The War Files (Part III) – The Brown-Chamoun Meetings Of 1976

President Camille Chamoun amd wife at home playing with pet dog May 1958 (Image Credit LIFE Magazine James Whitmore)

President Camille Chamoun and wife at home playing with pet dog, May 1958 (LIFE Magazine/ James Whitmore)

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Lebanese Civil War that started on the 13th of April 1975. This is why I’ve decided to publish WikiLeaks cables from the war era, every day till the 13th of April. I think it would be interesting to look at things from a different point of view, and since it’s not the Lebanese who are telling the stories, I believe it offers a unique insight on the civil war. Although there are a lot more cables on WikiLeaks, I won’t republish them all  in order to focus on the most relevant ones. I hope you enjoy reading them.

Dean Brown was a U.S. envoy who was sent in 1976 in order to try to find a peaceful solution to the civil war. But in Lebanon, he isn’t famous for this job: The Christians will tell you that he told Chamoun he was intending to move the Lebanese Christians to Canada or the United States  (It’s arguably the most important rumor/conspiracy theory of the civil war), while the Muslims will tell you that his sole plan was to strengthen Syria and the Christians and throw the PLO outside of Lebanon (“WE CAN ONLY SEE IN THE MISSION OF THE AMERICAN EMISSARY A GROSS FORM OF IMPERIALIST INTERVENTION IN OUR INTERNAL AFFAIRS THROUGH WHICH THE USA TRIES DIRECTLY TO HINDER THE TRANSFORMATION OF LEBANON FROM A TRIBAL AND CONFESSIONAL FEUDALISM INTO A STATE UNIFYING THE PEOPLE IN THE FRAMEWORK OF A DEMOCRATIC SECULARIZED SYSTEM”).

I was never really convinced that Brown might have actually suggested mass immigration from one country to another, so I did some digging on WikiLeaks, and found several cables about Brown’s meetings with the Christian leaders. Apparently, Chamoun wanted Brown to support an independent Christian state, and Brown did not give the green light to Chamoun’s proposal, which could have angered Chamoun (and pushed him to accuse Brown of trying to transfer the Christians to Canada?)

Now of course, other things might have been mentioned in other meetings, but something as important as mass immigration would have at least been mentioned in the following cables (Spoiler alert: Brown never mentioned it in those). Anyway, take a look at the cables (Trust me, it’s worth it). There are tens of other cables, but I only put those mentioning meetings between Chamoun and Brown. I also organized the cables chronologically from the oldest to the newest so you could see how things changed between the first meetings and the last ones. And if you really, really don’t care about anything but the conversations with Chamoun, look for his name in red.

TALK WITH CHRISTIAN LEADERS
1976 April 2, 18:03 (Friday)
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Margaret P. Grafeld Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 04 MAY 2006
SUMMARY: MET WITH CHRISTIAN LEADERS TODAY. BASED ON WHAT WE SAW, I AM RELATIVELY RELAXED ON THEIR PROSPECTS FOR HOLDING OUT. FRANGIE WORRIED ABOUT NEED FOR SYRIAN OR OTHER TROOPS TO GUARANTEE CEASEFIRE, BUT APPEARS PREPARED TO RESIGN IN CONTEXT OF CONSTITUTIONAL SOLUTION WHICH WOULD FOLLOW. END SUMMARY
1. GOT METICULOUS PRESENTATION OF CHRISTIAN POSITION FROM PRESIDENT FRANGIE TODAY, WHO WAS JOINED HALF-WAY THROUGH BY CHAMOUN AND GEMAYEL IN MEETING WHICH LASTED ALMOST THREE HOURS. ALL EMPHASIZED PROBLEM WAS NOT LEBANESE BUT HAD
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BEGUN WITH PALESTINIANS. GENERAL THEME OF FOREIGNERS AND LEFTISTS IDEOLOGICALLY INSPIRED BY SOVIETS AND BANK- ROLLED BY LIBYANS, IRAQIS, ETC., HIGHLIGHTED PRESENTATION. FRANGIE WAS THE MOST INFORMATIVE AND SPECIFIC. CHAMOUN CONCENTRATED ON ALARMIST DESCRIPTION AIMED AT PRODUCING SOME KIND OF U.S. ACTION. GEMAYEL WAS THE MOST EMOTIONAL AND REPETITIOUS, EMPHASIZING LEBANESE PATRIOTISM. ALL DESCRIBED WILL TO FIGHT TO THE END IN VERY DESPERATE TERMS, BUT WERE SHORT ON FACTS TO SUPPORT DESPARATE CONCLUSIONS.
2. WHEN I ASKED POINT-BLANK HOW LONG CHRISTIANS COULD HOLD OUT, FRANGIE SAID WITH OUTSIDE HELP INDEFINITELY. WITHOUT SUCH OUTSIDE HELP, 10 TO 20 DAYS. CHAMOUN PRODUCED CHURCHILLIAN NEAR-QUOTE: “GIVE US THE TOOLS AND WE WILL DO THE JOB.” FRANGIE REPEATEDLY EMPHASIZED THAT IF NEED BE, MARONITES COULD HOLD OUT IN THE MOUNTAINS INDEFINITELY, AS THEY HAD DONE FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS IN THE PAST. BY SAME TOKEN,NUMBER OF SENIOR CHRISTIAN OFFICERS WITH WHOM WE TALKED ON OUR WAY TO THE MEETING IN JOUNIEH DISPLAYED NO ALARM OVER MILITARY SITUATION AND DID NOT MENTION SHORTAGES IN AMMUNITION, BEYOND NOTING THAT IT WAS USED MORE SPARINGLY BY THEM THEN BY PROFLIGATE OTHER SIDE WHICH SEEMED TO ENJOY UNLIMITED SUPPLIES.
3. FRANGIE DESCRIBED AIMS OF OTHER SIDE AS EITHER (A) MAKING LEBANON A MOSLEM COUNTRY (WHICH WAS TRADTIONAL AIM OF MOSLEMS) OR (B) CHANGE POLITICAL REGIME (WHICH WAS NEW AIM OF LEFTISTS SUPPORTED FROM OUTSIDE). ALL THREE DESCRIBED PRESENT OFFENSIVE AGAINST PRESIDENT AS AIMED AT INSTITUTION OF THE PRESIDENCE, WHICH LEFTISTS WISH TO DEMOLISH JUST AS LEFTISTS ARE INDISCRIMINATELY DEMOLISHING LEBANESE COMMERCE, INDUSTRY AND REAL ESTATE. FRANGIE IN PARTICULAR MADE MUCH OF WHAT HE DESCRIBED AS CONSTANT NEW LEFTIST DEMANDS AND EXPLAINED MARONITE INTRANSIGENCE (INCLUDING HIS WEASELING ON HIS OWN RESIGNA- TION) IN TERMS OF DANGER OF SLIPPERY SLOPE.
4.FRANGIE SAID ANY CEASEFIRE HAD BE GUARANTEED IF IT NOT TO FAIL AS HAD DOZENS OF EARLIER ONES. BY THIS HE
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MEANT FORCE AND LOTS OF IT. HE AND OTHERS MADE CLEAR THAT THEY DID NOT LIKE SADAT ARAB PLAN BUT SUPPORTED SYRIAN MILITARY INTERVENTION. THEY SAID SYRIANS HAD BEEN PREPARED TO INTERVENE IN FORCE BUT WERE PREVENTED BY U.S. DECLARATIONS OPPOSING ANY UNILATERAL INTERVENTION. I TOLD THEM IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS THAT INTERVENTION IS NOT A LIGHT MATTER AND THAT THEIR ADVOCACY OF IT SHOULD BE RATIONALLY AND NOT JUST EMOTIONALLY THOUGHT THROUGH, ESPECIALLY WITH REGARD TO REACTIONS IT MIGHT PROVOKE THROUGHOUT THE MIDDLE EAST. I KNOW THE POINT GOT THROUGH.
5. THE THREE OF THEM, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A GROUP, SAE LITTLE PROSPECT FOR SYRIANS TO PLAY CEASEFIRE POLICING ROLE,USING ONLY THOSE SYRIAN-CONTROLLED TROOPS, SUCH AS PLA AND SAIQA, WHICH ARE ALREADY IN COUNTRY. SAID THIS WOULD ASSUME HIGH DEGREE OF PALESTINIAN MODERATION AND WILLING- NESS TO ABIDE BY CAIRO ACCORDS (WHICH, INCIDENTALLY, FRANGIE MADE AN ABSOLUTE CONDITION OF ANY PERMANENT CEASE- FIRE). GEMAYEL WAS LESS CATEGORIC THAN OTHERS. HE SUGGESTED IT MIGHT BE WORTH CONSIDERING IF U.S. BELIEVED AFTER TALKING TO SYRIANS THAT THEY HAD ENOUGH FORCES IN LEBANON.
6. IF CEASEFIRE, COUPLED WITH SOME GUARANTEE OF ENOUGH FORCE TO MAKE IT STICK,WERE ACHIEVED, FRANGIE TOLD US HE SAW NO PROBLEM FOLLOWING AGREED CONSTITUTIONAL COLUTION. THIS WOULD BE AMENDMENT OF ARTICLE 73 OF THE CONSTITUTION BY THE PARLIAMENT AND ELECTION OF EW PRESIDENT UNDER CONDITION FREE OF PRESSURE, AFTER WHICH REMAINDER OF HIS PERIOD OF OFFICE WAS TOO SHORT TO BE WORHTWHILE AND HE WOULD TAKE A BADLY NEEDED REST. THIS STATEMENT OF WILLINGNESS TO RESIGN WAS PERHAPS THE SINGLE MOST SOLID PIECE OF INFORMATION WE GOT FROM FRANGIE. HE SOUNDED CONVINCED ENOUGH, BUT I DID WONDER WHY HE DID NOT REPEAT THIS STATEMENT IN FRONT OF CHAMOUN AND GEMAYEL. IN THEIR PRESENCE, HE LIMITED HIMSELF TO ARGUING,AS THEY WERE, THAT CALL FOR HIS RESIGNATION WAS A FALSE ISSUE.
7. ALSO SAW MARONITE PATRIARCH. HE TOLD ME HE WOULD BE
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SEEING FRANGIE ET AL SOONEST AND WOULD MAKE POINT THAT CONSTITUTIONAL AMENITIES CANNOT STAND IN WAY OF POLITICAL REALITIES. HE IS A REFRESHING BREATH OF FRESH AIR IN THIS FETID ATMOSPHERE WHERE SHORT TERM AIMS ARE TOO EASILY CONFUSED WHICH LONG TERM DEVELOPMENTS.
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AMB BROWN’S MEETING REPORTS LEBANON SITUATION
1976 April 5, 19:05 (Monday)
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1. HAD COMPLETELY PRIVATE CONVERSATIONS WITH GEMAYEL, MALIK AND CHAMOUN. FRANGIE HAD REPORTER AND INTERPRETER (LUCIEN DAHDAH) PRESENT. TALKED TO THEM FROM FOLLOWING POINTS.
2. FIRST GAVE GENERAL IMPRESSION OF TALKS WITH MUSLIM, DRUZE AND CHRISTIANS. SAID I FOUND GENERALIZED DESIRE FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CHANGE AND A WISH ON PART OF MOSLEMS FOR GREATER POLITICAL RECOGNITION. POORER CLASSES, MOSTLY SHIA, WHILE NOT STARVING, BELIEVE THEY ARE NOT SHARING SUFFIENTLY IN ECONOMIC PROGRESS. WITH IMAM THERE WAS NORE SORROW THAN ANGER BUT EVEN MOST MODERATE PUSH FOR MORE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE POOR MUSLIM AREAS. AS THEY ASKED, I TOLD THEM THAT MUFTI WWAS TAKING A HARDER LINE ON RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL PROBLEMS AND THAT THEY KNEW HIS TENOR OF THINKING.
3. I TOLD HIM THAT JUMBLATT WAS PREPARED TO EXTEND THE TRUCE IF THE POLITICAL PROCESS WAS WELL UNDER WAY BUT THAT HE HAD GIVEN NO SOLID GUARANTEES FOR THE FUTURE WHICH THEREFORE NECESSITATED FORWARD MOVE- MENT SOON.
4. I THEN SAID I WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS WITH THEM THOUGHTS WHICH I HAD NOT YET CHECKED OUT WITH WASHINGTON AS I WANTED THEIR VIEWS BEFORE SO DOING. FIRST WAS WHETHER AS A TEMPORARY MEASURE WE COULD GE TSOME SORT OF SECURITY INTO THE CITY OF BEIRUT TO PUT A STOP TO THE MINDLESS LOOTING AND KILLING NOW GOING ON. WOULD THEY BE PREPARED TO CONTRIBUTE FORCES TO A JOINT FORCCE WITH THE PALESTINIANS, SAIQA AND ARMY? THE SECOND THOUGHT WAS COULD THEY ENVISAGE THE CREATION OF AN INTER- NATIONAL CONSORTIUM ESTABLISHED AT THE REQUEST OF THE NEW LEBANESE GOVT WHOSE TASK WOULD BE TO ASSIST IN THE REBUILDING OF THE SHATTERED ECONOMY, IN SO DOING ALSO CONTRIBUTING TO THE REESTABLISHMENT OF LEBANESE SECURITY FORCES. I ASKED THEM IN TURN IF THEY COULD AGREE TO THE PRINCIPLE OF THE NEED FOR REFORM.
5. I MADE IT PLAIN TO THEM THAT WE ARE CONCERNED BY THE PLIGHT OF THE MARONITES AND BY THEIR MILITARY DIS- ADVANTAGE. WE THOUGHT THEY SHOULD BE STRONG ENOUGHT TO NEGOTIATE BUT NOT TOO WEAK TO HAVE TO CAPITULATE. I PERSONALLY SAW NO POSSIBILITY OF EITHER PARTITION OR OF A DREAM OF MILITARY VICTORY AS A WAY OUT. THERE- FORE, THERE HAD TO BE NEGOTIATION. IT IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT THAT THE PALESTINIAN FORCES BE KEPT PEACEFUL AND I DID NOT SEE HOW WE COULD BE HOPEFUL IN THE CONTEXT UNLESS THERE WAS SOUND HOPE FOR NEGOTIA- TIONS.
6. I SAID IT SEEMED TO ME AFTER ALL MY TALKS IN LEBANON THAT THE IMPORTANT THING WAS TO CARRY THROUGH THE GENERALLY AGREED UPON PLAN BOTH PROMPTLY AND IN GOOD FAITH. THERE IS NOT TIME LEFT FOR POLITICAL GAMES AND REALITIES HAVE TO BE ACCEPTED. I CONCLUDED BY SAYING THAT I REALIZED THAT SECURITY IS VERY MUCH IN THEIR MIND. SO IT IS IN OURS.
7. GEMAYEL’S REACTION. GEMAYEL WAS ENTHUSIASTIC. HE SAID HE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO CONTRIBUTE THE PMALANGE. HE SAID IT COULD BE DONE WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE MIXED ARMISTICE COMMISSION (PALESTINIANS, SYRIANS, LEBANESE. HE EXPLAINED HE MEANT A REGULAR LEBANESE ARMY OFFICER. HE GREATLY APPROVED OF AN INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM PROVIDED IT WAS A LEBANESE INITIATIVE AND THOUGHT THIS SHOULD BE THE FIRST TASK OF A NEW PRESIDENT. HE THOUGHT THAT THE INTERNATIONAL CON- SORTIUM SHOULD INCLUDE FORCES OF OTHER COUNTRIES WHOS OSTENSIBLE ROLE WOULD BE TO RETRAIN THE LEBANESE ARMY. IN THIS WAY THERE COULD BE AN ECHELON MOVE- MENT FROM SECURITY CONTROLLED BY THE MIXED COMMISSION THROUGH SOME INTERNATIONAL FORCES WHO WOULD TRAIN THE LEBANESE AND EVENTUAL ASSUMPTION OF THE LEBANESE OF THEIR OWN DEFENSE. IT VITAL THAT SYRIA BE BROUGHT EARLY INTO THE PROCESS AND INVOLVED THROUGHTOUT.
8. GEMAYEL DID NOT THINK THE WHOLE THING THROUGH AS DID FRANGIE AS YOU WILL SEE LATER BUT HE WILL SUPPORT IT UNLESS OTHERS PRESS HARD ON HIM.
9. WE DISCUSSED ON HIS INITIATIVE THE UPCOMING POLITICAL CHANGES. HE WANTS A NEW PRESIDENT, MARONITE NATURALLY, WHO CAN ATTRACT AS BROAD A CON- SENSUS OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCESS AS POSSIBLE. HE FEELS THAT A PRESIDENT ELEECTED BY A NARROW VOTE WOULD SOON FAILZM I ASKED HIM IF HE HAD VETOES OF ANY CANDIDATE. HE DENIED THIS SAYINF IA STRONG CON- SENSUS DEVELOPS HE WILL NOT STAND IN ITS WAY. (I HAVE CONSIDERABLE DOUBTS ABOUT THIS AS HE IS PPREJUD- ICED AGAINST EDDE AND WILL PROBABLY MAKE IT KNOWN AS THE CONSENSUS IS WORKED OUT.) HE SAID, AS DID THE OTHER, THAT HE WAS IN CONSTANT CONTACT WIITH VARIOUS POLITICAL ELEMENTS ABOUT THE CANDIDATES.
10. IN VIEW OF THE IDEA OF A JOINT FORCE I ASKED HIM WHAT HIS RELATIONS WERE WITH ‘ARAFAT. HE SAID THAT HE HADN’T HAD ANY DIRECT RELATIONSHIP IN MONTHS BUT THAT HE WAS PERFECTLY WILLING TO TALK TO HIM IF IT WOULD GET ANYWHERE.
11. FRANGIE. FRANGIE AS DID THE OTHERS HAD COMMENTS ON MY ANALYSIS OF WHAT I THOUGHT I HAD FOUND.HE TROTTED OUT A WHOLE SERIES OF STATISTICS TO SHOW THAT PRACTICALLY ALL OF THE BUDGET OF LEBANON IS SPENT TO HELP THE POOR PEOLPEL AND THIS MEANS THE MOSLEMS. I TOLD HIM THAT I KNEW THESE STATISTICS. WHAT I WAS TRYING TO DESCRIBE TO HIM WAS A BELIEF OF THE PEOPLE AND THAT STRONGLY-HELD BELIEFS ARE OFTEN MUCH STRONGER THAN STATISTICS. FRANGIE IS SKEPTICAL AS TOO WHETHER THE JOINT COMMISSION CAN BE ESTABLISHED BUT IS QUITE WILLING FOR MARONITE FORCES TO TAKE A PART IN IT. I SAID THE ONLY WAY TO FIND OUT IS TO TRY AND THAT HE MUST AGREE WITH MM, AS HE DID, THAT IT IS VITAL TO PUT AN END TO THE GANGS WHICH ARE TORMENTING THE CITY. AS FOR THE CONSORTIUM IDEA HE AGREED COM- PLETELY THAT IT COULD SERVE AS A SIGN OF HOPE FOR THE PEOPLE WHO COULD SAY TO THEMSELVES THAT THE NEW TASK IS RECONSTRUCTION IN WHICH THE WORLD IS HELPING.
12. AT ONE MOMENT HE SAID THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. WE ARE SICK AND WE CANNOT TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES. WE NEED GOOD DOCTORS, FRIENDLY ONE TO COME AND EXAMINE THE CAUSES OF THE SICKNESS AND PROVIDE THE REMEDIES. THEY HAVE TO HAVE THE BEST INTEREST OF LEBANON AT HEART.
13. HE SAID THAT THE SYRIANS WERE THE ONLY ONES TO OFFER MEDIATION. HE HAD ESTABLISHED PERSONAL RELATIONS WITH ASAD WHEREIN THEY HAD TRUST AND CONFIDENCE IN EACH OTHER. IT WAS ONLY BECAUSE OF THIS HE HAD BEEN ABLE TO ACCEPT THAT MEDIATION. THIS PERSONAL CONTACT WILL BE LOST WHEN HE LEAVES OFFICE. THE SYRAIN REGIME IS ALWAYS SUBJECT TO CHANGE. LEBANON CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT COUNT ON LONG DURATION OF SYRIAN EFFORT. IT SHOULD BE BACKED BY WESTERN COUNTRIES.
14. I TOLD HIM THAT I UNDERSTOOD HIS POINT. IF SYRIA IS NOT IN THE ACT FROM THE BEGINNING, THERE IS LITTLE CHANCE FOR WHAT I HAD PROPOSED. WHILE IT COULD BE TRUE THAT THE PRESENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES IS BASED ON THE TRUST THEIR PRESIDENTS HAVE IN EACH OTHER, A CONSORTIUM WITH SYRAIN PARTICIPATION COULD TRANSFORM THAT PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP INTO SOMETHING MORE FORMAL AND A POSSIBLE SUCCESSOR SYRAIN GOVT WOULD FIND ITSELF INNVLVED IN AN INTERNATIONAL EFFORT. WHILE I COULD NOT GIVE HIM ANY GUUARANTEES I THOUGHT THESE CONSIDERATIONS MIGHT EASE HIS MIND ABOUT THE FUTURE. 14. FRANGIE REPLIED THAT HE WANTED ME TO KNOW THAT HE WOULD USE ALL HIS PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH ASAD TO EASE ANY POSSIBLE SYRIANS SENSITIVITY.
15. WE RUNED TO A POSSIBLE COMPOSITION OF A CONSORTIUM. FRANGIEESAID HE WOULD PREFER IT TO BE WESTERN BUT THAT HE UNDERSTOOD THE VALUE OF HAVING ARABS IN IT FOR TWO REASONS: FIRST, TO TAKE CARE OF SYRIAN SENSIBILITIES AND SECOND TO SECRET SECRET PAGE 03 BEIRUT 02979 02 OF 03 052151Z GET ACCESS TO ARAB FUNDS. HE WOULD LIKE THE SYRIANS, JORDANIANS AND SAUDIS IN THE CONSORTIUM. HE DID NOT WANT ARAB COUNTRIES (E.G., IRAQ OR LIBYA) WHO HE CLAIMED WERE INVOLVED IN THE INTER- NATIONAL AFFAIRS OF LEBANON.
16. HE THEN WENT ON TO SAY IT WAS AQUESTION OF HOW TO APPROACH THE SYRAINS. WHO? CERTAINLY NOT THE PRIME MINISTER WHO WAS ANTI-WESTERN BUT WHO WOULD IN THE END GO ALONG IF THE SYRAINS APPROVED. HE SAID THE AMERICAN AMBASSADOR SHOULD DO IT.
17. I ENTERED AGAIN TO REMIND HIM THAT I WAS ONLY TALKING ABOUT A PRIVATE IDEA AND THAT I WOULD REPORT ALL OF OUR CONVERSATION TO MY GOVT BUT I COULD NOT TAKE ON ANY COMMITMENTS AT THIS TIME. HE SAID HE UNDERSTOOD.
18. HE TOLD ME THAT IN ONE OF HIS EARLIER TALKS WITH THE SYRIANS, THE SYRIANS TOLD HIM THAT THEY WOULD BE HAPPY TO HAVE THE US PLAY A ROLE IN THE MEEDIATION EFFORT IF THERE WAS SOME SORT OF UN APPROVAL. WHILE THIS DID NOT APPLY DIRECTLY TO WHAT WE WERE DISCUSSING, HE THOUGHT IT WAS A HOPEFUL SIGN. HE SAID AGAIN THAT HE WOULD DO ALL POSSIBLE IN TALK WITH PRES ADAD.
19. WE THEN TURNED TO A POSSIBLE AGENDA OF ACTION. AFTER MUCH TO AND FROM THIS IS WHAT HE THINKS IS GOOD: (A) GET THE AGREEMENT OF THE US; (B) SOMEONE TALK TO SYRIA; (C) THE US TALK TO FRANCE, OTHER WESTERN COUNTRIES AND KING KHALED; (D) GET THE NEW PRESIDENT SOLLIDLY ON BOARD AND SET UP THE MECHAN- ISM BY WHICH THE REQUEST WOULD BE MADE.
20. FRANGIE SAID SADLY IF THIS FAILS THEN THE ONLY RECOURSE WILL BE SYRIAN INTERVE TION. HE ASKED IF I THOUGHT IF THE CONSORTIUM WORKED WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE FOR FURTHER SYRAIN FORCES TO ENTER THE COUNTRY AS A PART OF THE CONSORTIUM’S EFFORT TO REBUILD THE LEBANESE ARMY. PERHAPS THIS WOULD BE ONE WAY TO ASSURE THE ISRAELIS.
21. LUCIEN DAHDAH INTERJECTED TO SAY THAT ALL THE ABOV REALLY DEPENDED ON WHETHER THERE COULD BE SECURITY IN THE INTERIM. FRANGIE SAID THERE IS A REAL PROBLEM HERE BECAUSE LARGE NUMBERS OF THE DEPUTIES, FORTY HE ESTIMATED, WERE IN DISTRICTS UNDER PALESTINIAN DOMINATION. THIS INCLUDES KARAME AND KAMEL AL-ASSAD. THAT’S ONE PROBLEM. THE OTHER IS THAT MANY ARE AFRAID TO PUT THEMSELVES UNDER THE PROTECTION OF SAIQA. THE GENERAL QUESTION IS TO MAKE SURE THE ELECTION IN PARLIAMENT IS FREE. IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS FORCED IN ANY WAY ON THE DEPUTIES BY NON-LEBANESE EITHER SYRIAN OR PALESTINIAN THEN “THE REVOLUTION WILL CHANGE SIDES AND PARTITION WILL FOLLOW”.
22. HE THOUGHT IT ESSENTIAL FOR THE MARONITES TO AGREE ON ONE CANDIDATE AND NOT TO PROVIDE A DIVIDED FRONT. IF THIS IS DONE AND THERE IS SECURITY, EVENTUALLY THE OTHER PARLIAMENTARIANS WILL FOLLOW. HE PLANS TO MEET TODAY WITH OTHER MARONITE LEADERS ON THIS SUBJECT.
23. THEN CAME THE FIRST PROBLEM. FRANGIE SAID THAT AMIXED COMMISSION COULD PROBABLY BE SET UP IN 48 HOURS. IT WOULD MEAN MAKING SURE OF JUMBLATT, GEMAYEL AND CHAMOUN. THE MIXED COMMISSION WILL HAVE TO USE FORCE AND THIS MUST BE UNDERSTOOD. NEGOTIA- TION WITH LAWLESS BANDS WON’T WORK. BUT THE FIRST TASK OF THE MIXED COMMISSSION WOULD BE TO DEAL WITH THAT AND BY SO DOING SHOW PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY THE DEPUTIES, THAT SECURITY CAN BE PROVIDED FOR THE PARLIAMENT. HE THOUGHT THIS WOULD DELAY THINGS AND STRESSED IN ANY CASE INASMUCH AS NO CONSENSUS ON ANY CANDIDATE HAS EMERGED, THE LEBANESE COULD NOT PROCEED AS FAST AS I HAD TOLD HIM THEY SHOULD. THE SECOND PROBLEM RAISED BY FRANGIE CAME UP TOWARDS THE END OF OUR CONVERSATION. HE ASKED HOW HE COULD GET SOME ARMS FAST TO THE LEBANESE ARMY. I ASKED HIM WHAT LEBANESE ARMY. HE SAID SOLDIERS ARE BEGINNING TO DRIFT BACK ON BOTH SIDES OF THE LINE. HE THOUGHT AT A MAXIMUM 4-5,000 MEMBERS OF THE ARMY WERE RECUPERABLE, HALF CHRISTIAN, HALF MOSLEM. IF ARMED AND WELL-OFFICERED THEY COULD PROVIDE A REAL FORCE WITHIN A RELATIVEL SHORT TIME. I TOLD HIM THIS WAS A BIG PROBLEM BUT THAT I WOULD REPORT HIS REQUEST. AS WE ENDED OUR CON- VERSATION, FRANGIE SAID HE ACCEPTED THE TWO SUGGESTIONS I HAD MADE WITHOUT RESERVE. HE BELIEVES THAT THERE MUST BE TWO GUARANTEES TO PROVIDE THE NECESSARY TRANQUILITY OF MIND FOR THE FUTURE. FIRST IS THAT THE REGIME IN ITS PRESENT FORM–EVEN WITH REFORMS WHICH HE HIMSELF WOULD BE GLAD TO SEE MUST SURVE. THE LEBANESE PEOPLE WANT THE DEMOCRACY THE HAVE. SECOND IS THAT THE LEBANON, CREATED AS A COUNTRY WHERE MOSLEMS AND CHRISTIANS HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS, HAS ALSO TO BE MAINTAINED. THE CHRISTIANS NEED GUARANTEES IN THE FUTURE THAT THEY BE ABLE TO LIVE LIKE THEY HAVE ALWAYS LIVED AND THAT THEY NOT BECOME SECOND RATE CITIZENS AS THEY ARE IN OTHER ARAB COUNTRIES WHERE CHRISTIANS ARE ONLY TOLERATED.
24. CHAMOUN. CHAMOUN WAS ANOTHER CASE. HE HEARD ME OUT ON AND THEN SAID HE WANTED ME TO KNOW ONE THING WHICH HE HAD NOT BEEN ABLE TO SAY IN FRONT OF FRANGIE THE OTHER DAY. THE AIM OF THE SYRIANS IS TO BUILD A STATE IN LEBANON WHICH IS 100 PERCENT HOSTILE TO ISRAEL. THE MARONITES WILL NEVER FIGHT THE ISRAELIS. THEY HAVE GOOD RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL. THEY ARE TWO MINORITIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST. THEY SHOULD WORK TOOGETHER TO PRESERVE THEM- SELVES AND IF THE WEST WAS REALLY ASTUTE, IT WOULD ACCEPT THIS AND HELP THEM BOTH. IN LEBANON THIS MEANT CONFEDERATION WHERE TWO COMMUNITIES COULD BE UNDER ONE FLAG BUT MAINTAIN THEIR SEPARATE RIGHTS. PROPOSALS I HAD MADE ARE SHORT TERM. THEY WILL ONLY LEAD TO ANOTHER WAR IN A FEW YEARS. THE CONSORTIUM COULD BE HELPFUL IF IT HAD ON ITS TASK SETTING UP THE CONFEDERATION.
25. I TOLD HIM THAT IN ALL HONESTY, I THOUGHT HIS PROPOSAL WAS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE ONE. THE LEBANESE CHRISTIANS WOULD HAVE TO FIND THEIR SECURITY IN OTHER WAYS. CONFEDERATION AS HE PROPOSED IT IS ONLY PARTITION. I ASKED HIM TO THINK THIS OVER AGAIN AND TO ASK HIMSELF IF WHAT HE PROPOSED WAS REALLY THE DESIRE OF THE MARONITE AND CHRISTIAN PEOPLE.
26. MALIK. MALIK IS ENTHUSIASTIC. SEES PROBLEMS AS WOULD ANY LEBANESE AND WILL TALK TO HIS CHRISTIAN BROTHERS ABOUT IT.
27. MONKS. ARE ACKNOWLEDGED AS IMPORTANT ELE- MENT IN THE MARONITE COMMUNITY. THEY HAVE BEEN STUDYING THE FUTURE FOR THE PAST YEAR AND GAVE ME THE WHOLE LOF OF REFORM PROPOSALS BOTH POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC WHICH I PROMISED TO STUDY. THE LEADERS TOLD ME PRIVATELY SEVERAL TIMES THAT WE WOULD GET NOWHERE WITH CHAMOUN BUT THAT THEY WOULD WORK ON BOTH FRANGIE AND GEMAYEL AND ON OTHER IMPORTANT LEVERS IN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. THEY ARE VERY FEARFUL OF THE EVENTUAL ISLAMIZATION OF LEBANON WITH THE CHRISTIANS IN INFERIOR POSITIONS.
28. IT HAS BEEN A LONG DAY. I APOLOGIZE FOR THE LENGTHH OF THIS BUT I WANTED TO GET THEIR THINKING FIRST HAND. I WILL COMMENT LATER.
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1. WHILE WE HAVE DISCUSSED THE LEBANESE SITUATION FROM TIME TO TIME WITH DINITZ AT THIS END, WE HAVE NOT GIVEN HIM A SYSTEMATIC ACCOUNT OF DEAN BROWN’S ACTIVITIES IN LEBANON. YOU SHOULD THEREFORE CONVEY TO ALLON, FROM ME, FOR HIS VERY RESTRICTED USE, THE FOLLOWING POINTS TO KEEP THE ISRAELIS UP TO DATE.
2. AMBASSADOR BROWN HAS HELD INTENSIVE ROUNDS OF TALKS WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF THE PRINCIPAL LEBANESE FACTIONS, IN PARTICULAR THE CHRISTIAN LEADERS ON THE ONE SIDE AND JUMBLATT ON THE OTHER, BUT HE HAS ALSO SEEN MODERATE MOSLEM LEADERS. ASIDE FROM HEARING THE POINTS OF VIEW OF THE LEBANESE, HE HAS FOCUSSED HIS ATTENTION ON TWO MAIN POINTS: THE NEED FOR ALL SIDES TO MAINTAIN THE CEASEFIRE AND TO BE FLEXIBLE IN REACHING THE POLITICAL COMPROMISES THAT WILL BE NECESSARY IN THE NEXT WEEKS; AND THE PROBLEMS ARISING FROM THE ABSENCE OF ANY CENTRAL SECURITY FORCE IN THE COUNTRY.
3. IN HIS FIRST TALK WITH FRANGIE, CHAMOUN AND GEMAYEL, HE FOUND THE CHRISTIAN LEADERS CONCERNED ABOUT THE MILITARY SITUATION, ALTHOUGH THE CHRISTIAN MILITARY OFFICERS THEM- SELVES COMMENTED MAINLY ON THE NEED TO CONSERVE AMMUNITION. THE POLITICAL LEADERSHIP CLEARLY FELT UNDER CONSIDERABLE PRESSURE FROM JUMBLATT, AND FRANGIE EXPRESSED PARTICULAR CONCERN ABOUT THE ESCALATING DEMANDS OF THE DRUSE LEADER. THEY SAID THEY BELIEVED THE LEFT-WING OFFENSIVE AGAINST THE PRESIDENT HAD BEEN DIRECTED AGAINST THE INSTITUTION OF THE PRESIDENCY, WHICH THE LEFTISTS WISHED TO DEMOLISH ALONG WITH OTHER ASPECTS AND INSTITUTIONS OF LEBANESE LIFE. FRANGIE, IN A PRIVATE CONVERSATION, SAID HE SAW NO PROBLEM IN AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION AND ELECTING A NEW PRESIDENT IF THIS COULD BE DONE FREE OF OUTSIDE PRESSURE. HE INDICATED HE WOULD BE PREPARED TO RESIGN THEREAFTER.
4. IN A SUBSEQUENT SERIES OF MEETINGS WITH THE CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP ON APRIL 5, AFTER HIS FIRST TALK WITH JUMBLATT, BROWN TOLD THEM THAT THE DRUSE LEADER SEEMED PREPARED TO EXTEND THE TRUCE IF THE POLITICAL PROCESS WAS WELL UNDERWAY BUT HAD MADE NO SOLID GUARANTEE FOR THE FUTURE. BROWN STRESSED THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING FORWARD MOVEMENT. HE MADE CLEAR THAT THE U.S. IS DEEPLY SYMPATHETIC TO THE SITUATION OF THE MARONITES AND THEIR MILITARY DISADVANTAGE, THAT WE BELIEVE THEY MUST RETAIN NECESSARY STRENGTH TO NEGOTIATE ARRANGEMENTS THAT WILL ENSURE SECURITY OF THEIR COMMUNITY, BUT THAT HIS TALKS HAD LED HIM TO BELIEVE THE BEST WAY FOR THEM TO MOVE IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES WAS TO CARRY THROUGH THE GENERALLY AGREED-UPON PLAN FOR POLITICAL REFORM PROMPTLY AND IN GOOD FAITH. HE THEN TURNED TO THE SECURITY QUESTION, PUTTING FORWARD AS HIS PERSONAL SUGGESTION THE IDEA OF A JOINT FORCE WITH CHRISTIANS, PALESTINIANS, SAIQA AND ARMY ELEMENTS TO PROVIDE SECURITY IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE WHILE A NEW GOVERNMENT IS BEING FORMED AND THE NECESSARY POLITICAL AND OTHER CHANGES ARE BEING MADE. FOR THE LONGER RUN HE SUGGESTED, ALSO PERSONALLY, AN INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM, TO BE REQUESTED BY THE LEBANESE GOVERNMENT, THAT WOULD HELP IN REBUILDING THE LEBANESE ECONOMY AND CONTRIBUTE TO THE REESTABLISHMENT OF A LEBANESE SECURITY FORCE.
5. GEMAYEL AND FRANGIE WERE QUITE WILLING TO CONTRIBUTE THE PHALANGE TO A JOINT SECURITY FORCE, GEMAYEL SAYING THIS COULD BE DONE WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE SYRIAN- PALESTINIAN-LEBANESE COMMISSION ARRANGEMENT. FRANGIE WAS LESS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FEASIBILITY OF THE FORCE. BOTH AGREED WITH THE IDEA OF A CONSORTIUM FOR THE LONGER RUN FUTURE. GEMAYEL MADE THE POINT THAT IT WOULD HAVE TO INCLUDE FORCES OF OTHER COUNTRIES AND EMPHASIZED THAT SYRIA WOULD HAVE TO BE INVOLVED IN THE PROCESS THROUGH- OUT. CHAMOUN, ON THE OTHER HAND, DID NOT REACT FAVORABLY TO THESE PERSONAL IDEAS OF BROWN’S. HE THOUGHT THAT SOME FORM OF CONFEDERATION WAS THE ONLY SOLUTION. BROWN TOLD HIM THAT IN HIS VIEW THE CONFEDERATION IDEA WAS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE ONE. CONFEDERATION AS CHAMOUN CONCEIVED IT MEANT ONLY PARTITION AND CONTINUING INSTABILITY, AND BROWN SAID HE BELIEVED THE LEBANESE CHRISTIANS WOULD HAVE TO FIND THEIR SECURITY IN OTHER WAYS.
6. IN BROWN’S FIRST MEETING WITH JUMBLATT, THE DRUSE LEADER DESCRIBED HIS OBJECTIVES IN TERMS THAT WOULD REQUIRE MAJOR CHANGES IN THE LEBANESE POLITICAL AND SOCIAL SYSTEM, GOING FAR BEYOND THE ARRANGEMENT WORKED OUT WITH SYRIAN ASSISTANCE IN JANUARY. JUMBLATT ALSO DID NOT RULE OUT A RESUMPTION OF FIGHTING IF HE DID NOT GET THE REFORMS HE SOUGHT. BROWN TOLD HIM FORCE- FULLY THAT THE MAJOR CHANGES HE SOUGHT WERE UNREALISTIC IN CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES AND WARNED HIM OF THE DANGERS IF THE CEASEFIRE WERE NOT MAINTAINED AND A POLITICAL SOLUTION WERE NOT RAPIDLY ACHIEVED. BROWN IS CONTINUING TO MEET WITH JUMBLATT AND WE WILL LET THE ISRAELIS KNOW ABOUT FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS.
7. THE SECRETARY WANTS ALLON TO KNOW THAT WE HAVE BEEN SECRET  CONTINUING TO PRESS THE SYRIANS NOT TO INTERVENE MILITARILY, WHILE INFORMING THEM OF OUR EFFORTS TO HELP BRING ABOUT A POLITICAL SOLUTION ALONG THE GENERAL LINES OF THE JANUARY SOLUTION. IT IS CUR IMPRESSION THAT THE SYRIANS HAVE TAKEN SERIOUSLY THE WARNINGS WE HAVE CONVEYED TO THEM ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF INTERVENTION, DESPITE THE OBVIOUS PRESSURES THEY FEEL TO INTRODUCE ORDER INTO THE SITUATION IN LEBANON, AND HAVE CONDUCTED THE LIMITED AUGMENTATIONS OF SYRIAN CONTROLLED FORCES IN A WAY MOST CALCULATED TO AVOID PRESENTING THE ISRAELIS WITH A SITUATION IN WHICH THEY MIG;T REACT. WE SHOULD ADD THAT IN HIS TALKS WITH THE LEBANESE LEADERS, SOME OF WHOM HAVE TOLD US OF THEIR HOPE FOR SYRIAN INTERVENTION, WE HAVE ALSO MADE CLEAR OUR OPPOSITION TO THIS COURSE OF ACTION.
8. THE SECRETARY WANTS TO NOTE IN THIS CONNECTION THE REPORT THAT ALLON HAS DOUBTLESS RECEIVED (WE INFORMED DINITZ AND SUBSEQUENTLY MINISTER BAR-ON IMMEDIATELY ON RECEIVING THE REPORTS FRIDAY MORNING) ABOUT THE MOVEMENT OF SYRIAN TROOPS ACROSS TO THE LEBANESE SIDE OF THE BORDER ALONG THE DAMASCUS-BEIRUT ROAD. THE NUMBER OF TROOPS INVOLVED IS VARIOUSLY REPORTED AS FROM 700 TO 2,000. ACCORDING TO REPORTS WE HAVE SEEN THEY ARE LIGHTLY ARMED. THEY APPEARED AS OF EARLY FRIDAY (WASHINGTON TIME) TO BE DIGGING IN NEAR THE CUSTOMS POST AT MASNA, AT THE FOOT OF THE HILLS ABOUT THREE KILOMETERS IN FROM THE FRONTIER ON THE LEBANESE SIDE, THOUGH SOME ELEMENTS WERE REPORTED TO BE MOVING ON ACROSS THE VALLEY. OUR INITIAL AND TENTATIVE INTERPRETATION OF THE MOVE IS THAT THE SYRIANS ARE CONDUCTING A SHOW OF FORCE BY TAKING CONTROL OF THE PASS AND APPROACH AREAS TO MAKE MORE CREDIBLE THE PRESSURE THEY WOULD LIKE TO MAINTAIN ON THE LEFTISTS BASED ON THE THREAT OF SYRIAN INTERVENTION.
9. FINALLY, THE SECRETARY WISHES ALLON TO KNOW THAT WE FEEL THE ISRAELI REACTIONS TO THE LEBANESE CRISIS, WITH THEIR RESTRAINT, HAVE CONTRIBUTED TOWARD CONTROLLING THE SITUATION. THIS IS IN THE INTERESTS OF BOTH OF US AND WE VERY MUCH HOPE ISRAELI ACTIONS WILL CONTINUE TO BE GUIDED
CHAMOUN
1976 April 13, 17:30 (Tuesday)
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1. IN PRIVATE TALKMONDAY WITH CHAMOUN I MOVED HIM BACK FROM THE PRECIPICE. I TOLD HIM MODERN WORLD IS MOVING TOWARDS INTERDEPENDENCE AND THAT HIS PARTITION PROPOSALS WOULD ONLY RESULT IN CREATION OF SMALL, NON-VIABLE STATES WITHOUT ANY SOLID BASE FOR INDUSTRIAL/ FINANCIAL/ENTREPOT DEVELOPMENT,HE SHOULD BE LOOKING MORE INTO FUTURE AND TOWARDS EVENTUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG GENERATIONS.
2. HE FINALLY SAID HE WOULD OPERATE WITHIN LEGAL/ CONSTITUTITDL FRAMEWORK TO SEE IF HIS PEOPLE’S RIGHTS COULD BE SAFEGUARDED IN WHAT WILL BE TIME OF CHANGE. HE WOULD GIVE SYSTEM THREE-FIVE YEARS TO PROVE IT COULD WORK.
3. THIS IS SOME SLIGHT PROGRESS ON AN ISSUE WHICH DOES NOT LOOM LARGE AT THIS MOMENT, GIVEN ALL THE OTHER PROBLEMS,BUT WHICH REMAINS VERY MUCH IN THE MIND OF THE MARONITES.
BROWN
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MEETING WITH FRANGIE – SAYS HE WILL SIGN
1976 April 23, 15:15 (Friday)
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1. AMBASSADOR BROWN SPOKE WITH FRANGIE FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF APRIL 23RD IN JOUNIEH BEFORE RETURNING TO BEIRUT AIRPORT BY HELICOPTER AND TAKING PLANE TO LONDON. DURING LAST HALF HOUR PARTY WAS JOINED BY CHAMOUN. GEMAYEL UNFORTUNATELY COULD NOT MAKE IT.
2. AMBASSADOR REVIEWED WITH FRANGIE ALL THE ELEMENTS CONTAINED IN HIS INSTRUCTIONS SUPPORTING IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT WITHOUT DELAY. HE PLACED PARTICULAR EMPHASIS ON OUR INTEREST IN THE WELL BEING OF THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. AT FIRST FRANGIE WAS ADAMANT, CLAIMING THAT THE SECURITY CONDITIONS ON WHICH THE AMENDMENT WAS IN PART BASED DID NOT PREVAIL. AMBASSADOR THEN TACKLED THIS “VICIOUS CIRCLE” ARGUMENT AND FINALLY GOT FRANGIE TO AGREE TO SIGN THE AMENDMENT. HOWEVER, AS APRIL 23RD WAS A HOLIDAY, FRANGIE SAID HE WOULD DELAY HIS SIGNATURE UNTIL THE FOLLOWING DAY. (NOT CLEAR WHETHER FRANGIE WAS REFERRING TO GREEK ORTHODOX GOOD FRIDAY OR TO THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT WORK AFTER 1100 HOURS ON FRIDAY IN DEFERENCE TO THE MOSLEMS.)
3. FRANGIE HAS SAID BEFORE HE WOULD SIGN BUT HAS BACKED DOWN. HE IS MEETING WITH MARONITES THIS AFTERNOON. THEY MAY PERSUADE HIM NOT TO SIGN, BUT OUR READING IS THAT THE MAJORITY ARE IN FAVOR OF SIGNATURE.
4. IF THE AMBASSADOR WON ON THE SIGNATURE, IT WAS NOT A COMPLETE VICTORY. FRANGIE WENT ON TO SAY THAT, EVEN IF A NEW PRESIDENT WAS ELECTED, HE WOULD NOT RESIGN IF ADEQUATE SECURITY CONDITIONS DID NOT EXIST. BUT THIS IS A BRIDGE WE CAN CROSS WHEN WE GET TO IT.
5. CHAMOUN’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE CONVERSATION WAS TO START OFF ON THE NECESSITY OF ESTABLISHING A SEPARATE STATE. AFTER A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF TALKING TO, THE AMBASSADOR FINALLY GOT CHAMOUN MOVED TO WHAT APPEARS TO BE HIS STANDARD FALL-BACK POSITION, NAMELY THAT HE WOULD HOLD OFF A FEW YEARS TO GIVE THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT A CHANCE.
WARING
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MEETING WITH CHRISTIAN LEADERS
1976 May 6, 17:15 (Thursday)
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1. FOLLOWING MY MEETING WITH PRESIDENT FRANGIE ON MAY 6TH I HAD A GENERAL MEETING WITH CHRISTIAN LEADERS, WHEN FRANGIE WAS JOINED BY CHAMOUN, GEMAYEL AND FATHER KASSIS. I WENT OVER THE SAME GROUND JUST COVERED WITH FRANGIE AND AGAIN ELICITED GENERAL DISSATISFACTION THAT WE HAD NO SPECIFIC PLAN AND WERE ALLEGEDLY BLOCKING SYRIA FROM PROVIDING THE SECURITY NEEDED FOR THE COUNTRY’S CONTINUED EXISTENCE.
2. CHAMOUN BEGAN THE DISCUSSION BY NOTING THAT LEBANESE DIFFICULTIES COULD BE ATTRIBUTED MAINLY TO THE PALES- TINIANS. HE WAS PLEASED THAT I HAD CONCEDED THAT THE PALESTINIAN PRESENCE HAD CONTRIBUTED TO THE LOCAL DIFFICULTIES. THE CHRISTIANS IN LEBANON HAD BEEN ATTACKED. THEIR VERY EXISTENCE HAD BEEN THREATENED. THEY WERE PREPARED TO FIGHT ON IF NECESSARY. THE COMMUNISTS HAVE BEEN FISHING IN TROUBLED WATERS AND HAD AGGRAVATED THE SITUATION. OTHER COUNTRIES HAD BEEN THREATENED AND THE UNITED NATIONS INTERVENED. IT WAS INEXCUSABLE THAT THE UNITED NATIONS NOT INTERVENE IN THE PRESENT SITUATION IN LEBANON. LEBANON WAS GOING UP IN FLAMES WHILE THE WESTERN CIVILIZED WORLD WAS SITTING ON ITS HANDS. THERE WOULD BE NO SOLUTION IN LEBANON UNTIL A MIDDLE EAST SETTLEMENT WAS REACHED. THIS WAS DELAYED NOT ONLY BY THE ELECTIONS IN THE UNITED STATES BUT ALSO BY THE ISRAELI ELECTIONS THE FOLLOWING YEAR. INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, ALTHOUGH CHAMOUN STRESSED THE NECESSITY OF GETTING THE UNITED NATIONS INTO THE ACT, HE LATER REMARKED THAT NO LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER (ALWAYS A MOSLEM) WOULD ASK THE UNITED NATIONS TO INTERVENE.
3. PIERRE GEYMAYEL THEN EXPRESSED HIS GRAVE DISCOURAGEMENT. HE TOO SAW CONSIDERABLE COMMUNIST ACTIVITY IN LEBANON AIMED AT DESTROYING THE COUNTRY. ON THE OTHER HAND, MOST OF THE PROBLEMS COULD BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE PALESTINIANS. HE DID NOT WISH TO LECTURE THE WESTERN COUNTRIES BUT HE WANTED TO POINT OUT THAT SECURITY IN LEBANON WAS THE MAJOR ISSUE. WITHOUT SECURITY THERE WAS NO POINT IN DISCUSSING RECONSTRUCTION. ATTEMPTS HAD BEEN MADE TO INTEREST THE UNITED NATIONS IN LEBANON BUT THESE WERE UNSUCCESS- FUL. SYRIA, HOWEVER, WAS PREPARED TO PROVIDE THE SECURITY THAT THE UNITED NATIONS WAS UNABLE TO PROVIDE. FOR TWENTY YEARS HIS PARTY HAD BEEN ACTIVELY OPPOSED TO SYRIA. HE WAS NOW CONVINCED OF SYRIAN GOOD INTEN- TIONS. IN ANY EVENT, LEBANON HAD NO ONE ELSE TO TURN TO SO THEY HAD TO COUNT ON THE SYRIANS AND WERE PREPARED TO DO SO. UNFORTUNATELY, THE UNITED STATES, WHILE NOT IN A POSITION TO PROVIDE DIRECT ASSISTANCE IN THE SECURITY FIELD, WAS ALSO PREVENTING SYRIA FROM DOING SO. HE APPEALED TO THE UNITED STATES TO GIVE THE GREEN LIGHT TO SYRIA. REFERRING TO THE PRESENT DELAYS IN THE ELECTION OF THE PRESIDENT, GEMAYEL RECALLED THAT HE HAD STRONGLY URGED PRESIDENT FRANGIE NOT TO CONTRIBUTE TO DELAYS AND TO SIGN THE AMENDMENT ALLOWING FOR NEW PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. IN LIGHT OF WHAT HAD TRANSPIRED SINCE THEN HE FELT ASHAMED.
4. FATHER KASSIS THEN MADE COMMENTS OF HIS OWN. START- ING OUT BY NOTING THAT HE WAS SPEAKING IN THE NAME OF THE CHURCH, HE SAID THAT ONE HAD TO LIVE BEFORE ONE COULD PHILOSOPHIZE. HE THOUGHT THAT LEBANON HAD PERHAPS CHOSEN THE WRONG FRIENDS. IT WAS PREFERABLE TO BE A LIVE COMMUNIST THAN A DEAD DEMOCRAT. THE SOVIET UNION HAD COME TO THE AID OF THOSE WHO SOUGHT ITS HELP IN ANGOLA. PERHAPS THE TIME HAD COME FOR THE LEBANESE CHRISTIANS TO SEEK THE AID OF THE SOVIET UNION AND BECOME A COMMUNIST STATE. INDEED, LEBANON COULD NOT ONLY BECOME A COMMUNIST STATE, BUT IT COULD ALSO HELP SPREAD SOVIET DOCTRINE IN THE AREA. KASSIS’ STATEMENT WAS SO STRONG THAT EVEN PRESIDENT FRANGIE INTERVENED TO SAY THAT HE DID NOT SHARE THESE VIEWS. ON THE OTHER HAND, KASSIS, WHETHER WANTING TO EXPRESS HIS GENUINE FEELINGS OR MERELY DESIRING TO GET BACK INTO THE GOOD GRACES OF HIS AUDIENCE, REMARKED THAT HE HAD IN MIND SEEKING SOVIET ASSISTANCE IN THE SAME WAY THE EGYPTIANS HAD SOUGHT IT. ONCE ORDER WAS RESTORED, LEBANON COULD THROW THE SOVIETS OUT IN THE SAME WAY THAT THE EGYPTIANS HAD DONE SO.
5. AT THE END OF THE MEETING LUCIEN DAHDAH TRIED TO MAKE SOME SUMMARIES. AS HE SAW THE SITUATION, THREE ALTERNATIVES WERE POSSIBLE. THE FIRST ALTERNATIVE INVOLVED SOME SORT OF SYRIAN-U.S. AGREEMENT. THIS COULD BE FOLLOWED BY A U.S.-USSR AGREEMENT GUARANTEEING THE EXISTENCE OF THE PALESTINIANS IN LEBANON UNTIL IT WAS POSSIBLE FOR THEM TO HAVE A STATE OF THEIR OWN, WHICH EACH FAVORED. A FOUR COUNTRY CONSORTIUM COULD BE PUT TOGETHER TO ASSURE THE RECONSTRUCTION OF LEBANON. THE SECOND ALTERNATIVE WOULD INVOLVE A SITUATION WHERE LEBANON WOULD HAVE TO GO IT ON ITS OWN WITH THE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF OUTSIDE ASSISTANCE. THIS WOULD INVOLVE ELECTING A PRESIDENT AND TRYING TO PROVIDING SUFFICIENT SECURITY FOR A GOVERNMENT TO BE FORMED AND THE COUNTRY TO GET BACK ON THE ROAD TO RESTORATION. THE THIRD ALTERNATIVE WOULD BE PARTITION.
6. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT, WHILE I HAD MADE ARRANGE- MENTS TO SPEAK TO EACH OF THE PRINCIPAL CHRISTIAN LEADERS SEPARATELY, THESE ARRANGEMENTS WERE IGNORED, SO THAT I ENDED UP SPEAKING TO THE GROUP TOGETHER. THIS WAS PROBABLY AS A RESULT OF A LITTLE SKULL- DUDGERY ON THE PART OF LUCIEN DAHDAH. IN COLLABORATION WITH FRANGIE. I DID HAVE A PARTICULAR MESSAGE TO DELIVER TO PIERRE GEMAYEL ON DIALOGUE AND WAS AT LEAST ABLE TO DO THAT AS THE RESULT OF A MINUTE OR TWO WITH GEMAYEL ALONE AFTER THE MEETING (SEE SEPTEL.) BROWN
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MEETING WITH PRESIDENT FRANGIE
1976 May 6, 17:35 (Thursday)
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ACTION NODS
Electronic Telegrams
1. MET WITH PRESIDENT FRANGIE MORNING OF MAY 6TH. HIS ADVISER LUCIEN DAHDAH WAS PRESENT.
2. REPORTED TO FRANGIE ON MY MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT AND CONVEYED TO HIM THE PRESIDENT’S INTEREST IN LEBANON. POINTED OUT THE PRESIDENT HAD ALREADY GIVEN HIS APPROVAL TO A MEASURE AIMED AT PROVIDING 20 MILLION DOLLARS AS AN INITIAL CONTRIBUTION OF AID FOR LEBANON.
3. FRANGIE, LIKE OTHER LEBANESE OFFICIALS WITH WHOM I SPOKE, WAS DISAPPOINTED THAT I HAD NOT RETURNED WITH SOME SORT OF CLEAR-CUT PLAN THAT WOULD SOLVE ALL HIS COUNTRY’S PROBLEMS. HE THEN RAISED THE QUESTION OF A CONSORTIUM FOR LEBANON IN WHICH SYRIA WOULD PARTICIPATE AND BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SECURITY MATTERS. THE SYRIANS HAD INFORMED HIM, HE SAID, THAT THEY WERE PREPARED TO FULFILL THIS ROLE. THEY WERE DESIROUS, HOWEVER, OF RECEIVING SOME SORT OF INDICATION FROM THE UNITED STATES THAT THE U.S. CONCURRED IN THIS ROLE.
4. I POINTED OUT TO FRANGIE THAT WE WERE VERY MUCH INTERESTED IN THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE COUNTRY AND APPROVED IN PRINCIPLE THE IDEA OF A CONSORTIUM. WITH RESPECT TO THE SYRIAN ROLE IN THE FIELD OF SECURITY, HOWEVER, THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT COULD ONLY BE DECIDED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE VIEWS OF NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES SUCH AS ISRAEL AND OTHER ARAB COUNTRIES, AS WELL AS THE PARTIES WITHIN LEBANON.
5. GENERALLY SPEAKING, FRANGIE LIMITED HIS REMARKS TO SECURITY. HE INSISTED ON THE FACT THAT SECURITY WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE AND THAT HE DID NOT SEE HOW THIS COULD BE PROVIDED WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF THE SYRIANS. THE ROLE THE PALESTINIANS COULD PLAY IN THE FIELD OF SECURITY WAS HIGHLY DUBIOUS. IN THE PAST THE PALESTINIANS HAD BEEN THE AGRESSORS AND THERE WERE NO ASSURANCES THAT THEY WOULD NOT ASSUME THIS ROLE AGAIN. LIBYA AND IRAQ WERE CONSTANTLY CAUSING TROUBLE. UNLESS THE UNITED STATES WITHDREW ITS OBJECTIONS TO SYRIAN INTERVENTION, THE ONLY SOLUTION WAS PARTITION.
6. I REITEREATED TO FRANGIE THE PROBLEMS CONNECTED WITH SYRIAN MILITARY INTERVENTION WITHIN CONTEXT OF POSSIBLE ISRAELI REACTION AND I REVIEWED THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST PARTITION.
7. THE MEETING ENDED WITH THE ARRIVAL OF CHAMOUN, GEMAYEL AND FATHER KASSIS. IT WAS EVIDENT BY THAT TIME THAT FRANGIE WAS DISAPPOINTED THAT THE U.S. POSITION DID NOT CALL FOR ADEQUATE SECURITY MEASURES FOR HIS COUNTRY WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, IN HIS OPINION, PREVENTED SYRIA FROM PROVIDING THIS.
8. COMMENT: FRANGIE LIKE OTHER OLD-TIME MARONITE LEADERS WANTS A MAGIC SOLUTION. THEY WANT THE U.S. TO IMPOSE IT AND CANNOT RECONCILE THEMSELVES TO THE FACT THAT 1976 IS NOT REPEAT NOT 1958. THEY HAVE SOMEHOW CONVINCED THEMSELVES THAT OUR CONCERN THAT THEY REMAIN STRONG IN ORDER TO NEGOTIATE TRANSLATES, OR CAN BE MADE TO TRANSLATE, INTO IRONCLAD GUARANTEES FOR THEIR FUTURE. THUS, NO DETAILED PROGRAM ELABORATELY SPELLED OUT, EVEN BEFORE THERE IS ANY SORT OF CENTRAL GOVERNMENT WITH WHOM WE MIGHT WORK, IS A GRAVE DISAPPOINTMENT TO THEM. IT COULD BE, AS WELL, IN INCENTIVE TO THEM TO DO THE BEST POSSIBLE UNDER THE EXISTING POLITICAL SYSTEM AND NOT REPEAT NOT COUNT ON THAT MAGIC. BROWN
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