674.87/9–1654: Telegram

No. 229
The Ambassador in Egypt (Caffery) to the Department of State1


358. Iraqi Prime Minister told me this evening that during conversations with Egyptians yesterday and today, their attitude has been that they do not disavow the Sarsank conversations2 but that due to present attitudes on part of Communists and Moslem Brotherhood [Page 549] they cannot at this juncture take any steps to put them into effect; they must wait until sometime after the final agreement with British signed, but they did not specify how long they would have to wait. Nuri’s reply was “that’s very well and I will do nothing to prevent your putting your own ideas into effect so long as they are in accordance with Articles 51 and 52 of the UN charter. However I cannot wait. Iraq is in an exposed position. I must do something. But whenever I do something I shall have in mind that eventually Egyptians might participate in it.” He said that on that they shook hands all round and left each other with smiles.

I said “What had you in mind?” He said “Nothing very definite. I shall talk a bit with Pakistan and Iran; eventually Turkey, and afterwards possibly Lebanon and Syria. Jordan has an agreement with British. Had word last week from the Shah of Iran that he would like to take part in a regional pact. Perhaps I shall suggest a pact with Iraq and Pakistan, and then little later Turkey, or perhaps a pact with Pakistan and Iran and Turkey, and eventually Syria and Lebanon. I mean to go ahead. In any circumstances, whatever I do will be in accordance with Articles 51 and 52 of the UN charter”.

Obviously this is all something less than concrete and direct, but patently his thoughts are not as yet well defined. Obviously, too, he was disappointed with the Egyptians. He had believed that with his superior knowledge and experience he could bring them into line.

  1. Repeated to London, Baghdad, and the Arab capitals.
  2. Telegram 319 from Cairo, Sept. 9, reported the Egyptian Cabinet the previous evening had granted Maj. Salah Salem a month’s leave. No public explanation was given, but the Embassy considered the move a clear way of facing the fact that Salem had exceeded his authority in the Sersank talks. It suggested the action was a way of putting Nuri Said on notice that the Egyptian Government did not consider itself bound by any commitments made by Salem. (780.5/9–954)