The former Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Elias Saba, who has also held the posts?
GV INTERIOR Dr. Saba being interviewed by reporter
SOF IN: (WARD) "Dr. Saba, what is ....."
SOF OUT: (SABA) ".... Middle East problem." (5 shots)
WARD: "Dr. Saba, what is the root cause of the trouble in Lebanon at the moment?"
SABA: "It is very difficult to say there is one cause to the problems of the Lebanon, today. In fact there are several causes which are probably all compressed in time and place to cause the troubles we are seeing today in the Lebanon. On the other hand of course, one can list several domestic problems. And there are of course the international or outside factors. The domestic problems are perhaps the problems of the various antagonisms and conflicts within the fabric of society in the Lebanon. Such as, for example, the Christian-Moslem animosity - traditional animosity; the Lebanese-Palestinian animosity."
WARD: "But granted these circumstances have been around for a while, what sparked off this present round of trouble?"
SABA: "Ah! This is you see where we only one can come to the foreign causes or to the outside factors. It is my very humble opinion that what is happening in the Lebanon today seems to me the result of an attempt to solve the Middle East problem at the expense of the Lebanon.
(SABA) Why the Lebanon? Because of the domestic inconsistencies, conflicts in the Lebanon, and the ease with which one can antagonise one group against the other. Why the Lebanon? Because the existence of a strong state has long been forgotten in the Lebanon for a long time."
WARD: "But are you trying to say then that Israel has been at the bottom of this trouble in order to divert attention from herself?"
SABA: "I am trying to say that the Lebanon, since seventy-three, seventy-four, perhaps has become a nuisance and an inconvenience for almost all the countries around the world who are interested in that area."
WARD: "Are you going to say then that if the Lebanon collapsed, or ceased to exist as it does, that this would suit the purpose of people of such divergent sides as the Israelis, the rest of the Arabs, the Palestinians, the big powers?"
SABA: "I am afraid that the partition of the Lebanon, or the loss to the Lebanon of some of its territory, may be seen as part of a grandiose solution to the Middle East problem."
Initials CL/1830 CL/1847
This film includes part of the interview with Dr. Saba by Visnews reporter, William L. Ward. A transcript of the speech on film is provided on Page two
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The former Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Elias Saba, who has also held the posts of Finance and Defence, was in London this week for a private business visit. With undeclared civil was now raging in his country between right-wing Christian Falangists and left-wing Moslem and Palestinian militia, he was interviewed in his London hotel about the causes of the current fighting.
Dr. Saba told Visnews reporter, William L. Ward, that in his opinion an attempt was being made to solve the Middle East problem at the expense of Lebanon.
He thought there were several causes which had probably all been compressed in time and place. Among them were the several domestic problem which had plagued the country for years. These included the various antagonisms and conflicts which were endemic to the fabric of Lebanese society. These included the animosity between Christians and Moslems, and the antagonism between the Lebanese and the Palestinians.
However, when asked what had sparked off the current situation, he said that in his opinion it had been initiated by "foreign causes" or "outside factors". Since 1974, said Dr. Saba, Lebanon had become a nuisance and an inconvenience to almost all the countries around the world which had an interest in the Middle East area.
He was afraid that the partition of the country, or the loss of its territory, might be seen as part of a grandiose solution to the Middle East problem.