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

139. Called on Prime Minister, Brigadier Abdul Karim Qasim, by appointment, this afternoon. Was escorted to and from Ministry of Defense by Colonel Damandji, former assistant Iraqi Military Attaché, Washington, and now liaison officer with diplomatic missions, Baghdad. Damandji, whose wife is American and a former State Department and foreign service employee, is friendly to US as our Service Attachés here have learned. I found him affable and obviously anxious to get [Page 319] revolutionary regime off to as good a start as possible with US. Brigadier Qasim received me in friendly but somewhat diffident manner. He’s quite fluent in English. We had our exchange without benefit of interpreter.

I told Qasim that I was anxious to establish contact with him as we would, I felt, have many matters to discuss over coming weeks. He replied that I should feel free to call on him at any time. “We Iraqis”, he continued, “want to be friends with the US.”

I told him I was glad to hear that from him. I had now to ask him for certain assurances. First of all, I wanted assurances that American lives and property were safe. That, he said, he would give on the spot. I went on to say that there were further assurances I had come to get. They were that if it became necessary, in our view, evacuate American citizens, assurances would be given for safe conduct and convoy if evacuation took place overland, and assurances that planes could come and go if evacuation by air seemed preferable. He hesitated for a moment and then said that, to his mind, assurances concerning life and property made assurances covering evacuation unnecessary. He would, however, give such assurances as well. I did not stay beyond these exchanges.1

On my way to Defense Ministry I found crowds quiet and orderly. Atmosphere along streets markedly calm. Half way back to Embassy however, we ran into crowds running down street yelling. At one place soldiers on tank were firing into air. Colonel Damandji immediately gave chauffeur orders to turn into side street and we made our way back to Embassy in round about fashion. I asked Colonel what was going on. He replied that shots were intended to disperse crowd. Yells were “Nuru”.

Learned on my return to Embassy that hanging of Nuri has just been announced over radio. It seems that mobs had learned that his body was being transported to royal hospital.

How tragically ironic that on very day landings made from Sixth Fleet, which Nuri had so long pleaded for, Nuri was put to death.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 787.00/7–1558. Confidential; Niact. Repeated priority to London, Dhahran, and Rome, and repeated to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Ankara, Tehran, Tel Aviv, Jidda, Paris, and Jerusalem. Received at 2:38 p.m.
  2. In telegram 142 to Baghdad, July 15, 8:53 p.m., the Department of State instructed Gallman to “take no action vis-à-vis new Iraqi authorities which could reasonably be interpreted as implying recognition of new regime.” (Ibid., 787.02/7–1558)

    The following day Gallman reported that he discussed the deaths of the two Americans during the early stages of the revolution with the new Foreign Minister, Jabar Jomiard, and Minister of News and Guidance, Siddiz Shanshal. Jomard expressed “deepest regret” over the deaths and assured Gallman that every effort would be made to clear up the circumstances and locate the bodies. Shanshal asked why American troops were in Lebanon and if they would go into Jordan. When Gallman said that U.S. troops would not go into Jordan, Shanshal replied he was glad to hear that. (Ibid., 787.00/7–1658)