890E.01/1–2246: Telegram

The Chargé in Lebanon (Mattison) to the Secretary of State

secret

42. I today saw Acting ForMin (PriMin) and verbally informed him of substance of Deptel 18 of Jan 18. He seemed to be grateful [Page 759]therefor, but it was evident that he had hoped for more formal “assurance”. I was careful to point out reasons given by Dept as to why US Govt refrained from such assurances.

He then expressed hope that Lebanese would have support of US should question come to decisive state before UNO. I repeated that assurances in this respect could not be given in advance.

He appeared to understand our reasoning, and was obviously gratified when informed that I had been authorized to reiterate US Govt’s policy of full and unconditional recognition of Lebanese independence.

ReLegtel 15 of Jan. 8.22 I took occasion to inquire whether PriMin cared to comment on the alleged Russian assurances regarding Lebanese independence and Anglo-French agreement. He said, frankly enough, that no formal assurance had been given, but that he had seen no reason for denying something that was to Lebanon’s advantage.

Actually Russian Minister Solod had talked to him on an informal basis and had taken much the same line as I had in my talk with ForMin (reDeptel 413 of December 20 and Legtel 430 of December 24). However, he continued, Russians were not adverse to employing “trial balloons” and it was possible that Lebanon might yet receive some type of formal assurance.

Sent to Dept as 42; repeated to London for Wadsworth as 15; to Paris as 13 and to Moscow as 2.

Mattison
  1. Not printed; it cited an unconfirmed report of January 5 by the Reuters correspondent at Cairo that Soviet Minister Solod had informed the Lebanese Government that the Soviet Union maintained its decision to recognize the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon and that it would support the Lebanese Government should that Government oppose the Anglo-French agreement (890E.01/1–846).