890d.48/14: Telegram

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

Department’s October 17, 6 p.m. I recommend Red Cross send $50,000 for refugees in Hauran. New developments indicate possibly increased number refugees and need for additional relief funds. Railway Beirut-Damascus not yet reported cut but increasing brigandage automobile road environs Damascus last week caused French to send expedition against them [sic] killing 200 and capturing 100. The dead bodies were exhibited public square Damascus and several villages near Damascus were burned by French for having, it is alleged, given refuge to brigands. Relatives of killed and other sympathizers now in arms against French in environs Damascus reported to number 3,000. Moslem sympathizers in Damascus enraged at French action are now in revolt. Keeley has just reported by telephone that French are bombarding city of Damascus with field guns and aeroplanes and that city is on fire. He believes both railway and automobile road too unsafe to send his family away. It is rumored also that Armenian refugees in Damascus have been massacred. The situation serious because the revolt at Damascus may be the signal for general revolt throughout Moslem Syria in which event Christians would be greatest sufferers. Please request Navy Department to have two destroyers in Mediterranean ready to proceed to Alexandria if requested and from where they could come to Beirut if needed.