President of Lebanon (1952-58). He reorganized government departments to increase efficiency and allowed the press and opposition considerable freedom. International tensions rose in 1956 when he refused to break relations with Britain and France over the Suez Crisis. In 1958, when Syria and Egypt formed the short-lived United Arab Republic, he refused pleas from Lebanon's Muslims to join. Armed rebellion broke out, and Chamoun did not seek a second presidential term. He held ministerial posts during the Lebanese civil war (1975-91).