ISA/MDAP Files: Lot 52–26: Policy NE Milit Aid: Telegram

The Minister in Lebanon (Pinkerton) to the Department of State 1

secret

432. Department pass Amman. General Robertson 2 told me he had informed Lebanon Government defense of ME is primarily British responsibility and had asked whether Lebanon would grant facilities in case of war. President3 agreed to full cooperation in case of war but could not admit troops during peace time although he said he would accept first USSR movement into Iran or Turkey as state of war without waiting for formal action by governments or UN. General Robertson defined Lebanon role in preparing for war demanding it provide anti-aircraft defense of Beirut and perhaps Tripoli, communication facilities, and some coastal defense. He said if Lebanon would ask him for equipment to fill this role he would assist in obtaining it. He told me his conversations with President and PriMin 4 had [Page 1003]been cordial and they both maintained that France should not participate in Lebanon defense plans. No written agreement had been made and Robertson did not ask for one.

Pinkerton
  1. Repeated to Cairo, Jidda, Damascus, Amman, Baghdad, and London.
  2. Sir Brian Robertson, Commander in Chief of British Forces in the Middle East, visited several countries of the area in February to discuss military defense matters.
  3. Bishara al-Khuri.
  4. Riad el-Solh.