890G.00/535: Telegram

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

54. This morning 8:45 the Regent came to me in native woman’s dress covering dressing gown and pajamas to seek refuge in Legation, having been forewarned of attempt by the four army leaders to force [Page 492] resignation of Prime Minister and reinstatement Rashid Ali Gailani as Prime Minister, decrees for which he would have been forced sign. In consequence of consultation at Legation between Regent, British Ambassador and myself I took Regent, accompanied by my wife as camouflage, to British air base at Habbaniya in my car with Regent lying on floor at back covered by rug. We passed unchallenged units of Army stationed along road which were stopping and searching other cars.

Movement is primarily against Regent whom army leaders fear and not having been able to find him it is expected they may make attempt stage coup d’état within next 24 hours and establish military dictatorship.