890E.00/189: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Winant ) to the Secretary of State

7928. Department’s 7154, November 12, midnight.34 Instructions conveyed to Murphy were indicated to the Foreign Office today which expressed satisfaction at the Department’s vigorous attitude. Foreign Office showed us copies of their messages to Algiers and said that they had been communicated to the British Embassy in Washington with instructions to inform the Department of their contents.

The Foreign Office takes a very gloomy view of the Lebanese situation; not only because Lebanon is a military theater, but also because of the potential reaction throughout the Arab states.

In connection with this latter point, the Foreign Office said that the Egyptian Government’s sensible attitude is highly satisfactory. Telegrams to Nahas Pasha and Nuri Pasha giving the British position in the Lebanese matter, which have not had final approval in the Foreign Office, are expected to be sent this evening. The Foreign Office describes the action taken by the Lebanese Parliament as precipitate and foolish, but it can find no excuse for the violence of the French action. The Foreign Office said that it had been its endeavor for a number of years to persuade the French to lighten their hand and give Syria an independence equal to that of Iraq. It had frequently been held out to the French that no serious steps had been taken by them to grant such independence which was within the meaning of the French mandate over the area.

The Foreign Office stated that the situation as described by Spears is considerably more dangerous than that as obtained by the War Office from its sources. The use of British troops to restore order is not desired if it can possibly be withheld, and instructions to this effect have been sent to the Middle East Command.

  1. See footnote 27, p. 1022.