890D.01/2–2646: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Gallman) to the Secretary of State

secret

2324. When taking leave of Frangié and Khouri today Wadsworth was informed that Lebanese delegation consisting of Frangié, Riad Solh and Joseph Salem will proceed to Paris February 28 to open [Page 774]negotiations with the French regarding withdrawal of troops from Levant.

Khouri asserted that French here have never extended invitation to Syrian delegation to visit Paris at this time. However, British having said they wish Syrian rep to participate in quadrilateral negotiations, preferably following Anglo-French military experts’ discussions which are opening in Paris today, and Syrian Govt having accepted in principle, Khouri is remaining in London to await developments. Other members of Syrian delegation have left for Damascus. You are probably aware that on February 24 British Minister Shone handed aide-mémoires to Syrian and Lebanese Govt. Text as telegraphed Frangié makes following four points:

(1).
Pursuant to British acceptance of majority view of Security Council, British Govt is sending military rep to Paris “to discuss with the French the best means of withdrawing our troops as soon as possible and fixing the date when the evacuation will be completed”.
(2).
“This resolution alone must determine their (i.e. British Govt’s) future action”.
(3).
British Govt considers itself no longer bound by assurances of December 15 “that they had no intention of withdrawing British troops from either Syria or Lebanon in such way as to leave the French there alone”.
(4).
British Govt hope to be able to arrange with the French for a simultaneous withdrawal but if that is not possible British forces will be withdrawn in any case.

Khouri concluded by saying that he hoped American Govt, like Security Council, would keep matter of continuing interest and, if negotiations lag, reaffirm to French Govt its concern lest any undue delay in adjustment (notably in fixing outside time limit for complete withdrawal) have disturbing repercussions in Levant and other Arab countries.41

Sent Dept as 2324 repeated Paris as 156 and Beirut as 15.

Gallman
  1. In connection with this paragraph, the Department suggested, in telegram 1918, March 1, to London (repeated to Paris and to Beirut for Damascus), that the Chargé inform Mr. Khouri “that Dept will indeed continue to interest itself in withdrawal of foreign troops from Syria and Lebanon and is informing American Amb in Paris of its continued concern that a satisfactory arrangement be speedily agreed to.” (890D.01/2–2646)