890d.00/230: Telegram

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

Following from Keeley:

“October 27, noon. Proclamation posted yesterday afternoon to the effect that if the total number of 3,000 rifles are not delivered by (February?) [sic] city will be fined 10,000 pounds (Turkish) daily thereafter until all rifles requested by French are delivered. It is reported that 1,500 or half the levy have been delivered to date.

Emir Tahir el Jazairely, who with his Algerian followers actively patrolled Christian quarter maintaining public order and reassuring Christians after the French fled, has been arrested for complicity in the revolution and for failure to obtain delivery of rifles. He is grandson of Abdel Kader who protected Christians in 1860.

Hassan Kharrati, the leader of the band which started the trouble in Damascus, is now reliably reported to be in the outskirts of Damascus with 300 men. Other bands are operating in surrounding villages. All bands undoubtedly operating under the direction of revolutionists. Nassib Bey el Bakri nationalist himself heads a band. Banditry appears to be increasing environs Damascus but city itself is cowed.

Business remains inactive. I am pessimistic for the future unless … forces increased and policy changed.”

It is just reported here that Hama was bombed for the second time since original uprising there for failure to deliver rifles as fines for renewal minor disturbances.

As forecasted in my despatch No. 1964, of September 2nd,8 French operations against the Druses seem to have failed and resulted in stalemate. French have withdrawn from Djebel Druse proper and retired to their bases in the Hauran at Esraa, Museifireh, Basra and Deraa where they will await reinforcements, which they are at last convinced are necessary, and will probably not be able to resume offensive until next spring.

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Suppressed excitement and nervousness prevails at Beirut; and, while it is not generally believed that an uprising will occur here, it is feared that a slight incident might inflame the Moslem population. I have today sent the following note to the High Commissioner:

“I have the honor to bring to your Excellency’s attention that rumors have reached me that you have taken certain precautionary measures with a view to the bombardment of the city of Beirut in the event of an armed uprising against your authority.

I have the honor to request that in the event of your deeming it necessary to bombard the city of Beirut, you will be good enough to give me sufficient warning before the commencement of such bombardment to enable me to advise my nationals to take refuge in a place of safety.

As doyen of the consular corps in Beirut, I have the honor to ask that I may be permitted to advise my colleagues that you will likewise communicate a similar warning directly to each of them.”

Knabenshue
  1. Not printed.