890E.01/102: Telegram

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

214. Your no. 459, November 24, 11 a.m. British Embassy, in an aide-mémoire handed Department on November 18, states that the [Page 807] new régime established in Syria involves a change in the mandate but not a termination thereof in toto. Syria, in the British Government’s view, is to be in a position under the new régime analogous to that of Iraq before Iraq became a member of the League.

The Department has pointed out to the Embassy that this view is somewhat surprising since we had been under the impression that the British and Free French authorities intended that the mandate would be considered by them as terminated immediately. Your no. 404, October 8, 10 a.m., was cited in this connection.

General Spears’ uncertainty regarding the continuing French position in Syria appears to correspond to our own. The opposition he expresses to the continuation of the mandate does not appear to be felt, however, by his Government.

You may inform General Spears of the statement made to the Department by the Embassy. Please report any further information you may obtain regarding the British and Free French attitudes toward the question whether the mandate is to be considered as terminated.