390G.115 Singer Sewing Machine Company/7

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Baghdad (Gaudin)

No. 105

Sir: Reference is made to the Legation’s airgram no. A–25 of May 12, 1943 and previous despatches concerning claims for damages suffered by American nationals during the Iraq revolt in 1941.

It is noted that claims have been presented to the Iraq Government by three American individuals for property losses estimated at I.D.761.610 [661.610], equivalent at the official rate of exchange to $3103.56 and that American commercial firms have claimed property losses estimated at I.D. 16,236.498, equivalent at the official rate of exchange to approximately $65,000, of which I.D. 14, 193.048 represents the claim of the Singer Sewing Machine Company for losses of sewing machines and shop equipment.

It is not apparent from your despatches that the Iraq Government could be held responsible for the disorders which resulted in the losses under reference or that they failed to take reasonably adequate measures to prevent the losses or to punish those responsible therefor. In the absence of evidence that the Government of Iraq could be held legally liable for the losses resulting from mob violence the Department, in accordance with a generally accepted rule of international law, would not be warranted in pressing the Government of Iraq to compensate American citizens who suffered property losses as a result of the disorders in Baghdad. However, if the disorders and the resulting American losses could reasonably be attributed to the failure of the responsible Iraq authorities to (1) take necessary and available [Page 502] measures for the maintenance of order, (2) afford reasonably adequate protection to the property of American citizens in Baghdad or (3) apprehend and punish those responsible for the losses, the Department desires to receive a full report of all facts and circumstances which would afford a basis for a legal claim against the Government of Iraq.

If evidence of the legal liabilities of the Government of Iraq should not be obtainable, you are authorized to suggest to the Iraq Foreign Office, that, in view of the compensation paid in behalf of British nationals and considering the relatively insignificant total of the American claims, it would appear to be advisable for the Government of Iraq, in order to avoid any question of discrimination against American nationals, to compensate American claimants on the basis of reasonable evidence of the value of their property lost as a result of the disorders.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Breckinridge Long