The Minister Resident in Iraq (Knabenshue) to the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs (Murray)
[Received April 8, 1938.]
Dear Wallace: After receiving the Department’s telegraphic instruction of January 21, 1938, regarding the last point of dispute in connection with our proposed commercial treaty with Iraq, I saw the Minister for Foreign Affairs on February 2nd and had a long discussion with him on the point at issue. I had told him a few days in advance the object of my visit, and in order to expedite matters, I suggested that probably he would like to have his Legal Adviser, Mr. McDougall, present. In consequence thereof, Mr. McDougall took part in the conversation. I confined myself to an effort to persuade them to eliminate entirely Article V. The Foreign Minister was, it was plain to see, sympathetic to my point of view. McDougall, who was responsible for having inserted that Article, acknowledged that on the face of it, it appears one-sided, but tried to justify himself as endeavoring to give Iraq a legal position to defend itself.
Without going into all of the various phases of the arguments I used and with which I was countered, I will merely tell you now that there is a fair degree of probability that I may succeed in causing the entire elimination of Article V, allowing the rest of the Treaty to stand. I am preparing a note to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, at his request, to support my point of view. He is to submit my note to the interested departments of the Government in order to see whether they will accept it. I fear, however, that I may have to resort to the alternative suggested by the Department, which of course I know from my conversation of last Wednesday would be acceptable; but inasmuch as the Department said that it would reluctantly accept that solution, I will still hold out as long as possible for the entire elimination of Article V without the amendment of Article II as suggested by the Department.
In any case, we have now reached the point where the Treaty will undoubtedly be signed soon in one form or the other.