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October 30, 1935

Report about Anṭun Sa'adah (Anton Saadeh)

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To HE the Governor of Beirut


I submit to you a copy of the PPS's membership application form whose contents you will find interesting. The attached document is, however, a copy of the old membership form, and there is now a new version a copy of which I will submit to you as soon as I am able to obtain one.




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To HE the Governor of Beirut

At noon on Monday 2 October, I met with chief Antoun Saadeh [Anṭun Sa'adah], leader of the PPS in his private office at the Party Club located at the entrance of Hotel Imperial in Rue Foch, north of the Municipality. After I entered and he dosed all doors behind me, we discussed the creation of arms and munitions depots for the militia's (by which is meant the party’s army) weapons and munitions. He wanted to know my personal opinion regarding the nature of these depots, the kind of weapons the Lebanese troops have, if once seized they would be enough to arm the militia, and if the quantity of bullets is also sufficient. He also asked me if I knew the location of the French Army's munitions and their content, the best weapons that could be obtained internationally, and how they can be brought into the country. Here is word by word the conversation that took place between us.


My first question is: 'Would you allow me Sir, to enquire about a number of issues that do not concern me as far as my position in the Party is concerned, but would nevertheless facilitate the execution of what you have asked me to do?'


Answer: ‘No problem, you can go ahead and ask.'


Question: 'How many party members are there now?'


Answer: ‘We do not have accurate statistics so far, but there are between 3,000 and 4,000 members.’


Question: 'Are the members' assets enough to cover the Party's expenses or not?'


Answer: 'Can you skip this question because it concerns the financial officer.'


I insisted on knowing under the pretext that it was a key question due to the fact that all the above-mentioned issues require funds. He then told me that, at the moment, the Party’s income from membership would be sufficient provided expenses are severely curbed, but we shall soon have new projects, like a shareholding company within the Party, and others.


Question: 'Will you be able to sell the company's shares outside the Party?'


Answer: ‘No; because when the people start trading the shares, the Government will have the right to look into the company's books.'


Question: ‘Do you think that we are now stronger than the party that existed under Turkish rule or was that party stronger?'


Answer: 'No; the old party was stronger than ours is now.'


So I asked him if it meant that we also have a relationship with a foreign country since he believes that the older party was stronger even though it had contacts with foreign countries. I insisted on knowing the answer to find out which foreign country the Party had contacts with. He answered smiling and rubbing his hands: 'We should have a foreign policy, but it should be in the form of a treaty, because even the biggest countries cannot do without each other.’


Question: 'Which country is most loyal to us?'


Answer: 'We will think about that later.'


At this point, he turned the conversation again to the issue of weapons and munitions and I gave him convincing answers according to what I knew, which made him decide to bring new weapons from abroad after a meeting he would hold with a number of officers, currently serving in the Lebanese and joint armies, and are also members of the Party. He promised to invite me over, some two weeks later, to give him my opinion regarding this issue. When this actually happens, I will share the results with you, Sir.



Report on the PPS and a meeting with Anṭun Sa'adah


Document Information


Emir Farid Chehab Collection, GB165-0384, Box 2, File 1F/2, Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford.


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Youmna and Tony Asseily