783.02/12–651: Telegram

The Chargé in Syria ( Clark ) to the Department of State 1


334. Today French, Turk, Brit Mins and I exchanged view informally re new regime. We are agreed it appears in complete control of situation throughout Syria and barring danger of assassination which most ME rulers share in common there is little prospect of its being overthrown. Yesterday French MilAtt saw Shishikli who referred to Syrian grievances against West, especially Palestine, but expressed desire coop with west and hinted he might even go along with MEC without Egypt if assured adequate supply of modern arms. (We wld treat this with reserve and raise question as to whether Syrian MEC membership wld be a good thing until new regime had some accomplishments to show Syrian people in other fields. It is, nevertheless, a significant indication of Shishikli’s attitude.) He also wld have elections within two or three months and French MilAtt recd impression no new Cabinet wld be formed in meantime. Unless Shishikli can form Cabinet of moderates he wld have to rely on some extremist support which wld not be in our interest; perhaps absence of Cabinet not a bad thing for time being view qualifications all secys gen (Legtel 321, Dec 3)2 except Secy Gen FonOff Jamal Farra who we understand may be replaced.

We agree adverse factors are continued imprisonment elected officials and position of influence Akram Hawrani still has. These are internal matters and we have found nonrecognition is not a useful instrument of policy. Moreover, efforts to influence Shishikli take internal steps he feels impracticable wld probably not serve useful purpose. We cld probably do more to influence him after recognition than before.

We concurred recognition by Western Powers shld probably not long be withheld after Arab States extend it. According present info only Iraq seems likely hold out and Brit Min suggested Iraq Govt might be advised futility of waging long fight if other Arab States ready recognize.

Leg attachés maintaining informal contact with lower echelons, including Shishikli’s ADC and I have suggested asst army attaché hint to ADC army attaché he wld be glad have talk with Shishikli in private capacity learn his views.

If notwithstanding foregoing, Dept believes specific quid pro quos shld attach to recognition we wld appreciate guidance.

  1. Repeated to London, Paris, Baghdad, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Jidda, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tripoli, Ankara, and Moscow.
  2. Ante, p. 1085.