No. 1394
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Counselor of Embassy in Iraq (Ireland)1



  • Dr. Fadhil Jamali, President of Chamber of Deputies and
  • The Ambassador Philip W. Ireland

Dr. Jamali, when he came to call on me at the Embassy last night, was full of the news of the Royalist coup d’état in Iran.2 He was greatly pleased at the train of events and optimistic as to the future.

He then said he had long wanted to have a serious talk with me concerning the situation in Iraq, which he believed was becoming increasingly critical. He had had long talks with HM the King and HRH the Crown Prince and he hoped they were aware of the situation.

He said internally Iraq had become stagnant. It had immense potentialities: land, resources, wealth, and people. None were being used as they should be. Iraq was a young country but its government was anything but youthful and vigorous. It was a government of old men, bound by the past, incapable of action and of leading Iraq into the future which its resources entitled it. Iraq could make no progress until such government was replaced by young, active and vigorous men whose objectives were progress and reform.

The second necessity facing Iraq was its relations with the West. Iraq should abandon the profitless concept of Arab collective security [Page 2353] and should come to working arrangements with Turkey and the West in common defense against Communism. He criticized Prime Minister Tawfiq al-Suwaidi for sponsoring Arab collective security. Arab security had no foundation without contact with the West, and therefore was meaningless. It was misleading to the people. Dr. Jamali said that he was advocating establishment of common defense measures with Turkey, even combined forces in some instances, and of obtaining help from the West on the same basis on which help had been given to Turkey.

The whole nation must also be aroused to its danger. The country must be put on a war basis, with one, two and three shifts in all the industries. There must be work and reform, reform, reform.

Dr. Jamali said in view of these two outstanding problems before Iraq, he wished to put the question frankly to me, “What assistance and help could be expected from the United States in meeting them?” He had spoken at length to Mr. George McGhee, when he was Assistant Secretary, concerning help from America but there had been little concrete evidence that America was interested in helping Iraq or the Arab countries.

I replied that I appreciated his statement. His analysis of Iraq’s requirements in the fields mentioned was clear and forceful. We understood his concern for the internal political situation in Iraq and we hoped that the Iraqis would be able to work out something constructive. As for American aid and assistance in Iraq, particularly in defense matters, he would understand that a full and complete answer to his question could be given only by the Department. On the other hand, Mr. Dulles had pledged increasing interest by the US in the Middle East and while the development of this interest would require time, the trend was in the direction sought by Dr. Jamali. His talks with Mr. McGhee had been instrumental in getting things started in the Department.

I also pointed out to Dr. Jamali that if Iraq abandoned the Arab collective security concept and moved toward the West in a defense relationship, it would probably mean some sort of bilateral agreement, perhaps on a more specific basis than that with Great Britain. Dr. Jamali said that this particular relationship, based on the Anglo-Iraqi treaty would soon be over and that Iraq would not enter into any similar arrangement again. I replied that I felt that, nevertheless, some sort of an understanding would be necessary in regard to any large-scale military aid which might be furnished. Dr. Jamali thought that a proper relationship in regard to bases could be brought about by a system whereby the bases would be Iraqi controlled and managed by them with foreign technicians and experts. He was reminded that Americans were in Britain and Saudi Arabia with bases on which the Americans were in full [Page 2354] charge and that NATO also had working arrangements in Turkey. No doubt similar arrangements would be desired in Iraq and in other countries. Dr. Jamali remained somewhat vague as to how such relationships could be established, but he said he thought something could be worked out. In regard to examples of how America could assist Iraq, he reiterated his belief that Americans should establish institutions of their own in Iraq and other Arab countries in order to demonstrate how such institutions might work.

When Dr. Jamali was asked what he considered the most important focal point of influence in bringing about internal change, he said Nuri first and then the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince was aware of the need for a change but he felt himself blocked by his associates. Dr. Jamali thought Nuri was becoming increasingly aware of the needs. In his talks with the King concerning these matters, he spoke as a teacher to a pupil. He said he was finding a very ready response on the part of the King to his ideas.

Dr. Jamali wandered in his conversation over a number of other points, including education in Iraq and internal politics. He criticized the educational system which did not prepare people for the best institutions in America and Britain. He said few, if any, Iraqis were in first-class institutions but in small colleges throughout the United States. He was particularly concerned since Iraq had produced no scholars of merit, no first-class scientists, no men of international renown. He had pointed out these facts to the Crown Prince and had urged that an attempt be made to create specialists by sending the most brilliant Iraqis to first-class institutions where they would be trained by experts. It was also necessary that this action be accompanied by a change of attitude by the Iraq Government since proper use was not being made of those who had been educated in America and England. Not only were their talents being wasted but they were being frustrated and were open to subversive influences.

He spoke briefly also concerning the possiblity of a rapprochement between Saleh Jabr and Nuri. He felt that much of the responsiblity lay with Nuri who would not accept Jabr as an equal in the government. He warned that unless proper position was assigned to Saleh, there would be trouble, serious trouble, in the forthcoming months.

  1. Transmitted to the Department of State as an enclosure to a letter from Berry to Parker T. Hart. Stating that Jamali’s analysis of Iraq’s current problems was accurate, Berry wrote that he was one of the few Iraqis willing to speak out publicly in favor of a closer defense relationship between the Arabs and the Western world. (787.00/8–2453)
  2. For documentation on Iran, see volume x.