787.5 MSP/2–2354: Telegram

No. 1405
The Ambassador in Iraq (Berry) to the Department of State


472. At five last evening I met Prime Minister quietly to discuss tactics of formal presentation of United States reply to Iraqi request for grant military aid.1 At ten last evening I met with King, Crown Prince, and Prime Minister to continue discussions. I explained to them that as provisions in text of agreement related to statutory requirements or procedures which experience had shown to be essential to good administration, I saw no point in quibbling over the language in our reply to their request. After two hours of discussion they accepted this point of view.

In this connection Prime Minister today will consult legal advisor as whether Iraqi reply to our note must be presented Parliament. All hope it will not be necessary. Then he will consult principal political leaders privately so that they will be informed and he will have their support. Then he will advise me as when I should formally hand note to Foreign Minister. Please see next following telegrams.2

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In course of discussion all seemed relieved that our plan will be worked out in cooperation with British. Prime Minister asked why in view of contents of paragraph number one bis was necessary to include reference to tripartite declaration which will become subject local attack.3 I said inclusion might make acceptance of agreement somewhat difficult for Iraqis but would make acceptance easier in other quarters. Crown Prince said he did not see any amount of aid mentioned or list of items we will contribute. I said neither could be talked about until survey team had completed its work. He pressed the point but I stood my ground on this, reassuring him to the extent that I anticipated that amount of aid would be substantial in relation to their own military budget.

King reading paragraph 3–A said that we might ask for some service that the Iraqis would be reluctant to give. He asked: “then what?” I replied if we regarded the service as essential we would present request to Iraqis in sufficiently convincing manner that they too would see that it was essential. However if the unlikely should occur, the key words in the paragraph were “as may be agreed upon”. Prime Minister in reference to 5–D asked about size of team to come to Iraq. I said it would be small, initially probably not more than ten persons. He said to get public approval of agreement he might need to say that no American troops would be stationed in Iraq, that we asked no special privileges or base rights. I replied that if, after agreement was concluded, it was necessary for him to say such things, we would take an understanding attitude.

  1. Regarding the Iraqi request for military aid, see footnote 3, Document 1388.
  2. Telegram 473, Feb. 23, transmitted a summary of the internal political situation in Iraq. (787.00/2–2354)
  3. This reference is to the text of the agreement transmitted in telegram 438; see the editorial note, supra .