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As the files of this office do not show that either the two last mentioned Decrees or No. 324, November 22, 1939, were ever transmitted to the Department I am forwarding copies of all by the pouch.

ENGERT

8900.00/855: Telegram

The Consul General at Beirut (Engert) to the Secretary of State

BEIRUT, October 4, 1941–10 a. m.

[Received 11:51 a. m.] 395. My 375, September 22 [20] 45 and 381, September 28. I have just received a formal note from the Syrian Minister for Foreign Affairs in Damascus dated October 2 in which he announces the proclamation of the independence of Syria on September 27. He continues :

"This event which corresponds to the profound aspirations of the people of Syria inaugurates in this country a new political era and enables Syria to consolidate and develop the very cordial relations which it maintains with your country.

It is to this end that the Syrian Government has established a Ministry of Foreign Affairs which has immediately taken in hand all matters coming within its competency.

This Ministry will henceforth be happy to communicate with you."

When [What?] reply if any does the Department wish me to make? The only two colleagues I have questioned so far are also asking for instructions from their Governments.

ENGERT

8900.00/852: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Beirut (Engert)

WASHINGTON, October 6, 1941–5 p. m. 182. Your no. 387 [381], September 28, 10 p. m. You are instructed to inform General Catroux in a written communication that his proclamation of September 27 has been brought to the attention of this Government and that while the United States, in accordance with its traditional policy, is in full sympathy with the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian and Lebanese peoples, this Government considers it necessary to remind not only the authorities who may assume responsibility for granting independence to Syria and Lebanon but also the

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Syrian and Lebanese authorities that the United States has certain treaty rights in the area which can not be abrogated or modified without the consent of this Government. Fundamental among these rights, as provided in Article 6 of the Convention between the United States and France signed at Paris on April 4, 1924, is that no modification in the terms of the mandate for Syria and Lebanon shall affect American treaty rights in the area unless such modification has been assented to by the United States. Termination of the mandate would constitute, of course, the most extreme modification possible. General Catroux is doubtless aware that Article 5 of the mandate for Syria and Lebanon, provides that the privileges and immunities of foreigners, including consular jurisdiction and the capitulations, shall at the expiration of the mandate be immediately reestablished unless those Powers which enjoyed them in 1914, including the United States, shall have previously renounced the right to their reestablishment. The United States has of course made no such renunciation. While the American Government has no reason to believe that the regime to be set up in Syria and Lebanon will make necessary the resumption of consular jurisdiction, it is necessary to recall the provisions of Article 5 of the mandate in any full consideration of the subject at hand.

You should inform General Catroux that your communication to him is made solely as a result of his public declaration and has no other purpose or significance than to invite attention to the treaty rights of the United States in Syria and Lebanon and to make a full reservation of those rights. Pending a clarification of the situation in the area, the United States does not consider that the circumstances existing at present offer a suitable occasion for this Government to un enter into any negotiations for the conclusion of appropriate agreements covering relations between the United States and the area concerned.

Unless you perceive objection, please request General Catroux to bring the foregoing to the attention of the appropriate local authorities.

For your own information, you will find in the Department's instruction to Paris, no. 734 of March 8, 1938,16 a copy of which was handed to Consul General Palmer and presumably placed in the Beirut files, a full discussion of the arrangements which we have had in mind to regularize our position in Syria and Lebanon in the event their independence is recognized.

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HULL

46 Foreign Relations, 1938, vol. II, p. 1014.

890D.00/861 The Ambassador to the Polish Government in Exile (Biddle) 48 to the

Secretary of State No. 58

LONDON, October 6, 1941.

[Received October 18.] SIR: I have the honor to report that M. Maurice Dejean, National Commissioner for Foreign Affairs in the recently formed De Gaulle National Committee, has asked me to forward the attached copy and translation of an Aide-Mémoire, dated October 2, 1941.

In handing me these documents, M. Dejean pointed out that the American Consul General in Beirut had inquired what opportunity would be offered our Government for consultation on the possible termination of the French Mandate in Syria. Moreover, the Consul General there asked what guarantees would be given for the safeguard of American rights acquired by virtue of the existing treaties and of the present position of the United States in relation to Syria.

M. Dejean believed that the attached Aide-Mémoire clearly set forth the Free French position in relation to these questions. Respectfully yours,

A. J. DREXEL BIDDLE, JR.

[Enclosure-Translation] Aide-Mémoire by the National Commission for Foreign Affairs

of Free France

[LONDON,] October 2, 1941. The United States Consul-General in Beirut has enquired what opportunities would be offered to his Government for consultation on the subject of the possible termination of the French mandate in Syria. Moreover, he has asked what guarantees would be given for the safeguard of American rights acquired by virtue of the existing treaties and of America's present position in Syria.

Free France has no intention whatsoever of encroaching on the rights and position of the United States in Syria. In particular, she means to respect the Franco-American Convention of August [April] 4th, 1924. Nevertheless, however desirous Free France may be to grant in fact to the States of the Levant the maximum independence compatible with the necessities of the war, she holds that there can be no question of legally putting an end to the mandate régime as instituted by an act of the Council of the League of Nations, dated July 22nd, 1922, which entered into force on September 29th, 1923.

* Mr. Biddle was also accredited to various other exiled governments established in England.

Free France, which is only recognised—in certain conditions—by Great Britain and the U. S. S. R., is not qualified to ask for the discharge of this mandate, which could only be granted by the Council of the League of Nations.

The régime to be set up in Syria during the war cannot be anything but provisional. Nonetheless, the Free French authorities could not at any time tolerate that special rights should be set aside or neglected in the case of a nation which, by the help it is giving to Great Britain and the U. S. S. R., is making such an important contribution to the struggle for the liberation of France.

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890D.01/540 : Telegram The Consul General at Beirut (Engert) to the Secretary of State

BEIRUT, October 8, 1941–10 a. m.

[Received 2:40 p. m.] 404. In connection with the proclamation of Syrian independence I am quoting below from a letter General de Gaulle addressed to General Catroux under date of June 24, 1941, i. e., 3 weeks before the Allies entered Beirut. Text is contained in my despatch number 131 49 which may not reach the Department for some time.

“The mandate for which France was made responsible by the League of Nations in 1924 must come to an end. For this reason you will take as a starting point for the negotiations with the States of the Levant the Treaty of Alliance concluded with them in 1936.50 I take it upon myself to transmit to the League of Nations at the proper time the substitution in the Levant of the regime of the mandate by a new regime which will be in accord with the purposes for which the mandate was created."

ENGERT 8900.00/858: Telegram

The Consul General at Beirut (Engert) to the Secretary of State

BEIRUT, October 8, 1941–5 p. m.

[Received October 8–3:46 p. m.] 405. I have today handed General Catroux a note containing the substance of the Department's 182, October 6, 5 p. m.

He said he entirely understood the Department's points of view and would reply in writing. He particularly appreciated the friendly

50

4° Dated August 20, not printed.

Franco-Syrian Treaty of Friendship and Alliance, signed at Damascus, December 22, 1936, and the Franco-Lebanese Treaty of Friendship and Alliance, signed at Beirut, November 13, 1936. These treaties were never ratified by France. For texts, see France, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Rapport à la Société des Nations sur la situation de la Syrie et du Libon (année 1936), pp. 201 and 229.

tone of the Department's observations and would do what he could to see that the treaty rights of the United States and other powers were protected.

I then asked him if he would be so good as to bring the note to the attention of the Syrian and Lebanese authorities and he said that he would be glad to do so.

I am also giving a copy of my note to the British authorities.

In my conversation with Catroux I took the occasion to refer to the Mixed Courts—see my 392, October 2—and informed him that I naturally was obliged to reserve all rights on behalf of American citizens whose interests might be affected by the new legislation. He replied it was a purely temporary measure and gave me his personal promise that if an American case should come up he would see that a majority of judges was French even if he had to send to Egypt to obtain them.

ENGERT

890D.00/855 : Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Consul General at Beirut (Engert)

WASHINGTON, October 13, 1941–10 p. m. 186. Your 395, October 4, 10 a. m. You should acknowledge the receipt of the communications in an informal letter without according any title to the addressee, stating that you have referred his communication to your government, where the general subject of American relations with the area of Syria and Lebanon are under consideration. You should add that your government, meanwhile, has instructed you to make a full reservation of American treaty rights in Syria and Lebanon, and should include the observations contained in your note to General Catroux drafted in accordance with the Department's telegram no. 182, October 6, 5 p. m., making necessary changes, mutatis mutandis, to apply to the Syrian official rather than Catroux.

HULL

890D.00/859 : Telegram The Consul General at Beirut (Engert) to the Secretary of State

BEIRUT, October 14, 1941–11 a. m.

[Received 1:30 p. m.] 412. My 405, October 8, 5 p. m. I have today received a note from General Catroux dated yesterday in which he acknowledges mine of October 8th. He quotes the sentence from his proclamation of September 27 mentioned in numbered paragraph 3 of my 381, September 28 and states that this provision applies of course to the obligation

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