209. Baghdad's 362.22. Dated January 22. (Ibid.
787.00/1–2263) Charg?members Country Team and all participants
highly commended on excellent and detailed estimate Iraqi situation at year's end. We sympathize with
staff's desire break US public silence in face of attacks from Qasim and
agree validity of number of points made in Embtel 362. We concur situation in Iraq disturbing but as yet
by no means clear Iraq actually becoming Soviet base.
Department considering carefully whether on balance US interests would be
served this particular juncture by abandoning policy of avoiding public
reaction to Qasim's charges while objecting through normal diplomatic
channels. Through our posture, US has sought maintenance American presence
in Iraq, and, concomitantly, avoidance of open controversy with Qasim
regime; readiness to respond to any Iraqi desire improve official relations;
and continuance official and unofficial American contacts with view not only
of influencing Iraqi attitudes but also of acquiring valuable intelligence.
If we are at some point to undertake line of action Embassy proposes, a more
specific objective would be required and there would have to be probability
Qasim's latest remarks perhaps deliberately designed provoke US reaction
which could then be used as "proof" US hostility to Iraq and serve as basis
for increased level of attacks which, having reacted once, we could not well
ignore. US statements cannot be disseminated without distortion within Iraq,
and shortwave broadcasts would not have impact on wide group. Qasim would
have freedom within Iraq to twist US representations to provide basis for
increasing tempo of anti-US campaign and intensifying harassment of Embassy
and Consulate Basra. We cannot be sure Qasim might not proceed to length of
expelling various officers of our missions, thus threatening reduce
"presence" which constitutes important US asset [1 line of
source text not declassified].
1 Source: Department of State,
Central Files, POL 1–3 IRAQ-US. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Killgore and Davies on February 1, cleared by
McGhee, and approved by
Strong. Repeated to Amman,
Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jidda, Kuwait, London, Tehran, Tel Aviv,
Ankara, and Basra.
3 In telegram 148 to Baghdad, December 3, 1962, the
Department of State provided guidance to Charg?FONT> Melbourne
for a forthcoming conversation with Qasim. The Department indicated that
it was mystified about Iraq's receptivity toward false allegations of
U.S. hostility toward Iraq and of U.S. support for the Kurds, and
affirmed the U.S. desire to continue friendly relations with Iraq.
(Ibid., 787.00/11–2762) For text, see the Supplement, the compilation on
Iraq. The Charg?as unable to obtain the proposed audience with
4 On February 7, the Department of
State sent the White House the Embassy's analysis of the situation in
Iraq and its recommendation that the United States actively move to
counter Qasim's continuing public criticisms of the United States. The
Department indicated its disagreement with the proposed course of
action. (Memorandum from Brubeck
to Bundy; Department of State, Central Files, POL
1–3 IRAQ-US; for text, see the Supplement, the compilation on