67. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Lebanon1

4710. Verbatim text.

FYI. Nasser formula has been subject consideration highest levels US and UK Governments. We are not willing to become accomplice with Nasser in any moves not desired by GOL, but if GOL wished we would follow up this opening. Following instructions are in this context. You should inform your UK colleague in strictest confidence of proposed approach to Chamoun. UK officials have undertaken to treat matter on Eyes Only basis. End FYI.

You should inform Chamoun orally that Nasser has indicated he might be willing to use his influence to try to end dissidence within Lebanon provided it was understood a) Chamoun would finish his term b) Chehab to become Prime Minister c) amnesty for opposition, who Nasser believes would otherwise be unwilling to come to terms.

We are conveying this information as matter loyalty to Lebanon and not because we endorse proposal which is for Lebanon to decide. Neither can we assume any responsibility for Nasser’s good faith.

In deciding what to do Chamoun should know that US and UK Governments adhere scrupulously to prior commitments. As Chamoun knows we have foreseen grave difficulties surrounding the introduction of foreign forces in Lebanon, and continue to hope that Lebanese independence can be effectively preserved without this measure of last resort.

You should emphasize to Chamoun that discussions with Nasser have been such that advantage cannot be taken of his possible willingness to seek solution by making this known publicly. We are convinced [Page 109]that any such public disclosure would in fact be extremely counterproductive for reasons that a) it would result in repudiation by Nasser, b) Nasser would increase attacks on GOL, c) it would be betrayal of Nasser’s confidence as far as we are concerned, and d) it would create impression US not firmly supporting GOL which would redound to grave disadvantage to both GOL and US. We therefore wish to discuss this matter with Chamoun on completely confidential and personal basis.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/6–1158. Top Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Drafted on June 10 by Rountree and cleared by Dulles. Repeated to Cairo. Dulles sent a copy of this telegram to President Eisenhower on June 11 with a covering note that indicated that he had worked out the text of the message with Macmillan. Dulles added that he felt the message reflected Eisenhower’s observations on a preliminary draft, “which was too long and somewhat ambiguous.” (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, International Series) The initial draft cited by Dulles has not been found.