867N.01/1079

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

Dear Wallace: Nuri Pasha left Baghdad suddenly last week for Syria, and I assume that he will himself carry his reply to Dr. Magnus. Consequently, I fear that we may never see it. However, in itself, it can’t be of any particular importance, for the reply asked for was intended primarily to clear up whether he had or had not misquoted Dr. Magnus in London. As you will recall, Magnus was accused by the opposition Jews of having agreed to a permanent minority status, while Magnus maintains that he only agreed to a minority status during an “armistice” of ten years.

The Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, the Right Reverend Graham Browne, is in Baghdad and he dined with us on Monday night. I had a long talk with him about the Palestine situation, but nothing particularly new was brought out. He feels strongly that there is a basis for agreement between the Arabs and Jews and that the chief stumbling block is more with the Jews than the Arabs. He repeated what I already knew that the difficulty lies chiefly with the Central [Page 917]and Eastern European Jews, who are stubbornly holding out against any partition scheme and against acceptance of a minority position even for a limited time. They are definitely holding out to make Palestine eventually a sovereign Jewish state. On the other hand, the better educated and the more important British and American Jews in Palestine seem more reconciled to the acceptance of a minority status. The Bishop feels that, inasmuch as American Jewry is really financing the whole project, the matter could be brought to a successful conclusion if a few of the most prominent Jews in America would subscribe publicly to a definite policy of cooperation with the Arabs, including the acceptance of a minority status.

Another conversation of interest which I had in connection with Palestine was with my Egyptian colleague a few days ago. He gave it as his opinion that the Arabs of Palestine have become so determined that, with the moral support of the other Arab countries, it is inevitable that Palestine will become an Arab state with the Jews enjoying a minority status under adequate protection. He stated further that his Government, holding the same view, has strongly pressed the British Government to hasten a solution of the problem to this end, pointing out that in the event of a world war it would be extremely disadvantageous to Egypt, an ally of Great Britain, to have the Arabs in neighboring countries entertaining a strong antagonistic feeling against the British. This antagonistic feeling already exists and will grow stronger as the settlement of the Palestine problem is prolonged.

Sincerely yours,

Paul Knabenshue