The Acting Secretary of State to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Winant)
3277. According to a message from AmPolAd71 the French propose to move French colonial troops from North Africa and France to the Levant by two of their warships. It is not known whether these troops are reinforcements or relief. The Commanding General Mideast72 has notified the British War Office that he is opposed to any further increase of the French garrison in the Levant, and similar opposition to such a move, particularly in warships, has been expressed by the British Minister at Beirut.
You should discuss the matter with the Foreign Office, informing it of our opposition to the French proposal to send troops to the Levant States if this means an increase in the number or a provocative show (Of force. In view of the delicate political situation prevailing there, [Page 1059]the arrival of any considerable number of French troops in the Levant at this time would certainly be regarded by the local population as a provocative and intimidating act, would prejudice relations between France and the Levant States and would add to the difficulties of achieving a satisfactory solution of the Levant problem.
We are prepared, if necessary, to instruct Embassy at Paris to discuss the matter with the French.
Sent to London. Repeated to Caserta, Paris, and Beirut.