310. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iraq1

258. Re Damascus 336.2 During recent weeks GOS has been pressing US informally for price and availability list military transportation equipment consisting primarily trucks, trailers and halftracks to be supplied under reimbursable military agreement. No artillery tanks or planes included. GOS has not wished negotiate agreement however until it had opportunity study prices and availabilities.

US responded by supplying GOS with copy Lebanese reimbursable military aid agreement as typical this type of arrangement and by offering make price and availability study. Defense has now completed study and we considering whether proceed with negotiation.

[Page 552]

Major factor in our consideration is whether favorable decision likely forestall Soviet arms deal and encourage those Syrian leaders prepared rely on West. We have noted Nuri’s suggestion that US provide arms needed by Syria (Baghdad’s 3263). We recognize GOS may merely be probing us for information because as other reports indicate discussions with Soviet bloc now apparently taking place. Before reaching decision re reimbursable military aid agreement or supplying transportation items requested we wish Nuri’s advice and counsel. We would be interested especially in his assessment Syrian intentions in raising matter with us and usefulness of favorable action in deterring purchase arms from Soviet bloc.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 783.56/10–455. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Wilkins and approved by Allen who signed for Dulles. Repeated to Damascus.
  2. Document 307.
  3. According to telegram 326 from Baghdad, October 7, Nuri told Gallman that the best thing for Iraq, Syria, and the West would be a friendly and reliable government in Syria which was armed effectively by the United States. That would mean more to Iraq, according to Nuri, than an effectively armed Egypt. (Department of State, Central Files, 783.00/10–755)