93. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Rountree) to the Secretary of State1


  • Directive for American Commander in Charge of Combined U.S./U.K. Military Operations in Lebanon


We have obtained from J.C.S. an excerpt covering “Mission” and “Execution” from the plans for the combined U.S./U.K. military operations in Lebanon (Tab A).2 It is our understanding that these plans have been drawn up by U.S. and U.K. military planners in London and that as they stand they have “British agreement.” It is not clear if the Foreign Office has seen or approved the plans.

The “Mission” stated in the military plans in several respects goes beyond the political objectives envisaged in the themes you approved on May 15 as our public position in the event of military intervention in Lebanon (Tab B),3 which the British subsequently agreed to with the single reservation noted. The “Mission” also goes beyond our draft Political Directive to the Military Commanders (Tab C),4 which was based on the approved themes and a British draft political directive. The “Mission” of the military plans explicitly includes the following as objectives of the operations:

to support local friendly government, or,
if required, to re-establish the authority of a local friendly government, and
to assist in the maintenance of order.

In addition, under “Concept of Operations”, the last sentence of paragraph (5) contains the essentially political determination that “U.S.-British operations will continue until stability within Lebanon is established under a viable pro-Western government.”

Because of circumstances that might exist at the time the operation is mounted, the “Execution” section of the military plans gives the commander considerable flexibility in carrying out his orders. Upon the entry into Lebanon at Beirut, his forces are to be prepared to cope [Page 151] with organized resistance, and if fired upon would return fire. The plans provide that subsequently operations are to be expanded to other essential areas and facilities beyond Beirut. Air surveillance of the Lebanese frontiers will be conducted on both the UAR and Israeli borders. The plans call attention to the fact that subsequent developments might require our commitment of additional forces to accomplish the mission. (For example, this could result if there were widespread Moslem defections in the Lebanese Army or if it lacked the will to carry operations into opposition strongholds in the interior.)

From the foregoing it is clear that these plans contain objectives much more explicit than our stated second objective in the themes: “to assist the Government of Lebanon in its military program for the preservation of the independence and integrity of Lebanon.” It is apparently the military view that the more explicit objectives stated in the plans are necessarily implied once a request for intervention has been accepted. In order for the military to achieve the objectives and in order to protect themselves, they must be in a position to pursue a vigorous course against any opposition—even if it comes from some segments of the Lebanese security forces. In that connection, there are sufficient unpredictable factors involved (such as whether General Chehab would be willing to act decisively against his compatriots among the opposition forces or the possibility of Moslem defections in the Lebanese security forces in the event of intervention) that it is probably militarily unrealistic for plans to be based on the thought that our forces could land and remain within the Beirut area, thus theoretically releasing the Lebanese forces to deal expeditiously with the opposition outside of the Beirut area and thereupon permitting the timely withdrawal of our military forces. It would appear that once having entered at Beirut our forces might well find it necessary to take action outside of the capital. We understand informally from the military that much larger forces would have to be called in if it should become necessary to expand the operations into the interior.


Though the objectives stated in the military plans go beyond those stated in the approved themes, they seem to be necessarily implied in the situation as it might develop once intervention took place.
There should be closer coordination between the Department and the military planners on detailed instructions relating to political aspects of the contingency planning. In this connection it might be desirable to detail a Departmental representative to maintain close liaison with the U.S./U.K military planners in London on this matter.
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that you take note of the excerpt from the military plans (Tab A).
that you approve our taking the necessary action to arrange for a Departmental representative to be placed in effective contact with the military planners in London to permit closer coordination on political aspects of the military planning.

Tab B


Lebanese Government has complained to/notified United Nations Security Council of large-scale militaristic interference from outside Lebanon which has disrupted peace and security of Lebanon and which gravely threatens independence of that country.
Both the United States and United Kingdom have received requests for aid from the President and (legitimate) government of Lebanon within the context of the Lebanese Government’s complaint to the Security Council regarding the threat to its integrity and independence.
The United States Government, in response to the Lebanese request and in the light of the situation in Lebanon, has agreed to send certain combat forces to Lebanon in order to protect American life and property and to assist the Lebanese Government in its military program for the preservation of the independence and integrity of Lebanon. The United Kingdom has also agreed to send military units to Lebanon for similar purposes.
This action is consonant with the provisions of the United Nations Charter. It relates to the need to preserve the independence of Lebanon against aggression, and has no purpose connected with the Lebanese internal political situation.7
As soon as the purposes for which these military units have been dispatched to the Lebanon are accomplished, the units will be immediately withdrawn.
It is noted that the Lebanese Government has received declarations of sympathy and support from other states in the area.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783A.00/6–1758. Top Secret; Limit Distribution; Eyes Only. Drafted on June 16 by Special Assistant Harrison M. Symmes. Sent to Dulles through Herter.
  2. included in the microfiche supplement.
  3. Printed below.
  4. Telegram 4741 to Beirut, June 12, was attached at Tab C. It is included in the microfiche supplement.
  5. Secretary Dulles initialed his approval of the recommendations.
  6. Top Secret; Limit Distribution; Eyes Only.
  7. British reserve position on this point. [Footnote in the source text.]