867N.01/2223: Telegram

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

40. Legation received today your 19 February 16. Its delay in transmission has caused no inconvenience since naturally I have lost no occasion to explain to interested Iraqi officials the respective functions and limitations of the legislative and the executive branches of the Government in the field of foreign affairs. My despatch 176 February 1851 will make it evident that Nuri was quite well aware during our initial conversation that congressional resolutions of this character could have advisory force only.

During a conversation which I had with the Prime Minister today I told him in confidence I had just received a telegram from the Department (your 23 February 26) which indicated that I was probably correct in expressing to him on February 13 the opinion that the resolution in question would not be reported out of the Senate Committee and that probably the resolution before the House would meet a similar fate. I also endeavored to impress upon him again the fact that the responsibility for making decisions of the kind called for by the resolution created [rested?] upon the executive rather than upon the legislative branch of the Government.

Nuri expressed both appreciation and relief. He pointed out again that even though these resolutions if passed would not have had executive force it would have been difficult nevertheless to convince the Arab world that members of the legislative body of a great democracy such as the U.S. would have voted for them if they had not felt that they were voicing the sentiments of the American people.

Nuri stated that BBC52 broadcasts had yesterday reported that the Egyptian Government had protested to the American Government with regard to these resolutions and that in view of these broadcasts it had become impossible to keep the matter entirely out of the Iraqi press. He would, however, immediately take steps with the purpose of minimizing the importance of the introduction of the resolution. He was sorry to hear that the Egyptian Government had approached [Page 580] the American Government formally on the subject; he had suggested to the other Arab Governments that they refrain from taking formal action and that communications be limited to telegrams from prominent Arabs to members of the American Congress. He had taken care that the Iraqi Legation in Washington be not instructed to broach the matter to the State Department.

I told Nuri that I was glad to hear that he was taking steps to minimize the importance of the resolutions, that since it was likely that they would not be reported out of committees in both houses of Congress it did not seem that anything would be gained from keeping the matter alive by sending further messages to members of Congress.

The Iraqi press this morning carried without comment a news despatch from Cairo stating that the Egyptian Government had taken up the subject of the resolutions formally with the American Legation at Cairo.

  1. Not printed.
  2. British Broadcasting Corporation.