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

3783. Reference last sentence Embtel 3033,2 time is now growing very short before situation foreseen reference telegram becomes actual on basis of my conversation last night with Chamoun (paragraph 6 Embtel 3779).3 Have no doubt whatever he has fullest intention of requesting landing of Marines by direct message to President Eisenhower if Syrian forces whether irregular or otherwise appear in some number on Lebanese soil.

Department will no doubt have already considered best means of responding to such appeal, including UN (with certainty of Soviet veto) action under Eisenhower Doctrine (which probably does not apply in view of absence of overt Communist aggression) or by simple and legally justified landing of forces in response to request by friendly government.

I believe Chamoun has already long discounted propaganda stigma of being called “US stooge” and would prefer to take that rather than what to him is more imminent and tangible peril of Syrian military operations against Lebanon.

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Department will from its wider vantage point be able to calculate reactions of Communist bloc, including possibility of Soviet or other “volunteers” entering Near East as counter-poise to any US military intervention.

Purpose of this message is to reaffirm once more our conviction contingency foreseen some months ago is almost at our doorstep.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/5–1258. Top Secret.
  2. Telegram 3033 from Beirut, March 12, assessed the dangers that would arise when the “Egyptian-Syrian honeymoon” ended, and Syria might be tempted to intervene in Lebanon. (Ibid., 786.00/3–1258)
  3. Supra.