284. Telegram 54497 From the Department of State to the Embassies in the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland1 2

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  • Plight of Iraqi Jews
Over last six to eight months we have received reliable reports of arrests of Iraqi Jews, including several prominent doctors and other community leaders. Reason for these arrests is alleged involvement these persons in efforts leave Iraq clandestinely. Current reports place the number of arrested at 42. In addition, more recently there are indications that Iraqi regime may be planning trials of all or some of those arrested. Because of the state of our relations with Iraq, representation on behalf of Iraqi Jews by USG not likely to be helpful. Nevertheless, we have asked the Belgians who represent us in Baghdad to express our concern for imprisoned relatives of American citizens. [Page 2] We believe, however, that on humanitarian grounds, other governments might be in position to make more effective case with the Iraqi regime on behalf of these unfortunates. In this regard, we understand that the Israeli Government has already approached the British, Dutch and French. While we realize that these efforts may achieve little and might even backfire, we believe that in view of the recent reports of possible trials some action must be taken to alert the Iraqi government to negative effect such trials or severe punishment would have on world opinion.
Action posts are requested to inform their host governments of the above information and request that they consider (a) making inquiries re the safety of Iraqi Jews currently being held (names of those known to be held being sent separately); (b) expressing concern over recent reports that these persons may be put on trial in the [Page 3] near future; (c) advising Iraqi government of the negative effect such trials, if held, would have on world opinion, and; (d) authorizing their respective UN Missions take up matter with SecGen.
FYI. We are making an informal approach through Ambassador Finger at USUN to Sadruddin Khan, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to express our appreciation for latter’s efforts during recent visit to Baghdad and to suggest that in light of these more recent reports of possible trials in Iraq, that High Commissioner might wish follow up in Baghdad as well as take matter up with Secretary General. END FYI.
We repeating to you State 47357, State 36204, Geneva 1048 and Geneva 1098 for background purposes.
FOR BRUSSELS: You authorized inform Repir through Foreign Ministry that we are making approach on behalf Iraqi Jews to addressee governments. We appreciate information provided Brussels 1037. Any further information will be most appreciated.


  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 14 IRAQ. Confidential. Repeated to Brussels, US Mission Geneva, and USUN. Drafted by Scotes; cleared by Seelye, Frederick Smith, Jr., (SCA), Trueworthy, Greene (IO/UNP), Papendorp, Long (EUR/FBX), Johnson (EUR/AIS), Jack M. Smith (EUR/SPP), Joel E. Marsh (EUR/AIS); approved by Atherton.
  2. The Department instructed the Embassies to request their host governments to make representations to the Baghdad government on behalf of Iraqi Jews.