741.56387/2–2752: Telegram

No. 1376
The Ambassador in Iraq (Crocker) to the Department of State2


682. Re Dept 498 Feb 263Embtel 646, Feb 20.4 UK reps today gave Emb fol résumé Robertson5 visit:

UK Amb asked Robertson come Baghdad particularly to explain Nuri in mil terms importance proper maintenance Suez base in hopes this would dispel some of Nuri’s “wilder ideas” about evac canal zone.
Robertson also regretted not seing Nuri during latter’s visit London in Dec–Jan; also wanted make inspection trip to air base at Shaiba.
During course discussions Nuri raised question role contemplated for Iraq in MEC.6 UK Amb who accompanied Robertson replied question premature until Egypt’s role clarified.
Nuri vaguely outlined his idea modify Arab collective security pact (ratification of which on agenda Parliament this session) to permit adherence by outside powers. Said pact could be divorced from Arab League but did not explain how. Also said pact could be framed as instrument of defense against aggressive threats external to ME rather than against Israel. UK Amb said he doubted collective security pact could be made an effective instrument for defense ME.
Question arms supply discussed. Iraq is particularly desirous tank transporters and towing equipment.
UK rep said all talks in nature gen chats with no conclusive results.
Re Habbaniyah and Shaiba UK counselor Beeley in separate conversation with Ireland said he did not believe subj discussed; described UK position as “letting sleeping dogs lie”. On other hand, Tahsin Qadri, chief Royal Palace informally volunteered to asst army attaché that “There is some activity” with regard changing status those two bases.
Beeley said visit Air Vice Marshal Baker routine leave-taking.
Visit Sir Roger Makins, Under Secy FonOff largely concerned economic matters and is being summarized in separate tel.7

  1. Repeated to London, Amman, Basra, Beirut, Benghazi, Cairo, Damascus, Jidda, Jerusalem, Tripoli, Tel Aviv, Paris, Ankara, and Moscow.
  2. Not printed; it requested any information the Embassy had on a recent visit by top British military personnel to Baghdad. (741.56387/2–2052)
  3. Not printed; the Embassy replied it did not know why British military personnel were visiting Baghdad and asked for any information the Department of State or the Embassy in London might have. (741.56387/2–2052)
  4. Gen. Sir Brian Robertson.
  5. For documentation on the Middle East Command, see Documents 55 ff.
  6. Telegram 687 from Baghdad, Feb. 28, not printed. It reported that Makins’ visit to Iraq was merely incidental to a trip he had made to the Persian Gulf area. He had, however, briefed Embassy representatives on Britain’s economic crisis and had talked to the head of the National Bank and other Iraqis on the same topic. (741.56387/2–2852) Makins was appointed Ambassador to the United States in December 1952.