No. 1393
The Department of State to the British Embassy1


The United States Government is in substantial agreement with the views set forth by the British Government in a note dated April 22, 1953,2 relating to the desire of the Government of Iraq to strengthen its military forces for defense against aggression.

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The United States Government believes that until such time as the Government of Iraq may choose to concert in regional defense arrangements with Western powers the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty constitutes the most effective existing instrument for cooperative defense efforts in Iraq. The United States furthermore recognizes that the United Kingdom has been the principal supplier of equipment for the Iraqi armed forces and that these forces are based on British tables of organization and equipment. These factors will be taken into account by the United States Government in the development of any program of United States military assistance to Iraq.

The United States Government will not be able to state in definitive terms what assistance it may be able to give the Iraq Government until the Congress of the United States has acted on proposed Mutual Security legislation. As the British Government knows, the United States Government is only prepared at this time to assist the defensive efforts of the Iraq Government through cash reimbursable military aid under Mutual Security legislation.

The United States Government has assured the Government of Iraq that its request for further United States assistance is receiving careful consideration and hope is expressed that mutually satisfactory arrangements can be reached at an early date. The United States Government also informed the Government of Iraq that it had noted with satisfaction the improvement which the Government of Iraq, in cooperation with Great Britain, had already effected in its defenses and expressed hope for a continuation of this useful cooperation.

At such time as it may become possible for the United States Government to move ahead with a program of arms assistance to Iraq, the matter will be discussed further with representatives of the British Government, with a view to developing a mutually satisfactory arrangement for coordinating United States and United Kingdom actions in this field.

The United States Government would meanwhile welcome further informal discussion of the Iraq defense problem with United Kingdom representatives. Particularly desirable would be the British Government views regarding the effect of general trends in the area on the effectiveness of the Anglo-Iraqi Treaty and its prospects [Page 2352] for remaining in force until 1957. Similarly, the informal and confidential views of the representatives of the British Government would be welcomed on such subjects as the present and probable future political stability of the Iraq Government, incidence of Communism and extreme nationalism in Iraq, and any other basic problems in Iraq-Western relations which would have a direct bearing on the Western defensive position in Iraq in the event of emergency.

  1. This note was drafted by Funkhouser and Daspit between June 20 and June 25. It was cleared by NEA, S/MSA, BNA, G, and EUR.
  2. On Apr. 22, Beeley delivered the note under reference here to John D. Jernegan. The British note stated that Her Majesty’s Government welcomed the Iraqi request for U.S. military aid insofar as it indicated an increased realization by Iraq of a need to strengthen its forces and increase its contribution to the defense of the Middle East. The note went on to suggest that, since Iraq had not yet decided on the political framework in which the defense of the Middle East was to be organized, it would be in the interest of the United Kingdom and its allies for the present AngloIraqi Treaty to remain in force. Since the terms of the treaty required Iraq to ensure that its military equipment not differ from those of British forces, the British considered it militarily undesirable to introduce new patterns of equipment into the Iraqi armed forces and suggested the United States use the services of British military experts who were already in Iraq to help plan the military aid program. (780.5/4–2253)