The Consul at Beirut (Knabenshue) to the Secretary of State
[Received 3:47 p.m.]
My telegram of November 3, 4 p.m. Destroyers arrived morning of November 5th. Courtesy visits exchanged Captain Fairfield with [Page 119] High Commissioner, Governor of the Lebanon, and French Admiral and the presence of destroyers has assumed outward character of ordinary visit. Arrival has occasioned no excitement or incidents. Information all sources indicates that reaction in connection therewith is one of marked relief and sense of security felt by all denominations and classes of people including foreigners. It is general consensus of opinion that no uprising will occur Beirut while American destroyers are in the harbor unless French meet with serious reverses in the interior which contingency is not entirely improbable. At the present moment there are practically no combatant French troops in Beirut and their only means of suppressing uprising here is by bombardment with artillery already in place for the purpose. French expect 10,000 reenforcements during the course of the next 2 weeks.
Well-founded reports indicate organization native government with Sultan Attrash at the head, Shahbender, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yahya Hayati, Minister of War, and that the various rebel bands in conjunction with the Druses and Arab tribes organizing for concerted action against French. Developments during the next two or three weeks will possibly give clearer indication of the future.
… I recommend that destroyers remain until we on the ground are convinced that adequate measures have been taken for the protection of American citizens and their property without recourse to means[sic]. In this connection I have asked military attaché at Constantinople to come to Beirut in advisory capacity.
I respectfully suggest following as proper policy: France by the terms of the treaty is as responsible to the United States as to the League of Nations in the matter of protection of American citizens and property and our independent action up to date and as recommended is justifiable under the circumstances in a country under mandate.
This telegram sent American Embassy Paris also.