783.00/11–1951

Memorandum by the Officer in Charge of Lebanon–Syria–Iraq Affairs ( Gnade ) to the Director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs ( Jones )1

secret

Subject: Weekly Summary

Syria

After Prime Minister Hakim submitted his resignation last week amid the excitement caused by his open espousal of MEC, Independent Zaki Khatib was given the task of forming a cabinet. However, Khatib [Page 1083] was unable to carry out the task, and the UP now reports that the neutralist populist Maruf Dawalibi is now trying the same job. This is bad news for the West, for Dawalibi is violently anti-Western. Many observers believe that the basic cause of the Hakim cabinet’s fall was the Populist-Army struggle for control of the Government; Hakim’s statements having afforded an excuse for an attempt at replacing him with a Populist prime minister.

Hakim’s ouster is not necessarily final, and there is a possibility that his views may prevail. He informed the British Minister that Shishikli had nothing to do with his resignation and that he believed Shishikli desires to cooperate with MEC and could bring strong influence to bear on the politicians, provided he could show concrete evidence of arms aid and/or a “gesture” by the West in its Palestine policy.

Dawalibi and Qudsi, who has also been considered for the Premiership, marched at the head of an orderly procession demonstrating in behalf of Egypt last Wednesday.

A committee of Secretaries General of the various ministries is meeting to study the economic aid features of MSP. Definite projects were discussed but it is hard to determine what the chances of Syrian participation will be pending the formation of a new cabinet.2

[Here follows a summary of the week’s events in Lebanon and Iraq.]

  1. Drafted by M. L. Smith (NE).
  2. In the days following Hakim’s resignation on November 10, several individuals attempted to form a Cabinet. Dawalibi succeeded in doing so on the morning of November 28.