§ Sir R. Glyn
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether it is intended shortly to issue a White Paper on the position in Syria; whether His Majesty's Government have approved the declaration by General Catroux, that until every part of Syria is in full occupation by Free French Forces it will be impossible to conclude with the Syrian Government a treaty providing for the country's independence; how far General Catroux and his colleagues are able to find the necessary officials for carrying on the everyday administration of the country without continuing in office the French officials employed, up to date, by the French mandatory authority in Syria; and whether he will consider administering the 1968W country jointly with the Free French rather than continuing in any way any part of the previous regime so much distrusted and disliked by the local Arab population?
§ Mr. Eden
During operations in Syria, official communiqués were issued regularly from Allied headquarters and the text of the Armistice was made known at once. In addition, on 8th June, General Catroux made a public statement on behalf of General de Gaulle and Free France undertaking to grant Syria independence; His Majesty's Ambassador in Cairo en the same day associated himself with this important pronouncement of general policy. While His Majesty's Government welcome every opportunity to keep the House fully informed of all developments, they are not prepared at present to issue a White Paper.
His Majesty's Government have no knowledge of any declaration by General Catroux that until every part of Syria is in full occupation by Free French Forces, it will be impossible to conclude with he Syrian Government; a treaty providing for the country's independence; but it is evident that the first step must be for the whole country to be occupied by Allied Forces, and it is hoped that this process will be completed at a very early date.
As regards the future administration of the country, His Majesty's Government have no doubt that the Free French authorities are fully aware of the unsatisfactory conditions prevailing under the previous regime, and have every confidence in their ability to reach a satisfactory agreement with the Syrian and Lebanese Governments. General Catroux's pledge of independence is indeed proof of Free France's intention to meet the legitimate aspirations of the local population promptly.