Memorandum of Conversation, by the Under Secretary of State (Welles)
Sir Ronald Campbell called to see me this morning at his request.
I informed Sir Ronald of the contents of a telegram received this morning from the American Consul General at Beirut, No. 289 of August 16, 9 p.m. I said that it seemed to me that this situation was reaching proportions of great gravity. I stated that I could not understand how General de Gaulle’s presence in Syria at this time could be regarded as conducive towards smoothing out an already highly inflamed situation, and that it appeared to me that under present conditions obtaining in Egypt and in Syria, the knowledge on the part of the native population that the British and French were at daggers drawn would make much more likely subversive activities and other activities gravely prejudicial to the common war effort. I inquired whether Mr. Churchill was directly intervening in the situation which had grown up in Syria. Sir Ronald said that he did not know and that his belief was that Mr. Churchill was already on his way back to England from Cairo. I concluded by saying that I felt the situation had reached a point where the interests of the United States were directly involved and that I believed some radical remedial measures ought to be undertaken without delay.