253. Telegram 1474 From the Embassy in Belgium to the Department of State1 2

[Page 1]


  • Iraqis Connect Bail Case and U.S. Embassy Property


  • Brussels 1291 and 856 Notal
It is conceivable that GOI may be planning to grant Bails’ exit visas in exchange for our agreement to sell American property according to March 5 telegram FonOff has just received from Belgian Embassy Baghdad. Informal translation of this message follows:
Begin translation: I was called in by DirGen Consular Affairs who told me that (a) FonMin expects Bails may soon be authorized to leave country: (b) FonMin hoped to receive favorable US response to GOI request to purchase AmEmbassy.
I replied there was no connection between these two matters, and that it was impossible to consider further examination of request (faveur sollicitee) so long as full justice had not been given (with respect to Bails).
I gathered from this meeting that GOI officials are persuaded that only means of obtaining coveted AmEmbassy property is through freely-made decision by USG. I plan to discuss these questions with AmEmbassy Brussels during forthcoming visit to Belgium. (Since Dupret did not indicate date of his proposed visit, FonOff [Page 2] has requested details).
At that time, I believe it will be necessary to have some word on official US response to Iraqi request.
FYI, you ought to know that Iraqis have taken steps to expropriate IPC central administration building which is located in same area.

(End translation)

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 17 US-IRAQ. Confidential. Repeated to Beirut, London, and Tehran. In telegram 33546 to Brussels, March 7, the Department rejected the notion of paying the Iraqis ransom for the former U.S. hostages. (Ibid.)
  2. The Embassy alerted the Department that Baghdad might demand that the United States sell its Embassy property in Baghdad in exchange for the exit visas of the recently-released American hostages.