9. Telegram From the Embassy in Iraq to the Department of State1

522. I called on Nuri at his home this morning (Embassy’s telegram 519, February 2).2 I found him looking better than for some weeks and in very good spirits.

I told him at the start that we continued firmly to look upon the course outlined in the communiqué of January 13 as very constructive and as a real contribution to area defense. “And what is going to happen now?” I asked.

Nuri thanked me warmly for our continuing support. He said that immediately on meeting with the Cairo Conference delegation he told the delegates: “I have been given hell and now I am going to give you double hell.” He said, having particularly the Egyptians in mind, he asked whether it wasn’t time to come down from “the stars to earth.” The threat to their common security was real and immediate. The Communists, he told them, might be in Formosa tomorrow and the next day, “right here in our midst.” The door was open to them all to join in an agreement to meet this threat. He was not going to be told by any outsider, however, when Iraq should sign the proposed Turkish-Iraq pact. He was going to move ahead with the drafting of the pact and its signing. He would, however, be prepared to accommodate his moves to reasonable wishes of neighboring states if they showed a real willingness to become associated. He said he took particular pains to point out to Salah Salim how inexplicable Cairo’s recent behavior has been. Egypt, he reminded Salim, had just signed an agreement with Britain providing for cooperation with British forces in case of danger—a line, in other words, with NATO—and yet in these past few weeks the Egyptian Government had in effect served notice on the world that her words could not be taken at their face value.

I then asked Nuri when he thought his meeting with, Nasser in Lebanon, mentioned in the communiqué covering the Baghdad talks, might take place.

Nuri’s answer was that perhaps it might never take place. He had made Iraq’s position clear and frankly did not attach much importance to such a meeting.

[Page 12]

Going back over what has happened during the past few weeks, Nuri said, he has been very much encouraged by the Syrian stand. The Lebanese, however, particularly the Lebanese Prime Minister, had in his view been acting very badly. He said he would like our representatives in Damascus and Beirut to know just how he felt. He said he wanted also to make very clear that he wished very much for Egyptian association in the pact envisaged in the January 13 communiqué and he would like also very much that his strong feeling in this respect be made known by our representative in Cairo [to] the Egyptian Government.

Nuri then said that in order to make his position entirely clear he wanted to reiterate that he would like eventually to see a general pact, but he would not be diverted from pushing the consummation of a bilateral pact with Turkey as a first step.

Associated with that pact he wanted to emphasize again he would like to see the Egyptians, and the Syrians as well. Iran’s participation was essential, and he hoped indication of what steps Iran is now prepared to take would be given as soon as the Shah got back to Tehran. He said “I sacked the Russians to give the Shah courage.” Association by Pakistan, he felt, need not be pushed immediately. He hoped, of course, to have US and UK association with any general pact, but not French.

I asked him what the status was of the draft pact as envisaged in the January 13 communiqué. He said he was awaiting word from Ankara on the draft he had submitted. This was a short, simple draft, he said, based upon the preamble of the 1946 Turkish-Iraq treaty, and it provided for two things: (1) exchange of military information and (2) waiver of customs and other regulations in order to assure the free movement of arms across the two frontiers.

As I was taking my leave, Nuri said that his doctor wanted him to take a few days rest, and he thought he might be able now to do that. I said that I would be hoping and praying for his full recovery. “That is fine,” he said jovially, “But what I would also like from you are some big guns.”

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 682.87/2-355. Secret. Repeated to Ankara, London, Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Damascus, Jidda, Tripoli, and Tehran.
  2. Telegram 519 from Baghdad reported on talks between Nuri and a delegation from the Conference of Arab League Prime Ministers that began meeting in Cairo on January 22 to consider the implications of the proposed Turkish-Iraqi pact. (Ibid., 682.87/2–255) Reports concerning the Conference are Ibid., 780.5.