209. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECT

  • Call on Iraqi Interests Section in Washington

PARTICIPANTS

  • Salim Yusuf Mansoor, First Secretary and Head of the Iraqi Interests Section, Washington
  • Edward P. Djerejian, NEA/ARN

Mr. Djerejian called on Salim Mansoor in his office at the Iraqi Interests Section in Washington on April 6.2 The main purpose of the call was to discuss Mr. Mansoor’s request for guidance on the formalities and procedures involved in Iraq signing the Intelsat agreement.3 Mr. Djerejian gave Mansoor the model text of the Instrument of Accession to the Intergovernmental Agreement and the model text of a full powers authorization enabling the Iraqi Interests Section to sign the operating agreement for the GOI. Mansoor said he will transmit these texts to Baghdad and ask the GOI to prepare a formal Instrument of Accession and full powers signing authorization.

Commenting on his new post, Mr. Mansoor said that he assumed his duties as Chief of the Iraqi Interests Section in February 1973. Prior to that he was Iraq’s Consul General in Montreal and between October 1972 and January 1973 he was Chargé d’Affaires of the Iraqi Embassy in [Page 611]Ottawa. Mansoor said his immediate problem was reorganizing the Interests Section on a more effective basis. His first task was to have the old Iraqi Embassy building where the Interests Section is located repaired and refurbished. Mr. Mansoor showed Mr. Djerejian around the Interests Section which was in a very bad state of neglect. Mansoor estimated that to have the building and the Iraqi Chief of Mission’s Residence repaired would cost approximately $100,000. He said he would be asking Dr. Fakri Qadoori, Head of the Economic Affairs Office of the governing Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) for funds to accomplish this when Qadoori is in Washington next week for meetings at the IBRD. The old Embassy building is valued at $1 million at present real estate prices, Mansoor said.

Mansoor stated he was pleased to have a visit by a State Department official to the Interests Section and apologized for not having yet paid a call on the State Department. He confided that he has asked Baghdad for approval to call upon the State Department. Mansoor asked whether the Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Baghdad had access to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. Mr. Djerejian replied that the Chief of USINT Baghdad did have contacts with the Iraqi Foreign Ministry but that these contacts were largely restricted to the Iraqi Office of Protocol. Mansoor was concerned over the question of reciprocity and whether or not his contacts with U.S. officials would be construed as grounds for reciprocal treatment for the U.S. Interests Section in Baghdad. Mr. Djerejian stated that although we would welcome increased contacts between the GOI and the Head of our Interests Section in Baghdad, any contacts Mr. Mansoor had here in Washington would not be made the basis for U.S. demands for reciprocal treatment of our diplomatic personnel in Baghdad.

Mr. Djerejian stressed the importance of maintaining direct contact and communication between the Iraqi Interests Section and the appropriate State Department officials. We had many matters of mutual interest to discuss, including consular and visa cases, economic trade opportunities and prospects for investments. With the settlement of IPC’s dispute with the GOI, the major obstacle to increased economic and commercial contacts between the United States and Iraq had been removed. Accordingly, it was important that a good working relationship be developed between the Interests Section and the USG to handle matters of mutual interest. Mansoor agreed and hoped we could improve our working relationship.

Mansoor asked if our Interests Section in Baghdad had obtained a direct cable address. Mr. Djerejian replied that a direct cable address had been assigned to USINT Baghdad. Mr. Mansoor was pleased at this news and stated that he had asked his Government to reactivate the direct cable address of the Iraqi Interests Section in Washington which [Page 612]has never, according to Mansoor, been taken away, but has not been used over the last few years. Most of the telegraphic traffic has been channeled through the Indian Embassy in Washington. Mansoor complained that this was an unsatisfactory arrangement and that he preferred to establish direct telegraphic facilities with his Government. He was hopeful that his Government would begin using his direct cable address immediately.

Mr. Djerejian asked Mansoor if he was aware of the possible purchase of Boeing aircraft by the Iraqi Government. Mansoor said he was aware of it but that he had no details. Djerejian filled him in on recent developments and told him that an Iraqi negotiating team of approximately 14 persons would be applying for their visas to go to Seattle, Washington to negotiate the deal. Mansoor was somewhat surprised at this development and asked Djerejian to keep him informed of future developments. Mr. Djerejian said he would be glad to give Mansoor a copy of the names of the persons who had applied for visas.

Concerning the request by the FBI to interview Mr. Saffar, Second Secretary of the Iraqi Interests Section, Washington, about the Jawary case,4 Mansoor said that he had not received instructions from his Government whether to accede to this request or not. Mr. Djerejian reiterated that the FBI’s request was a routine one and that their main purpose in approaching the Iraqi Interests Section was to try to find out any information the Interests Section might have on Jawary, an Iraqi national, implicated in the attempted bombings, apparently by members of the BSO, in the vicinity of three Israeli facilities in New York on March 6. Mr. Djerejian emphasized that neither Mr. Mansoor nor anyone on his staff was obliged to be interviewed by the FBI and that this was a matter for his own discretion. Mr. Mansoor stated he understood this perfectly and that he merely wanted to get his Government’s approval before responding to the FBI’s request.

Turning to news reports of the murder of an Iraqi, Dr. Basil al-Kubaysi, in Paris on April 6, Mr. Mansoor expressed concern over the safety of Iraqis in Western Europe and the United States. He intimated that perhaps the Israeli intelligence service had singled out Iraqi nationals as targets of assassination. In this respect, he was concerned about his own security in Washington and asked if Mr. Djerejian could inform him of the procedures involved in obtaining a license to carry a personal weapon and whether or not Executive Protection Service [Page 613]could be extended to his mission. Mr. Djerejian replied that he would apprise Mansoor of what the U.S. federal and local laws were on gun licenses and mentioned the Executive Protection Service which has been established in Washington to protect foreign diplomats. Mr. Djerejian said he did not know whether such protection was extended to the personnel of Interests Sections, but that he would find out and inform Mr. Mansoor accordingly. Mansoor expressed appreciation and stated that he would welcome any improved security for his mission.

In this connection, he requested security protection, if possible for Dr. Fakri Qadoori of the RCC, who would be arriving in Washington April 13. Mr. Djerejian said he would relay Mansoor’s request to the appropriate State Department officials in an effort to obtain security protection for this high-ranking Iraqi official.

Comment: Mansoor, who is a graduate of the College of Medicine at Baghdad University, is an intelligent and articulate man. He seems intent on improving the operation of the Iraqi Interests Section in Washington and seems ready to deal with U.S. officials on a pragmatic basis. He did not hesitate to criticize his own government for not supporting him and the Interests Section logistically and effectively. For example, he was quite distressed that the Iraqi Foreign Ministry had sent him an authorization of full powers signed by President Baqr which was in the name of his predecessor. Mansoor seems determined to establish himself as an effective representative of Iraq and seems to be interested in expanding U.S.-Iraqi contacts in the economic, commercial and cultural fields.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 17 IRAQ–US. Confidential. Drafted by Djerejian and cleared by Korn.
  2. Scotes informed Lowrie on January 31 that the Iraqis had, without prior notice, assigned a fourth diplomat, Mansoor, to their Interests Section in Washington. (Ibid., RG 84, Baghdad Post Files: Lot 76D453, Iraq, 1973–75, Box 1, POL 13) In telegram 665 from Baghdad, September 28, 1974, the Interests Section noted that the number of diplomats assigned to the Iraqi Interests Section in Washington had increased to eight. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, D740275–0196)
  3. The International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Intelsat) was an intergovernmental consortium that owned and managed a series of communications satellites for international broadcasting. By 1973, the system had 80 signatories.
  4. According to telegram 62782 to Baghdad, April 5, the FBI hoped to interview al-Saffar in connection with its investigation of the recent attempted bombings near three Israeli facilities in New York. The attempts were apparently carried out by members of the Black September Organization. A Federal warrant for arrest had been issued for Khalid al-Jawary, an Iraqi national. (National Archives, RG 84, Baghdad Post Files: Lot 76D453, Iraq, 1973–75, Box 1, POL 13)