124.835/4–2250: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Legation in Syria 1


159. In view recent bombing outrage, Dawalibi statement and apparent misunderstanding US policy re Palestine situation generally and [Page 1211] towards Syria and the Arab states specifically,2 fol summary and clarification US policy is for ur background info as basis for oral remarks in any gen discussions you may have on these subjects (Deptel 148 Apr 253):

Begin Summary. 1. US cherishes traditional friendship with Syria, and agrees with PriMin this friendship rests on firm basis which cannot be prejudiced by isolated incidents. Policy friendship toward Syria manifested positively in US support 1942–1946 for aspirations Syrian people become independent. US-sponsored SC Res of 1946, which led to withdrawal all fon troops from Syrian soil, was inspired by no concealed motives, but solely by good will toward Syrian people and belief they were ready for full independence.

Moreover, USG wld react with vigor to any attempt by force, intrigue, or by any external intervention whatever, compromise or undermine Syria’s independence and territorial integrity.

2. In recognition fact Syria’s independence must be accompanied by econ and social advancement, USG has always stood ready give sympathetic consideration to Syrian requests for assistance in carrying out econ development programs.

Legis has been introduced US Congress seeking appropriations funds contribute to UN technical assistance program and also provide US technical assistance to certain countries on bilateral basis under Point IV program.

USG is also contributing to UNRWA, which contemplates assistance NE countries in econ and social clevel programs, with special reference providing work relief for Arab refugees.

US attaches no polit conditions whatever to any of these programs nor do charges US harboring concealed polit or econ motives in these programs have any basis in fact.

3. USG has recently granted training facilities in US service schools for five Syrian Air Force students and prepared continue this type activity.

Re purchase arms and mil materiel, Syrian Govt is free to obtain arms and matériel from US commercial sources and USG will consider applications for export of arms to Syria within limitations Syria’s requirements for internal security and self-defense. List mil equip for which Syria desires export license recently received is being studied.4

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4. USG believes peace, stability and security of all states of the NE wld be advanced if Arab States and Israel wld reach equitable agreement to settle differences. USG supports PCC and any of the parties concerned in Pal controversy looking toward such agreement or agreements. In presenting this view, US categorically rejects charges it harbors desire undermine Arab economies out of special consideration for improving econ position Israel.

From foregoing review it is evident possibilities for fruitful coop between US and Syria far outweigh differences in viewpoint on Pal question. It is also clear US is motivated entirely by spirit of positive friendship toward Syria and by desire Syria be politically, economically and socially strong in a peaceful and stable NE. USG believes genuineness and impartiality its policy speaks for itself.

It wld, therefore, be most unfortunate if Syrian Govt and its peoples shld be misled by false rumors and speculative interpretations of US policy which have gained currency among some elements of NE. End Summary.

  1. Drafted by Harlan B. Clark, Officer in Charge of Lebanon–Syria–Iraq Affairs, and cleared with ANE and NEA. Repeated to London, Cairo, Jidda, Tel Aviv, Amman, Beirut, Baghdad, Paris, and Moscow.
  2. On April 18, a bomb exploded in the garden of the American Legation in Damascus. This act of violence was further aggravated by a public statement made by Syria’s Minister of National Economy, Ma’ruf al-Dawalibi, in which he suggested that Syria should make a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union if the United States continued to follow its pro-Israeli policy (telegram 204 from Damascus, April 21, 124.835/4–2150, and telegram 223 from Damascus, April 27, 124.835/4–2750).
  3. Not printed.
  4. The Syrian request for arms export licenses was received by the Department on April 18 (despatch 222 from Damascus, 783.56/4–1850). On June 21 the Department informed the Legation in Damascus that according to its preliminary estimate of the availability of arms requested by Syria, “only small percentage equip listed … is presently available from commercial sources.” (Airgram A–83, June 21, 783.56/4–1850)