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18. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Battle) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0

SUBJECT

  • Possible Message to Head of Iraq Government

In a memorandum to the Secretary dated March 1, you indicated that the President would like to have the Department’s recommendation as to whether a personal letter might be sent to Prime Minister Qasim, the head of the Iraq Government.1

In the Department’s view, a personal message from the President to a foreign Chief of State or Head of Government is indeed a useful diplomatic tool. With regard to Prime Minister Qasim of Iraq, we think this instrument might well be employed, but preferably at some propitious occasion. U.S.-Iraq relations during the past year have returned to a measure of normalcy. Indications are that further improvement can be expected. However, the Iraqi revolutionary regime still harbors strong suspicions that we have “imperialistic” motivations. A Presidential message at this juncture, coming, so to speak, out of the blue, might well puzzle the Iraqis and rekindle suspicions that we have some ulterior motive.

[Page 42]

You may assure the President that we are seeking an appropriate occasion for the dispatch of a Presidential message to the Iraqi Prime Minister. We are gratified by the President’s personal interest in this matter.

Walter J. Stoessel 2
  1. Source: Department of State, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 72 D 316, NSAM 25. Confidential. Drafted by Jones and Meyer on March 6.
  2. Reference is to NSAM No. 25 from Bundy to Secretary Rusk, dated March 1, which also noted that the President “would like to have a draft letter for his consideration.” (Ibid.). A handwritten note on NSAM No. 25, initialed by Stoessel and dated March 2, reads: “I don’t know any background on this except that President reportedly said he was writing to lots of people these days—& if it wld. help any for him to write to Qasim—why not?” (Ibid.)
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates Stoessel signed for Battle above Battle’s typed signature.