101. Telegram From the Embassy in Iraq to the Department of State0

1513. Secto 12.1 While I have not found Iraqi leaders as jittery as Selwyn Lloyd apparently did, I agree that they are under a good deal pressure from increased tension in relations with UAR. Accordingly, I think we should take some steps to reinforce their morale. First and obvious move is of course arrange for soonest possible arrival air survey mission whose simple presence here would have immediate and considerable psychological benefit. Once mission has arrived, I believe we will have to follow through with assistance in the form of aircraft. While not wishing to pre-empt mission’s judgment of Iraqi air needs, I would suggest we begin consider now possibility token delivery of half dozen fighter aircraft (of type decided to be appropriate) to be delivered within next few weeks. This would have substantial effect on Iraqi spirits but would not, I believe, make them incautious.

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Iraqis have not spoken to me about their need for a general long-term line of credit and I am at a loss to understand just what they would use it for at present. Certainly their reserves are sufficient to meet immediate crises but if we could assure them credit might be available from some source in case of proven need, that would help also.

We have been quietly trying for some time to assist Iraqi to improve their propaganda output and we have not always found them as full of the sense of urgency they demonstrated to British Foreign Secretary. They are handicapped by lack of qualified personnel but we will continue do everything we can here to take ad vantage of their present frame of mind to advance measures needed make their propaganda more effective. They may need some money but they could not effectively use 5 million pounds at present for radio or any other propaganda output.

Nuri’s policy pronouncement on assuming office made hopeful mention of a reform program. Parliament here has considered some land tax legislation which, if carried through effectively, might help narrow present wide gap between people and government which gives Nasser great advantage in his efforts discredit Iraqi Government. We will continue our efforts here encourage Iraqis pursue this kind of approach to their problem, along with improvement in their propaganda as best means making long-term contribution to political stability. We would hope in this way divert them from any risky ventures outside their own borders.

A final comment on position of regime here: So far Iraqi army and police have shown no signs of disaffection and there is no well organized political leadership among Iraqi’s diverse and rather weak political opposition. While the Iraqis may be facing some difficult days as they undergo propaganda treatment similar to that administered to Jordan last fall, I believe Nuri and Crown Prince can be counted upon to keep their nerve.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 787.00/3-1258. Top Secret; Priority. Repeated to Manila.
  2. Document 100.