237. Telegram From the Embassy in Lebanon to the Department of State1

227. Have preferred await seeking official reaction Secretary’s speech from President2 and Prime Minister3 in order allow additional time their consideration. Foreign Minister4 now in Cairo, will presumably express a position upon return here this week. However, believe reaction can be summarized as readiness keep door open examine proposals.

My British colleague is proposing and I concur, that Secretary and possibly Macmillan issue statements on eve Arab League Political Committee Cairo session September 3. Statement might take form response to press conference question and/or might be communicated to governments concerned by US–UK diplomatic representatives. Statement could take note some encouraging response to Secretary’s proposals and disposition give them serious consideration. Suggestion could then be made that if parties willing, Secretary would be glad meet representatives countries concerned separately or in groups during his presence Europe October to explore further steps which might be desirable.

Such statement would signify continuing US–UK interest and might forestall negative or restrictive action which might hamper future negotiations. Statement would have advantage also maintaining momentum while at same time keeping question methods and forums completely flexible.

Embassy believes Trieste pattern offers best chance in view great difficulty if not impossibility bringing parties together for direct talks at this stage and generally confusing possibilities of UN jurisdiction. Embassy also believes if US and UK play broker role far preferable negotiate with representatives countries concerned keeping decisions out of Arab League if possible. We would hope negotiations might be confined as much as possible to states bordering Israel, thus eliminating obstructionist role such states as Saudi Arabia, Yemen.

Whether Secretary makes statement or not we strongly recommend missions in Arab capitals be instructed approach governments [Page 420] urging against precipitate action Cairo meeting and calm careful consideration which would leave door open for further exploration.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 684A.86/8–3055. Top Secret; Priority; Alpha; Limited Distribution. Received at 5:28 p.m. Repeated to London.
  2. Camille Chamoun.
  3. Samih al-Sulh.
  4. Hamid Frangieh.
  5. The Embassy in London reported on September 1 that the Foreign Office had received a message from the British Ambassador in Lebanon suggesting that Dulles or Macmillan issue a further statement. The Embassy also noted, however, that the Foreign Office “does not like idea.” (Telegram 839; Department of State, Central Files, 684A.86/9–155)