890E.01/100: Telegram

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

204. Your 434, October 30, 11 a.m., 435, October 31, 8 a.m., and 443, November 9, 11 a.m. For your confidential information, the British Embassy here recently gave oral expression to the hope of the British Government that this Government would formally recognize the independence of Syria, for the reason that our recognition would strengthen the position of Great Britain and her allies in Arab countries and would have a stabilizing effect in the Near East generally.

Response was made that, among other considerations, American treaty rights could not be given up by executive action alone, and that those rights might be jeopardized if Syrian independence were to be recognized unaccompanied by a new treaty. Moreover, we would doubtless require a clarification of the continuing special rights and privileges claimed in Syria by France.

Apparently similar considerations would apply with at least equal force to the question of this Government’s recognition of the independence of the Lebanon which presumably will be proclaimed in the near future.

The Department feels that the objects which the British have in mind and which are mentioned in your no. 434 can be attained through the issuance by this Government of a sympathetic public statement prompted by the achievement of independent status by Syria and the Lebanon. The issuance of such a statement, which, however, would not constitute recognition, is contemplated soon after the independence of the Lebanon is proclaimed. The British Embassy will be so informed.