890G.00/576: Telegram

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

89. With arrival British troops tension relaxed but not dispelled. Gailani has requested (1) recent arrivals be despatched out Iraq [Page 502] within few days, (2) no further arrivals until (1) accomplished, (3) further arrivals be notified reasonably in advance, (4) size of British forces here never to exceed present number, namely, about 8,000. Gailani informed Cornwallis Iraq garrison at Basrah will be increased to one division. In view many evidences hostile attitude of Iraq Army it is obvious Gailani hopes retain Iraq military superiority pending signal and help from Germany.

Cornwallis tells me Gailani’s request will not be complied with. Additional troops due about 2 weeks. Communications will then be taken over by British troops and garrisons established also at Baghdad and Habbaniya. Excuse if necessary will be protection of Iraq in accordance with treaty.

Cornwallis calling on Gailani today to tell him his Government has intimated he may have informal relations with him; that official recognition will follow depending upon satisfactory future developments. He has asked London text of communication he should send Gailani re informal relations. I recommend that I be instructed to follow similar policy but in my case perhaps written communication unnecessary, sufficient if I call on Foreign Minister [apparent omission] time of day and if question of official recognition arises merely say I am as yet uninstructed.

My estimate of situation follows: Upon arrival and planned distribution additional British troops, teeth of four Army leaders will be drawn. Many of their own officers and the politicians will not [then?] cease to fear them. Politics will then follow usual course and result in fall of Gailani government. Another government probably headed by Midfai [Madfai] will take power and Abdul Hah will return to regency—present Regent having been unconstitutionally chosen. Hence, full recognition of present government should be withheld pending further developments.