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

171. I saw Prime Minister Nuri at his home this morning shortly before his departure for a regular cabinet meeting and gave him a copy of the Secretary’s August 26 New York speech. Nuri had earlier heard a broadcast giving the highlights. He did not read the speech while I was with him. He said he wanted to read it more leisurely later at his office.

I told Nuri that after he had had time to study the statement carefully I hoped he would not only agree with our view of the urgency of trying to reach a settlement of the Arab-Israel problem but that he would also find it possible to give the statement his support.

Nuri’s first response was in the nature of a fine tribute to the Secretary. Without specifically mentioning last evening’s statement he said he admired very much the Secretary’s approach to world problems.

Turning to the statement Nuri Said that judging from what he had heard over the radio it covered well the outstanding Arab-Israel problems. Among these the problem of the frontiers was especially important. The position of the Arab states on this was well-known. It was based on the UN resolution of 1947.

At this point I interjected that Israel’s position had also been made known. Israel stood pat on the present lines. The problem called for concessions from both sides. Nuri Said nothing to this but nodded.

Before leaving the problem of frontiers Nuri observed that he was very much interested in the passage of the Secretary’s statement dealing with the President’s authorization with a possible security guarantee.

The reaction of Egypt to the Secretary’s statement Nuri then said was of immediate interest to him. The reaction of each of the states bordering on Israel was important but above all this applied to Egypt. He would instruct the Iraqi Ambassador in Cairo to get Nasser’s reaction. He only hoped the Ambassador would be able to get Nasser’s honest reactions.

“I don’t think Israel will like the statement” Nuri Said.

We broke off our talk at this point as Nuri had to leave for his cabinet meeting. We agreed to talk further within the next few days.

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At noon I am calling on Foreign Minister Bashayan to present him with a copy of the Secretary’s statement.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 684A.86/8–2755. Secret; Priority. Received at 8:33 a.m. Repeated priority to Cairo and London.