890D.01/1–945: Telegram

The Minister to Syria and Lebanon (Wadsworth) to the Secretary of State

5. ReDepins 270 December 13.2 I have presented the President’s letter of December 7 to President Kuwatly who asked me to telegraph his “keenest thanks to Mr. Roosevelt and the American Government”.

His comment on memorandum of October 53 was:

“I know it almost by heart; we have turned to it often for renewed strength to persevere in the way we have chosen. The letter signed by your great President gives in [it] a new and precious frame.”

Record of our ensuing discussion of Syria’s current political problems will be forwarded by despatch.4 Its most interesting theme centered on possibility of Syria proposing simultaneously to Britain, France, Russia and United States “identic treaties of friendship, establishment, commerce and consular relations”, as suggested last fall by Iraqi Foreign Minister.5

Department will recall that this possibility was not seriously considered at the time because French Provisional Government, not then recognized by other powers, was deemed not to possess treaty making [Page 1035]capacity. President made personal suggestion that Department send us informally a suitable outline model of such a treaty.

My British colleagues express interest in revival of this suggestion as perhaps offering way out of impasse reached in French relations with Levant Governments, notably over army question, and thus creating less unfavorable atmosphere for Franco-British agreement on question of completing equipment of local gendarmeries.

[Here follow accounts of the views of British diplomatic and military officials in the Near East and other persons on the situation in Syria and Lebanon.]

Meanwhile Lebanese ministerial crisis has developed on the whole favorably to national best interest. Premier Solh was finally prevailed upon to resign January 7 and yesterday Abdul Hamid Karami (see biographic report6) accepted invitation to form new Ministry in what I believe was sincere belief that he best can maintain continuity of foreign policy and attempt urgently needed internal reform with support of fair majority of Parliament.

Paraphrases to Paris and Cairo by mail.

Wadsworth
  1. Not printed; it transmitted to Beirut letter of December 7, 1944, from President Roosevelt to President Shukri al-Kuwatly of Syria, printed in ibid., p. 812.
  2. Ibid., p. 795.
  3. No. 618, January 10, not printed.
  4. For suggestion by Arshad al-Umari, see telegram 228, October 20, 1944, 10 a.m., from Beirut, Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. v, p. 803.
  5. Copy not found in Department files.