611.83A/11–751: Telegram

The Minister in Lebanon (Minor) to the Department of State

confidential

488. I took opportunity in convers with Pres last night to give summary my impressions Leb-Amer relations, speaking in French from extensive notes I had made earlier. I spoke along lines mytel 482, Nov 7,1 beginning by statement my pleasure fine reception here,2 evident goodwill which exists toward my country, and of high level of life and leadership in Lebanon. But, I added, in spite these favorable conditions I regretted to observe that attitude Leb Govt on many matters, which I enumerated and of which Dept is well aware, have been negative and uncooperative. This seemed to add up, I declared, to a rather unfriendly policy on part Leb Govt. Pres Khoury admitted there has been reserve on part Leb Govt but, as Abi Chahla had declared, [Page 1012]this derives not from unfriendliness, but from atmosphere created by numerous conditions.

I said that it seems to me Lebanon and NE have arrived at important crossroad. A policy of neutrality or non-coop cld bring disaster, while one of coop with Western powers in MEC 3 and Point Four cld on contrary be salvation of NE. Pres agreed with this statement and said Leb leaders have every intention of following Western powers. Returning to question of Leb-Amer Relations I pointed out that long failure Leb Govt to ratify Point Four agreement or appropriate money did not show desire to have Point Four aid, nor did it reflect President’s frequently stated strong desire to make Lebanon a shining example of development in NE. Time I said, is running out and fund wld have to be allocated where needed and wanted. I felt that my govt wld not desire to press any country to receive aid and therefore I doubted if it was prepared to take further action on Point Four until Lebanon showed more desire for aid and willingness to do its part. Pres replied that he is indeed keen on this aid but he gave usual excuses as to delay in ratification of agreement.

I referred to Pres’s conv with Lenahan of MedReCo and indicated that in business field there seems to be great reserve as to investment of capital in Lebanon. Pres denied that Lebanon “has drunk of Iranian wine” and urged me to use influence with companies to be more considerate of Lebanon, which is small and short of dollar exchange, and not take legalistic and narrow attitude. I replied that I thought companies were genuinely concerned at drift of events and wld require assurances from Leb Govt.

Convers was carried out in frank and entirely friendly atmosphere. Pres is man of good will, but I am not sure he is able or willing to take advanced pro-American attitude at this time when feelings are running high. He stated, hopefully I thought, that whereas in Egypt and Iran govt has lost control to the mobs, this has not happened in Lebanon. Nothing in our convers altered my opinion that a policy of “friendly firmness” toward Lebanon is required at this time.

Minor
  1. Not printed.
  2. Harold B. Minor presented his credentials on October 18, 1951.
  3. For documentation on the Middle East Command, see pp. 1 ff.