890F.6363/2–2548: Telegram

The Ambassador in Egypt (Tuck) to the Secretary of State

confidential

191. Naim Antaki, former Syrian Foreign Minister and legal counselor Tapline, told Ireland1 today that his recent high hopes of Syrian ratification Tapline concessions had been shattered for time being by Arab League action on new facilities and concessions revealed by Azzam Pasha2 in his recent statement regarding petroleum facilities and concessions (mytel 184, February 233). Azzam has confirmed to Ireland this statement represents attitude of Arab League. Arab policy [Page 7]on existing concessions will depend on future action by US and UN. His personal attitude was that concessions should not be touched since they provided dollars essential to Arab economy and Palestine defense but that trend of public opinion Iraq and Saudi Arabia might alter picture. He was certain that Syria would not ratify Tapline and that as long as Nokrashy Pasha was Prime Minister, Egypt would not grant Egyptian terminus. Said Arab League thinking had not gone as far as planning operation of refineries and installations in Arab states should UN sanctions be applied.

Sent Department 191; repeated Jidda 19. Paraphrase to Arab capitals by pouch.

Tuck
  1. Philip W. Ireland, First Secretary of Embassy in Egypt.
  2. Secretary-General of the Arab League.
  3. Not printed; it reported that the Arab League had agreed that no petroleum facilities or concessions would be considered by member states until the Palestine situation had been clarified (890B.00/2–2348). Cairo advised, on February 29, of further information from Azzam Pasha that new construction of pipelines under concessions recently signed would not be permitted (telegram 206, 890F.6363/2–2948).