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

3481. Subsequent meeting three ambassadors reported Embtel 34782 I last night saw Malik on other matters. He volunteered that at luncheon yesterday with Chamoun President had privately indicated his conviction that to redeem his own personal honor he must seek a speedy determination of reelection issue. Chamoun told Malik he was now resolved bring this matter to a head next month, thus confirming report set out Embtel 3432.3

According to Malik, President said, “everyone around me may collapse, but I shall be the last to collapse.” He depicted President as saying that if issue were merely internal political one of Chamoun against his domestic followers, he would undertake struggle light-heartedly. However, it had become a contest in which massive outside forces were engaged, including those of UAR and such supporters as Nasser had internationally. According to Malik, Chamoun expressed regret his friends among western powers, and particularly US, had not seen fit to express any interest in his fate. One practical application of US friendly interest, said the President, would be merely to tell Edde Brothers, for example, US was friendly to Chamoun. This alone would serve to cast die as between opposition to amendment of constitution by Edde bloc (Embtel 3310)4 and an affirmative vote for amendment.

Comment: In this estimate, Chamoun is undoubtedly right. However, his portrayal of himself as a lonely white knight fighting battle against international powers of darkness is more Wagnerian than situation warrants.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/4–1858. Top Secret. Repeated to London and Paris.
  2. In telegram 3478 from Beirut, April 17, McClintock reported on a meeting that day with British Ambassador Middleton and French Ambassador Roche to discuss and coordinate efforts to respond to the mounting political crisis in Lebanon. (Ibid., 783A.00/4–1758; included in the microfiche supplement)
  3. Dated April 15. (Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/4–1558; included in the microfiche supplement)
  4. Document 12.