249. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon1 2

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  • Assistance to Iraqi Jews

Arthur Goldberg has written to me suggesting that we attempt to influence the Government of Iraq to permit its Jews to emigrate, and that we signify our readiness either privately or publicly to permit them to enter this country. The number of individuals involved approximates 2,500.

I believe such a step would be in the humanitarian tradition of the United States, and that when it became known it would have a highly favorable impact both here and abroad regardless of the outcome. Secret approaches could be made through the Government of Iran, since we have no relations with Iraq. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Iraqi Jews could be admitted to the United States as refugees, or in the parole of the Attorney General.

I recommend that you authorize me to pursue this matter promptly, working discreetly through the Government of Iran.

William P. Rogers
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, SOC 14 IRAQ. Secret; Exdis. A handwritten note on the document reads “Approved by President according to Sec. Rogers 2/10/69 JPW. Asst. Sec. Sisco informed 2/10/69.”
  2. With his own endorsement, Rogers passed along the suggestion of Justice Arthur Goldberg that Washington attempt to persuade Baghdad to let Iraqi Jews emigrate to the United States.