890d.00/238: Telegram

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

Keeley reports by telephone that a large force is concentrating outside Damascus threatening to attack the French and that the attack is momentarily expected. Information from other sources is to the effect that it is a combined force of Druses and revolutionists of Damascus area numbering 8,000. It is reported that railroad between Rayak and Horns has been cut. Rumors which may or may not be well-founded are to effect that a general uprising including Beirut of Moslems against French is imminent being encouraged it is believed by the recall of Sarrail and attitude of the foreign papers against French action here.

In consultation today with the American representatives of the various American interests here forming a committee of eight we decided that immediate presence American destroyers here is highly desirable not only for the moral effect of their presence in possibly preventing an uprising but to provide effective means of protection in case uprising occurs. I have consequently requested destroyers to arrive here on the morning of November 5th.