184. Telegram From the Embassy in Syria to the Department of State1

1942. During private conversation with President and Foreign Minister after presentation credentials this morning, Quwwatli, in response my expressed desire assist in removing misunderstandings between two countries, heartily concurred and offered me his cordial support and that of Syrian Government. He urged me to cultivate Syrian contacts and “learn truth about Syria.”

Speaking earnestly but somewhat defensively, he said Syrians “only fault” is fervent nationalism, their sole aim is to achieve and maintain complete sovereignty and independence within framework of Arab unity, they are in no sense Communist, they have absolutely nothing to hide. He spoke warmly of United States-Syrian friendship since World War I and repeated hope and belief recent misunderstandings could be dissipated.

He referred to difficult times we are experiencing and emphasized imperative necessity avoiding war with annihilating new weapons. He inquired after health President Eisenhower and spoke cordially of President’s contribution to world peace and freedom. Foreign Minister did not participate in conversation except to agree politely to early meeting between us to review Syro-American relations.

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Comment: It seemed to me that President was making special effort to calm United States apprehension and to convince us that he at least will do his best to improve relations.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.83/1–1658. Confidential.