The Ambassador in France ( Herrick ) to the Secretary of State
[Received 2:10 p.m.]
561. I have reason to think that French Government would very much like to have our destroyers leave Beirut. The presence of these destroyers has served as a pretext for Italy to send ships and the French suspect that the Italians have political reasons for doing this. Furthermore, the departure of the destroyers would almost coincide with the arrival in Syria of the new French High Commissioner and would strengthen his hand by showing the confidence of the American Government in an improvement of conditions. The presence of the destroyers at Beirut does not seem to be urgently needed, and therefore I suggest that they be sent to some port near at hand, perhaps in Palestine or Cyprus, where they could remain until the situation clears.