Interest of the United States in entering into agreements with Lebanon and Syria regarding surplus property

[Under the terms of an agreement signed at Beirut on February 1, 1946, the United States made available to Lebanon a credit of $5,000,000 to purchase American surplus property. Lebanon was to make payment in United States dollars in ten equal, semi-annual installments beginning March 1, 1947. The interest rate was fixed at 2⅜%. The United States, however, might require payment of all or any portion of the unpaid balance in Syrian pounds, to be used by the United States Government for ordinary operating and other expenses, including the financing of studies, research, instruction, library operation, and other educational activities (890E.51/1–3146).

These arrangements were modified at the suggestion of the United States in a supplemental agreement, signed at Beirut on August 7. This agreement authorized payments in local currency, beginning [Page 793]November 1, 1946, for purchases of property by the American Legation and improvements and rehabilitation of its real property (despatch 1311, August 23, 1946, from Beirut, filed under 890E.24/8–2346).

Toward the close of January 1946, the United States offered an agreement to Syria similar to that of February 1 with Lebanon. The Syrian Government did not accept the agreement since the basic law of Syria prohibited the incurring of debt. The United States and Syria, however, entered into various contracts under which the latter purchased American surplus property for United States dollars (telegram 825, May 13, 1946, 3 p.m., from Cairo, filed under 883.24/5–1346).]