890D.00/865: Telegram

The Consul General at Beirut ( Engert ) to the Secretary of State

426. Department’s 186, October 13. A personal letter in the sense suggested was on October 15th addressed to Fayez El Khouri the official in question. On October 22 he came to Beirut to call on me and told me on behalf of President Taj-ed-Din that they were just a little disappointed in Damascus that the American Government was apparently not yet prepared to give the new regime in Syria its blessing. Incidentally he informed me that the contents of my note of October 8th to Catroux had not yet been brought to the attention of Syrian authorities although as stated in my 405, October 8, the General had promised me to do so.

I explained to him the point of view of the Department very frankly but as kindly as I could and stressed the fact that in principle of course the Government of the United States had always favored the legitimate aspirations to independence of the Levant States.

Fayez el Khouri then declared that President Taj-ed-Din authorized him to state the Syrian Government was quite willing to assure the United States officially and formally that all present American treaty rights would be fully respected pending negotiation of a fresh treaty and the definite abolition of the mandate.

I reported this conversation to General Spears51 and asked him what the attitude of the Foreign Office was toward the new regime in Syria. He informs me today that the British Government is about to recognize the Syrian authorities and that similar action by the United States would of course enormously strengthen the position of these authorities and would have a stabilizing effect throughout the Middle East.

[Page 794]

Please refer in this connection to my telegram 192, June 5.52

I understand that General Catroux is contemplating the creation also of an independent Lebanese Government in the immediate future.

  1. Maj. Gen. Edward L. Spears, head of British Mission to Syria.
  2. Ante, p. 721.