Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

The British Ambassador33 called at his request and handed me a copy of a telegram from his Foreign Office relative to developments in [Page 501] Iraq. I thanked him and said that we naturally are very much interested in the disquieting developments of the past few days in Iraq.

C[ordell] H[ull]

Copy of Telegram From the British Foreign Office to the British Embassy in Washington, Dated April 17, 1941

Please inform United States Government that Rashid Ali has agreed to a request for opening line of communications through Iraq in accordance with provisions of Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of Alliance and that Imperial troops are due to reach Basrah immediately. His Majesty’s Government regarded this as test case and His Majesty’s Ambassador accordingly informed Rashid Ali on April 16th that provided unconditional cooperation was forthcoming for opening line of communications, His Majesty’s Government for their part would be prepared to enter at once into informal relations with his Government, and accord full recognition to new regime as soon as there has been sufficient time to judge whether new regime is capable of acting up to Rashid Ali’s own assurances.

In any case we consider presence of Imperial troops in Iraq can hardly fail to act as stabilizing factor in the situation.

You should conclude by again expressing to the United States Government my thanks for their welcome cooperation in this question and say that His Majesty’s Ambassador at Baghdad will of course keep in close touch with their representative there.

  1. Viscount Halifax.