The Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray) to the Minister Resident in Iraq (Kndbenshue)

Dear Paul: In connection with our present treaty negotiations with Iraq, it is not entirely clear from the Legation’s despatch of December 8, 1937,2 or from its enclosure, the note from the Foreign Office explaining the amendments proposed by the Iraqi Government, precisely what effect, if any, the amendment of Article II proposed by the Iraqi Government would have. The principal amendment occurs in the beginning of the article and represents the addition of the following words:

“Having regard to the volume and nature of the trade between the two countries, it is agreed that …”

With respect to this and a very minor amendment of Article II the note from the Foreign Office contains the following statement:

“Subject to these amendments, which are dictated by Iraq’s extensive most-favored-nation obligations, Article II is acceptable.”

While the additional language proposed by the Iraqi Government does not seem to involve any material change in the original language suggested by the Department, the explanatory statement made by the Foreign Office suggests that the Iraqi Government may regard the amendatory language as effecting possibly a material change in the language of the Department’s original draft. If there should be any doubt as to whether the Iraqi amendment does effect a material change in the sense of the article, I assume that you would endeavor to ascertain the precise purpose which the amendment is designed to serve before making any final commitment as to our acceptance of Article II in its amended form. We should appreciate your reassuring us on this point as soon as you are able to do so.

Sincerely yours,

Wallace Murray
  1. Despatch No. 909, ibid., p. 776.