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November 10, 1953

An Important Report about a Palestinian Network Working for America to Settle Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon

This document was made possible with support from Youmna and Tony Asseily


H.E. the Director of the Lebanese Sûreté Générale

An Important report about a Palestinian network working for America to settle Palestinian refugees in Lebanon


Three years ago, an American by the name of Jan Barwick arrived in Lebanon to represent the International Young Men's Christian Association at the Lebanese YMCA located in Fakhri Beik Street in Beirut. He was also charged with entertaining the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Syria as he had previously done for Jewish refugees in Germany after the end of the Second World War.


He arrived in Lebanon, took the YMCA as his headquarters, and started establishing sports, cultural, and game-oriented clubs in the refugee camps.


It is worth mentioning that Syria had refused this fellow entry into the country to do this type of work.


Barwick, however, was on a special secret mission to use the clubs he established as a propaganda tool to tarnish the image of Arab leaders in the eyes of the Palestinians, by painting them as politically waffling and lacking in serious intent. This intends to ultimately convince the refugees to give up their property and rights in Palestine, once and for all, and settle in the Arab countries in which they now reside.


Barwick was executing the orders of three different organisations:


First: the Young Men's Christian Association in New York;


Second: the Young Men's Christian Association in Geneva;


Third: The World Council of Churches.


His whole mission in the Levant had American motives behind it.


Barwick was assisted in his mission by Palestinians who hold prominent political and social positions among whom are Emil al-Ghouri (he went to Cairo for good) and Izzat Tannous, who is still in Lebanon.


When the Commission opposed the project, a disagreement arose between the Higher Arab Commission on one side, and al-Ghouri, Tannous and Barwick on the other. As a result, Barwick left Lebanon for New York only to come back for that same purpose, once again, this time to Arab Jerusalem.


He was replaced in Lebanon by Izzat Tannous who organised the project as follows:


He established an office on Jeanne d'Arc Street in Beirut under the name of ‘the Arab Palestinian Bureau' and organised it along communist lines, i.e. working secretly on refugee issues and the execution of the plan Barwick had set in motion before his departure, namely convincing the Palestinians to settle in Lebanon and give up their property and rights in Palestine.


Barwick organised the Bureau's activities along the lines of an espionage operation and launched a publicity campaign for which 2,000 Lebanese pounds were allocated. One thousand were earmarked for Izzat Tannous and the other thousand for the following four agents working for the network:


Mousa al-Najmi - lives in Burj al-Barajneh, Palestinian;


Rafik Oueis - lives on Jeanne d'Arc Street in Ras Beirut, Palestinian;


Spiro Qiddis - Young Men's Christian Association, Palestinian;


Selecting Palestinians is intended to make the task's implementation easier.


Each of these individuals does propaganda work for Barwick's project and gathers information about the refugees, their movements, and the activities of Palestinian Communists in the camps and opposition to them.

Report on a network working to settle Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.


Document Information


Emir Farid Chehab Collection, GB165-0384, Box 8, File 28G/8, Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford.


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Youmna and Tony Asseily