The French Embassy to the Department of State

No. 553

The Embassy of France in the United States presents its compliments to the Department of State and begs it to have the goodness to give its attention to the matter set forth below.

The French Government has heard that the American Government is willing to supply the Syrian Government with equipment and arms for the Syrian National Army.

By order of its Government, the Embassy of France has the honor to remind the Department of State that the Inter-Allied military agreements concerning the States of the Levant are still in force, and [Page 1058] that, by virtue of such agreements, the burden of the Territorial Command and the responsibility therefor rests with the French Command. It is, accordingly, the duty of the latter to control the organization arid the arming of all local forces, and it will not escape the Government of the United States that observation of the arrangements in question is necessary for the maintenance of good order in the States of the Levant.

The French Government is therefore confident that the American Government, in case it should contemplate supplying equipment and arms to the Syrian Government, will be good enough to inform it of its possible intentions, and will not initiate any measure of execution or negotiation in this connection without previous Agreement with the French Government.70

The Embassy avails itself [etc.]

  1. File translation revised by the editors.
  2. In a memorandum of May 12 of a conversation with the French Counselor (Lacoste) and the Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs (Henderson), the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Merriam) stated: “Mr. Henderson confirmed what had been said to Mr. Lacoste at the time the latter delivered the note [of April 26]; namely, that we were not giving consideration to supplying arms to the Syrian Government, which had not approached us on the subject.” (890D.01/5–1245) For further information on this subject, see paragraph numbered 1 in telegram 1776, April 30, 7 p.m., to Paris, p. 1060. No formal reply to French note or record of conversation of April 26 found in Department files.