67. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate in Kuwait0

257. Contel 216.1 Qasim claim to Kuwait is basically inter-Arab controversy and there is clearly some value keeping it that context. Dept sees no advantage gratuitous USG entry into lists which might only (a) shift focus of problem (b) be detrimental to recent favorable trend in Iraq and (c) goad Qasim to new intemperance which will exacerbate problem. In any case we understand Kuwatis are in close touch with UK which is advising them how handle matter.2

In response Kuwaiti request you may tell Kuwait Secretariat orally that USG sees no need comment on Iraqi PriMin statement. As far as Kuwait is concerned, USG recognition of Kuwait as a sovereign state evident from establishment Consulate in 1950, conclusion visa agreement directly with Kuwait in 1960,3 and USG support of Kuwaiti admission to UNESCO, UPU and other international bodies. US as depositary International Civil Aviation Convention has accepted adherence Kuwait as “State associated with them (Members of UN).” As indicated Secretary’s message to Ruler June 19, USG has enjoyed cordial relations with Kuwait and expects these continue. You may add that USG would of course support Kuwaiti application membership in UN.

We would prefer avoiding USG public statement on matter but if questioned by press, appropriate Dept spokesman will speak along above lines. We believe British clearly willing and able advise Kuwaitis re handling problem and USG advice neither necessary nor desirable as of now. In general however we incline to view problem likely subside soonest if Kuwaiti reaction to Qasim statement though firm remains dignified, calm and low key.

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Above generally consistent with Baghdad’s 914 rpt Kuwait 384 which just received.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 686D.87/6–2661. Confidential; Niact. Drafted by Eilts; cleared in draft by Strong, Kerley, Ludlow, Murnighan, Bevans, Wallner, and Stora; and approved by Talbot who initialed for Rusk. Repeated to London, Baghdad, and USUN.
  2. Telegram 216, June 26, reported that the Ruler of Kuwait had asked urgently to receive both a public and private U.S. reaction to Iraq’s claim to Kuwait and that the Ruler would apparently like a statement from a high U.S. Government official supporting Kuwait’s independence in the context of Qasim’s threat. (Ibid.)
  3. On June 26, according to the record of the meeting, Talbot told the Secretary’s staff meeting that “the British will take primary responsibility for dealing with the problem of Iraq’s claim to Kuwait and that he expects Kuwait to seek UN membership this fall without special urging from the US.” (Ibid., Secretary’s Staff Meetings: Lot 66 D 147)
  4. Agreement relating to the reciprocal granting of nonimmigrant passport visas; exchange of notes at Kuwait December 11 and 27, 1960, entered into force on December 27, 1960, and operative on January 26, 1961. (11 UST 2650)
  5. In telegram 914, June 27, the Embassy in Baghdad advised against issuing a U.S. Government statement at this time, as Qasim would publicly interpret it as further evidence of an “imperialist plot” against Kuwait. (Department of State, Central Files, 686D.87/6–2761)