890E.00/187: Telegram

The Consul General at Algiers (Wiley) to the Secretary of State

1986. From Murphy [Murphy’s Office?]. In absence of Murphy who is returning from Italy this evening and since Massigli was at an extraordinary session of the Committee of National Liberation which is to last most of the day Chapin30 saw Meyrier and Guerin, the two Directors of Political Affairs and presented substance of Department’s observations as contained in 2096, November 9 (first section of this telegram was not received until last night). Chapin added that further telegrams from Department were then being decoded and probably some further representations would be made [by?] Murphy on his return since the only instructions we had received were sent before the explosion in Beirut.

Meyrier, who took notes, promised to deliver the views of our Government to Massigli the moment he was free. He said that later reports from Beirut indicated that situation had quieted down and that Syria was entirely calm. He said that General Catroux was leaving by air today or tomorrow morning for Beirut.

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Makins31 who has been in charge during Macmillan’s absence stated he had been sent for last night by Massigli and de Gaulle who complained that the affair had been exaggerated, that recent election had been rigged by the British and that Spears had encouraged Lebanese to take action on the amendments to the constitution without waiting for French ratification. Makins had just received strong instructions from his Government which he proceeded to deliver. They were to the general effect, that, although Lebanese had given some provocation, the severity of French action was entirely unjustified, that the entire Near East had been greatly aroused to the point where a continuance of the disturbances might well affect the war effort and that British Government demanded that President and members of Lebanese Government and other political prisoners arrested by the French should be immediately released and restored to their positions. De Gaulle replied that if British Government should insist on this last stipulation and would not permit reinforcement of French forces in that area he would have to withdraw all French authority in that area and to let matters take their course. The conversation, although cordial, ended on that note.

  1. Selden Chapin, First Secretary of Embassy, on duty with the Personal Representative of the President in North Africa (Murphy).
  2. Roger M. Makins, Assistant to Harold Macmillan, British Minister Resident at the headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander, at Algiers.