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and Lebanon and the treaties of alliance imposed by France, therefore, would be without any appropriate quid pro quo on her part in return for the “preeminent and privileged position" which she has claimed in that area and in which the British appear to have acquiesced.

Mr. Wright would recall that we had made it clear from the beginning that we would not recognize any such superior position of France in the states of Syria and Lebanon, when those states became independent, since, as he would agree, France had no such position there even as a mandatory power.

Mr. Wright said he was not familiar with his Government's position on this question but that he would immediately communicate with the Foreign Office and request a statement of British policy in the matter.


751.90D11/9-2244 : Telegram

The Appointed Minister to Syria and Lebanon (Wadsworth) 45 to

the Secretary of State

BEIRUT, September 22, 1944–5 p.m.

[Received 6:03 p. m.] 200. Following is text of telegram addressed to the Secretary by the Syrian Minister of Foreign Affairs just handed me by his secretary with request that I forward it textually and that identic telegrams are being sent to Messrs. Eden and Molotov 46 through the British Minister and Soviet Chargé d'Affaires respectively.

"Mr. Cordell Hull, Washington:

I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the British Minister and the French Representative in Syria have suggested that the Syrian Government enter into negotiations with the French representative for the conclusion of a treaty under which France should obtain as stated by the latter a privileged position in Syria. The Syrian Government considers this suggestion to be contrary to the high principles proclaimed in the Atlantic Charter and other documents by the leading statesmen of the United Nations on many occasions. The Syrian Government which is unwilling to recognize a privileged position in Syria for France or any other state has firmly refused to consider this suggestion. The Syrian Government considers the mandate formerly held by France to have been terminated both de jure and de facto since the constitution in Syria of liberal democratic and independent institutions and since the recognition by Great Britain, USSR, the USA [and] other countries including all those of Arab world of Syria's independence and the exchange of diplomatic representatives with those countries. The French representatives them

"Mr. Wadsworth had been appointed Minister to Syria and to Lebanon on September 21, 1944.

46 Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov, People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union.


selves concluded with Syria on December 22, 1943, an agreement transferring to it all the powers and prerogatives hitherto exercised by France in Syria's name. I can assure Your Excellency that the Syrian Government intends to continue to observe its national and international obligations in accordance with the desire of the Syrian people and with the support of the United Nations who have fought this war in defense of the ideals of liberty and justice and for the maintenance of peace throughout the whole world including the Middle East. Please accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest considerations. Signed Jamil Mardam Bey.” Repeated to Caserta.



The Appointed Minister to Syria and Lebanon (Wadsworth) to the

Secretary of State


No. 525

BEIRUT, September 22, 1944.

[Received September 30.] Sir: Supplementing my telegram no. 201 of today's date, 6 p. m., I have the honor to transmit herewith the original of the letter referred to therein as having been addressed to President Roosevelt by the President of Syria.

This letter is dated September 19, 1944, and is written in the English language. Copy is enclosed for the Department's convenience.

I venture to add, as of personal knowledge, that great care has gone into the preparation of this letter, the President himself having studied and worked over its every paragraph with his Premier and Foreign Minister. Consequently its statement and discussion of the burning

. issues of this pre-war-end period, as they see them, are of special interest.

Similar appeals, I was informed by the Foreign Minister's secretary who today handed me this letter, have been addressed by President Quwatly to King George and Marshal Stalin with appropriate modification of opening paragraph. Respectfully yours,



The President of the Syrian Republic (Kuwatly) to President


[DAMASCUS,] September 19, 1944. MR. PRESIDENT: Your diplomatic representative, who has our entire confidence and whose aim is to assure the mutual interests of your

“7 Not printed.

great country and our own, and to maintain peace and justice in this part of the world, has informed us of the disposition of the United States to recognize the Syrian Republic unconditionally and to exchange diplomatic representatives with it. The Syrian Government has expressed its great satisfaction and high appreciation for this friendly gesture and I am pleased to add thereto my own. This gesture is moreover a confirmation of the political traditions of the United States and of its idealism, which have always found in this country a deep and sympathetic repercussion since the time when your great predecessor, President Wilson, proclaimed to the world the principles of justice for all nations, large and small, and since an American commission 48 came to Syria in 1919 to carry out a plebiscite which would indicate the desires of the Syrian people. Moreover, in the Atlantic Charter and the Four Freedoms 49 which you yourself have proclaimed you have given a new impetus to the traditional American policy.

In this connection permit me to describe the political state of our country. Syria has been liberated during this war from the chains of secret agreements which it was made to endure in the name of the Mandate, and has struggled ceaselessly until its rights and national identity have been realized. The situation in Syria is, however, from the internal as well as external viewpoint clear and normal. From the internal viewpoint Syria has during the past year established its constitutional and democratic institutions based on the will of the people. As to the external viewpoint the great Powers, such as the United States, Great Britain, Russia, and all the Arab States and others as well, have recognized the sovereignty and independence of the Syrian Republic to which they have also accredited their diplomatic representatives. Even the representatives of France concluded on December 22, 1943, an agreement with the Syrian Government recognizing the independence and sovereignty of Syria and turning over to it all the powers which France had hitherto exercised in the name of Syria. The Syrian Government, for its part, continues to administer all the interests of the country and to exercise completely its attributions with all the responsibilities resulting therefrom. Only the question of the Army still remains unsettled, for, in spite of the fact that negotiations for turning it over to the Syrian Govern


The American Section of the International Commission on Mandates in Turkey (the King-Crane Commission) sent by the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 to the Middle East "to acquaint itself ... with the sentiments of the people of those regions with regard to the future administration of their affairs”. For correspondence relating to the Commission and the report of the American Section, see Foreign Relations, The Paris Peace Conference, 1919, vol. XII, pp. 745 ff.

49 Contained in the President's Message to the Congress on the State of the Union, January 6, 1941 ; Congressional Record, vol. 87, pt. 1, pp. 44-47.

ment have already been completed, the French have not yet done so. We insist however that this be done.

In view of the foregoing, you will be surprised to learn, Mr. President, that the British Minister has made a verbal communication to the Syrian Government, the tenor of which is to invite this Government to enter into negotiations with the representatives of France for the conclusion of a treaty between France and Syria. These negotiations would have as their purpose, he states, the normalization of the situation in Syria on a diplomatic basis. The French Delegate General has made the same request adding that with this treaty France should obtain a privileged position in Syria and that he made this request as a result of a recent exchange of views between M. Massigli 50 and Mr. Eden in London.

We can see no reason however why Syria should enter into negotiations with the French Government, since such negotiations could have no useful result, in view of the fact that we do not wish to grant France any advantage from either the cultural, material, political or military viewpoint. We desire to treat with all Nations, especially the great Powers, on a footing of complete equality. This attitude on our part does not signify a hostile feeling toward any State whatsoever but does signify a legitimate attachment to the defense of our rights and interests.

Any other attitude would be in contradiction with the principles of the common law and the basic rules proclaimed in the course of this war concerning the law of nations by the Atlantic Charter, the United Nations' Declaration, and other documents and statements, and would above all be in contradiction with the rights and the interests of the Syrian people and the interests of peace in the Middle East.

The Syrian Government believes it to be its duty to avoid any contractual policy with France alone, because such a policy would signify the renunciation of everything that has so far been accomplished and would moreover signify the abandonment of the rights of the Syrian people, who have based such great hopes on the United Nations and the great principles for which they have fought in the course of the present war.

Therefore, the Syrian Government, placing its entire confidence in the great statesmen of the democratic countries, especially in the United States and its eminent President, declines to make any agreement according a privileged position to any State whatsoever. It furthermore desires to have a common policy with all the Arab States in order to safeguard peace in the Middle East, the great importance of which this war has demonstrated.


René Massigli, appointed French Ambassador to the United Kingdom, September 11, 1944.

The high principles of the freedom and liberty of nations are being put to the test in this country as well as everywhere else in the world. We trust that the world will not again be deceived by secret and private agreements made before the end of the war. We also trust that the United States will not again remain isolated from the affairs of the old world but will rather help to uphold right and justice everywhere and will aid the weak nations who do not have the means of defending themselves against the strong, for peace cannot be placed on a permanent basis if colonial and expansionist ambitions are not everywhere eliminated. Will you please accept [etc.]


751.90E11/9-2344 : Telegram The Appointed Minister to Syria and Lebanon (Wadsworth) to the

Secretary of State

BEIRUT, September 23, 1944–10 a. m.

[Received 3:35 p. m.] 202. Beynet and Ostrorog called by appointment yesterday afternoon on President Khouri 51 to propose negotiation of Franco-Lebanese treaty. Premier and Foreign Minister were present. The latter asks me to inform you of their discussion substantially as follows:

Beynet said that in course of recent Eden-Massigli conversations in London the situation in Lebanon was discussed it being agreed that France should enjoy privileged position in the country; that the Lyttelton-de Gaulle agreement having dealt primarily with military matters and provided for wartime regime, it was thought best that the situation should now be regularized by treaty.

President replied that, as Beynet must know, Lebanese answer had already been given Spears, (see my 191, September 16, 6 [7] p. m.) and that knowing of Beynet's démarche to Syrian Government (see my 194, September 20, 1 [11] a. m.) Lebanese Cabinet had met again during the morning and reaffirmed its decision, i.e. that it declined to enter into proposed negotiations or to sign treaty of special privilege with any country, preferring to await end of hostilities and integrate its position with that of other smaller nations in postwar world.

After replying that he would so inform his Government Beynet commented that Lebanon would do well to remember that it was three great powers only, powers with their own interests primarily at stake which appeared to have allotted to themselves the major role of peacemaking. France, he added, had not been invited to join them in that role but would always as in the past be ready to support the

51 Bechara al-Khouri, President of the Lebanese Republic.

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