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

117. Following is Embassy’s assessment of situation produced by today’s coup d’état. It should be considered in light of fact that, although we have had some telephone contact with eye-witnesses to events of day, our elements have been restricted by curfew, and rebel-controlled radio has put out very little news.

Movement still appears to be localized and essentially military in character. Air Force appears to be backing rebels. No sign yet of counter-move spearheaded by any loyalist forces.
Local enthusiasm for coup is considerable, and there is every likelihood that it will prove no less popular in provincial areas.
Character of coup is strongly anti-western, pro-Nasser. (Crowds have been shouting pro-Nasser slogans and carrying Nasser’s pictures.)
Although two Americans, according to present reports, killed in fracas,1 there is no sign of any strong anti-American feeling as yet. Of course any US intervention in Lebanon with Sixth Fleet or otherwise would produce among populace strong hostility toward US.
Curfew has been relaxed somewhat in center of city but there has been no activity in Embassy vicinity, where quiet prevails.
It is interesting and perhaps significant that thus far no responsible civilian in new regime has addressed public on radio or otherwise. This could perhaps reflect a measure of reluctance on part of civilian element in government. A possible indication of this attitude is virtually total lack of information guidance for local press.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 787.00/7–1458. Secret; Niact. Repeated niact to Amman, London, Beirut, Ankara and repeated to Tehran, Damascus, Cairo, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. Received at 6:58 p.m.
  2. According to telegram 116 from Baghdad, July 14, midnight, Iraqi military forces arrested ten foreigners at the New Baghdad Hotel, but a mob grabbed them from the soldiers. Included in the group were Eugene Burns of Sausalito, California, and George Colley, Jr., of San Francisco, the President of the Overseas Division of Bechtel, both of whom were believed dead. A third American, Jose Carabia, was taken from the hotel and was beaten up. In addition, this telegram stated that there were no reliable reports about the fate of Nuri Said or King Faisal. (Ibid.) Later another American, Robert W. Alcock, was reported missing and presumed dead.