No. 1387
The British Embassy to the Department of State


Aide Mémoire

Her Majesty’s Government thank the United States Government for informing them in confidence of the decision to declare Iraq eligible for cash re-imbursable military equipment under paragraph 408(e) of the Mutual Defence Act of 1949 (as subsequently amended). They have noted with satisfaction the two specific qualifications that aid should be a substitute for what cannot be furnished by the United Kingdom within a reasonable period of time, and that it would in fact be limited to modest quantities.

Her Majesty’s Government feel it may be of advantage if they re-state their position for the information of the United States Government and would be grateful if the following considerations could be borne in mind:
The United Kingdom is the traditional supplier of arms to Iraq. Her Majesty’s Government are bound by the Anglo-Iraqi treaty to supply arms and Iraq is similarly bound to ensure that the armament of the Iraqi forces shall not differ in type from those of Her Majesty’s Forces.
It is in the common interest of the United Kingdom and Iraq that arms bought by Iraq should be for sterling. It is also indirectly a United States interest to avoid any additional drain of dollars from the sterling area.
More equipment is becoming available for export from United Kingdom production than was looked for when this question was [Page 2344] discussed early this year and Her Majesty’s Government now expect to be able to supply the requirements of Iraq fairly completely with the exception of certain items of which there is a general shortage among North Atlantic Treaty Organization states and which it is therefore assumed the United States would hardly wish to supply.
The United States Government will understand that Her Majesty’s Government is for these reasons most anxious that supplies provided under this act should be kept within very narrow limits.
Her Majesty’s Government would accordingly welcome early information of any Iraqi applications and would appreciate the opportunity to express their view on these before a decision is taken, and if possible, before submission to the Near East Arms Coordinating Committee.