867N.01/1208: Telegram

The Minister Resident in Iraq (Knabenshue) to the Secretary of State

43. My October 19, 11 a.m. I am continuing to receive from representative Iraqi groups protesting what they believe to be President Roosevelt’s support of the further development of the Jewish National Home in Palestine leading to a Jewish State with a Jewish majority and consequent subjugation of the Palestine Arabs and the loss of their country.

In an interview today with Towfik Suwaidi, Iraqi Minister for Foreign Affairs 2 hours after his arrival from London he gave me a fulsome [sic] account of his negotiations in London in connection with the Palestine situation the outstanding points of which were as follows:

The report of the Palestine Partition Commission will be presented to Parliament on November 2nd. He was led to believe that the report will pronounce the partition scheme impracticable and that the British Government is favorably disposed toward a new policy having as its basis a minority position for the Jews in Palestine with stringent guarantees for their protection and civil rights and limited immigration to maintain a specified ratio of population. He said that this would provide a National Home for the Jews in Palestine in the sense indicated in the wording of the Balfour Declaration.

He called my attention to the solidarity of the Arab world in support of Palestine Arabs and their increasing concern. He also said that the signatories of the Saadabad Pact90 are now supporting the cause.

He intimated that the Arab kings would not a second time advise the Palestine Arabs to cease action and trust to British justice unless something concrete were first offered—the minimum being (1) abandonment of partition and (2) minority position for Jews. He said that if these conditions were met he would guarantee that Palestine [Page 969] rebels would agree to an armistice. Otherwise he added rebellion in Palestine will continue with increasing intensity.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs begged me to bring the foregoing to the attention of my Government.

I respectfully submit that my 27 years experience in Arab countries including Palestine convinces me that Palestine Arabs will never willingly and permanently accept settlement of problem providing possibility of Jewish majority and that they will have increasing moral and probably material support of their Arab neighbors.

  1. Treaty of Nonaggression, signed at Saadabad Palace, Teheran, July 8, 1937, by Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cxc, p. 21.