By William Stivers
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Extra info for America’s Confrontation with Revolutionary Change in the Middle East, 1948–83
Here was an opportunity, but not one US planners saw as particularly promising. 22 The Sultanates of Muscat and Oman afforded another possibility for co-operation. The British already had a facility on Masirah Island, which the US might develop for patrolling the Arabian Sea. But the Sultanate was due for change. While firmly entrenched in the Middle Ages, the Oman regime might not withstand the forces of secularism and modernisation that would surely follow the exploitation of Omani oil reserves.
Kennedy launched his campaign to win over Nasser by appointing an Ambassador to Egypt, Dr John Badeau, former President of the American University in Cairo, who had lived in Arab countries for roughly thirty years. The president carried on a close personal correspondence with Nasser (covering a gamut of topics from Cuba to Africa to the Middle East), and made the special gesture of receiving the Egyptian Ambassador at the White House in May 1961. As an extension of his personal diplomacy, he sent Chester Bowles, the Special Presidential Representative for Asian, African and Latin American Affairs, to Cairo in February 1962.
The area all the way from Turkey to Japan and Korea was 'soft', the Secretary declared. It was filled with 'social problems and unrest which would exist if there were no such thing as Soviet communism in the world'. In a peaceful world, where the Soviet Union posed no threat, America could do much to promote reform and self government. But since the Soviets were adroit at capturing 'the socalled reform and revolutionary movement', the United States had no realistic alternative but to support status quo regimes.