890G.00/546: Telegram

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

65. British Ambassador informs me that Gailani today sent him through Edmonds23 following proposals:

Taha24 be permitted to see Regent and present his formal resignation as Prime Minister.
Regent then receive Gailani and entrust to him formation of new constitutional government.
Regent then leave country on 4 months’ leave absence.
Emir Hussein another uncle of King be appointed Acting Regent.

In consideration above, Gailani undertakes (1) he will make frequent broadcasts denying he is pro-German (2) will take steps to bring about early rupture relations with Italy (3) will allow Palestine and Syrian question to remain in status quo until after war.

Ambassador considers proposals outrageous and unacceptable and has so reported to his Government, but sent reply to Gailani merely acknowledging receipt of proposals. He interprets proposals as sign of weakness believing Gailani now realizes danger of attempting carry on with unconstitutional government and difficulty if not impossibility of forming government with responsible persons enjoying respect of people. He believes also that after first shock is over there will be revulsion of feeling among Iraqi people which might bring [Page 496] about Gailani’s downfall. Therefore and because economic pressure to be exerted Ambassador proposes to stall for time believing satisfactory result may be realized without using force. He is willing to risk possibility German penetration as outlined in my number 64, even date, to gain above solution.

  1. Cecil John Edmonds, British Adviser at the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.
  2. Gen. Taha al-Hashimi, appointed Prime Minister of Iraq February 1, 1941.