890D.00/949: Telegram

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

103. Your 115, March 23, 11 p.m., 116, March 24, 9 p.m., and 119, March 25, 10 p.m.26 The legal bases of Fighting French authority in Syria and Lebanon are of dubious validity but we have in practice admitted their de facto control. While General Catroux’s procedure in naming new provisional governments seems high-handed, the resulting change in each State appears to be essentially only a replacement of one French-appointed régime for another, with the new governments specifically charged with the responsibility of holding elections preparatory to a reestablishment of constitutional government. This purpose in itself seems desirable from our point of view, and we have no concrete evidence that the procedure which has been adopted will deny to the Syrian and Lebanese peoples an opportunity freely to express their will.

[Page 967]

We accordingly see no reason why you should not enter into relations with the new regimes on the same basis as with their predecessors, in conformity with the specific policy toward Syria and Lebanon expressed in the Department’s press release of November 27 [29], 1941,27 and in your own letters of credence.

  1. Telegram No. 116 not printed.
  2. Foreign Relations, 1941, vol. iii, p. 807.