783.02/12–651: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Legation in Syria 1


212. Ref Legtel 322 Dec 3.2 Dept believes you shld continue maintain close liaison with Brit, Fr, Turks Damascus on subj recognition new govt. Dept feels you shld be more forthcoming with new govt than was case at time Zaim coup when delayed action on recognition by great powers may have contributed downfall of govt with reform program.3 Therefore you shld maintain informal contacts with members new govt. Syr Min was received informally by McGhee yesterday.4

Dept tentative thinking is if new regime capable maintaining self internally and honors Syr internatl obligations, little advantage gained by delaying recognition. Believe, however, Western powers probably shld not recognize new govt before an Arab State initiates such action. Precipitate recognition might alienate pro-West elements among Populists and convince chauvinist Syrian public Shishikli’s action inspired by one or more Western powers as already alleged by USSR.

Dept feels quiet Western recognition such as by acknowledgment Syrian note re govt change cld be real support for Shishikli and subj Legs views and those of UK, France and Turkey is now inclined favor reasonably speedy action this regard. Comments Arab caps requested.

Pending decision on recognition you may continue routine visa and notarial services.

  1. Repeated to Arab capitals and Jerusalem, presumably for action, and to Ankara, Tel Aviv, London, and Paris for information. Drafted by Gnade (NE) and cleared by WE, BNA, GTI, and L.
  2. Supra.
  3. For documentation on the recognition problem raised by the military coup d’état by Col. Husni al-Za’im on March 30, 1949, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vi, pp. 1680 ff.
  4. Assistant Secretary McGhee received Faiz el-Khouri at the latter’s request at noon on December 4. The Minister said that he had been instructed to convey the assurances contained in his country’s note S 90 (see telegram 321, December 3, p. 1085).He added that U.S. support of the new government would be helpful, especially if given without “show” or fanfare and if it followed recognition action by the Arab states. McGhee said he would be happy to continue to meet informally with the Syrian Minister. A memorandum of the conversation, by the Acting Director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs, Kopper, dated December 4, is in Department of State file 783.00/12–451.