The First Secretary and Consul at Damascus ( Satterthwaite ) to the Secretary of State

No. 279

Sir: I have the honor to enclose a memorandum of the conversation74 which Minister Wadsworth had with President Shukri Kuwatly and with Foreign Minister and Acting Prime Minister Jamil Mardam Bey on April 25, 1945. This memorandum will, it is believed, provide the Department with background information of a nature to [Page 1062] further its comprehension of the situation in Syria in the light of present or possible developments.

It is becoming more and more evident that the principal point of French policy in the Levant at the moment revolves around a French belief in the necessity for delay. The Department will recall that the French Delegate General in the Levant, General Beynet, departed for Paris on March 9, purportedly to receive instructions after reporting to his Government. A more amicable atmosphere for negotiation had at last been established, mainly due to American and British pressure, and the General’s visit, Syrian officials were led to believe, would require some ten days, after which he would return with instructions permitting him to attempt to solve Levant problems.

It will be apparent from the conversation that the Syrian Minister in Paris, Adnan Attassi, had with General Beynet and M. Bidault on April 12, as reported in the attached memo, that more than one month after the General’s departure from Syria the French had little of a constructive nature to say to the Syrian Minister. General Beynet had left Syria on March 9 to get instructions in Paris from M. Bidault, and on April 12 M. Bidault was looking forward to discussing Franco-Syrian problems with the Chairman of the Syrian Delegation at San Francisco.75

From the Syrian point of view all this procrastination seems a deliberate policy. Government officials are well aware of the temper of the population, whom they have done their best to restrain, but in Jamil Mardam Bey’s final words to Mr. Wadsworth, a way must be found out of this political obscurity or “serious new troubles will result”.

Respectfully yours,

J. C. Satterthwaite
  1. Not printed.
  2. Faris al-Khouri, Syrian Prime Minister.