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

1362. During call which Holloway and I paid this morning on General Chehab (military aspects of which are separately reported to JCS by Admiral),2 I continued review of political and security situation from point of my last meeting with General (Embtel 1311).3

Chehab said that following his stormy reaction to rebel manifesto last Sunday, he had discerned a definite trend toward second thoughts in opposition leadership. He was particularly encouraged that Rachid Karame, leader of rebellion in Tripoli, had come to Beirut for sole purpose of attempting to reason with leadership in the Basta with view to gradual re-opening of that quarter and a phased lifting of general strike throughout Lebanon. Other elements at work included Takieddine Solh, Chehab’s political adviser, and Yusef Salam acting as head of the powerful syndicate of industrialists and merchants.

An important factor of Chehab’s negotiations with opposition would be offer of possibility of reembarkation of additional US troop units. Chehab in consequence welcomed Holloway’s suggestion for possible retraction of a marine BLT by 15 September. However, we all agreed this plan should be most closely held in order to permit Chehab to make offer to rebel leadership to use his best influence on CINCSPECOMME for withdrawal of BLT in return for real progress on their side in opening Beirut and reestablishment of security.

Chehab seemed reasonably confident that by a combination of carrot and stick methods the Basta could commence to return to a normal state and seemed to anticipate strike might at least be alleviated tomorrow or Tuesday.

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My current reading of situation that provided means can be found of saving oriental face and above plan (as I expect) Chehab can intimate to rebel leaders they may anticipate amnesty after he takes office, general strike should commence to wane next week. I therefore fully concur with CINCSPECOMME’s recommendation both as to phased withdrawal and return of official dependents by mid-September.

Re formation of new government following his assumption of presidency September 24, Chehab said he was insisting to both opposition and loyalist factions on three principles: (1) unity, (2) pacification and (3) work. He said no person would be invited to enter next cabinet who did not observe these 3 principles. He added wryly this would eliminate a number of politicians.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/8–3058. Secret. Repeated to Damascus, Cairo, London, and USUN.
  2. Not found.
  3. Document 299.