypt sought to become the leader of the Arab world employing policies that often conflicted with American interests. Understanding that they were a small Third World nation, Egyptian leaders sought to playoff the superpowers for their own advantage. The Truman administration eventually understood some of the finer points of Middle Eastern diplomacy but failed to coordinate their policy with that knowledge. Under the flexible guidance of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the Eisenhower administration proved more sophisticated than the previous one but had to deal with a mort! ambitious leader in Gamal Abdel Nasser. Although, the vital oil fields had been protected, America's attempts to enlist Egypt in the struggle against Russia, to bring peace to the region, and prevent Soviet penetration failed. By the end of the 1960s, American leaders had learned the rules of the diplomatic game and altered their policies accordingly. In between, the story reveals the complexity and regularity of the Eastern Question system and how America came to grips with it.