890G.24/82: Telegram

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

113. Department’s telegram number 15, January 15, 2 p.m.19 Iraqi law promulgated March 7 gave Iraqi Government rights to grant to forces of United Nations for the period of their presence in Iraq for purposes of present war the judicial and fiscal privileges enjoyed here by British forces under paragraph number 2 of annexure to Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of Alliance of July [June] 30, 1930. Text of law forwarded by pouch today.

Iraqi Ministry for Foreign Affairs states in a note addressed to Legation today that “in view of the existence of American forces in Iraq for the purpose of the present war the Government of Iraq has decided to grant these forces the right of enjoying the immunities and privileges provided in the ‘law extending the immunities and privileges mentioned in the treaty of alliance concluded between Iraq and Great Britain number 24 of 1943’ during their sojourn in Iraq for the same purpose.” Reference is made to law of March 7, cited in paragraph 1 above.

Although I have discussed the matter with the Foreign Minister he is not yet clear as to whether the Government of Iraq can make the effect of this law retroactive to cover the past as well as the present and future war activities of the American forces in this country. I believe that the problem of exemption of Lend-Lease goods in transit from transit duties may be solved from now on by application of the present grant of immunities and privileges but the question of goods passed in transit prior to the effectiveness of the law remains open. It will be noted that the paragraph 2 of the annexure to the Anglo-Iraqi treaty of 1930 mentions specifically that the immunities and privileges include “freedom from taxation”.

Repeated to Basra.

  1. Not printed.