785.00/8–851: Airgram

The Ambassador in Iraq (Crocker) to the Department of State 1

secret

A–144. In the course of a conversation this morning with Shakr al Wadi, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, the subject of union with Jordan arose and Shakr Pasha discussed it at some length. Although he was circumspect in his approach and guarded in language he conveyed two basic thoughts, both of which are of interest and importance.

The first was that the Iraqi Government and the people as a whole, including the extremist elements, were in favor of such a union; that with the removal of King Abdullah from the scene Jordan would tend to fall apart and that the only thing which was holding it together was the Arab Legion, an instrument of British policy; that as time went on the pressure against British influence and control would grow, possibly to such proportions as to result in disorder and chaos; that the time was approaching in Jordan and Iraq when the Arabs would have to take control and assume responsibility for their own affairs; and that this could best be accomplished by a union of the two countries, possibly under one King.

The second was that the Regent and the Government of Iraq were fully aware of the sources of hostility to such a union and in deference to those there was no intention to move rashly or quickly; that nothing would be done without the greatest care and consideration of all the factors involved; that the purpose of the Iraq Government was to create conditions of stability and not instability and that this would take time and careful planning. He said they were awaiting with interest the outcome of the elections in Jordan and the decisions taken by the Jordan Parliament at its meeting the end of August. He mentioned among those elements which were against a union the Palestinians resident in Jordan, who were by no means assimilated, and he gave it as his opinion that any unconsidered or hasty action by the Iraq Government would result in immediate seizure by Israel of the parts of Palestine now incorporated into Jordan.

Comment: I am inclined to accept Shakr Pasha’s intimations that the Iraq Government and Regent do not intend to make any ill-considered precipitate moves in the direction of union. This reflects the views expressed by the Prime Minister and other members of the Government, although it is of course in the Arab nature to state what the listener wants to hear and some weight must be given to that consideration. I have, however, been impressed by the strength of the convictions entertained here that union with Jordan must be effected [Page 993]at some time or other and I believe that every effort will be made by the Hashemite House of Iraq to create and establish, as circumstances may permit, conditions precedent and favorable of such a union.

The Department will not have overlooked the intimation expressed by Shakr Pasha that British control and influence is becoming unwelcome as time goes by, not only in Jordan but in Iraq.

Edward S. Crocker
  1. Copies sent to Amman, Basra, Beirut, Benghazi, Damascus, Jerusalem, Jidda, London, Tehran, Tel Aviv, and Tripoli.