783.5 MSP/12–2051: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Legation in Syria 1

top secret

247. Eyes Minister only. Deptel 209 Dec 1.2

1. Director Mutual Security in response Joint State–Defense recommendation with JCS concurrence has declared Syria eligible [Page 1096] cash reimbursable aid under Sec 408e Mutual Defense Act 1949 as amended.3

2. Defense–JCS concurrence confined to limited amt selected equipment consisting of “non-competitive items under existing priority guidance formulated by JCS and which do not interfere with current US or MDA programs.” Concurrence also stipulates all mil equipment of this kind which can be readily supplied shld not be committed Syr but portion earmarked other NE countries in anticipation arms requests.

3. Draft texts notes which might be exchanged between Leg and Syr Govt to form US–Syr agreement under 408e, being forwarded airmail to Leg.

4. Defense has worked out list items which might be made available Syr in modest amts on cash reimbursable basis within next six months. If certain these items wld fill needs Syr Army and supply wld advance US objectives without creating difficulties such as competition with Fr, Dept suggests Leg and Defense Attachés work out recommendations re items and quantities Syrs cld use so that prices and delivery date forecasts can be drawn up here for Legs info.

[Here follows a list of military equipment available from United States supplies, followed by comments of the Department of Defense concerning limitations on the speed with which it could be delivered and on the amount of spare parts available.]

9. After US–Syria exchange notes above action wld place Syria on equal footing Saudi Arabia; only these two NE states so far made eligible for any kind mil aid. Eligibility Syria designed make possible prompt substantive US participation any Western efforts assist Syria with arms equipment. Dept sets store by recommendations informal comite chiefs of mission (Deptel 238, Dec 14)4 as coordinating channel potential US, UK, Fr and Turk aid. Dept will not reveal its internal steps toward eligibility Syria to UK, Fr, Turks, Syrians or any other state, preferring act on Syrian requests coordinated via comite which includes states pledged arms control under Tripartite Declaration.5

10. Above info must be limited within Leg those officers directly concerned with question, and in no instance alluded to in any way in discussions with diplomatic colleagues or Syrs.

  1. Repeated, eyes Ambassador only, to London, Paris, and Ankara. Drafted by Gnade and cleared by him with Captain Patrick of the Department of Defense. Cleared also with Emery, Coe, Godley, Berry (NEA), Moore, and Ohly.
  2. Not printed; it informed the Legation that the Department of State was discussing with the Department of Defense the possibility of providing early cash reimbursable aid to Syria in token quantities and requested the Army Attaché at Damascus to provide through Defense channels an amplified and imaginative list of legitimate Syrian military supply needs. He was requested not to approach the Syrians in preparing the list. (783.5/12–151)
  3. For documentation on the Mutual Security Program, see vol. i, pp. 266 ff.
  4. Ante, p. 1090.
  5. For documentation concerning the Tripartite Declaration of May 25, 1950, see Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. v, pp. 122 ff.; for the text of the Declaration, see Department of State Bulletin, June 5, 1950, p. 886.