741.56387/3–652: Telegram

No. 1377
The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Gifford) to the Department of State 1


3866. Further to Embtel 3767, Feb. 29.2 FonOff informs us that for some time HMG has been studying question courses it might take in event Nuri moves to revise Anglo-Iraqi treaty.3 FonOff thinks Nuri himself wld be inclined let treaty live out its life but it recognizes that political pressures may be such that he will feel compelled call for revision.

In course informal conversations in past between Nuri and Troutbeck4 former has indicated he personally wld feel that arrangement [Page 2327] along treaty of Portsmouth5 lines might meet situation.HMG has therefore been restudying that treaty from point of view considering how it might be made more acceptable. (For example, placing emphasis on UK use airfields on invitation Iraqi Govt and dropping any clause similar that permitting continued use as of right until conclusion peace treaties Germany.)

Recognizing foregoing may not meet situation, FonOff has also been exploring other alternatives such as possibility arrangements for use fields within MEC concept and even complete evacuation airfields if, in last analysis, this were necessary to assuring continuance alliance.

FonOff emphasizes highly confidential and purely precautionary nature foregoing study. UK has taken and will take no moves initiate discussion with Iraqis and is merely preparing itself move quickly if Iraqis precipitate matter which they have not done yet. FonOff repeats treaty not discussed during Robertson’s visit and there are no conversations formal or informal, taking place at present time.

Foregoing undoubtedly is explanation for hints dropped by Brit Emb Baghdad (Baghdad’s 646 Feb 20 to Dept6) re Habaniya and Shaiba.

  1. Repeated to Baghdad.
  2. Not printed; it reported the Embassy believed General Robertson’s visit was for the purpose of seeing how Iraq was progressing on the British plan for the expansion of the Iraqi Army. (741.56387/2–2952)
  3. Treaty of Alliance between the United Kingdom and Iraq, signed at Baghdad, June 30, 1930, with annex and exchanges of notes of the same date. Texts are in British Cmd. 3797, Treaty Series No. 15 (1931) or League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. CXXII, p. 363. An unofficial text is in J. C. Hurewitz, Diplomacy in the Near and Middle East, A Documentary Record: Volume II, 1914–1956 (New York, D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1956), pp. 178–181.
  4. Sir John Monro Troutbeck, British Ambassador in Iraq.
  5. For documentation on U.S. interest in the Treaty of Portsmouth of 1948, a revision of the Treaty of 1930, which never went into effect, see Foreign Relations, 1948, vol. V, pp. 202 ff.
  6. Not printed, but see footnote 4, supra .