Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Wilbur Eveland papers, 1941-1983
Collection Number: 80118
Creator: Eveland, Wilbur
14 manuscript boxes
(5.6 linear feet)
Hoover Institution Archives
Stanford, California 94305-6010
Abstract: The papers contain drafts and galleys of the book by Wilbur C. Eveland,
Ropes of Sand: America's Failure in the Middle East (New York, 1980), relating to the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in American diplomacy in the Middle East, and photocopies
of personnel records and correspondence with Central Intelligence Agency officials and others, relating to publication of
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
The collection is in English.
Collection is open for research.
The Hoover Institution Archives only allows access to
copies of audiovisual items. To listen to sound recordings or to view videos or films during your visit, please contact the Archives
at least two working days before your arrival. We will then advise you of the accessibility of the material you wish to see
or hear. Please note that not all audiovisual material is immediately accessible.
For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.
[Identification of item], Wilbur Eveland papers, 1941-1983, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1980.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number
of boxes listed in this finding aid.
Alternative Forms of Material Available
PDF files of declassified documents available through reading room workstations.
Charles Richard Crane memoirs, Hoover Institution Archives
George Lenczowski papers, Hoover Institution Archives
Philip C. McConnell papers, Hoover Institution Archives
Harley C. Stevens papers, Hoover Institution Archives
Alfred M. Lilienthal papers, Hoover Institution Archives
Wilbur Crane Eveland was an intelligence agent known for his work with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Middle
East. He was born on July 1, 1918, in Spokane, Washington. At 17, Eveland lied about his age so that he could join a Marine
Corps Reserve battalion at Puget Sound Navy Yard but failed the West Point written test when he took the examination the next
year. Eveland then took classes at the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University. In 1940, Eveland joined
the United States Army, where in January 1941 he was recruited as an agent for the Corps of Intelligent Police, later known
as the Counter Intelligence Corps. He was put in charge of the Counter Intelligence Corps field offices in Panama and held
several other intelligence positions until 1948, when he decided to become a military attachß.
As preparation for work as a military attaché, Eveland took a one-year course in Arabic at the Army Language School, after
which he was stationed at the American embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, from 1950 to 1952. Upon returning to the United States, Eveland
was appointed as the Near East intelligence specialist for the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff of the Department of
Throughout the 1950s, Eveland worked for several United States government agencies. From 1953 to 1954, he organized and headed
the Near East and African Branch of the Office of Foreign Military Affairs within the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
While in this position, Eveland was one of two officers to meet with Gamal Abdel Nasser to discuss aid to Egypt. In 1955,
Eveland became a consultant to the Operations Coordinating Board, an entity responsible for monitoring implementation of National
Security Council policies, reviewing proposals for clandestine political actions abroad, and reviewing covert CIA expenditures
Ropes of Sand, p. 110).
Although not technically a CIA agent at this point in his career, Eveland was sent on a mission to Syria for the agency in
1955, where he was tasked with working with conservative groups in the country. Upon returning from this assignment, Eveland
was recruited into the CIA, where he worked closely with Allen Dulles. From 1955 to 1959, Eveland was assigned to the American
embassies in Damascus, Syria, and Beirut, Lebanon, as a CIA agent using Department of State cover. During this time, Eveland
completed several missions in Syria, some involving coup attempts, including a mission to deliver half a million pounds to
Syrian politician Mikhail Ilyan that Eveland completed shortly before the beginning of the Suez Crisis. Eveland participated
in joint United States and United Kingdom planning sessions and also served as the contact person for Camille Chamoun, President
From 1959 to 1961, Eveland was on CIA assignment to Rome, Italy, under cover as a Vinnell Corporation engineering company
executive in charge of petroleum related construction, maintenance, and training projects in the Middle East and Africa. In
1962, he resigned from the CIA to become the vice president of Vinnell, although he was retained as an unpaid consultant to
the CIA to maintain his security clearance. In the 1970s, Eveland worked as a consultant for various companies in the petroleum
Eveland decided to write a book documenting American policy in the Middle East while watching the port of Beirut burn at the
start of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975. The contract for
Ropes of Sand: America's Failure in the Middle East was signed in 1977. Publication was delayed when the CIA requested a prepublication review of the work, but when the agency
later chose not to examine the book, Eveland published the work in 1980. Eveland died in 1990.
Eveland, Wilbur Crane.
Ropes of Sand: America's Failure in the Middle East. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1980.
Graham, Robert. "The Middle Eastern Muddle." Review of
Ropes of Sand.
New York Review of Books. 23 October 1980. Accessed through http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1980/oct/23/the-middle-eastern-muddle/
Scope and Content of Collection
The Wilbur Eveland papers contain material related to his book
Ropes of Sand: America's Failure in the Middle East, an autobiographical work that discusses the role of the Central Intelligence Agency in American diplomacy in the Middle
East. Published in 1980, the book describes Eveland's intelligence missions to countries such as Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and
Iraq, and his interactions with Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles. Included are descriptions of a meeting with Gamal Abdel
Nasser in 1954, various missions in Syria, the Suez Crisis, the Eisenhower Doctrine, and other events of significance in the
Middle East. Because Eveland served as a consultant within the petroleum industry after resigning from the CIA in 1962, the
book also describes the petroleum industry's role in diplomacy and policy in the Middle East.
Ropes of Sand
file includes drafts, research materials, and other documents related to the book. Many of the typescripts and galleys include
annotations by Eveland and others. The curriculum vitae of Eveland can be found in box 8, folder 2. This file also includes
Freedom of Information Act requests from Eveland and the resulting documents from various government agencies. Reviews of
Ropes of Sand can be found in the materials for the dust jacket and also within the
The papers include
Declassified U.S. government records that relate to the Middle East, the Baghdad Pact, and the Syro-Egyptian Union. Some of these documents have been stored as
PDF files, which can be accessed through the reading room workstations.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
United States. Central Intelligence Agency.
Secret service--United States.
Middle East--Foreign relations--United States.
United States--Foreign relations--Middle East.