The Secretary of State to the Ambassador in Iraq (Wadsworth)1


No. 20

Sir: There is enclosed a Summary Memorandum of Informal Conversations held in Washington in October 1947 between Mr. Greenhill of the British Foreign Office and Officers of the Department of State, concerning Social and Economic Affairs in the ‘Middle East, and a Memorandum outlining the developments which led up to these conversations.2

The contents of the Summary Memorandum have received the Department’s approval and the Department has been informed through the Embassy at London that His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom have likewise endorsed the principles and recommendations embodied in the Memorandum. Accordingly this Memorandum is to be considered by the United States Missions and Consulates in the Middle East as indicating the current views and objectives of the United States with respect to the social and economic affairs in the Middle East discussed therein. It is intended to serve as general guidance for the official representatives of this Government in that area in the conduct of relations with Middle East countries with reference to matters lying within the general scope of the Memorandum.

Your attention is particularly called to the close harmony and identity of views and objectives on the part of the Government of Great Britain and of the United States as revealed by this Memorandum. In this sense the Memorandum constitutes a sequel to the corresponding conversations held in London in April 1944 between Mr. Wallace Murray of the Department of State and officials of the Foreign Office with reference to Anglo-American interests in the Middle [Page 75] East.3 Pursuant to those conversations, parallel instructions were sent by the Department and the Foreign Office to United States and British Missions in the Middle East4 calling for the conduct of Anglo-American relations throughout the area in a spirit of cooperation based upon mutual frankness and goodwill.

The Department of State and the British Foreign Office desire that the close harmony and extensive measure of identity between British and American views revealed in the conversations held in Washington in October, as indicated in the enclosed Summary Memorandum, serve as effectively as possible as a guide to the conduct of Anglo-American relations in the Middle East, and particularly to promote the maintenance and development of harmony and collaboration between the official British and United States representatives in the area in line with the harmony of views and objectives evidenced in the conversations in London in May [April] 1944 and again in the conversations in Washington in October 1947.

Accordingly, I desire that you give careful study to the enclosed Memorandum and review it point by point with your British colleague, who will be receiving a copy of the Memorandum with corresponding instructions from the Foreign Office at about the same time. You should seek to reach early agreement with your British colleague as to the manner in which the principles and recommendations outlined in the Memorandum should be applied in your area. You should inform the Department if any of these principles or recommendations seem inapplicable in the peculiar circumstances at your post, and of any additional points which you consider should be incorporated in line with the general spirit of frank interchange of views and harmonious cooperation evidenced by the Memorandum as a whole.5

In as much as a joint review of this nature with your British colleague may be regarded as a continuation of comparable discussions requested by the instruction of May 1944, referred to in the third paragraph of this Instruction, some of the points covered by the enclosed Memorandum may already have been covered in Anglo-American discussions at your post. If so, you will doubtless find it useful to examine what practical results were derived from your earlier discussions, to what extent the discussions you are now to have can be based on this earlier foundation, and to what extent they will break [Page 76] new ground. The Department will be particularly interested in receiving a report on these matters from you in due course.

For your guidance in discussions with your British colleague and in connection with all other action you may have occasion to take with reference to which the contents of the enclosed Memorandum and of this instruction may have some bearing, I wish to emphasize that the essential significance of the Memorandum relates to the general principles and spirit which characterize it rather than to specific details. The memorandum is not a formal and final declaration of specific United States policy, and does not cover inclusively all matters of interest to the United States with reference to social and economic affairs in the Middle East. It is not to be taken as indicating any intention to impose a concerted or collusive Anglo-American program or policies in the area. It does not imply any intention whatsoever to recognize British or American or British-American spheres of economic influence in the area as a whole or in any part of the area, nor to exclude or undermine the legitimate and constructive influence of other like-minded nations. There is no desire to develop or promote restrictive, exclusive or discriminatory policies or lines of action, for, as is clearly brought out in the Memorandum itself, the views interchanged implied no departure from the liberal principles of international economic relations formulated in the draft Charter for an International Trade Organization and the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade signed in Geneva on October 30, 1947.

The essential significance of the Memorandum lies in its recognition of the harmony and identity of British and American interest in the raising of social and economic standards of the peoples of the Middle East, as an effective contribution to human welfare and as the most useful and desirable means of promoting the purposes and interests of the United States and Great Britain through the advancement of sound and stable social, economic and political conditions in the area.

The primary objective of the Memorandum and purpose of this instruction is to encourage and promote, among all United States representatives in the Middle East as well as in Washington and London who are concerned with social and economic affairs in the Middle East, the general state of mind most conducive to harmonious and constructive collaboration with their British colleagues toward the progressive achievement of the broad ends envisaged, as outlined in the Memorandum and in the foregoing remarks.

The contents of this secret Memorandum should be made known only to those members of your staff who are actually involved in carrying out the recommendations which it contains. You should however insure that all appropriate members of your staff are made fully aware [Page 77] of and are guided by the general spirit underlying it. I consider that the manner in which this subject is brought to the knowledge of consular officials in the outlying post within your area, namely Consulate at Basra, may best be left to your discretion. Your procedure in this regard might well be discussed with your British colleague following receipt by him of corresponding instructions. Extra copies of the enclosed Memorandum and of the instruction are included for your use in communicating to the above mentioned consular post in your area.

Very truly yours,

For the Secretary of State:
Willard L. Thorp
  1. Similar instructions were sent the same clay to Middle East posts, as proposed in Section III of airgram 1, January 2, to London, p. 69, except that Jerusalem was to bring the summary memorandum to the knowledge of the Consulate at Haifa.
  2. Regarding these memoranda, see footnotes 3 and 6, pp. 69 and 70.
  3. For documentation on the conversations between Mr. Murray, then Director of the Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs, and the British, see Foreign Relations, 1944, vol. iii, p. 3 and pp. 28 ff.; and ibid., vol. v, pp. 6. 7.
  4. Concerning the Departments instruction, see telegram 1167, May 17, 1944, to Cairo, ibid., 1944, vol. v, p. 6.
  5. The Department received reports from various posts in the Middle East on the question of Anglo-American cooperation in improving social and economic conditions in that area. They are generally filed under 890.50.