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

571. Eyes only for Secretary from Murphy. Admiral Holloway lunched with McClintock and me today. He showed us a copy of a telegram sent by Admiral Brown, CINCSIXTHFLT, to Holloway,2 information Burke, in which Admiral Brown made certain recommendations after a brief visit to Beirut July 18/19. Admiral Brown recommended that American forces in Beirut be reduced to the minimum necessary to protect American lives and property; that their objective would be to prevent a military coup and the control of key positions leading to reduction or isolation of the Basta area in Beirut to [by?] the Lebanese Army; to secure the port of Tripoli as increase of US forces permit; to seize other key points of infiltration and to seal the Lebanese borders. He also recommended a series of broadcasts to the Lebanese people explaining the purposes of the American military intervention.

Admiral Holloway, Ambassador McClintock and I find ourselves in disagreement with part of Admiral Brown’s recommendations which incidentally were not discussed by the Admiral while he was here. No doubt there was not adequate opportunity. We believe that continuation of the present line will be productive of the best results from the US point of view. Admiral Holloway particularly is pleased and encouraged over the developing attitude of General Chehab, Commander of the Lebanese Forces. There is increasing cordiality and cooperation. For us to assume the burden of sealing the Lebanese border which consists of almost 200 miles of frontier; to seize other points such as Tripoli at this time would be entirely counter-productive from a political point of view in our opinion. Of course, this opinion is based on an ignorance of whatever decisions you may have arrived at during the course of conversations with Lloyd regarding the larger picture. Those decisions conceivably could increase the scope of the operation, but we are inclined to believe in the light of your conversation with Malik3 this is not the case.

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Should Admiral Burke bring the foregoing to attention, we hope that an effort could be made to reassure him that in our opinion here, pursuit of this present line will be productive of the best results.4

Holloway is reporting separately to Burke.

I might add that we are making contact with some opposition leaders. We will hope to report on this separately. Thus far I am convinced that the earliest solution of the internal Lebanese political problem may well be in our interest. There are some affirmative aspects of the situation which seem to me very encouraging.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/7–2158. Secret; Niact; No Distribution Outside the Department.
  2. Not found.
  3. See Document 198.
  4. The Department responded, in telegram 399 to Beirut, eyes only for Murphy: “We concur your recommendations and will so speak to Admiral Burke should he raise matter.” (Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/7–2158; included in the microfiche supplement)