890E.01/2–245: Telegram

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

31. ReDeptel 22, February 1, 7 p.m. Shone spoke with me briefly January 28 regarding his “new” instructions which I gathered were in general sense that Foreign Office still believed local governments should negotiate with French; heightened tension in Franco-Levant relations being cited as constituting added reason rendering negotiations desirable from British viewpoint which seems based primarily on desire to prevent disorders.

I commented that, if prior to current tension there had, as I believed, been little chance that local governments could be induced to accept Foreign Office view, the present moment appeared to me to be peculiarly inopportune to reiterate it. I added that in my view were he to do so, his representations would probably be unsuccessful and might at same time by undermining confidence in British good judgment, render less efficacious other and more important representations which he might be called on to make to local governments were situation to degenerate further.

To me the most interesting and constructive point made in Department’s memorandum of conversation with Chamoun were in last two sentences of third paragraph where suggestion was made that local governments might themselves draw up treaties for submission to major Allied Powers. I have discussed this possible sortie from impasse with both Foreign Ministers and with Shone and all appear to be coming seriously to accept it.

Lebanese Foreign Minister21 in particular has made it keystone of policy. He is endeavoring to have both Governments accept. He already has his Premier’s approval and is meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister this weekend specially to discuss it. If I might say [Page 1039]to both Governments that it has Department’s approval, I believe I could bring them to accept it definitely and act promptly thereon.

Paraphrases to Paris, Baghdad and Cairo.

Wadsworth
  1. Henri Pharaon.