501.BB/1–1646: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Secretary of State, at London


503. UNDel 68. Reurtel 348 Jan 11, 4 p.m., DelUN 44. In the absence of circumstances calling for an official expression of this Govt’s position regarding Anglo-Levant Agreements Dept does not contemplate at least for present communicating its views to French and Brit Govts on any more formal basis than has already been done. We have authorized Legations at Beirut and Damascus to inform Lebanese and Syrian Govts that we were not parties to negotiations which led to conclusion of these agreements and that this Govt had not given its approval thereto; we have told Brit informally of our views regarding them; and we have authorized Emb at Paris to bring our views to attention of French Govt on appropriate occasion. (See Dept’s 413 Dec 20 9 pm and 420 Dec 28 7 pm to Beirut,19 and 60 Jan 5, 6 pm. to Paris, all repeated to London.)

Benard, First Sec French Emb, called Jan 9 to inquire re press report from Cairo that US would support Syria and Lebanon if they presented their case to UNO. He was told that Dept had not been asked for such assurances and would not give them if requested; that we recently told Iran, in reply to similar request for advance assurance of support before UNO, that we did not consider it in keeping with spirit of UNO to give such assurances in advance in any case to be brought before that body.20 We added that for same reason we frankly objected to provision of Franco-Brit Agreement in which Britain and France gave each other guarantees in advance regarding [Page 758] sympathetic attitude which each would take vis-à-vis other in case which might be brought before UNO concerning Middle East. Benard was also informed that we did not like provision of Agreement which contains assurances of their “intention of doing nothing to supplant the interests or responsibilities of the other in the Middle East”. In reply to these observations Benard remarked that he knew that our policy had been clear in this respect since our 1924 Treaty with France.

Dept has taken the position that each member of UNO should be free to decide for itself whether it should present any complaint which it may have to UNO now or later, although Dept naturally hopes that UNO would not be compelled at this organizational juncture to face a problem of this kind.

Sent to UNdel London. Repeated Paris, and Beirut for Damascus.

  1. Foreign Relations, 1945, vol. viii, pp. 1184 and 1187.
  2. See telegram 4, January 2, to Tehran, p. 292.