363. Telegram From the Embassy in Lebanon to the Department of State1
2222. Raymond Edde called on me this afternoon. He said Karami somehow had impression (cf. Embtel 2129)2 US possibility of aid for Lebanon could not become actual before calendar 1959. Prime Minister said Edde was being pressed by Soviet Ambassador to accept credits from USSR. Karami was tempted in this direction because he felt there would be a budget deficit for calendar 58 which could not be met by US assistance.
I told Edde undoubtedly their technicians had gotten confused as between US FY59 and calendar 59. However, in my discussions with Prime Minister I had not mentioned any dates or any figure of aid. We were still waiting to be invited to examine Lebanese budget and to ascertain if in fact there was a requirement for US assistance.
Edde said so far as he knew Lebanese budget for calendar 58 would show a deficit of between 25 and 30 million Lebanese pounds ($7.8 and 9.2 million). He said he intended to see President Chehab this evening as well as Karami and would recommend that our scrutiny of Lebanese budget requirements commence forthwith and not toward mid-November as suggested by Prime Minister (Embtel 2129).
I said we would be willing to examine the books at any time. However I did not want anyone in government to have impression we would be impelled to action by prospect of Soviet entry into aid field. [Page 626]If by chance USSR did give credits to Lebanon it might ease over-all burden and we could contemplate a diminished requirement for US assistance. Edde quickly rejoined “Oh, no”.