313. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Syria1

288. In view of conclusion of Syrian-Egyptian defense pact, US Government is not able to negotiate with Syria at this moment agreement regarding military aid on cash reimbursable basis. Syria seems to be following pattern, previously observed in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, of asking for US aid and then refusing as justification for obtaining arms from Soviet bloc. Furthermore Syria’s priority to buy US equipment through USG channels would be low; consequently prices would be high. Even if higher priority and correspondingly lower prices for Syria could be obtained it seems likely Syrian Government would merely use our offer for bargaining with Soviets. If questioned you may in your discretion reply that US has [Page 558] still reached no decision and matter is pending. Fanza2 who is presently in Washington is being informed to this effect.

Meanwhile we are giving urgent consideration to ways and means of strengthening hand of pro-US and pro-Western groups in Syria and will appreciate your views in light new situation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783.5 MSP/10–2555. Secret. Drafted by Wilkins and approved by Allen who signed for Hoover. Repeated to Tel Aviv, Baghdad, Cairo, Jidda, and Beirut.
  2. In telegram 280 from Damascus, September 28, Moose reported to the Department that Fansa had informed the Embassy that he would be visiting the United States on behalf of President Quwatli. (Ibid., 033.8311/9–2855)