188. Editorial Note

At the 407th Meeting of the National Security Council, May 21, Allen Dulles informed the Council as part of his briefing on “Significant World Developments Affecting U.S. Security” that confirmed evidence “in recent days had indicated a real effort by Nasser to provide support to Prime Minister Qasim against the Communist Party of Iraq. This would be a most hopeful sign if only Nasser could be trusted. Meanwhile, the UAR had up-graded its attack on the Iraqi Communists while toning down its attacks on Qasim personally. This would constitute a very favorable development provided it lasts. Mr. Dulles said that the Kurdish situation in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East was becoming more and more confused.”

Later in the meeting, Under Secretary of State Dillon briefed the Council on Iraq:

“Mr. Gray inquired of Secretary Dillon whether he had anything to report on the work of the Interdepartmental Group on Iraq established by NSC action. Secretary Dillon said he could report only very briefly. While the Interdepartmental Group had been meeting, it had no further suggestions to make with respect to action at this time. All the programs [Page 459] for Iraq are underway [1-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]. Secretary Dillon testified that the general feeling was that we had been making some progress in Iraq in recent days. For example, our differences with the Turks and with the Iranians as to the seriousness of the situation in Iraq have disappeared. Then secondly, the UAR has behaved far better than we had hoped. It was still our hope that Qasim could be prevailed upon to stand up to the Iraqi Communists. Thus, by and large, we felt slightly more optimistic about Iraq although the situation was certainly anything but rosy. The few odds and ends of improvement were not very significant in themselves but they provided some hope if looked at cumulatively.

Mr. Gray said that he understood that Ambassador Jernegan was about to engage in another interview with Prime Minister Qasim. Mr. Gray asked if we had instructed the Ambassador to inform Qasim of the serious view taken by the U.S. of increasing Communist influence in Iraq. Secretary Dillon and the President said that of course we had so informed Ambassador Jernegan.” (Memorandum of discussion by Gleason, May 21; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)