Press Release Issued by the Department of State, November 29, 1941

Inquiries have been received as to the attitude of this Government in view of the proclamation issued at Damascus on September 27, 1941, regarding the independence of Syria, and the proclamation issued at Beirut on November 26, 1941, regarding the independence of the Lebanon.

The American Government and people have always sympathized with the natural and legitimate aspirations of the peoples of Syria and the Lebanon. This Government therefore welcomes any steps toward the realization of these aspirations, chief among which is, of course, the full enjoyment of sovereign independence.

The Convention between the United States and France, signed at Paris on April 4, 1924, and the provisions of the mandate for Syria and the Lebanon included therein, clearly embody the idea of Syrian and Lebanese independence. The American Government continues to support these provisions which it endorsed in 1924 and which are a cornerstone of the mandate principle. The 1924 convention, which also set forth the rights of the United States and its nationals in the areas concerned, was formally ratified by the American Government in accordance with the required constitutional procedure, and must be regarded as continuing in effect until new instruments of a mutually satisfactory nature can be similarly negotiated and ratified. This Government is hopeful that, as soon as international conditions permit, [Page 808] such negotiations may be undertaken, enabling this Government to extend formal recognition to Syria and the Lebanon.