250. Memorandum From John M. Leddy of the Bureau of European Affairs to Secretary of State Rogers 1 2

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SUBJECT:

  • Expression of Appreciation for Belgian Representation of United States Interests in Iraq—ACTION MEMORANDUM

Belgium has represented our interests in Iraq since 1967. Because of limitations imposed by the Iraqi government, there are no American personnel in Baghdad to assist the Belgian staff. Iraq’s chaotic domestic political situation and the Iraqi tendency to equate the United States and Israel render Belgian Ambassador Dupret’s task extremely delicate and demanding. For example, for some time Ambassador Dupret has been attempting to forestall the Government of Iraq’s desire to purchase, or perhaps even expropriate, our property in Baghdad by simply maintaining that he still has no instructions. In December several American citizens were arrested, including Paul Bail and his wife and son, apparently because the family possessed a short wave radio. After a series of demarches, Mr. Bail was finally freed on Wednesday, February 5 and rejoined his wife who had previously been released in the custody of the Belgian Embassy.

I recommend that you use this occasion to send the attached expression of appreciation to Belgian Foreign Minister Harmel.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 17 US-IRAQ. Confidential. Drafted by Baas. The attachment is not published. A message of thanks was sent on February 10.
  2. Leddy recommended that an expression of appreciation be sent to Belgian Foreign Minister Pierre Harmel for the work Belgium had done in representing U.S. interests in Iraq since 1967.