The Chargé in Syria (Porter) to the Secretary of State
[Received February 19—10:24 a.m.]
39. Prime Minister requested me to call on him this morning. He spoke bitterly and pessimistically concerning outcome of Security Council deliberations on Levant question.38 He stated that it would have been better had the Americans presented no proposition, and that among great powers only Russian policy seemed clear and precise. At this point I reminded him of that part of Mr. Stettinius’ statement which outlined US policy as supporting the speedy evacuation of foreign troops from United Nations territory adding that Mr. Stettinius had made specific mention of American support for Syrian and Lebanese desires in that respect. He agreed that this was precise enough but regretted that our proposal “did not enjoy [Page 769]the same quality”. He particularly objected to lack of time limit for evacuation and said that failure to confine character of negotiations to technical matters would be used by French in attempt to extract privileges from Syria as quid pro quo of evacuation. I urged him to await return of his delegation before adopting too pessimistical viewpoint.
Though there has been insufficient time to complete survey of Syrian opinion, it is becoming evident that so far as local Arabs are concerned, only power to change [emerge] from deliberations with increased prestige is Soviet Union.
Sent Dept as 39, repeated London for Wadsworth UNdel.