867N.01/3–1045: Telegram

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

98. 1. The Iraqi Minister for Foreign Affairs37 told me a week ago in confidence that the Regent of Iraq38 had recently received a [Page 692]communication from Ibn Saud enclosing a draft of a letter which Ibn Saud proposed to send to the President on the subject of Palestine and suggesting that the various Arab kings address similar letters to the President simultaneously. The Minister said that the Regent had agreed to Ibn Saud’s suggestion and that it had been arranged for the letters to be delivered to the appropriate representatives of the American Government on March 10.39

2. The Regent today has caused to be delivered to me a sealed envelope addressed to the President. He also sent for the files of the Legation a document which he said was an English translation of the Arabic text of a letter from himself to the President. The Regent’s letter, after setting forth a number of arguments against Zionism, concludes as follows:

“The Arabs believe at present that the Jews want to have Palestine only as a means for their future domination of the whole Arab world economically as well as politically. Their future aim is no less than the colonization of all adjacent Arab countries. The Arabs naturally are opposed to such designs.

The Arabs maintain that they cannot unite unless Palestine is one of their constituent members. The geographical position of Palestine will obstruct Arab unity should it be in the hands of non Arabs whose interests conflict with those of the Arabs. The Arabs who regarded their unity as of prime importance can never agree to leave out Palestine. The Arabs individually and collectively regard the future of Palestine as a matter of life and death for them.

Excellency, these are only some of the most important reasons which induced the Arabs to defend their natural rights in Palestine. Such rights are undoubtedly supported by all humanitarian principles. It is the encroachment on such principles which is the main cause of all the wars and the troubles of the world. The world indeed needs the maintenance of peace and justice in order to achieve security and cooperation among the nations. Nothing that tends to promote discord should be tolerated.

As Your Excellency is one of the responsible men in high office who is endeavoring to realize such ideals and to share the world of tomorrow we appeal to you to support the natural rights of the Arabs in Palestine. In doing so you will eliminate one of the important factors which disturb peace and security not only in the Middle East but also throughout the entire world.

I avail myself of this opportunity to express to Your Excellency my hearty greetings and highest esteem.”

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3. The envelope will go forward by next pouch.

4. A similar communication was handed today to the British Embassy for Churchill.

Henderson
  1. Arshad al-Umari.
  2. Amir Abdul Hah, Regent and Heir Apparent to the throne of Iraq.
  3. None printed; letters dated March 10 were received by President Roosevelt from the King of Saudi Arabia, the Regent of Iraq, and the Amir Abdullah of Transjordan; a letter from the President of the Syrian Republic (Kuwatly) was undated; the Imam Yehya, King of Yemen, sent a telegram dated March 10; the Lebanese Prime Minister (Karame) addressed a communication of March 10 to the Secretary of State. These communications followed substantially the same lines in presenting Arab claims to Palestine—marshalling moral, historical, and political argumentation—and all reached conclusions similar to those voiced by the Iraqi Regent in this telegram. King Ibn Saud’s letter was printed in the New York Times on October 19, 1945.