The War Files (Part IV) – Meeting Kamal Jumblatt

 Leader Kamal Jumblatt (C) walking with his Druse ArmyAugust 1958 Photographer Michael Rougier


Druze Leader Kamal Jumblatt (C) walking with his Army, August 1958 (Michael Rougier / LIFE Magazine)

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.

Today, the post is about four meetings with Kamal Jumblatt in March, April, May, and July 1976.

TALK WITH KAMAL JUMBLATT
1976 March 4, 14:51 (Thursday)
1976BEIRUT02030_b
CONFIDENTIAL
UNCLASSIFIED
Margaret P. Grafeld Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 04 MAY 2006
1. SUMMARY: IN THE COURSE OF HOUR’S MEETING JUMBLATT CONFIRMED HIS NEGATIVISTIC ATTITUDE ON ALMOST EVERY POLICIAL ISSUE BEFORE HIM TODAY AND DEMONSTRATED, IN CASE WE HAD FORGOTTEN, HIS ABILITY TO SLIDE AROUND AN ARGUMENT RATHER THAN FOLLOW IT THROUGH RATIONALLY. MAIN POINT ON WHICH HE WAS RELATIVELY SINCERE, I THINK, WAS HIS BELIEF THAT HE IS HEADING A GENUINE REVOLT OF THE MASSES IN LEBANON WHICH MUST AND WILL INTIME PRODUCE WHAT HE TERMINED “GREATER DEMOCRACY” WHICH HE SEEMS TO VISUALIZE NO MORE ANTITHETICAL TO WESTERN CONCEPTS OF DEMOCRACY THAN THE SOCIAL REFORMING ROLE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTIES IN ITALY, FRANCE OR SPAIN, END SUMMARY.
2. JUMBLATT WAS OBVIOUSLY INTERESTED IN TALKING WITH ACTING DCM
CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 02 BEIRUT 02030 041612Z
AND ME WHEN WE CALLED ON HIM AT 4:30 PM MARCH 3 TO THANK HIM FOR HIS ROLE IN RELEASE OF USIS OFFICERS GALLAGHER AND DYKES. HIS REMARKS ARE SUMMARIZED BELOW:
3. THE PRESIDENCY: JUMBLATT CALLED FOR FRANGIE’S EARLY RESIGNATION. WHILE GENERALLY DEPLORING DEARTH OF GOOD CANDIDATES TO REPLACE REANGIE, HE MENTIONED REYMOND EDDE AS PROBABLY THE BEST AND JEAN AZIZ AS A POSSIBILITY.
4. THE PRIME MINISTER: JUMBLATT SAID ANY LEBANESE GOVERNMENT REQUIRED AT LEAST THE TACIT SUPPORT OF HIS LEFT PROGRESSIVE FRONT TO FUNCTION. IT COULD NOT REALLY DEAL WITH BASIC ISSUES UNTIL YOUNGER MEN TOOK OVER AND THE PROGRESSIVE FRONT GOT THE PRIME MINISTERSHIP. HE SAID THERE WERE MANY YOUNG SUNNI LEADERS THAT COULD BE NAMED. WHEN PRESSED ON SPECIFICS, HE THREW OUT THE NAMES OF TABBARA B. AND Z. NSOULI.
5. REFORM: JUMBLATT TALKED AT LENGTH ABOUT NEED TO DECONFESSIONALIZE AND LAICIZE THE STATE. HE SPOKE OF ELECTION REFORM AND A NEW DEMOCRACY. FOR FIRST TIME IN HISTORY THE MASSES HAVE BEGUN TO RAISE THEIRCHOICE IN LEBANESE AFFAIRS. WHEN PRESSED, HE COMPARED SOCIAL REFORMING ROLE OF THE MASSES IN A DEMOCRACY TO VEHAVIOR OF COMMUNIST PARTIES IN ITALY, FRANCE AND SPAIN. (HE EASILY SIDE STEPPED OUR ARGUMENT THAT IT IS OTHER PARTIES WHICH MAINTAIN THE DEMOCRATIC FRAMEWORK IN THOSE COUNTIRES WITHIN WHICH COMMUNIST PARTIES OPERATE.) HE REITERATED HIS CALL FOR A REASSEMBLING OF DIALOGUE COMMITTEE AND IMPLIED THAT WAS THE PLACE FOR FIGHTING LEADERS ON BOTH SIDES TO DISCUSS THINGS RATHER THAN THEMESLVES BEING IN ANY NEW GOVERNMENT. (COMMENT: ONE OF HIS BETTER IDEAS).
6. JUMBLATT’S CURRENT FRICTION WITH SYRIA WAS REFLECTED IN FEARS HE EXPRESSED ON THE DIAPPEARANCE OF DEMOCRACY, WHICH HE CALLED LEGANON’S MOST PRECISOUS ASSET. HE REFERRED IRONICALLY TO THE “U.S.-SYRIAN AGREEMENT” WHICH PERMITTED SYRIA TO OPERATE IN LEBANON.
7. LEBANON ARMY: JUMBLATT SEVERAL TIMES SPOKE ABOUT THE ARMY. HE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO PUT IT TOGETHER ALONG LINES CURRENTLY BEING PURSUED BY GOVERNMENT BECAUSE IT IS TOO SPLIT. HE MADE CERTAIN CONTRADICTORY STAEMENTS INDICATING CONFUSED
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THINKING ON THE QUESTION AND ENDED UP PROPOSING THAT ANEW ARMY BE ORGANIZED AND BE SENT TO ISRAELI BORDER WHERE IT COULD ENGAGE IN RAIDS AND OTHER ACTIVIITES AGAINST ISRAEL TO GIVE ITS MEMBERS A SENSE OF SOLIDARITY AGAINST A COMMON ENEMY.
8. CIVIL WAR: JUMBLATT EXPRESSED SKEPTICISM THAT CASUAL- TIES FROM THE CIVIL WAR WERE NOT AS GREAT AS MANY SAID. HE QUOTED “ARMY FIGURE” OF ABOUT 6,000 KILLED AND SUGGESTED MAJORITY PROBABLY WERE NON-COMBATANTS, MOST OF THEM KILLED AFTER BEING KIDNAPPED. HE ACCUSED PHALANGE AND OTHERRIGHTISTS OF FOSTERING BLOOD LUST AMONG YOUNG RECRUITS (THEY WERE TORTURING ANIMALS AND BATHING THEIR YOUNG MEN IN TUBS OF ANIMAL BLOOD). HE WONDERED HOW ALL THESE YOUNG FIGHTERS ON ALL SIDES COULD GO BACK TO MORE PEACEFUL LIVES AND DID NOT SEEMTO BELIEVE INTERGRATION INTO THE ARMY MORE THAN A PARTIAL SOLUTION. HE ADVANCED THE THESIS THAT CIVIL WAR MIGHT CONTINUE, PETERING OUT GRADUALLY FROM, SAY 6,000 TO 1,000 TO 200 TO 50 TO 10 ETC) KILLED MUCH AS RIPPLES IN A SEA WAVE. WHILE NOT TAKING DIRECT ISSUE WITH MY COMMENT THAT 10 MONTHS OF WAR SHOULD HAVE DEMONSTRATED TO ALL SIDES THAT THEIR CAUSE COULD NOT WIN THROUGH MILITARY VICTORY, HE EXPRESSED THE OPINION THAT SUCH BLOOD LETTING SOMETIMES HAS VIRTURE OF EXTERIORIZING INTERNAL COMPLEXES IN PEOPLE SO THAT THEY FEEL BETTER AFTERWARDS. LARDING THE PRAGMATIC WITH THE MYSTICAL, JUMBLATT WENT ON AT LENGTH TO EXPLAIN THE IMPORTANCE OF “MYTH” FOR PEOPLES OF THE ORIENT (AND EVEN FOR SUCH WESTERN PEOPLE AS THE GERMANS UNDER THE NAZIS) AND THE CLOSED NATURE OF COMMUNITIES IN THE LEBANON. MORAL HE DREW WAS THAT WESTERN MATERIALISM AND PRAGMATISM WERE NOT PART- ICULARLY APPLICABLE TO THE EAST.
9. THE U.S. AND ISRAEL: JUMBLATT TERMED ISRAEL A RELIGIOUS AND RACIST STATE. HE DEPLORED U.S. POLICY AS TOTALLY PRAGMATIC (PARTICULARLY SECRETARY KISSINGER) WHOM HE SAID HE DID NOT TRUST), AND DEVOID OF THE IDEALISM OF THE EISENHOWER YEARS. HE SUGGESTED SOLUTION OF THE REGIONAL PROBLEM WOULD BE THROUGH APPLICATION OF THE 1947 UN RESOLUTION ON PARTITION OF PALESTINE. (COMMENT: JUMBLATT WAS UNSURE OF HIS DATES AND FACTS AT SEVERAL POINTS IN DISCUSSING ARAB-ISRAELI RELATIONS AND DEMONSTRAED THE SECONDARY NATURE OF THAT PROBLEM IN HIS MIND WHEN HE INSISTED THAT LEBANESE SITUATION WAS COMPLETELY SEPARABLE FROM IT AND COULD CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 04 BEIRUT 02030 041612Z BE SOLVED SEPARATELY).
10. COMMENT: JUMBLATT WAS FRIENDLY AND RELATIVELY MILD MANNERED THROUGHOUT. HE RESPONDED POSITIVELY TO SUGGESTIONS THAT AMBASSADOR GODLEY AND I LOOKED FORWARD TO FUTURE CONTACT WITH HIM. THERE IS NO DOUBT, NEVERTHELESS, THAT HE IS AN EXCEEDINGLY DANGEROUS POLITICAL LEADER WHO IS NOT PREPARED TO MAKE CONCESSIONS IN THE NAME OF LEBANESE UNIT OR PATRIOTISM. HIS MESSAGE TO US WAS PRETTY NEGATIVE FROM START TO FINISH. HIS DRIVING FORCE WOULD APPEAR TO BE A BELIEF THAT HE CAN MASTER HISTORICAL REVOLUTIONARY FORCES WHICH ARE GOING TO TRANSFORM LEBANON SOCIALLY WITHOUT DESTROYING ITS ESSENTIAL DEMOCRACY, BUT ACTUALLY IMPROVING IT. DESPITE HIS RELATIVE BRILLIANCE IN THE LEBANESE SCENE AND IDEALISTIC PATTER,I SUSPECT CYNICS WILL POBABLY RECOGNIZE HIM AS A PRIME EXAMPLE OF THEIR OWN SPECIES.
LAMBRAKIS
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MEETING WITH JUMBLATT
1976 April 8, 18:15 (Thursday)
1976BEIRUT03119_b
SECRET
UNCLASSIFIED
Margaret P. Grafeld Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 04 MAY 2006
1. SUMMARY: JUMBLATT EXTENDS CEASEFIRE TEN DAYS OR WHATEVER NEEDED TO LAUNCH NEW PRESIDENT. LIKES PRO- POSALS I GAVE HIM, WANTS TO REFLECT, AND WILL BE BACK TO ME TOMORROW THROUGH INTERMEDIARY AND UNDOUBTEDLY WITH SOME ADDITIONAL IDEAS. REMAINS SUSPICIOUS OF SYRIANS (AND SOMEWHAT OF AMERICANS) BUT GENERALLY POSITIVE. END SUMMARY.
2. MET WITH JUMBLATT ALONE FOR 90 MINUTES. AS INEVIT- ABLE WE HAD WIDE-RUNNING CONVERSATION INCLUDING DISSERTA- TION BY HIM AS TO HOW WE MISUNDERSTAND HIS PAL, MADAME GHANDI. I HOPE SOMEDAY YOU, MR. SECRETARY, WILL MATCH WITS WITH HIM.
3. I HAVE HIM A RUNDOWN ON MY CONSULTATIONS HERE, KNOWING THIS IS EGO-FEEDER FOR HIM. ON MARONITES, HE LISTENED CAREFULLY AND THEN SAID, ASIDE FROM CHAMOUN WHOM HE REGARDS AS MAD OR SENILE, HE CAN GET ALONG WITH THEM AND THAT HE ENVISAGED IN RELATIVELY NEAR FUTURE SITTING DOWN WITH GEMAYEL TO DISCUSS FUTURE.
4. ON MY RPT MY PERSONAL IDEAS, HE SAID HE HAD JUST REFUSED “ARAFAT’S SUGGESTION THAT THE TRIPARTITE COMMISSION (PALESTINIANS, SYRIANS
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AND LEBANESE ARMY) BE RECONSITUTED. HIS REFUSAL BASED ON INCREAS- INGLY STRIDENT AND ANTI-JUMBLATT TONE OF SYRIANS AND THEIR SUPPORTERS HERE WHICH HE VIEWS AS ATTEMPT TO BAIT AND THEN DES- TROY HIM. HE TOLD ‘ARAFAT TO GO AHEAD AND SECURE PARLIAMENTARY AREA WITH HELP OF LWBANESE FORCES BUT NOT TRY TO GET FORMAL AGREEMENT IN ADVANCE FROM HIM FOR THE TRIPARTITE COMMITTEE. (INCIDENTALLY HE SAID HIS FORCES ARE INSTRUCTED TO FACILITATE PARLIAMENTARY MEETING.) I TOLD HIM THAT MY PLAN ENVISAGED LEBANESE ARMY, PALESTINIANS, SYRIANS, PHALANGE AND FORCES UNDER HIS CONTROL (WHAT I CALLED “LEFTISTS” IN TALK TO MARONITES). ON REFLECTION, WE MAY HAVE SKPPED TOO LIGHTLY OVER THIS ONE. HE HAS GUNS AND SHOULD BE INCLUDED. MOST CERTAINLY, ATTEMPTS TO EXCLUDE HIM AT THE START WILL EARN HIS VETO.
5. GENERAL IDEA OF CREATION OF A MIXED FORCE FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, INCLUDING, OF COURSE, HIS (BEAR THIS IN MIND) IS OKAY. HE WANTS TO REFLECT ON IT A BIT, FEARFUL THAT IT COULD CONTRIBUTE TO PARTITION. I ARGUED THAT IS NOT THE POINT. I AM TALKING FIRST ABOUT SHORT-TERM SOLUTIONS FOR URGENT SECURITY PROBLEMS AND, SECOND, ABOUT A PLAN WHEREBY THE SHORT-TERM IS ABSORBED INTO AND THEN SUPERSEDED BY LONGER-TERM PROPOSALS. HE SAID IT IS A POSSIBLY ACCEPTABLE IDEA. HE’LL REFLECT.
6. ON THE CONSORTIUM DEALS WANTS TO REFLECT AND WILL BE BACK TO ME TOMORROW. HE AGREES THAT ARMY RETRAINING IS A FIRST PRIORITY OF NEW PRESIDENT. HE IS INTRIGUED BY THOUGHT I GAVE HIM THAT IT NOT NECESSARY TO RECREATE ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE, GENDARMARIE, POLICE, ETC., AND ETC., ON EXACT GROUNDS AS ON PAST BUT THAT LEBANON– PERHAPS WITH INTELLIGENT ADVICE FROM DISINTERESTED TECHNICIANS– MIGHT RETHINK THROUGH ITS WHOLE SECURITY PACKAGE. (SORRY, I’M SPRINGING A NEW IDEA ON YOU WHICH COMES AFTER TALKING TO BRI- GADIER MUSA KANNAN AND OTHER THOUGHTFUL OFFICERS WHO SAY “WHY RECREATE WHAT FRENCH TOLD US WE NEEDED?”)
7. HE MULLED OVER IDEA OF SMALL, ELITE FORCE WITH DEFINITE MISSION AND POSSIBLE USE OF CONSCRIPTION TO CREATE SORT OF “AMERICAN NAT- IONAL GUARD”–LATER IN ENGLISH. HE BELIEVES–CONTRARY TO WHAT PROFESSIONAL SOLDIERS TELL ME–THAT THE SMALL FORCE COULD BE SET UP IN A FEW MONTHS AS THERE EXISTS CORPS OF “NON-EXTREMIST” MOSLEMS AND CHRISTIAN OFFICERS ON WHOM IT COULD BE BUILT. I EXPRESSED A CERTAIN PESSIMISM ABOUT HIS TIME FRAME BUT ENCOURAGED HIM TO THINK
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THROUGH HOW A TRULY NATIONAL FORCE CAN BE CREATED. 8. AS WE DISCUSSED CONSORTIUM IT BECAME CLEAR HE HAS ONE REAL PROBLEM . THAT IS SYRIA. HE SIMPLY DOES NOT WANT TO ACCEPT MENTALLY AT THIS TIME CONTINUED AND PERHAPS LARGER SYRIAN MILITARY PRESSURE. IN FACT, HE WANTS TO GET RID OF SAIQA NOW RPT NOW HERE. (WHILE WE WERE TALK- ING, SAIQA TROOPS TRIED TO DELIVER FREE FLOUR IN IMMEDIATE AREA TO INTENSE ANNOYANCE OF JUMBLATTISTS WHO CHASED THEM AWAY.) HE CAN FORESEE SMALL CONTINGENTS OF FRIENDLY ARAB STATES IN THE TRAINING PROCESS, BUT INSISTS THAT–ON THE WHOLE–LEBANON CAN DO TASK. I URGED HIM TO THINK THIS ALL THROUGH, TO REMEMBER THAT SYRIAN EFFORT SO FAR HAD BEEN HELPFUL, AND THAT HE SHOULD NOT DISCARD COMPLETELY SYRIAN ROLE SIMPLY BECAUSE HE HAVING SORT OF PROPAGANDA BATTLE WITH PRO-SYRIAN LEBANESE BAATH AND DAMASCUS PRESS.
9. WHILE HE WELCOMES IDEA OF WESTERN HELP, HE REMAINS SUSPICIOUS OF MOTIVES AND INSISTS REBUILDING OF LEBANON IS A LEBANESE TASK. HE REPEEATTED BELIEF THAT U.S. SUPPORTING SYRIAN INITIATIVE FOR OUR OWN POLITICAL ADVANTAGE IN FUTURE LEBANON. I TOLD HIM THAT WE WERE NOT TRYING TO ESTABLISH SYRIAN HEGEMONY OVER LEBANON. WE WANT TO SEE A REUNIFIED, PEACEFUL LEBANON, PLAYING ITS NATURAL ROLE IN MEDITERRANEAN AND MIDDLE EASTERN WORLD. IT IS SIMPLY NOT IN AMER- ICAN INTEREST TO SEE DRAMATIC CHANGES TAKE PLACE WHICH COULD CREATE GREATER PROBLEMS IN FUTURE. HE AGREES THAT LEBANON’S ROLE AS I DEFINED IT IS ALSO HIS. IT SHOULD HAVE LIBERAL ECONOMY WHICH WILL ENCOURAGE WESTERN AND ARAB CAPITAL TO COME BACK. (DOUBT HE’LL TELL HIS PROGRESSIVE FRIENDS THIS BUT IT HAS BEEN A THEME OF OUR TALKS.) HE SAID WE SHOULD UNDERSTAND THAT SYRIAN OCCUPATION OF LEB- ANON WOULD LEAD TO GUERRILLA WAR. I REPEATED AGAIN THAT THIS IS NOT RPT NOT OUR POLICY.
10. JUMBLATT INSISTED ON TALKING ABOUT THE POLITICAL PROCESS AND CHOICE OF PRESIDENTS. I TOLD HIM THAT ONY THING I WOULD NOT DO IS PLAY A ROLE IN SELECTING THE PRESIDENT ON THE GROUNDS THAT ANY CHOICE I MADE WOULD BE DENOUNCED AS PART OF AN AMERICAN PLOT. I SAID I WAS RESISTING TAKING SUCH A POSITION WHICH THE FAR TOO MANY LEBANESE WHO WERE PRESSING ON ME. VERY POLITELY, HE SAID HE AC- CEPTED THIS BUT NONETHELESS WANTED ME TO KNOW THAT EDDE IS HIS MAN AND HE HOPED AMERICANS COULD TELL SYRIANS THAT FOREIGNERS SHOULD NOT PROPOSE SOME CANDIDATES AND VETO OTHERS. THIS IS ONE WE
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MIGHT THINK ABOUT IF RAISED BY SYRIANS.
11. I THINK WE SHOULD HOLD OFF ON COMMUNICATING JUMBLATT’S THOUGHTS ANYWHERE UNTIL I HEAR FROM HIS PEOPLE TOMORROW. IN MEANTIME, AS HE TOLD ME, HE WANTS TO DISCUSS THEM FIRST WITH HIS OWN GROUP AND THEN WITH “PROGRESSIVES”. GOD KNOW WHAT THEY MAY LEAD TO BUT, PERPETUAL OPTIMIST THAT I AM, I THINK HE’LL BE POSITIVE. HE ENJOYED OUR PRIVATE MEETING, SAID PUBLICLY TO PRESS IT HAD BEEN MOST HELPFUL AND THAT HE LOOKED FORWARD TO FURTHER CONSULTATION. I AVOIDED COMMENT TO PRESS OTHER THAN TO SAY “ASK MR. JUMBLATT, WITH WHOM I’VE HAD VERY GOOD TALK” AND THAT I HAVE NO PLANS TO LEAVE.
12. I’VE SAID THIS BEFORE AND I’LL REPEAT IT. SYRIANS SHOULD COOL IT SOMEWHAT ON JUMBLATT. OUR AIM IS TO CONTAIN JUMBLATT. THE BEST WAY IS TO GET HIM INVOLVED AND COOPERATING. RIGHT NOW HE CAN SPOIL IT ALL. IF WE CAN SUCK HIM INTO THE PROCESS, HE WON’T AND CAN’T. IF SYRIANS RELAX A BIT ON HIM, IT WILL HELP. I KNOW THIS IS DIFFICULT. SYRIANS ARE A COMPLICATED, SENSIIVE PEOPLE AND THEY ARE OUT ON A LIMB WITH A POLICY AND INTERVENTION HERE WHICH DIDN’T WORK AS EASILY AS THEY THOUGHT. JUMBLATT, FOR EXAMPLE, THINKS ASAD IS DOOMED AS HE HAS PUT HIMSELF AND ALAWITES IN SAME POSITION IN SYRIA THAT MARONITES ARE HERE.
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CONVERSATION WITH JUMBLATT
1976 May 5, 21:53 (Wednesday)
1976STATE109747_b
CONFIDENTIAL
UNCLASSIFIED
Margaret P. Grafeld Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 04 MAY 2006
1. SUMMARY: IN LONG TALK WITH JUMBLATT I TOLD HIM WORLD CANNOT ACCEPT CONTINUED SHELLING AND ENDLESS FIGHTING. FUTURE OF LEBANON AT STAKE. ELECTIONS MUST TAKE PLACE. HE HAD TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY. I WOULD SAY SUME TO MARONITES. TIME HAD COME FOR HIM TO TALK TO MARONITES. HIS DEMANDS FOR IMMEDIATE AND TOTAL WITHDRAWAL OF SYRIANS AS PRE-CONDITION FOR ELECTIONS WERE NON-STARTERS. FINALLY, I WAS NOT RPT NOT PART OF SYRIAN-AMERICAN PLOT AIMED AT INSTALLING SARKIS CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 02 STATE 109747 DESPITE JUMBLATT’S PUBLIC STATEMENTS TO CONTRARY. END SUMMARY
2. I HAD ANOTHER LENGTHY TALK WITH JUMBLATT AT 6:30 PM MAY 4. ATMOSPHERE WAS VERY CORDIAL DESPITE JUMBLATT’S BLASKT IN THE PRESS THAT SAME DAY ABOUT A SO-CALLED “U.S.-ARAB-ISRAELI” PLOT (WHICH HE SMILINGLY BRUSHED OFF AS A NECESSARY LOCAL POLITICAL PLOY).
3. JUMBLATT STRESSED SYRIAN INTERFERENCE. SYRIA HAD STILL MADE NO GESTURE. EVEN RACHID KARAME, HE HAD BEEN TOLD CONFCDENT ALLY, WAS ANNOYED WITH THE SYRIANS.
4. JUMBLATT CAISED THE QUESTION OF A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. THERE WWS THE POSSIBILITY OF A THIRD CANDIDATE BUT HE FAVORED A STRONG CANDIDATE. I NOTED THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE A STRONG PRESIDENT WITH WIDEST BACKING POSSIBLE. HE WENT ON TO SAY THAT HE HAD HAD LUNCY THAT DAY WITH RAYMOND EDDE. HIS PARTY WAS FOR EDDE IN PRINCIPLE BUO NO FINAL DECISION HAD BEEN MADE.
5. IN CONNECTION WITH THE ABOVE, JUMBLATT SAID THAT THE CHRISTIANS WERE BY NO MEANS UNITED. CHAMOUN WOULD ACCEPT ANY CANDIDATE PROVIDED HE WAS SUFFICIENTLYHPAID OFF TO DO SO. FATHER KASSIS HAD MADE AN APPROACH FOR A DIALOGUE. JUMBLATT WAS WILLING IF IT WERE KEPT SECRET. PIERRE GEMAYEL’S SON, BACHIR, HAD MADE AN APPROACH. THERE WERE EVEN DIFFERENCES WITHIN GEMAYEL’S PARTY, I.E., BETWEEN BACHIR GEMAYEL AND THE POLITBURO.
6. JUMBLATT ONCE AGAIN RAISED THE POSSIBLITY OF A ROUND TABLE TO START A DIALOGUE, HINTING THIS TIME THAT IT DID NOT NECESSARILY HAVE TO TAKE PLACE OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY.
7. ON THE QUESTION OF SECURITY, JUMBLATT CLAIMED THIS COULD BE PROVIDED WITHOUT BRINGING IN MORE FORCES THAN THOSE ALREADY HERE. WHILE OPPOSING ADDITIONAL FORCES, HE MADE CLEAR WHEN PUSYED THAT HIS DEMAND FOR IMMEDIATE DEPARTURE OF SYRIANS MEANS IN THE FORESEE- ABLE FUTURE AND NOT RPT NOT TOMORROW.
8. HE HAD IN MIND ORGANIZING AN INITIAL FORCE OF ABOUT 2500 MEN IN THE SHOUF. THE HEAD OF THE LEBAMESE ARMY COULD CHOOSE THE COMMANDING OFFICER. A COUNCIL COULD BE SET UP REPRESENTING THE VARIOUS FACTIONS. THERE WAS NO NEED TO WORRY ABOUT ANY DIFFI- CULTIES FROM “THAT LITTLE CORPORAL KHATIB” WHO COULD BE TAKEN CONFIDENTIAL CONFIDENTIAL PAGE 03 STATE 109747 CARE OF. THIS FORCE COULD BE USED AS A NUCLEUS TO RESTORE ORDER IN BEIRUT ONCE IT WAS ORGANIZED AND TRAINED. THE DRUZE, HE NOTED, HAD TRADITIONALLY ACTED AS A BRIDGE BEWTEEN CHRISTIANS AND MOSLEMS.
9. ON MY PART I STRESSED THE NEED FOR STOPPING THE FIGHTING AND GETTING ON WITH THE POLITICAL PROCESS. I STATED MY VIEW THAT THERE ARE TWO SORTS OF WAR GOING ON: ONE, AT LINE DIVIDING THE PARTIES; OTHER CONSISTING OF UNAIMED ARTILLERY AND MORTAR FIRE. LATTER HAD TO BE STOPPED IMMEDIATELY. AT STAKE WAS FUTURE VIABILITY OF LEBANON WHICH MUST CONCERN HIM. I PUSHED AHEAD ON THIS. ALSO SAID FIGHTING IN PORT HAD TO STOP AS NEXT STEP. IN DISCUSSING THIS HE DID NOT DENY THAT IT HAS BEEN LEFTISTS WHO HAVE BEEN DOING THE PUSHING IN THE PORT AREA. JUMBLATT FKLLY AGREED BUT, WHEN QUETIONED, SAID HE WAS NOT SURE IF ELECTIONS COULD TAKE PLACE ON SATURDAY AY SCHEDULED. I AGAIN INSISTED ON THE IMPORTANCE OF NO DELAYS, REMINDING HIM THAT I HAD DELIVERED THE SAME MESSAGE TO JOUNIEH WHEN THIS SEEMED NECESSARY.
10. JUMBLATT AGREED WITH ME ON THE NECESSITY OF STOPPING THE FIGHTING AND SAID HE WOULD WORK IN THIS DIRECTION. I AGAIN REMINDED HIM THAT TIME WAS RUNNING OUT AND THE WORLD COULD TURN ITS BACK ON LEBANON. SO FAR, HOWEVER, THE UNITED STATES REMAINED DEEPLY INTERESTED IN LEBANON’S WELFARE AS PRESIDENT FORD HAD PERSON- ALLY ASSURED ME WHEN I WAS IN WASHINGTON.
11. I LEFT THE QUESTION OF A PRESS STAEMENT TO JUMBLATT. IT TURNED OUT THAT ONE OF THE POINTS HE MADE WAS THAT THE U.S. DID NOT FAVOR ANY CANDIDATE BUT HOPED THAT THE NEW PRESIDENT WOULD BE A STRONG MAN WITH STRONG BACKING. HE ALSO CALLED FOR CESSATION OF FIGHTING.
12. THERE IS SOME INDICATION THAT JUMBLATT’S MORE CONSERVATIVE ADVISERS ARE GETTING SOMEWHAT FED UP WITH DELAYS. WE WERE INFORMED THAT DEPUTY PARTY CHIEF KHALAS AND DRUZE ADVISER ABOU-DIAB DECIDED NOT TO ATTEND THE MEETING. MOREOVER, KHALAF HAS DECIDED TO RO TO THE STATES MAY 8 WHETHER ELECTIONS TAKE PLACE OR NOT.
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TALK WITH JUMBLATT JULY 1
1976 July 3, 23:25 (Saturday)
1976STATE166467_b
CONFIDENTIAL
UNCLASSIFIED
Margaret P. Grafeld Declassified/Released US Department of State EO Systematic Review 04 MAY 2006
SUMMARY: JUMBLATT SPOKE FOR ALMOST 2 HOURS WITH ME ON WIDE RANGE OF SUBJECTS. HE OUTLINED THE “SINS” OF THE CHRISTIANS AND THE NEED TO REALIZE HOW MUCH THEY HAD TO LOSE IN SPECIFIC TERMS FROM THEIR CURRENT ALLIANCE WITH THE SYRIANS. HE ATTACKED SYRIAN POLICY AND THOUGHT THE FIRST STEP IS THAT SYRIANS GET OUT BEFORE A ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION CAN PROCEED. HE WAS GENERALLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT CHANCES OF ENDING THE FIGHTING IN THE NEAR FUTURE (THOUGH GIVING NO SPECIFIC EVIDENCE OF THIS BEYOND THE GENERAL FEELING THAT “PEOPLE NEED A REST”), AND SAID TIME HAD COME FOR COMPROMISE. HOWEVER, ROUND TABLE DISCUSSIONS MUST BE CAREFULLY PREPARED, AND GAVE AS AN EXAMPLE TALKS HE AND THE PALESTINIANS HAVE HAD WITH BASHIR GEMAYEL, SON OF PIERRE GEMAYEL. HE OUTLINED SOME REFORMS, INCLUDING PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION AND DE-CONFESSIONALIZATION OF THE STATE, AS
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EXAMPLES OVER WHICH COMPROMISE CAN BE REACHED. THOUGH RESTED AND SPEAKING IN REASONABLE TERMS, HE WAS NOT VERY CONVINCING THAT PEACE IS AROUND THE CORNER. END SUMMARY.
1. I TOOK LAMBRADIS WITH ME TO CALL ON JUMBLATT JULY 1. HE LOOKED RESTED AFTER SOMETIME IN HIS MOUNTAIN RETREAT, WHERE HE WAS NOT VERY INVOLVED WITH CURRENT POLITICS OVER THE PAST WEEK OR SO. HE WAS WELL-DRESSED, HAD A NEAT HAIRCUT, AND GENERALLY PRESENTED A VERY RELAXED IMAGE AS HE OFFERED US FRUIT AND DEVOURED IT HIMSELF, AS IS HIS AFTERNOON HABIT.
2. NOTING THAT HE HAD NEVER MET AMBASSADOR MELOY PERSONALLY, HE BEGAN WITH EXPRESSIONS OF PERSONAL SORROW AT THE DEATH OF ROBERT WARING. HE HAD CONSIDERED HIM AN HONEST FRIEND AND HAD NOTED THINGS HE HAD DISCUSSED WITH WARING WERE LISTENED TO IN WASHINGTON, SINCE HE HAD SEEN PLAYBACKS OF THEM A FEW DAYS LATER IN PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENTS OR PRESS REPORTS. WHEN ASKED FOR HIS CURRENT BEST ESTIMATE OF WHO THE MURDERERS WERE, JUMBLATT SAID HE THOUGHT THE MURDERS HAD BEEN ORDERED BY DR. HADDAD, WHO IS GEORGE HABASH’S DEPUTY IN THE PFLP. HE SAID HE HAD NOT BEEN IN TOUCH MORE RECENTLY WITH SPECIFICS OF THE INVESTIGATION, BUT WOULD LOOK INTO IT FOR US. I PRESSED HIM ON THIS SCORE, AND HE SEEMED COMPLETELY WILLING TO DO WHAT HE COULD. HE NOTED HIS OWN SISTER’S DEATH AND THE WOUNDING OF HIS NIECES. SUCH PERSONAL GRIEF HELPS ONE APPRECIATE THE GRIEF OF OTHERS, HE SAID.
3. I EXPLAINED MY MISSION TO THE LEBANON, AND NOTED THAT IN EARLIER CONVERSATIONS SINCE MY ARRIVAL CERTAIN SUGGESTIONS HAD COME UP ON WHICH I HAD CONSISTENTLY TRIED TO SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. I HAVE BEEN POINTING OUT THAT THE US IS AGAINST LEBANESE PARTITION. I HAVE MADE A POINT OF MENTIONING UNITY OF LEBANON IN MY PUBLIC UTTERANCES. I ALSO HAVE TRIED TO DEBUNK LIES SUGGESTING THERE IS A SYRIAN-ISRAELI-CHRISTIAN-USG CONSPIRACY TO SUPPRESS THE PALESTINIAN AND THE LEFT IN LEBANON. I NOTED THAT THE PRESS AND RADIO NEVERTHELESS CONTINUED TO INSIST ON THIS THEME DESPITE ANYTHING THE USG OR I CAN SAY. JUMBLATT NODDED HIS UNDERSTANDING.
4. JUMBLATT ADVERTED INDIRECTLY TO US-SYRIAN COLLUSION. HE
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SAID HE BELIEVED US WHEN WE SAY WE ARE AGAINST PARTITION. HOWEVER, US USED TO BE VERY STRICT ON QUESTION OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF LEBANON. THIS CAME UP IN 1958 EVEN IN CONNECTION WITH US FACILITATING THE ELECTION OF GENERAL CHEHAB. ISRAEL HAD BEEN WELL AWARE OVER THE YEARS OF US SUPPORT FOR LEBANESE INDEPENDENCE. HOWEVER, THERE HAVE BEEN SOME CURIOUS EVENTS RECENTLY IN SYRIA. ASSAD HAS “TURNED COSSACK” AGAINST THE SOVIETS. HE HAS RENEWED UNDOF MANDATE ON GOLAN HEIGHTS WITHOUT ANY FUSS. ONE CANNOT ESCAPE THE CONCLUSION THAT US PERMISSION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO SYRIANS TOH TO VERY FAR INDEED. EVERYONE BELIEVES THIS, AND JUMBLATT HAD TOLD THIS TO AMBASSADOR BROWNN WHO HE SAID OF COURSE DENIED IT. ONE CANNOT IMAGINE THE SYRIANS WOULD DARE ALLOW THEIR TROOPS TO ENTER LEBANON WITHOUT SOME KIND OF US GO-AHEAD. THIS IS A “PLOT” OF WHICH EDDE HAS BEEN TALKING FOR A YEAR AND A HALF.
6. JUMBLATT SAID HE BELIEVED SECRETARY KISSINGER HAS A METHOD WHICH JUMBALTT ADMIRES IN ITS TACTICAL EFFICACY. IT LETS PEOPLE FIGHT EACH OTHER UNTIL THEY ARE TIRED AND THEN KISSINGER STEPS IN WITH A SOLUTION. BUT US SHOULD BE CAREFUL NOT TO LOSE ITS FRIENDS IN THE LEBANON. A SOCIALIST STATE MIGHT RISE IN THE LEBANON OVER THE NEXT 2 TO 4 YEARS. (IN REPLY TO MY QUESTION, JUMBLATT INSISTED HE WAS SPEAKING ABOUT A SOCIALIST STATE, NOT A COMMUNIST.)
7. SOCIAL REFORM HAD BECOME NECESSARY TO COUNTER MARONITE PRIVILEGE, WHICH IS EXERCISED IN TERMS REMINISCENT OF THE MIDDLE AGES. FIVE PROPRIETORS OWN MOST OF THE BEKAA. THERE ARE UNCULTIVATED LANDS GOING TO WASTE WHILE HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS ARE MISERABLE IN THEIR POVERTY. THE COUNTRY NEEDS TRUE DEMOCRACY. PROGRESSIVE FORCES WHICH JUMBLATT LEADS BELIEVE IN LIBERTY. THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN COMMUNISM, NOR CLASS WARFARE, OR IN COUPS D’ETAT. HE CLAIMED ALONG THAT LINE TO HAVE PREVENTED GENERAL AHDAB FROM MARCHING AGAINST FRANGIE WHEN FRANGIE DID NOT RESIGN IN MARCH. THIS WAS NOT THE DEMOCRATIC WAY, JUMBLATT SAID. (AS WE RECALL IT, JUMBLATT’S GROUP MAY HAVE HAD A PART IN THIS, BUT IT IS FAR FROM CLEAR THAT HE ALONE PREVENTED AHDAB FROM MARCHING.)
8. THE MARONITES MUST UNDERSTAND THAT OPPOSITION TO THEM CAN
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CONTINUE FOR YEARS IF THEY DO NOT YIELD. JUMBLATT IS PREPARED TO DISCUSS THINGS OVER THE ROUND TABLE, BUT NOT TO CONTINUE ACCEPTING MARONITE MASTERY OF THE COUNTRY. MARONITES HAVE SEVERAL SPECIFIC THINGS THEY SHOULD THINK ABOUT: FIRST, IT IS NOT CLEAR HOW FAR COMMUNISTS MIGHT GO IN LEBANON. JUMBLATT SAID HE DID NOT LIKE THE COMMUNISTS HIMSELF (AND IN FACT EXPECTS GREATER DEMOCRATIZATION IN THE SOVIET UNION BY ABOUT 1985). HOWEVER, MARONITES SHOULD FEAR COMMUNIST TREND IN LEBANON IF CONDITIONS ON WHICH THEY BREED ARE NOT CHANGED. SECOND, MARONITES SHOULD FEAR EMIGRATION OF THEIR OWN PEOPLE IF THEY MAINTAIN CURRENT SEPARATENESS BEHIND THEIR GUNS. JUMBLATT WAS TOLD 80 PERCENT OF DOCTORS HAVE ALREADY FLED THE COUNTRY. THESE STUBBORN MARONITES MAY SOME DAY FIND THEIR NUMBERS SO REDUCED THAT THEY WILL BE FACED BY A CRUSHING MAJORITY OF ISLAM. THIRD, MARONITES SHOULD FEAR SYRIA. SOME SUCH AS BASHIR GEMAYEL WISELY OPPOSED SYRIAN INTERVENTION FOR THIS REASON; OTHERS — PARTICULARLY THE MONKS AND CLERICS OF THE CATHOLIC FRONT — MAINTAIN THEIR HOPES FOR A NEW CRUSADE. SYRIANS BELIEVE THEY HAVE A CHANCE TO REPLACE MOTHER FRANCE AS PROTECTOR OF LEBANON, AND IN PARTICULAR THE MARONITES. BUT ONE DAY THERE COULD BE A CHANGE OF REGIME IN SYRIA WITH SUNNIS OVERTHROWING THE REGIME AND LIVING UP THEIR FORCES IN LEBANON WITH THE LEFT. TOP CHRISTIAN LEADERS SHOULD REALIZE THIS. (COMMENTING SPECIFICALLY ON GEMAYEL, JUMBLATT SAID HE SUFFERED FROM HALLUCINATIONS AND HAD NO INTELLECTUAL BAGGAGE. CLINICALLY HIS FATHER HAD SUFFERED FROM HALLUCINATIONS.)
9. FINALLY, CHRISTIANS SHOULD REALIZE FORTUNE THEY MADE IN THE PAST WAS BASED ON EXPLOITATION OF ARAB OIL AND SERVICES TO OTHER ARAB COUNTRIES. MARONITES HAVE LOST MUCH OF THIS MONEY (HE SPOKE OF 50,000 LEBANESE IN FRANCE, MANY OF THEM IN FINANCIAL NEED AT PRESENT). MARONITES MUST REALIZE THAT THESE ARAB STATES WILL TURN AGAINST EHEM AND ISOLATE THEM IF THEY CONTINUE TO BEHAVE AS THEY DO. JUMBLATT HIMSELF HAD TO INTERVENE SOME MONTHS AGO FOR FRIENDS WHO WERE ABOUT TO BE EXPELLED FROM LIBYA AND KUWAIT.
10. TROUBLE WITH MARONITES, JUMBLATT SUMMED UP, IS THAT THEY ARE OBSESSED BY FEAR. SARKIS MAY TURN OUT TO BE THE LAST
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MARONITE PRESIDENT OF LEBANON. THEY MADE A BIG MISTAKE IN CURRENT ATTACK ON TELL ZAATAR, WHICH HE WAS SORRY TO SEE BASHIR GEMAYEL ALSO JOINED IN ON FINALLY. MUSLIMS COULD HAVE DONE NASTY THINGS TO CHRISTIAN VILLAGES SUCH AS DEIR EL-QAMAR (IN THE CHOUF), BUT THEY WOULD NOT. NOR WOULD MUSLIMS ATTACK CHRISTIANS IN RAS BEIRUT, AS MANY SEEMED TO FEAR. MARONITES MUST HAVE CONFIDENCE IN DEMOCRACY AND ACCEPT WESTERNIZING THE COUNTRY INSTITUTIONS. BY THIS HE MEANT REFORMS TO SUPPRESS SECTARIANISM AND ESTABLISH GOVERNMENT ON MODERN PRINCIPLES.
11. I ASKED HIM IF HE HAD NOT ACCEPTED THE COMPROMISE AGREEMENT ANNOUNCED LAST FEBRUARY BY FRANGIE. JUMBLATT SAID THOSE POINTS HAD BEEN ACCEPTABLE THEN, BUT CHRISTIANS HAD REJECTED THEM, AND SITUATION HAS CHANGED. THE LEFT ALLIANCES PARTIES WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT THEM. IN THIS SENSE MARONITES ARE ARABS, AND HAVE BEEN ACTING AS ARABS HAVE ACTED HISTORICALLY TOWARDS ISRAEL — THEY ACCEPT NOTHING UNTIL IT IS TOO LATE.
12.COURSE AHEAD, JUMBLATT SAID, MUST BE TO PREPARE A COMPROMISE AGREEMENT. THIS MUST BE PRECEDED BY NEGOTIATIONS THROUGH QUIET OR PUBLIC CONTACTS BETWEEN THE SIDES, BEFORE FINAL AGREEMENT IS BROUGHT TO A ROUND TABLE AND SANCTIONED THERE. THEN THERE SHOULD BE A NEW PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION ACCORDING TO THE NEW PRINCIPLES AGREED UPON. WHEN ASKED TO SPECIFY REFORMS HE WANTED, HE MENTIONED PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION IN PARLIAMENT WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF GETTING MORE YOUNG PEOPLE IN. HOWEVER, THIS SHOULD BE LIMITED TO NO MORE THAN THREE PARTIES BEING ELECTED, AND LIST SHOULD PERMIT VOTERS TO EXPRESS INDIVIDUAL PREFERENCES FOR PEOPLE ON THE LIST. A SECOND CHAMBER SHOULD BE CREATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS WELL-PUBLICIZED PROGRAM. OBJECTIVE IS TO ABOLISH CONFESSIONALISM AND ELEIMINATE MEDIOCRITY IN PARLIAMENT. I ASKED IF HE MEANT ELIMINATING FEUDAL REMNANTS. NO, JUMBLATT INSISTED, HE MEANT ELIMINATING MEDIOCRITY. (COMMENT: JUMBLATT OF COURSE DERIVES HIS MOST STEADY SUPPORT FROM HIS TRADITIONAL FEUDAL SUZERAINTY OVER MUCH OF THE DRUZE COMMUNITY).
13. PHALANGE (PROBABLY BASHIR GEMAYEL) HAS ACCEPTED PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION, JUMBLATT ASSERTED, BUT NOT AN END TO CONFESSIONALISM. JUMBLATT THOUGH PARTIES OF THE LEFT CAN IMPOSE ON OTHER, MORE CONSERVATIVE MUSLIMS A REFORM
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PROGRAM WHICH WOULD, FOR EXAMPLE, PERMIT CIVIL MARRIAGE AND SIMILAR CHANGES WHICH MANY CHRISTIANS SUPPORT. YOUNG PEOPLE, BOTH CHRISTIAN AND MUSLIM, ARE IDEALISTIC. THEY WILL INSIST ON TOUGH REFORMS. THERE IS LITTLE DIFFERNENCE BETWEEN THESE YOUNG PEOPLE, EXCEPT THAT THE CHRISTIAN YOUTH DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE PALESTINIANS AND HOW TO HANDLE THEM. MEANWHILE, COMPETITION AMONG TRADITIONAL CHRISTIAN LEADDERS SUCH AS CHAMOUN AND GEMAYEL LENDS TO ESCALATION OF RHETORIC AND MILITARY ACTION FOR NO GOOD REASON. THIS SHOULD END.
14. AS TO PALESTINIANS, ELIMINATION OF SAIQA HAS BEEN A GOOD THING. OF COURSE SOME GROUPS SUCH AS PFLP RESORT INOPPORTUNELY TO TERRORISM (HERE JUMBLATT SHOWED HE DID NOT APPROVE RECENT AIR FRANCE HIJACKING). THERE ARE ALSO TROUBLE-MAKING SMALL GROUPS BACKED BY LIBYANS AND IRAQIS AS WELL AS SYRIANS. HOWEVER, WITH SAIQA DISAPPEARANCE, PALESTINIANS CAN NOW IMPOSE THEIR OWN LAW AMONG MOST OF THEIR PEOPLE. LEBANESE MUST LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH PALESTINIANS, OFFER THEM A BETTER LIFE. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PEOPLE NUMBERING THREE MILLION THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. THEY DO NOT WANT TO LIVE HERE ONLY AS AN ARMY. IN THIS SENSE, JUMBLATT SAID HE HAD NO FEAR FOR THE FUTURE OF THE COUNTRY. PEOPLE MAY EVEN HAVE BENEFITED FROM THEIR EXORCISM OF BLOOD….
15. SPECIFICALLY, JUMBLATT SAID, 1969 DAIRO ACCORD IS OUT OF DATE, BUT MODUS VIVENDI CAN BE REACHED WITH PALESTINIANS. HE NOTED THAT PALESTINIANS REMAIN IN TOUCH WITH CHRISTIANS THROUGH ABU HASSAN WHO GOES BACK AND FORTH ACROSS THE DIVIDING LINE, AS DOES PHALANGE’S BAYIR GEMAYEL. HE THEN MADE SOME REMARKS ABOUT A VIABLE PALESTINIAN STATE TO INCLUDE JORDAN, AND THE 1,200,000 PALESTINIANS HAVING A COANCE TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMES IN HAIFA, ETC. ETC. (JUMBLATT IS CLEARLY BEYOND HIS DEPTH OR INTEREST WHEN HE STARTS TALKING ABOUT THE LARGER PALESTINIAN PROBLEM).
16. SPECIFICALLY ON SYRIANS, JUMBLATT SAID THAT THEY MUST LEAVE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. ALL MUSLIMS ARE AGAINST THEM. ASSAD IS A MEDIOCRE MAN WHO HAS REPEATEDLY REFUSED TO TAKE OPPORTUNITIES TO GET OUT OF THE LEBANON. AS TO REASONS FOR SYRIAN INTERVENTION, JUMBLATT SPECULATED, SOME SAY SYRIA WANTS THE BEKAA. OTHERS SAY SYRIA WISHES TO REPLACE FRANCE
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AND HAS TAKEN THIS HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY TO GET CLOSE TO THE MARONITES. JUMBLATT CLAIMED ASSAD HAS SPECIFICALLY TOLD HIM THIS ON FREQUENT OCCASIONS WHILE THEY WERE STILL IN CONTACT, AS OF A FEW MONTHS AGO. ALSO, ASSAD HOPED TO WIN A CARD IN HIS DIPLOMATIC GAME, GOING TO FRANCE AS A FRIEND OF JORDAN ON THE ONE HAND AND WITH CONTROL OVER LEBANON AND THE PALESTINIANS ON THE OTHER. THIS WOULD HAVE HELPED HIM IN US EYES TOO AND MAYBE HELPED GET A GOLAN SETTLEMENT OF THE KIND HE WANTS. HOWEVER, EGYPT IS NOW BEGINNING TO REPLACE SYRIA IN THE LEBANON AS IS NORMAL. AT LEAST SADAT IN HIS SINAI II POLICY WAS FRANK. HE HAS WON MUCH RESPECT.
17. JUMBLATT TENDED TO DOWN-PLAY THE PROBLEM OF SECURITY IN LEBANON. HE SAID THE VARIOUS PARTIES ARE BEGINNING TO TAKE SECURITY IN HAND. THERE ARE FEWER ASSASSINATIONS NOW AND LOOTING IS LESS BOTH IN BEIRUT AND IN THE MOUNTAINS. THE LEBANESE ARMY WILL BE REBUILT. THE POPULACE, ONCE IT HAS PEACE, WILL SELL ITS ARMS. WITH $20 MILLION, JUMBLATT SAID, THE STATE COULD BUY BACK THE ARMS ITSELF. PEOPLE ARE HUNGRY. AGAIN HE RETURNED TO HIS THEME THAT YOUNG PEOPLE MUST BE ALLOWED TO TAKE POWER IN THIS COUNTRY.
18. FINALLY, JUMBLATT WISHED ME WELL. HE SAID DEAN BROWN DID A GOOD JOB HERE. HE PERHAPS LACKED PATIENCE. IT IS BETTER TOWORK A LITTLE MORE SLOWLY AND PATIENTLY AND PERHAPS WITH LOWER PROFILE, BUT US CAN BE HELPFUL.
19. SUMMING UP HIS VIEWS, JUMBLATT SAID HE EXPECTED THE WAR TO END SOON. EVEN THOUGH HE ADMITTED HIS OWN AIMS ARE WHAT AMOUNT TO A CONTINUOUS REVOLUTION UNTIL POWER MOVES FROM THE HANDS OF THE MARONITES TO HIS OWN AND THOSE OF OTHERS ALLIED WITH HIM, HE THOUGHT MEDITERRANEAN PEOPLE SUCH AS THE LEBANESE AND PALESTINIANS NEED A REST. TIME HAS COME FOR COMPROMISE, AND HE IS PREPARED FOR THAT. WHEN I ASKED WHETHER CONCENTRATED BITTERNESS BETWEEN FACTIONS MIGHT NOT IMPEDE COMPROMISE, HE SAID PEOPLE TEND TO FORGET THE CARNAGE, BLOOD, AND DESTRUCTION, PARTICULARLY IF A CATASTROPHE IS BIG ENOUGHT. MEANWHILE NOTHING CAN BE DONE BY WAY OF FORMAL PEACEMAKING UNTIL THE SYRIANS WITHDRAW TOTALLY FROM THE LEBANON.
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20. COMMENT: AS I HAVE BEEN TOLD TO EXPECT, JUMBLATT HAS AN UNCANNILY WINNING PERSONALITY. IT IS HARD TO DISLIKE THE MAN FACE TO FACE. HE HAS MANY MOODS AND MANY GUISES AND SEEMS TO BE SPEAKING FRANKLY AT ALL TIMES. HOWEVER, WHAT HE SAID OFTEN STRUCK ME AS UNREALISTIC TO SAY THE LEAST. IN PARTICULAR, I WAS STRUCK BY HIS GREAT OPTIMISM TO ME IN VIEW OF HIS SIMULTANEOUS PUBLIC PRONOUNCEMENTS THAT THE WAR WILL CONTINUE AND VIETNAMIZATION MAY RESULT IF THE CHRISTIANS DO NOT STOP THEIR ATTACK ON TELL XAATAR. HE IS CLEARLY A MAN WHOSE WORDS SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AT FACE VALUE. BUT HE IS ALSO A LEADER WHO SEEMS INDISPENSIBLE IN THE CURRENT POLITICAL MAKEUP HERE. HE IS OUT TO BECOME NUMBER ONE IN THE LEBANON, EVEN IF THIS TAKES A FEW MORE YEARS.
SEELYE
UNQTE ROBINSON
CONFIDENTIAL
<< END OF DOCUMENT >>
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