Specifically, this dissertation will explore the shifting language that U.S. officials from 1952-1961 used regarding Egyptians as well as the meaning behind that language and its relationship to America’s strategic interests. Articles from major periodicals will be used in order to show that these language changes were part of a larger cultural pattern. Studying how language changes correlated with U.S. policies toward Egypt will demonstrate how words and their meanings were used to place Egypt at one end of the political spectrum or the other.
The gendered and Orientalist language that U.S. officials and the media used when describing Egyptian leaders was part of a cultural belief-system that placed “others” in a unique and different category then the United States and its leaders. This language could and did take on both negative and positive meanings throughout the time period under review, and this dissertation will demonstrate specifically how that language changed over time according to circumstances. When Egyptian leaders were following U.S. advice and otherwise acting in ways that comported with American, or Western, norms, the language used to describe them was positive. Once they started acting counter to those norms and policies, the language used to describe them would become derogatory in order to place Egypt in the camp of the “other.”
This dissertation uses a wide variety of primary sources, both published and unpublished. For the Truman administration, the Papers of Harry Truman and Dean Acheson will be studied in order to discern the administration’s initial views and language on the new Egyptian regime that came to power in the last months of Truman’s presidency. The largest portion of primary documents will come from the Eisenhower administration. These will include the Papers of Dwight D. Eisenhower, John Foster Dulles, Richard M. Nixon, and Christian A. Herter, and the Ann Whitman Files, all of which are housed at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas. I will also undertaken numerous trips to the Library of Congress and the National Archives in order to look into the papers of other key official and documents pertaining to the National Security Council, Congress, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Pertinent media sources, such as Time and Newsweek will also be used.