The Ambassador in Iraq (Berry) to the Department of State1
530. Section two of two.2 From ME affairs conversation turned to Iraqi affairs. He asked my impressions of Iraq and I told him I thought it was a country on threshold of great possibilities but to realize such required a govt in which people had confidence and wld assure them of the quiet and stability needed to realize planned developments. He agreed adding “we are just awaiting the Regent’s return to solve these problems. I can bring into national govt honest men with technical capabilities who will give confidence to the people and assure stability.” I said that from reading the Baghdad press I wondered if that wld be so easily accomplished as strong words daily were being printed expressing dissatisfaction. He dismissed Baghdad press lightly saying it had no importance. And when I suggested that students and lawyers generally were also very outspoken in their criticisms he said these groups cld easily be managed by a strong govt. As an illus he told of his experience with recent IPC agreement.3 He said every one shouted [Page 2342] against it but when he, as PriMin, said clearly agreement was a good agreement for Iraq and that no nonsense was going to be tolerated from irresponsible elements who wished to use it as an excuse to challenge the authorities such elements immed quieted down, Parl approved the agreement and the people were unanimous in their praise. He added Iraq needed such strength in govt today and when it had that strength there wld be no fear for the stability of the country.
I then said we had heard four polit parties were on the point of agreeing upon a petition to Regent to modify the election law and if this were true it might make some difference in his calculations. He said there was and wld be no agreement among the four parties. One of the four was actually closer to his party than it wld ever be to the other three. Moreover, the three were only participating in the maneuver to try to gain more seats for themselves in new Parl.
I then inquired if the ME effervescence which in Egypt and Leb recently had coalesced into bringing about changes wld be a danger in Iraq. He said that he thought not as there was no dissatisfaction whatsoever in the Iraqi army, the tribes were generally quiet, and the police were strong and competent to deal promptly and effectively with any urban disturbance. He added that what wld have a great bearing on events in Iraq were Persian events. A Tudeh controlled Persia using the Kurds, unassimilated by either Persia or Iraq and occupying contiguous lands in each country, cld create grave difficulties for any Iraqi govt. Thus it was most urgent and vital that Persia be saved from Communism and this cld be accomplished most effectively by developing Pak into a ME power.
In closing Nuri said that he was sure I was aware Arab confidence in US had been shaken by events in North Africa and Palestine. I told him of US decision to vote for inclusion of Tunis and Morocco items on agenda of GA.4 He said this was welcome move adding “the conditions in Tunis and Morocco are light scratches on the arm of the Arab body which will heal eventually because the French will be forced to give reforms, but the Pal trouble is at the heart of the Arab body and that will not be cured until Israel respects the UN decisions.” He felt US had plans of making Israel respect these decisions through threatening to discontinue financial aid but because US did not use this threat the Arabs doubted US wld ever restrain Israel even shld Israel make an aggressive move against an Arab state and tripartite declaration be invoked. He added there cld be no hope of a stable ME until this Arab conviction was removed. I told him that the US had helped Israel and [Page 2343] wld continue to help Israel, that Israel had recently made conciliatory moves toward Arabs and that we are genuinely concerned with Arab as well as Israeli problems. He then replied that the best way for US to help Israel is not through continuing financial subsidy for purpose of overcoming Arab econ boycott but to remove need of subsidy. This can be accomplished by urging Israel to give up some land taken by conquest after the UN resolutions were passed. If Israel did this a place wld thus be created to settle many Pal refugees and the Arabs wld be convinced that Israel was willing to be a law-abiding member of the community of ME nations. Once so convinced Israel wld be able to make her way economically in the Arab world without American subsidies.
- Repeated to Ankara, Tehran, Karachi, Damascus, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Jidda, Tel Aviv, and London.↩
- Section one not printed; it reported the first part of a conversation the previous night between the Ambassador and Nuri Said. According to Nuri, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf had always been the two critical areas of the Middle East. He considered the Eastern Mediterranean a secure area because the United States had buttressed its nerve center, Turkey, with financial and military support since 1947. The withdrawal of Britain from the Indian subcontinent, however, had created a power vacuum in the Persian Gulf, which was directly responsible for the critical situation in the Middle East, with Iran the current focal center. (787.00/10–2452)↩
- For documentation on the IPC agreement, see Documents 242 ff.↩
- For documentation see vol. XI, Part 1, pp. 599 ff. and 665 ff.↩