292. Telegram From the Embassy in Lebanon to the Department of State 1

1255. Admiral Holloway has sent comprehensive telegram to JCS describing his interview August 21 with General Chehab.2 Holloway is under no illusions as to dilatory nature of the General but feels pressure on him to take some effective measures to redress security situation had best wait until after Chehab takes office as President.

Holloway’s tentative recommendations to JCS for phased withdrawal of US forces are to embark one Marine BLT on September 15; withdrawing a second BLT toward October 1. Final retraction of army battlegroup would be scheduled for October 15; all of this dependent on overall strategic situation in ME, political and security situation in Lebanon itself, and outcome of Hammarskjold negotiations. Holloway and General Adams are concerned for “winterization” of forces if they remain here much beyond October 15.

Admiral Holloway, General Adams and I are in agreement on need for more decisive measures to clean out the Basta, which is a continuing source of political and security infection in Lebanon’s capital. Admiral believes that suggestions re phased withdrawal of his forces may exert a sort of negative pressure on Chehab to get moving with his own forces before American withdrawal becomes complete.

I desire to emphasize foregoing time schedule is a tentative one designed to assist JCS in forward planning. Admiral Holloway proposes to move his flagship to Rhodes toward mid-September but will maintain fairly frequent contact by personal visits here.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/8–2358. Top Secret; No Distribution Outside Department.
  2. Not found.
  3. On August 28, the Department responded that it has no objection to the contingency planning timetable proposed by Admiral Holloway, and had so advised the JCS. The Department, however, “would of course concur in actual withdrawal orders only after careful consideration political factors which under continuous review.” (Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/8–2358; included in the microfiche supplement)