Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (McGhee)1


Subject: Iraqi Complaint that USG is Discriminating Against Iraq by Withholding Economic Aid, and is Supporting Israel in its Disregard of the General Assembly Resolution of December 9.

Participants: Mr. Abdullah Ibrahim Bakr, Chargé d’Affaires of Iraq
Mr. Abdul Jalil Rawi, Counselor of Embassy of Iraq
Mr. George C. McGhee, Assistant Secretary of State
Mr. H. B.Clark—ANE

Problem: 1. The Iraqi Chargé declared that there is a deep-seated feeling among Iraqis that the US is discriminating against Iraq in the matter of foreign economic aid.

2. Mr. Bakr also stated that the US appeared to be supporting Israel in its disregard of the December 9 General Assembly resolution concerning the internationalization of Jerusalem, and cited a press statement on January 5 by Ambassador Francis B. Sayre, US Delegate to the Trusteeship Council,2 as evidence of this alleged attitude.

Action Required: 1. To consider whether further steps should be taken to remove Iraqi misapprehensions concerning US economic policy towards Iraq.

[Page 683]

2. To inform Mr. Bakr further concerning Ambassador Sayre’s reported statement to the Press.

Action Assigned to: NEA


[Here follows discussion of the Iraqi complaint that the United States Government was discriminating against Iraq by withholding economic assistance; for the text of this portion of the memorandum of conversation, see page 636.]

Mr. Bakr said that it also appeared the US was supporting Israel in its disregard of the General Assembly resolution of December 9, 1949 concerning internationalization of Jerusalem. He referred in this connection to Ambassador Sayre’s statement to the Press on January 5, 1950 which Mr. Bakr said was an affirmation of US opposition to the internationalization of Jerusalem and that the US Government did not consider itself bound by the resolution. I said that I did not have a copy of Ambassador Sayre’s statement at hand but that I could assure Mr. Bakr that the US intended to abide by the majority decision and to cooperate loyally in the Trusteeship Council, of which we were a member, in reaching a solution to the Jerusalem problem. The US Government feels, however, that in its consideration of the problem, the Trusteeship Council should have due regard for the element of practicability. I said it was true that we had not voted for the resolution and that we in fact had opposed it since we did not believe that it was workable. We had instead supported the proposals formulated by the PCC. Now that the resolution had been passed in its present form we would, of course, respect it. I said that I would obtain a copy of the press account of Ambassador Sayre’s statement and communicate with Mr. Bakr further in this regard.

Mr. Bakr said that as the strongest Member of the United Nations the US was in a position to enforce the decision of the United Nations by measures short of armed intervention. Economic pressure on Israel and the United Kingdom, for example, would be all that was needed to obtain compliance with the General Assembly Resolution of December 9. I said I did not share this view and that it was not true to say that all we had to do was to express a wish or to make a threat in order to get a foreign government to change its policy. This myth had long since been exploded. What would happen, for example, if we should attempt to “pressure” the Israeli Government to change its policy with respect to Jerusalem? In all probability there would be an immediate reaction on the part of the Israeli public and legislative body, and the net effect might well be to strengthen the Government in its present policy. Mr. Clark observed that in China we had a current instance where foreign governments did not follow the American lead.

[Page 684]

As Mr. Bakr was leaving, I said I was personally disturbed that some of our Arab friends continued to express doubt as to the sincerity of our desire to assist them in every way possible. He said he believed in the good faith of the United States, but what was needed was “deeds, not words.”

  1. Drafted by Harlan B. Clark, Officer in Charge of Lebanon-Syria-Iraq Affairs in the Office of African and Near Eastern Affairs.
  2. See telegram 75, January 14, to Geneva, p. 690.