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September 11, 1983
N.S.C. is meeting without me on Lebanon re a new Cable from Bud Mac-Farlane. Troops obviously P.L.O. & Syrian have launched a new attack against the Lebanese army. Our problem is do we expand our mission to aid the L. army with artillery & air support. This could be seen as putting us in the war. George S., Bill C. & Jim Baker have just left me at 2 P.M. to get more info. on what is happening & where our partners in the M.N.F. stand. Contingent on what they learn I’ve ordered use of Naval gunfire. My reasoning is that this can be explained as protection of our Marines hoping it might signal the Syrians to pull back. I dont think they want a war with us. If it doesn’t work then we’ll have to decide between pulling out or going to the Congress and making a case for greater involvement. N.S.C. will meet again at 6 P.M. Meeting didn’t change anything so I’ve called for use of navy fire power & air strikes if needed.