890D.00/943: Telegram

The Diplomatic Agent and Consul General at Beirut (Wadsworth) to the Secretary of State

100. Reference my 94, March 3, 8 p.m.12 Gwynn13 who lunched with President Naccache yesterday and who called on him at his request today for a confidential talk brings me the following interesting report:

“Naccache wrote Catroux very recently protesting against his pursuing consultations in view of forthcoming elections quite independently of the Lebanese Government which is thus discredited in public opinion and against the agitation caused by these consultations.

Catroux replied that in spite of the proclamation of Lebanese independence the mandate remained in force and must continue to do so until France could account for her tutorship to those who had granted the mandate and be relieved of her responsibility. This he said was the point of view not only of the French National Committee but of all the powers that had agreed to the mandate. Catroux added that he personally had been given the authority and the responsibility of reorganizing constitutional life of Syria and Lebanon and he meant to do it.

Naccache has been consulting his Ministry as to the next step to take. He has in mind two things: (1) a letter of protest to Catroux against this dictatorial attitude, (2) his resignation together with that of his Ministry. He is inclined to protest and resign. His Ministers are opposed to resigning arguing that this would simply facilitate things for Catroux.

Naccache added he had good reason to believe that Fighting French and British came to an extensive understanding recently: the French to have exclusive control politically in Madagascar, North Africa and Levant; the British to retain a preponderant voice in military question. He thinks the British now have much less interest in elections here than formerly.”

  1. Not printed.
  2. William M. Gwynn, Second Secretary at Beirut.