890D.01/548: Telegram

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

434. My 432, October 29; 433, October 30;53 and referring once more to paragraph 4 of my 426, October 24. General Spears has just shown me a telegram from his Foreign Office stating that the British Ambassador in Washington has been instructed to inform the Department that it would welcome the recognition of Syria by the United States. Spears was instructed to tell me privately the Foreign Office hoped I would find it possible on my part to recommend that such recognition by the United States be accorded. I said I had kept the Department currently informed of developments in the Levant and the Department’s 182, October 6, on which I based my note of October 8 of which I had given him a copy, represented for the moment the only expression of the Department’s views I had so far received.

The Department may wish to consider among others the following points in arriving at a decision.

We should first of all feel reasonably sure that British Government is determined and prepared to defend Syria at all costs.
Assuming that this is case our recognition would of course be of tremendous help to Allies and would thus [be] welcome part of general war effort to defeat Axis.
It would strengthen the moderate elements both in Syria and Lebanon who are genuinely pro-American and in sympathy with Allied war aims and would have a steadying influence on entire Arab world.
It would discourage all German sympathizers who are still trying to cause confusion and embarrassment and who are potential fifth columnists behind Allied forces.
It would discredit German defeatist propaganda and correspondingly instill greater confidence among the people that United States will continue to back Britain to limit.
It would facilitate from military point of view all preparations and arrangements which might eventually become necessary in connection with American interest in establishment of powerful battle front in Middle East.
It should also have beneficial effect on British-Free French relations which at present leave much to be desired.
As regards adequate safeguarding of our treaty rights it would seem that not only Syrian Government but also British and Free French would be quite prepared to give us any guarantees we might desire.

Department may perhaps wish to ask me specific questions.

  1. Neither printed.