186. Draft Message From President Johnson to President Aref 1

I was delighted to have the opportunity to talk to Ambassador Hani November 172 and when I learned of Ambassador Strong’s call on you I wanted to use the opportunity to send you my personal greetings. I have been impressed with your efforts to create stability in an atmosphere of moderation and to strengthen national unity by conciliating all elements. Your achievement of peace in the north is a monument to your leadership. I have noted with pleasure the development of Iraqi-United States relations on a sound basis and look to even more mutually beneficial relations in the future. I offer you my best personal wishes for your continued success and the well-being of your country.3

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Records of the Department of State, Central Files 1964-66, POL 15-1 IRAQ. No classification marking. Sent to the White House with a November 25 memorandum from Read to Rostow stating that the message had been drafted by Ambassador Strong, who recommended that he be authorized to convey a brief oral message from President Johnson to President Aref when he paid an expected formal call on Aref in the near future.
  2. According to the President’s Daily Diary, Ambassador Hani and Lebanon Ambassador Ibrahim Hussayn el-Ahdab called on the President, who was recuperating from surgery, at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, from 12:10 to 12:15 p.m. on November 17. (Johnson Library)
  3. Telegram 91650 to Baghdad, November 25, authorized the Ambassador to convey the oral message to President Aref. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 15-1 IRAQ)