10. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Lebanon1

3626. Embtels 29642 and 2976.3 You should seek early occasion convey to Chamoun our views re Presidential election as follows:

We appreciate opportunity discuss this matter frankly with him.
We consider Presidential succession internal Lebanese question to be determined in accordance domestic Lebanese political requirements.
On basis information available to us it seems clear any efforts amend Constitution to permit Chamoun succeed himself will have important bearing on internal security situation in Lebanon. Questions raised in this connection are ones which GOL is in best position decide.
We share his belief that best posture for friendly diplomatic representatives to adopt is one of aloofness from this internal Lebanese problem. We intend maintain such attitude in connection any public or private inquiries regarding US position.
We would hope have opportunity review developments with him from time to time.

FYI—We plan convey substance Paragraphs 1–5 above to British and French here. You authorized do same in Beirut. We agree Chamoun appears determined press for his re-election and that it would be undesirable attempt further to dissuade him. We continue believe it preferable avoid any indication for present that we are prepared support him and view his attitude [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] (Embtel 2976) do not believe such commitment now called for. [11/2 lines of source text not declassified]

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/3–658. Top Secret. Drafted by Waggoner and approved by Rountree.
  2. Supra.
  3. In telegram 2976 from Beirut, March 6, the Embassy reported on an interview with President Chamoun in which Chamoun indicated that he intended to place before parliament in May the issue of amending the constitution and his subsequent reelection. He felt that there was sufficient support in parliament to carry the proposal, and added that the best attitude for friendly diplomatic representatives to adopt would be aloofness from the issue. (Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/3–658)