890D.01/617: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)

3484. Department’s 3272, July 15, 9 p.m. Consul at Beirut, in further telegram regarding relations between Spears and Catroux, reports that the Iraqi Consul General in Beirut … concurs in imminent danger of action by fifth column in Syria because of deplorable conditions resulting from constant quarrels between British and Free [Page 605] French. Iraqi official is convinced British policy as directed by Spears is to supplant French with British influence in Syria.

Gwynn reports relations between Spears and Catroux worse than ever. President of Lebanon also reported bitter against Spears. Relations between Catroux and Wilson said to be good. Hamilton, Counselor of British Legation Beirut, also well liked and local relations were smooth during Spears’ long absence last winter, but Hamilton permitted to do nothing since Spears’ return. Spears’ assistants are said to speak disparagingly about him.

Gwynn recognizes that Free French officials are also not above criticism. It has been demonstrated, however, that working with them is possible in Spears’ absence.

The source of the above information should be kept strictly confidential, though in your discretion the facts stated may be used. In view of this clear evidence of a further deterioration in Syria, the Department would be glad to receive from you at the earliest moment a report of your discussion of the matter with the British authorities.