501.BB/1–1146: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Acting Secretary of State 9


348. DelUN 44. In conversations with chairman and members of Syrian and Lebanese delegations Wadsworth10 is informed that their govts are seriously considering proposing to General Assembly that it give urgent consideration to question of withdrawal of French (and British) troops from Levant territory, especially in light of situation created by Anglo-French agreements of Dec 13.

Highlights of Syro-Lebanese argument were: Anglo-French accord although of highest interest to Levant States was concluded without their being given any prior notification.11

In general, the accord recalls its precursors of 1904 and World War I period by seemingly dividing Near East into British and French zones of influence, a policy clearly contrary to principles of United Nations Charter.

In particular Britain and France by seemingly charging themselves with responsibility for Near Eastern security infringe on sovereignty of Levant States and on recognized functions of UNO.

Not only is no clear provision made for withdrawal of foreign troops but accord seems clearly intended to provide procedure for exactly the contrary, i.e. for maintaining French troops in Lebanon indefinitely.

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Already situation in Levant shows disturbing signs of building up to crisis similar to that of last May, with French provocations and intrigues continuing.

Wadsworth’s informants added that they would welcome any comment Dept or this delegation might be willing to offer as to propriety of their proposing that General Assembly consider placing questions on current agenda for discussion and possible reference to Security Council.

Delegation would welcome Dept’s comment including indication as to whether it proposes to communicate to British and French Govts formal expression of its views on Anglo-French agreements in question.

  1. Secretary Byrnes was in London as Chairman of the United States delegation at the First Session of the First Meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations, which took place in London January 10–February 14, 1946.
  2. George Wadsworth, Minister to Syria and Lebanon; at this time detailed as a political adviser to the United States delegation at the United Nations meeting in London.
  3. The Lebanese and Syrian Governments set forth their formal views on the Anglo-French agreement in notes presented to the British Legations at Beirut and at Damascus on January 9. The notes, while welcoming the principle of troop evacuation, raised objections to other aspects of the agreement. (Telegram 25, January 10, from Beirut, and telegram 8, January 11, from Damascus, filed under 890E.01/1–1046 and 890D.01/1–1146, respectively.)