890D.00/953: Telegram

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

140. Reference my 134 April 2, 3 p.m. New Chief of State Tabet received me April 3.

When I repeated to him the substance of the last paragraph of your No. 103, March 29, 8 p.m., he asked me to assure you that the reaffirmation of American sympathy with Lebanese aspirations for fuller independence was to him personally the surest foundation for confidence that they would in due time be realized. He wishes to issue a statement to this effect (believing it would strengthen public confidence) and inquires whether the Department would care to suggest a text.

He conceived as his first duty a thorough housecleaning of government administrations where slackness and graft had been all too common for many years. In particular he must get responsible men into all positions of authority in matters electoral. Consequently he proposed to defer elections to the latest date authorized under the Catroux decrees, i.e., early September.

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For the post-war future he wants close economic but no political ties with Syria or with an Arab federation; no cession of territory, thus retaining room for settlement of other eastern Christians and of Lebanese returning from abroad; and protection guaranteed by the great powers against political pan-Arabism which to him means pan-Islamism.