890d.00/213: Telegram

The Consul at Beirut (Knabenshue) to the Secretary of State

As foreshadowed in despatches of September 2 and August 132 which please consult, brigandage and uprisings are now taking place at several important points in Syria as well as the Lebanon. On October 4th Bedouins attacked Hama and assisted by local gendarmes burned public buildings. French rushed troops and aeroplanes and destroyed practically entire Moslem quarter by bombing, causing casualties about 500.

Three villages within Lebanon have been sacked and destroyed by Druse raiders who are reported to have surrounded Rasheya.

Keeley3 reports that French flags were torn down during anti-French demonstration on Prophet’s birthday, that despite official communiqué to contrary public security is becoming worse and that bandit attacks are taking place in city of Damascus and its environs, with guerrilla warfare increasing throughout the district.

Altaffer4 reports that outbreaks may be expected in Aleppo as result of Hama incident, that Moslems are threatening and Christians are uneasy and that all trains are under military escort.

If uprisings spread as is generally expected, situation will become serious, as French do not seem to have sufficient troops here to cope with both Druses and general uprisings. In any event the situation will probably become worse before it becomes better.

Economic situation is bad. Banks are refusing to discount bills and bankruptcies are expected. American exporters should be confidentially advised to demand interest [irrevocable’] credits in New York.

  1. Neither printed.
  2. James H. Keeley, Jr., consul at Damascus.
  3. Maurice W. Altaffer, vice consul at Aleppo.