890E.01/2–245: Telegram

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

36. Reurtel 31, February 2, noon. Having itself concluded executive agreements with Syria and Lebanon providing for the recognition and protection of the rights and interests of the United States and its nationals, this Government is clearly not in a position to support the local Governments in refusing to enter into negotiations with the French for the same purposes.

The Department is repeating to you its telegram to Paris29 instructing the Ambassador there to discuss this matter urgently with the French authorities. In acquainting the local authorities with the nature of these representations you should urge them to adopt a more moderate and realistic attitude, and specifically to enter into negotiations with a view to securing treaties with the French which would be consistent with their independence and non-discriminatory as regards [Page 1043]third powers and which would still provide the reasonable assurances which the French justifiably desire with respect to the protection of the considerable rights and interests of France in the Levant States.

This Government wishes to be helpful in every possible way and has no intention of diminishing or retracting its recognition of Syrian and Lebanese independence.30 In this spirit the Department was glad to advance informally for the consideration of the local Governments the suggestion that their objective might be served by the submission of acceptable treaty proposals simultaneously to France and to the major Allied powers. However, we are not prepared to put this suggestion forward as an official proposal. The explosive potentialities of the situation reside in the relations of France and the Levant Governments and in the last analysis this is the major problem which must be solved, whatever developments there may be as regards the relations of Syria and Lebanon with other Governments.

Sent to Beirut. Repeated to Paris.31

Grew
  1. No. 633; see footnote 43, p. 1046.
  2. For exchange of correspondence of September 7 and 8, 1944, with Syria and Lebanon constituting United States recognition of their independence, see Department of State Executive Agreement Series Nos. 434 and 435, or 58 Stat. (pt. 2) 1491 and 1493. For statements on Syrian and Lebanese independence by the Secretary of State on September 19, 1944, and by President Roosevelt the following day, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. v, p. 782, and Department of State Bulletin, September 24, 1944, p. 313.
  3. As No. 632. Information on the action taken on Syria and Lebanon was also sent to the Minister in Iraq on February 16 for transmittal to the Iraqi Minister for Foreign Affairs (890D.01/2–1645). The following day, similar information was telephoned to the Egyptian Minister by the Assistant Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (890D.01/2–1745); and on February 23 and March 11, the Department authorized the Ministers in Egypt and Saudi Arabia to convey the information to the Government to which they were accredited (890D.01/2–2245, 3–1145).