890E.00/107: Telegram

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

151. Department’s 51, April 24. Under date of April 25 I addressed a personal and confidential letter to General Spears embodying gist of four points made in my 141 [142], April 21,17a adding that it would be regrettable if the present situation were permitted to furnish Axis propaganda an excuse for assertions regarding mistrust and dissensions among the Allies and that only the utmost frankness and good faith on the part of everybody would further common interests of the Allies and would make possible implementation of the promises which had been made to the people of the Levant States.

Spears replied yesterday also informally and confidentially “Let me say at once that I find myself substantially in agreement with all the points enumerated in your letter.” In connection with the first item, i. e., re security, he says “Should the occasion arise here or in Washington it might well serve a useful purpose that the United States representative or spokesman should indicate to Free French that the United States Government would take a grave view of any obstruction or lack of cooperation on the part of Free French at all likely to impede or obstruct the British authorities in the discharge of their unavoidable and heavy duty. This duty is after all only undertaken as an essential step toward winning the war, an object of the same overwhelming importance to the French as it is to the British.”

After commenting at some length on all the other points he concludes “In view of the friendly interest taken by your Government in these questions I wished to make it clear that we are already in entire agreement on all essential points. Should you find an equal measure of agreement amongst the other authorities concerned I have no doubt that this would contribute materially to a better understanding and to the achievement of those aims which we both have in view. I fully appreciate and share the desire of your Government to remove all pretext for Axis propaganda on the theme of our lack of unity and can see no reason to doubt that this could be accomplished by a general acceptance of the basis which you yourself have suggested.”

Now that I have assured myself of British support I shall informally but only orally approach General Catroux, the Presidents of Syria and the Lebanon and the Maronite Patriarch and explain our point of view, stressing of course the considerations and advantages which should respectively be of special concern to each. I believe the mere fact that [Page 595] the Department has expressed an interest will encourage all elements to help create a situation which the American Government could view with approval. Copies of the letters exchanged with Spears will be forwarded by next pouch.18

  1. See paragraph numbered 4 in telegram No. 142, p. 589.
  2. Despatch No. 379, May 23, not printed.