193. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iraq1

2050. Embtels 1283, 1284.2 You should communicate orally with Crown Prince along following lines re proposals and comments set forth in referenced telegrams.

“As Crown Prince knows, US believes it cannot assume responsibility for urging action or inaction on a state at a time when the state is faced with a decision as to whether its security and national existence are at stake. We have following comments and information which bear upon situation which we desire put forward for Crown Prince’s consideration.

In Ankara, Secretary stressed that US support of Arab states in opposing union would be predicted on common Arab action including [Page 420]of course Saudi Arabia. US has on February 7 been told by Saud3 that it is better not to take any opposing measures re Egypt-Syrian union so long as latter has approval Egypt and Syria, does not harm any other Arab state, and aim of union is to march toward the objective of Arab unity. We must therefore assume Saudi Arabia would not support action of type envisaged by Crown Prince. Position of Lebanon is still unclear. US and Iraq, we believe, would find themselves in an extremely difficult position if they should move overtly to break up union without dependable assurance of public and official support of non-union Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia.

US has no reports of any widespread opposition in Syria to the union. Our information re possible effectiveness Syrian tribes extremely discouraging and indicates they have recently been largely isolated and subjected strict surveillance and control by Syrian military.

Our observations in no way alter the position which we communicated to Crown Prince in past with regard to Syrian problem; namely, that if neighbors of Syria should feel compelled, in face of provocations from Syria, to take action justifiable as self-defensive under Article 51 of UN Charter, we would provide political support and aid in the form of matériel. Eisenhower Doctrine would be invoked in event Soviet bloc intervened with troops or volunteers. Furthermore, Secretary told Bashayan in Ankara if out of confusion and dissensions which might accompany effort to force Syria to amalgamate with Egypt there comes an attack on Iraq mounted with Soviet weapons and perhaps volunteers. US on request would be prepared to intervene under Eisenhower Doctrine. This was in context possibility parts of Syria might join Iraq and attack by Syria result.”

FYI. Above coordinated with UK which will adopt similar line with Crown Prince. End FYI.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 674.83/2–658. Top Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Rockwell and Newsom, cleared in draft with Dulles, and approved and signed for Dulles by Berry. Repeated to London.
  2. Both dated February 6. Telegram 1283 reported that Crown Prince Abdullah viewed the threat of the Syro-Egyptian union very seriously and wanted U.S. and British support. Telegram 1284 reported another conversation on the union in which the Iraqis repeated their concern. (Ibid.)
  3. Not further identified.