100. Telegram From Secretary of State Herter to the Department of State0

Secto 12. Selwyn Lloyd called on me shortly after my arrival deeply disturbed as result his stopover in Baghdad en route Manila. He said he had found Iraqi leaders in very jittery state and acting as though they expected be gone in six months. Nuri,1 and even Crown Prince, were [Page 295] visibly worried. Lloyd felt impact of Nasser on Iraq had been tremendous and that association with Jordan was unpopular because people believed it meant Iraq would have to finance Jordanian deficit.

Iraq had pressed him for (1) guarantee that if pipeline cut UK would come to financial rescue; (2) immediate 5 million pounds credit to finance large-scale propaganda effort to be repaid in annual half million pound installments; (3) general long term line of credit; (4) crash program for three squadrons of fighter planes; (5) radio jamming equipment; (6) UK declaration of independence of Kuwait which thereupon to join Arab Federation.

Lloyd said with respect to:

He assured Iraqis if pipeline cut UK would be helpful as they had been after Suez when they had extended 20 million pound credit of which Iraqis had drawn down only 14.
He told Iraqis they could divert 50,000 pounds from 200,000 pounds UK had given Arab Committee.
Lloyd had extracted about one million pounds from Treasury as birthday present for Federation. He thought morale aspect of this was important as Iraqis obviously were anxiously seeking assurances that their friends were backing them.
Iraqis, particularly military and Nuri, were pressing hard for fighter planes, either Hunters or F–86’s. They have referred to their repeated requests to US and UK and pointed out they were still waiting for the aerial survey team.
Lloyd had requested London to send some jamming equipment.
This was clearly impractical proposition.

Lloyd thought two matters in which US could be most helpful were in extending birthday credit to Federation and supplying fighter aircraft (he thought amount not so important as gesture). Iraqis had visibly brightened when offered 50,000 pounds for propaganda project. He then handed me memorandum regarding early availability of three squadrons of Hunter 4 aircraft and observed that cost would be less than F–86’s. He said British Embassy Washington had recently raised this matter again with Department but London has been told that US worried about what Iraqis up to. He urged that we again look into possibility of early supply of fighters, preferably Hunters.

I said I fully agreed that it was important to do something to keep up Iraqi spirits. I doubted under our aid plans and procedures which operated on a project basis we could give Iraqis any open line of credit but I would look into matter. I said I would also have matter of accelerated supply of fighters looked into immediately. I had not been aware recent British approach in Washington on this subject but it was true that we had been worried by some of Nuri’s statements. At this point Lloyd observed he thought Nuri had become more cautious.

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I should like before leaving Manila to be able to give Lloyd at least preliminary reply on possibility of credit and early supply of fighters for Iraq.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786.00/3–1158. Top Secret; Limited Distribution. Also sent to Baghdad. Dulles was in Manila for the SEATO meeting, March 11–13.
  2. On March 5, Nuri Said formed a new coalition government following the dissolution of the Murjan Cabinet on March 3.
  3. In Tosec 22 to Manila, repeated to Baghdad and London, March 11, the Department of State informed Dulles that it was urgently considering the Iraqi matters raised by Lloyd. It agreed that the United States must support and strengthen the Arab Union (Jordan and Iraq). The Department would be willing to assure Iraq of the initiation of a fighter aircraft program (probably American F–86s) as promptly as possible after the initial report of the survey mission. Also it would contribute an amount equal to the British for Iraqi propaganda efforts and could promise Iraq and Jordan favorable consideration of economic assistance projects in lieu of a line of credit. In addition, the Department hoped that the British would not concentrate their efforts solely on Iraq and emphasized that the actions contemplated above should not encourage Iraq or Jordan to intervene militarily in the United Arab Republic. (Department of State, Central Files, 786.00/3–1158)