867N.01/2205: Telegram

The Minister in Iraq (Henderson) to the Secretary of State

35. Information regarding resolutions on Palestine introduced into both houses of Congress contained in Department’s 341 to Cairo30 relayed here is appreciated. Since Prime Minister’s talk with me described in my 31, February 14 a number of members of the Government have approached me with expressions of concern regarding Senate Resolution. The fact that a similar resolution was also introduced into the House has just become known here.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs31 has told me that the Government is taking every possible precaution to prevent the resolution from becoming a subject of discussion in the Parliament and press. He said that the Government had been successful thus far, in spite of the efforts of the Axis radio, to limit knowledge regarding the resolution to relatively few persons in the country. If, however, the resolution should be passed he feels that the fact would eventually become known and that it would be impossible to convince the Arab world including the people of Iraq that the resolution did not reflect the views of the American people.

There is no doubt that interest in the fate of the resolution has become so intense here that for the time being it has crowded all other aspects of foreign affairs into the background and that those leaders of the Government who bear the main responsibility for having prevailed upon Iraq to adopt a pro-Allied policy and for bringing Iraq into the fold of the United Nations are deeply worried.

I have been informed that several telegrams have been sent by prominent Iraq officials to members of the Senate expressing the hope that the resolution will not be passed and that additional telegrams will probably be sent to the House now that it is realized that a similar resolution is before that body.

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In my opinion it would be impossible for the bulk of the politically conscious people of Iraq to reconcile the policies called for in the resolution with the pronouncements of the war aims of the United States and of other members of the United Nations. It is felt here that the successful carrying out of the policies advocated in the resolutions would mean the removal of the keystone of the arch of future Arab unity and an almost irreparable blow towards the eventual setting up of an Arab Commonwealth32 which would permit the Arab peoples to play the part in the world to which they feel their history and talents entitle them.

The news of the passage of these resolutions would come as a bitter shock even to those Arabs here who have not based their hopes for the future primarily upon an Arab union since the bulk of the population of the country have deep sympathy for their Arab kinsmen in Palestine whom they feel are being pushed about by strong nationalistic minority backed by powerful foreign interests.

Although I believe that the Iraqi Government in case the resolutions are passed would take steps to quiet demonstrations nevertheless the news of the passage would certainly give rise to intense indignation against both the Jews and the United States and possibly by demonstrations of a spontaneous character. I am convinced that the passage of the resolutions would greatly assist the efforts of the Axis to convince the Arabs of this area of the lack of sincerity and of the duplicity of the United States and would more than offset the good will which has been created for the United States in this area by various American governmental organizations during recent years.

Repeated to Cairo, Jerusalem, Beirut.

  1. Dated February 19, 5 p.m., not printed.
  2. Mahmood Subhi al-Daftari.
  3. Regarding the attitude of the United States toward the general question of Arab union, see bracketed note, p. 660.