133. Memorandum From the Director of Intelligence and Research (Gumming) to Secretary of State Dulles0

SUBJECT

  • Intelligence Note: Attitude of New Iraqi Leaders, Press and Radio toward the US and pro-Western Arab Regimes

Assurances of the Iraqi regime’s friendly feelings toward the West, desire to cooperate on an independent basis, and intention to honor prior commitments and contracts are reiterated daily by Prime Minister Qasim in his contacts with US representatives and in press statements. Nevertheless, a steady anti-American trend is gathering momentum. It has thus far included minor acts of harassment and non-cooperation, a growing atmosphere of public hostility, and a spate of external and internal propaganda that is increasingly directed specifically against the US, as well as against the openly Western-aligned Arab governments of Lebanon and Jordan. There is no evidence that Qasim has taken any action to prevent or mitigate this trend, or even that he sincerely wishes to do so. In view of the growing split within his own government, however, Qasim is probably no longer in a position to make a strong defense either of US interests or of Iraqi independence of action vis-à-vis Egypt, whatever his personal preferences may be.

In the field of propaganda, the press of the new order has been somewhat more moderate than the radio, although never free from [Page 337]anti-imperialist bias with certain anti-US overtones. The first newspaper to appear after the revolution was al-Yaqdha, long suspended under the former regime, which was formerly published by Siddiq Shanshal (Minister of Guidance in the new Iraqi Cabinet) under aegis of the Istiqlal Party. Always fanatically nationalist, anti-Jewish (as distinct from anti-Zionist), and highly critical of the US, the paper in its reincarnation has followed these lines as well as eulogizing Nasir and the Egyptian and Iraqi revolutions. Shortly afterward al-Jumhuriya made its first appearance, in obvious imitation of the Egyptian government’s press vehicle, and immediately became the quasi-official mouthpiece of the new government. It has printed all official statements, including those of reassurance to the West, but the tone and content of the news are very close to that of its Cairo counterpart.

Baghdad radio has been oriented to the UAR line since an August 4 broadcast attacking the government of Jordan. Beginning about two weeks after the revolt, FBIS monitors identified two voices announcing on the station as an Egyptian and a Syrian. Condemnations of the Nuri regime have gradually identified it more and more with the US, as well as “imperialism” generally. A scare-line of impending plots against the new Republic is also being developed: an accidental petroleum tank fire and the show-trial of ex-Chief of Staff Daghestani are being so played as to enhance this line. Rabble-rousing speeches of Deputy Prime Minister Abd al-Salam Arif also have been featured. Representative excerpts are attached as an annex.1

A similar memorandum has been addressed to the Under Secretary.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 786.00/8-2258. Secret.
  2. Attached but not printed.