Memorandum of Conversation, by the Deputy Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Ailing)68a

Participants: Mr. Michael Wright of the British Embassy
Mr. Paul H. Ailing
Mr. Foy D. Kohler

Mr. Wright called at his request to discuss current matters.

I took occasion to refer to the memorandum on Syria and Lebanon, dated February 11, 1945, which was sent to Mr. Stettinius by the British Delegation at Yalta on the final day of the Conference. I said he might want to inform the Foreign Office that this document had had our attention.

With particular reference to Paragraph 7, I said I believed the Department’s memorandum of February 17 enclosing paraphrases of our recent instructions to Ambassador Caffery and Minister Wads-worth covered the point raised therein and that the Syrian and Lebanese [Page 1056] Governments understood that we could not support a purely negative attitude on their part as regards their future relations with the French.

With reference to Paragraph 8, I pointed out that neither Syria nor Lebanon were “Lend-Lease” countries and said the British could rest assured that we would not in any case, unilaterally supply arms to either State without consulting and securing the agreement of the British authorities who are responsible for the military command in that theatre. I added that as a matter of fact we were adopting a general policy of not transferring any arms (other than small quantities for purely police purposes) to countries not actively participating in military operations for the duration of the war, and that we hoped other powers would follow the same policy; and after the war, we hoped armaments would be regulated by international agreement.

Mr. Wright expressed appreciation and said he would inform the Foreign Office.

  1. Drafted by Mr. Kohler.