Secretary of State to the Secretary
63. Reurtel Victory 82, July 18.1
We see no harm in an exchange of views at Terminal on Syria and Lebanon but feel it would be preferable that no decisions on future relations between these two countries and France be taken at a conference in which they are not participants.
Detailed implementation of French decision to turn over Troupes Spéciales to local Governments is now being worked out locally between Levant Governments and French and British authorities. There are indications that British and French may agree on simultaneous withdrawal of their armed forces from Levant territory. These steps will meet immediate demands of Syria and Lebanon and may enable direct negotiation to start between them and France for conclusion of agreements regulating their future relations. Our view [Page 1399] that such agreements should afford reasonable protection to French interests on a non-discriminatory basis is well known to all parties. We believe opportunity should be given for situation to develop on these lines. In case it should become clear that no progress is possible some kind of international consultation may become necessary.
Repeated to Paris.