331. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Allen) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Murphy)1


  • Activities of Syrian Ambassador Zeineddine


Syrian Ambassador Zeineddine has made a number of speeches in this country in which he has asserted that Zionists are not wholly loyal to the country where they reside because of a higher allegiance [Page 587] to international political Zionism. On June 26 at Normal, Illinois, he said that, “to them (Zionists), the Jews are a nation within every nation, an American Jew is not an American primarily nor even ultimately, he is only an exile, so is a Jew of any other nation”. He said he had “nothing against Jews as such, neither racial nor religious”.

His activities have been sharply criticized in communications to the Department from a number of organizations and individuals. Representative Boyle (Dem., III.), in extended remarks in the Congressional Record of July 3, expressed the general tenor of these criticisms when he demanded that the Department ask the Ambassador to apologize publicly to American Jews for the remarks in his Normal speech, and, if he failed to do so satisfactorily, declare him persona non grata. Mr. Boyle referred to Dr. Zeineddine’s “wild, far-sweeping, vicious falsehood”.

I discussed this problem with Ambassador Zeineddine on July 11,2 questioning the propriety of a foreign Ambassador publicly castigating a world movement which involved many Americans. The Ambassador maintained that he had full rights to attack international Zionism. Later he handed the Department the attached lengthy note of July 16 (Tab B)3 asking that the Secretary bring it to the attention of the President and the Speaker of the House. The note protests Representative Boyle’s “insult” and states that if the United States fails to take appropriate action, the Syrian Embassy and Government will do “what is proper and useful”.

Ambassador Zeineddine appears in some ways anxious to pose both here and in Syria as a martyr. I believe we should try to prevent the matter from assuming significant proportions and to the extent feasible, place him in cold storage. As is evident from the attached telegram from Damascus, Ambassador Moose concurs in this view (Tab C).4


That you sign the attached brief reply to the Syrian Ambassador’s note (Tab A).
That in the future senior officials of the Department show reluctance to receive the Ambassador.5
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 601.8311/7–3056. Confidential. Drafted by Burdett and Boardman on July 27 and concurred in by H.
  2. A copy of the memorandum of conversation, by Boardman, and related documentation are Ibid., NEA Files: Lot 58 D 545, Syria.
  3. None of the tabs are attached. Zeineddine’s 5-page letter with its 10-page attachment, not printed, is Ibid., Central Files, 601.8311/7–1656.
  4. The source text indicates that Tab C was telegram 193 from Damascus, July 24, 1956 (Ibid., 601.8311/7–2456); and telegram 106 to Damascus, July 19, 1956 (Ibid., 601.8311/7–1956).
  5. Murphy initialed his approval.

    The letter from Murphy to Zeineddine, sent on August 16, reads as follows:

    “I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note dated July 16, 1956 regarding reactions to your speech of June 26, at Normal, Illinois.

    “I can now assure you that the appropriate officials of the Government of the United States have taken due notice of your representations.

    “The wish expressed in your note under acknowledgment to see relations between our countries enhanced is of course reciprocated.

    “It might be added that, as you are no doubt aware, members of the Congress enjoy the privilege of expressing their personal views on the floor of the Congress.

    “Accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my consideration.

    “For the Acting Secretary of State: Robert Murphy.” (Ibid., 601.8311/7–1656)