185. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iraq0
2891. Confirming discussions in Washington, Ambassador authorized in early conversation with Prime Minister to make oral comments along following lines:1
“As you know, I have just returned from a brief period of consultation Washington. I found there great continuing interest in Iraqi developments and continuing sympathy for aims of your government—the improvement of standard of living of Iraqi people, the establishment of true democracy, and maintenance of independence of Iraq.
At the same time, I found much concern over what many people consider evidence of growing Communist influence in Iraq, which seems to threaten maintenance of country’s independence. I need hardly point out to you the unfortunate effect which Communist control of Iraq would have on relations between our two countries. People who have followed progress of Soviet Communist expansion since World War II pointed out that number of developments in Iraq, such as policy and activities of Iraqi Communist Party and various popular organizations, appear to follow traditional Communist strategy of gaining control of sources of power, one by one, and then taking over government itself. They emphasized that this process can take place even though government currently in office is not sympathetic to aims and ideology of international communism.
I reported to authorities in Washington assurances you had given me that you intended to maintain Iraq’s independence and that you did not believe Iraqi people wished to adopt Communism. These statements were received with pleasure, but I was asked to stress need which my Government sees for great watchfulness in these matters.
I was also asked to tell you that US Government continues to place confidence in you personally and in government under your direction. It continues to desire friendliest relations. It does not wish to make your task more difficult. In particular, I am instructed to assure you again that US Government is not intriguing against you either in Baghdad, other cities or in frontier areas where there have been reported disturbances. We do not believe any Americans are associated with such activities, even as private individuals.
Furthermore, my Government would look with disfavor on any acts by governments of other countries which might disturb the independence of Iraq.”
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 787.00/5–1559. Secret. Drafted and approved by Rountree and cleared in draft by Murphy.↩
According to telegram 3307 from Baghdad, May 18, Jernegan made the same oral comments to Foreign Secretary Jawad who agreed it was important that Jernegan speak to Qassim along the same lines. (Ibid., 787.00/5–1859)
According to telegram 3385 from Baghdad, May 26, Jernegan saw Qassim on May 25 and made the comments as instructed. Jernegan reported that he “toned-down anti-Communist warning” because Qassim had recently made assertions of neutrality and for Jernegan to make such warnings would imply that the United States was not convinced of Iraq’s neutrality. After Jernegan made his points, Qassim claimed he had not doubted U.S. friendship and was sure U.S.-Iraqi relations would improve. Jernegan attempted to refute specific rumors and stories that the United States was working against Iraq. Qassim listened to Jernegan’s extensive defense and then stated that he did not attach much importance to rumors. Jernegan commented to the Department that while Qassim was not as forthcoming as he could be, he seemed “reasonably sympathetic” and “gave no indication of skepticism.” He concluded, “I think we are on the right track in expression confidence in him and should continue seek ways to reassure him by concrete actions as well as words.” (Ibid., 787.00/5–2659)↩