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Sir Kinahan Cornwallis added that he proposed to have no official relations with this new government.

His Majesty's Embassy has now been instructed to inform the State Department that His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom are not prepared at present to recognize the new regime in Baghdad. This administration has installed itself without any semblance of legality by a Military Coup and appears to be anti-British and proAxis. His Majesty's Government hope that the United States Government will share their views in the matter and will similarly withhold recognition of the new government. In that case appropriate instructions would no doubt be issued to the United States representative in Baghdad who it is understood has already been in touch with the British Ambassador on the subject.

His Majesty's Embassy has been instructed to add for the confidential information of the State Department that the Regent of Iraq has left Baghdad and is understood to be safe. Furthermore the attitude of the Provinces, particularly in the south, seems to be definitely hostile to the new regime.

WASHINGTON, April 5, 1941.

890G.00/544: Telegram

The Minister Resident in Iraq (Knabenshue) to the Secretary of State

BAGHDAD, April 6, 1941—6 p. m. [Received April 7—3 a. m.]

63. British Ambassador tells me Regent now aboard British cruiser at Basra. That Iraqi Army has control of country, that attempt of Regent to establish new constitutional government has collapsed. He has informed his Government of situation and set forth following alternative considerations: (1) crush present government by force of arms, (2) recognize present government, (3) not recognize and withdraw Ambassador leaving Chargé d'Affaires.

The first he believed would be decided on basis of military strategy in respect to whole Near East.

The third would result immediately in reestablishment of Iraq's relations with Germany, the inrush of several thousand German tourists from Iran and arrival of technical and other German troops by air transport resulting in complete control of country by Germans.

The second might stabilize situation for the present but control of country by Germans would follow as above indicated whenever Germans are ready for it.

His staff is today preparing evacuation plan for British and Americans and will submit tomorrow. Evacuation will be effected before

application armed force or non-recognition be decided upon because it is obvious that all British would be placed in concentration camps soon after arrival of Germans for rumors to this effect have been spread. In any case obvious situation critical and dangerous.

He and I believe present coup timed to coincide German attack on Yugoslavia and Greece.



Memorandum of Telephone Conversation, by Mr. Gordon P. Merriam of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs

[WASHINGTON,] April 7, 1941. Participants: Mr. Nevile Butler, Counselor of the British Embassy Mr. Murray 19

Mr. Murray referred to the British Embassy's aide-mémoire of April 5, 1941, in which the hope was expressed that this Government would withhold recognition from the new Gailani Government in Iraq and so instruct its representative in Baghdad. Mr. Murray stated that we had just received a telegram from our Minister in Baghdad,20 apparently based upon a somewhat different view of the situation from that which had prompted the Embassy's aide-mémoire, to the effect that in the opinion of the British Ambassador there, a formal decision by the British Government either to recognize or not to recognize the Gailani regime was open to serious objections. It therefore seemed undesirable for us to take a step which in the opinion. of Sir Kinahan Cornwallis it would be unwise for his own Government to take at this time.

Mr. Butler agreed.

390G.1115/12: Telegram

The Minister Resident in Iraq (Knabenshue) to the Secretary

of State

BAGHDAD, April 7, 1941-noon. [Received 11:20 p. m.]

64. Referring penultimate paragraph my 63.21 Plans evacuation reported despatch 1400, October 9, 1939,22 visualized only mob violence but present situation involves possible mob violence in respect both British and Americans and military action in respect British. All

19 Wallace Murray, Chief of the Division of Near Eastern Affairs. 20 Supra.

21 Dated April 6, 6 p. m., p. 493.

22 Not printed.

means communication blocked by military and British subjects attempting go to Habbaniya turned back. As result Embassy protest Iraqi Government will permit British subjects go Habbaniya only under police escort. Embassy fears even this would be refused if mass evacuation British attempted.

British Embassy inquires whether in emergency British subjects near American Legation might take refuge here offering refuge at British Embassy for Americans residing near there, the number of which constitutes more than half American colony. I replied as per our regulations respecting asylum. Please instruct whether and what extent I may go further in matter asylum especially in view circumstances and fact present regime is not legally constituted government. Egyptian Minister just informs me he is instructed by his Government not to have relations with the Gailani regime.


890G.00/546: Telegram

The Minister Resident in Iraq (Knabenshue) to the Secretary

of State

BAGHDAD, April 7, 1941-5 p. m. [Received April 8-7:09 a. m.]

65. British Ambassador informs me that Gailani today sent him through Edmonds 23 following proposals:

1. Taha 24 be permitted to see Regent and present his formal resignation as Prime Minister.

2. Regent then receive Gailani and entrust to him formation of new constitutional government.

3. Regent then leave country on 4 months' leave absence.

4. Emir Hussein another uncle of King be appointed Acting Regent.

In consideration above, Gailani undertakes (1) he will make frequent broadcasts denying he is pro-German (2) will take steps to bring about early rupture relations with Italy (3) will allow Palestine and Syrian question to remain in status quo until after war.

Ambassador considers proposals outrageous and unacceptable and has so reported to his Government, but sent reply to Gailani merely acknowledging receipt of proposals. He interprets proposals as sign of weakness believing Gailani now realizes danger of attempting carry on with unconstitutional government and difficulty if not impossibility of forming government with responsible persons enjoying respect of people. He believes also that after first shock is over there will be revulsion of feeling among Iraqi people which might bring

23 Cecil John Edmonds, British Adviser at the Iraqi Ministry of Interior. "Gen. Taha al-Hashimi, appointed Prime Minister of Iraq February 1, 1941.

about Gailani's downfall. Therefore and because economic pressure to be exerted Ambassador proposes to stall for time believing satisfactory result may be realized without using force. He is willing to risk possibility German penetration as outlined in my number 64, even date, to gain above solution.

890G.00/544: Telegram


The Secretary of State to the Minister Resident in Iraq (Knabenshue)

WASHINGTON, April 7, 1941-6 p. m. 35. Your 63, 6 p. m.,25 and previous telegrams regarding current developments in Iraq.

In view of the rapidity with which events have been occurring, it is obvious that in some cases there may not be time to consult the Department before decisions are required. In such instances the Department relies upon the good judgment you have already manifested.

In view however of the considerations set forth in your telegram under reference, the Department does not desire at this time to take a position on the recognition or non-recognition of the Gailani Government.

With reference to the British Ambassador's pessimistic estimate of the situation, the thought has been expressed here that Gailani can hardly expect immediate German military assistance in force and that by permitting German infiltration he would invite British occupation.

It would be valuable at this juncture to obtain, if possible, information as to the actual intentions of Gailani. It is realized that the British Ambassador is hardly in a position to make an approach for this purpose in view of the attitude of the Embassy toward the previous Gailani Government. The Department believes that you are freer in this respect and suggests that you consider approaching Gailani informally, and without instructions on the question of recognition, with a view to ascertaining his intentions. Anxiety over the outlook for American interests in Iraq might form the basis of your visit.

Please continue to maintain close contact with your British and Turkish colleagues and keep the Department informed of developments as heretofore.

With reference to your 61, April 5, 10 a. m.,26 authority to evacuate Mrs. Knabenshue and Mrs. Mattison in your discretion is granted. Detailed instructions regarding the exercise of this authority follow by telegram via Bern.

25Dated April 6, p. 493. " Not printed.


890G.00/547: Telegram

The Minister Resident in Iraq (Knabenshue) to the Secretary of State

BAGHDAD, April 7, 1941-7 p. m. [Received April 8—7:45 a. m.]


66. Mardam, ex-Prime Minister Syria, is acting as intermediary on behalf Gailani to seek compromise agreement with British Ambassador for solution present crisis. He came to me today to enlist my sympathy and advice. He made some proposals substantially as reported in my 65, of today. Summing up I expressed the following: (1) a constitutional government should be established, (2) this should be accomplished in full accord with the British inasmuch as the best interests of Iraq were entirely dependent upon unequivocal cooperation with the British in present world crisis, (3) if to accomplish these two desiderata individuals would have to be sacrificed, such sacrifices should be made for good of state (he knew I meant Gailani himself).

During conversation I made it clear American people do not view with sympathy regimes which seize powers of government by force.

I suggested he talk with someone at British Embassy. He said he had appointment this evening with Oriental Secretary, a fact I already knew. He volunteered that he is dining with Gailani tonight. KNABENSHUE

890G.00/552: Telegram

The Minister Resident in Iraq (Knabenshue) to the Secretary of State

BAGHDAD, April 9, 1941-11 a. m. [Received 2: 13 p. m.]

70. Referring section 1, Department's 35,28 thanks for second paragraph and as regards fourth, British Ambassador's estimate was based on thesis of nonrecognition without use of force to readjust and stabilize situation and I agreed with him. Subsequent activities of military, their treatment of British subjects-holding them virtually as hostages-jamming of British-Arabic broadcast while permitting unhindered German-Arabic broadcasts, with strategic dispositions of army units throughout the country, particularly in threatening positions in respect to British air bases, may now justifiably characterize the Iraq Army estimated at 50,000 as a hostile force which invites British occupation even before German infiltration or nonrecognition

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