711.00111 Armament Control/2550

The British Embassy to the Department of State

His Majesty’s Ambassador in Baghdad9 recently reported that he had received reliable information to the effect that Bond Brothers and Company, 310 California Street, San Francisco, were offering to sell to the Iraq Government miscellaneous war material, much of which was of types specially suited for “gangster” warfare or fifth column activities. Two persons named Selim Zibundi and Wagner were understood to be acting on behalf of Bond Brothers.

In addition, the Iraq Minister of Defence had stated that he had placed orders in the United States for 500 Johnson 303 automatic rifles costing $200,000, raw materials for the manufacture of 15,000,000 rounds small arms ammunition costing $280,000, and various miscellaneous stores including telephone cable. The Minister also stated that as Japan declined to supply anti-aircraft guns to Iraq he would endeavour to obtain them in the United States. Sir Basil Newton added that he presumed that all the transactions to which the Minister of Defence had referred were being carried out by the Iraq Purchasing Mission in New York.

Sir Basil Newton went on to refer to certain reports to the effect that the Iraq Government were contemplating obtaining arms from Japan. The Ambassador expressed some doubts whether any such project was likely to materialise, but he added that the possibility [Page 488] of the present Iraq Government purchasing arms in order to give them to the Palestinian insurgents could not be ignored. He suggested that this possibility would be largely diminished and the situation greatly improved if the United States Government were to find it possible to prohibit or prevent the export of all arms to Iraq, at all events until a new and more friendly government had taken office in Baghdad.

His Majesty’s Embassy has been instructed to inform the State Department of Sir Basil Newton’s report and to enquire whether it would be possible for the United States authorities to take any action on the lines suggested. In making this enquiry His Majesty’s Embassy has been directed to emphasise the fact that the intrigues of the present Iraq Prime Minister with the Axis powers are known to have reached such a state that he might well have arranged with them to hand over arms to the Palestinian insurgents in order to enable the latter to renew the disorders in that country.10

  1. Sir Basil Cochrane Newton.
  2. In a memorandum dated January 7, the Under Secretary of State stated that he informed the British Chargé that he saw no reason why this Government should not be glad to comply with the request made by the British Government with regard to the shipments of arms to Iraq.