890D.00/945: Telegram

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

107. Your 77, March 16, 7 p.m.17 President Naccache writes me under date of March 15 that he has received a message from General Catroux the sense of which is: “Notwithstanding the proclamation of Lebanese independence of November 26, 194118 the mandate remains in force”. He adds that he has protested and continues: “President Roosevelt having recognized this same independence,19 I inform you of this protest”. My colleagues have received similar letters.

The Lebanese Prime Minister asked me today to telegraph this information to my Government as of possible interest in connection with its current talks with Mr. Eden.20 He confirmed specifically that General Catroux wishes the President and Ministry to resign. This, he said, neither the President nor he proposes to do, although all but one of his five Ministers are “wavering under pressure”.

General Catroux tells me he has again postponed his departure for North Africa. The reasons, I gather from him and other sources, lie primarily in this local political crisis and in the unwillingness of Syrian leaders to commit themselves in advance of reassembly of [Page 962] Parliament to a Franco-Syrian treaty except as a provisional wartime measure.

This stand of both Lebanese and Syrian leadership against efforts to impose recognition of pretended French mandatory responsibilities and acceptance of definitive treaty relationship with France is receiving increasingly marked support in liberal political circles, including American University faculty and alumni groups. They would view the former as a retrogression from the limited independence their countries have achieved and the latter as a presently unwarranted imposition.

  1. Not printed.
  2. See telegram No. 467, November 26, 1941, 1 p.m., from Beirut, Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. iii, p. 805.
  3. For correspondence regarding the limited recognition of Syria and Lebanon by the United States in 1942, by the appointment of a Diplomatic Agent, see ibid., 1942, vol. iv, pp. 641 ff.
  4. For reference to Syria and Lebanon in talks between Secretary of State Hull and Mr. Eden, see the antepenultimate paragraph of memorandum of conversation, March 22, vol. iii, p. 28.