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149. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Herter to President Eisenhower0

SUBJECT

  • Call by Ambassador John D. Jernegan

Mr. John D. Jernegan was appointed Ambassador to Iraq on December 11, replacing Waldemar J. Gallman. He would appreciate the opportunity of paying a brief call on you before his departure for Baghdad on December 22.

The political situation in Iraq is as critical at present as that of any country in the Middle East. Since the revolution on July 14, there has been much political tension within Iraq which the Communists have exploited so successfully that they currently exercise unprecedented influence in that county and particularly on Prime Minister Qassim. Moreover, Soviet bloc diplomats are extremely active in Iraq as evidenced by a recently concluded Soviet-Iraqi arms deal.

Our relations with the new Government of Iraq have been most delicate and tenuous and we wish to do everything possible to assist Mr. Jernegan in what will be a very difficult and important mission. We believe that his effectiveness in attempting to counter Communist influence in Iraq would be enhanced if he were to call on you prior to his departure and were able to convey your personal greetings to Prime Minister Qassim. The fact that he had consulted with you would have a favorable effect upon Iraqi political leaders and might well cause them to accord added respect to Mr. Jernegan’s endeavors.

I therefore recommend that you receive Mr. Jernegan between December 18 and December 22, if this is convenient to you.1

A biographic sketch of Mr. Jernegan is enclosed.2

Christian A. Herter
3
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 711.11–EI/12–1658. Confidential. Drafted by Parker on December 12. Herter was Acting Secretary while Dulles attended NATO meetings in Paris, December 12–19.
  2. According to a note on the source text, Jernegan saw Eisenhower on December 18 at 11 a.m. No record of their discussion has been found.
  3. Attached but not printed.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this stamped signature.