741.90G 11/30: Telegram

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

112. During the course of the conversation11 the Ambassador outlined some of the causes of British complaints against the Iraqi Government as follows: [Page 716]

Resumption of telegraphic communication with Germany and Italy.
Failure to rupture diplomatic relations with Italy.
Failure to suppress pro-German anti-British propaganda in local press.
Failure to deny rumor of imminent resumption of diplomatic relations with Germany.
Suppression of criticism in the press of German declaration of October 1940.
Attempt of Government to follow a policy of neutrality instead of a pro-British attitude such as would normally be expected from an ally and failure to make public pronouncements calculated to lead public opinion in this direction and show advantages to be gained by supporting their ally.

The Ambassador said that he had sound reasons for believing that Naji Shawkat, the Minister of Justice, returned from Turkey October 28 bringing from Von Papen12 three German desiderata for consideration of the Iraqi Government as follows:

Resumption of telegraphic communication with Germany.
Enactment of anti-Jewish legislation.
Resumption of diplomatic relations with Germany.

Britain’s power to exert economic pressure on Iraq and to close the port of Basra and Turkey’s need of transit through Iraq are factors which in the end should force Iraq to accept Britain’s demands supported as they undoubtedly would be by Turkey.

It is rumored today that the present Cabinet is prepared to resign as soon as someone can be found willing to form a new government.

  1. See supra.
  2. Franz von Papen, German Ambassador in Turkey.