124.90G/47: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Bucknell) to the Secretary of State

4255. A letter dated May 25 signed by Eden1 has been received, of which the following is a paraphrase:

Mr. Wallace Murray,2 during the discussions with members of my Department which he had recently,3 said that it appeared likely that the question of the raising to Embassy status of the American Legations in Iraq and Egypt would soon arise. Mr. Murray drew attention to the fact that the representatives of the U.S. in many smaller countries had become Ambassadors and that in Egypt, in particular, where the American Minister to Egypt was U.S. Ambassador to Greece as well, the position was anomalous.

It was recalled to Mr. Murray by Sir Maurice Peterson4 that British representatives, by our Treaties of Alliance with Iraq and Egypt,5 had precedence over other foreign representatives in those countries; altho there was a Persian Ambassador in Egypt our representative would in fact always be senior to him by virtue of special arrangements which had been made to ensure this. As Mr. Murray requested, Sir Maurice gave an undertaking that the position would be considered further and that our views would be transmitted to the Department of State.

With reference to the conversations above referred to, I shall be pleased if you will be so good as to inform the Department of State that the British Government would much prefer, after considering the matter fully, that the missions of the U.S. in Baghdad and Cairo [Page 4] should not at present be raised to the rank of Embassy. If the Department of State nevertheless feels unable to permit this question to be held in abeyance, it is not the wish of the British Government to put opposition in the way of the appointment of U.S. Ambassadors, provided that it could be arranged that the present system should be maintained whereby the British representative in these two countries is entitled to the right of precedence. The importance of retaining this precedence is stressed by His Majesty’s Government, in view of the fact that they have undertaken special responsibilities, for example for the defense of the territories in question. The Department of State will no doubt recall that the Egyptian Government recently insisted, in agreeing to accept the Soviet Government’s representative, that he should have the rank of Minister only.

In connection with this question, may I suggest that the sole arrangement necessary for the securing of the British Ambassador’s precedence is that, before the appointment of a U.S. Ambassador, copies of the relevant treaty provisions should be communicated by the Iraqi and Egyptian Governments to the U.S. Government together with a request that before appointing such an Ambassador the U.S. Government should accept the aforesaid treaty provisions.

  1. Anthony Eden, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  2. Director of the Office of Near Eastern Affairs.
  3. Mr. Murray was in London during much of April as a member of the mission of Under Secretary of State Stettinius which was engaged in informal conversations with officers of the British Foreign Office, April 7–29, 1944; for correspondence relating to the Stettinius Mission to London, see vol. iii, pp. 1 ff.
  4. Superintending Under Secretary, Eastern Department, British Foreign Office.
  5. Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of Alliance, signed at Baghdad, June 30, 1930, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. cxxxii, p. 363; Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of Alliance, signed at London, August 26, 1936, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. clxxiii, p. 401.