180. Editorial Note

On April 23 at the 403d Meeting of the National Security Council, Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles briefed the Council on “Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security.” Included in that briefing was the following discussion on Iraq:

“With respect to Iraq, Mr. Dulles stated that the developments in that country were proceeding along the road which we feared they would continue to take. There had been a wave of new arrests of non-Communists and there was still every indication of a progressive Communist take-over in Iraq. The prevailing feeling in Baghdad was apparently one of terror even within the Army. Mr. Dulles then noted a list of recent incidents and harassments of U.S. and Western officials.

“Mr. Gray pointed out that subsequent to last Friday’s special NSC meeting on Iraq, a group had been established to watch the situation in Iraq under the chairmanship of Assistant Secretary Rountree of the Department of State. It appeared that this group had not yet reached a unanimity of opinion but Mr. Gray believed that the group would have a report for the Council in time for next week’s meeting.

“The President inquired what we had done to carry out the arrangements we had made with the British about Iraq during their recent visit. Secretary Herter explained that the relatively complacent British Government view of developments in Iraq had not significantly changed. Mr. Allen Dulles commented that there was a great deal more agreement about the Iraq situation at the working levels in the British and U.S. Governments than there was at the top level where we and the British held differing views.” (Memorandum of discussion by Gleason, April 23; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)

Also on April 23 Assistant White House Staff Secretary John S.D. Eisenhower included the following information on Iraq in his “Synopsis of State and Intelligence material reported to the President”:

“Mass rallies against ‘imperialism,’ commemorating the Bandung conference, are scheduled for 24 April in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. These demonstrations will be sponsored by numerous Communist-dominated mass organizations and will serve to keep non-Communist-elements aware of the Communist ‘power of the street.’ Communist leaders might also take the opportunity to complicate further the Qassim regime’s relations with the West by staging incidents involving Western personnel and property.” (Ibid., Eisenhower Diaries)