Editorial Note

Baghdad, on June 13, expressed concern that Iraq might intervene by force of arms to unseat the Government of Colonel Husni Zaim which had taken power in Syria as a result of a coup d’état (telegram 335). The Department received this message on June 15 and the following day instructed Ambassador Crocker to “caution FonMin at convenient opportunity against intervention in Syria, pointing out that US and UN opinion wld be strongly opposed use of force. Likewise such intervention might have serious repercussions which wld endanger peace in NE.” (Telegram 252 was repeated to Damascus and London. Both telegrams are filed under 890D.00/6–1349.)

On August 14, the Zaim Government was overthrown in a military coup. The same day the Department informed Amman that “if there is any indication that govts to which you are accredited contemplating precipitate action as result Syrian coup you are authorized in your discretion emphasize desirability restraint in existing circumstances.” (telegram 128, which was repeated for action to Baghdad, Beirut and Tel Aviv). At the same time the Department directed London to inform the British Foreign Office of its instructions to these Near Eastern posts and to suggest that “If FonOff has not already taken similar action you may suggest it may care to do so.” (telegram 2891) (Telegrams 128 and 2891 are filed under 890D.00/8–1449.) The Department advised Cairo, on August 23, that the British Government had taken similar action vis-à-vis Iraq and Jordan (telegram 831, 890D.01/8–2349). The message also stated that “Dept has no information which wld seem warrant fears for Syrian independence and both Iraqi and Jordan Govt officials have assured US they do not contemplate intervention.”

For documentation on the various coups in Syria, see pages 1630 ff.

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