Page images

and withdrawal of Ambassador. Fifth paragraph already reported in telegrams 65 to 68 29 inclusive.

Part 1 Department's 35 received 8 p. m. yesterday, part 2 not yet received.


890G.00/556: Telegram

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

BAGHDAD, April 10, 1941-1 p. m. [Received 2:41 p. m.]

71. Section 2 Department's 35 received 8 p. m. yesterday. No useful purpose would be served by talk with Gailani. His public statements during past week and his proposals to Ambassador through Edmonds and to me through Mardam have made known all that he might say to me and through Mardam he has my views. His hasty assembly Parliament today, his political history which reveals him as intriguer, unreliable, unscrupulous, ruthless, backed at first and now dominated by group with same characteristics, the fact British have documentary evidence his secret relations with Germans, together with other miscellaneous facts known to me, give background for following conclusions: (1) his proposals not accompanied by adequate guarantees and his assurances alone are valueless; (2) his hasty assembly Parliament is for purpose deposition of Regent and enactments giving superficial appearance legality his regime; (3) his proposals to British were for purpose of playing for time preparing way for the Germans; (4) the present crisis intended as embarrassing distraction for British at this critical time.


890G.00/558 : Telegram

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

BAGHDAD, April 10, 1941-7 p. m. [Received April 11-9 a. m.]

73. Iraqi Parliament today voted dismissal of Abdullah [Abdul Ilah] from the Regency and elected Al-Sharif Sharaf as Regent. Latter is member of Hashimite family and acted as Regent during brief absence of Faisal in 1925.



Telegrams Nos. 65, April 7, 5 p. m., and 66, April 7, 7 p. m., pp. 495 and 497, respectively; Nos. 67 and 68 not printed.

890G.00/563: Telegram

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

BAGHDAD, April 11, 1941-9 p. m. [Received April 14-1: 40 p. m.]

74. New Regent called upon Gailani to form new government and his Cabinet will probably be announced tomorrow. British legal adviser to Iraq Ministry of Justice tells me that inasmuch as the King or Regent or Council of Ministers only are authorized to assemble Parliament the Assembly yesterday called by a group which had seized power was unconstitutional but that the measure taken by Parliament after assembly, although open to some question, followed constitutional procedure.


890G.00/564: Telegram

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

BAGHDAD, April 11, 1941-10 p. m. [Received April 14-3:20 p. m.]

75. British Ambassador informed me tonight that his Government has ordered the despatch of one battalion troops from India arrival commencing April 13th at Shaibah British Air Base near Basrah with about a division to follow by ship arriving about April 20th accompanied by cruisers and other naval units. In meantime he had informed his Government that Gailani in an announcement accepting to form new government stated his intention to fulfill Anglo-Iraq treaty.30 He therefore recommended advisability putting onus on Gailani by informing him that in view military situation in Near East, British Government has intention of transporting troops through Iraq. If Gailani accepts, landing can be effected peacefully, otherwise because of Iraq's refusal to fulfill treaty, troops might have to be landed by force because Iraq troops are already disposed in portions to repel such landing. He has taken steps to postpone troop arrivals on 13th pending reply from London.


890G.00/560: Telegram

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

BAGHDAD, April 12, 1941—5 p. m. [Received 10:35 p. m.]

78. Received today note from Foreign Office giving names new Cabinet Ministers who are predominantly pro-German. Mousa Sha


Signed at Baghdad, June 30, 1930, League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. CXXXII, p. 363.

banda, Foreign Affairs, served Iraqi Legation, Berlin; Naji Showkat, Defence, Gailani special envoy to Von Papen 31 last summer; Naji Suwaidi in Gailani's last Cabinet.

The others no particular importance. I will not acknowledge the receipt of note pending Department's instructions and I recommend delay until further advised. British Ambassador anticipating demand of Gailani for British recognition as consideration for permission transit British troops, telegraphed for instructions on this point last night to have it in hand in case of need.


890G.002/149: Telegram

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

BAGHDAD, April 13, 1941-10 a. m. [Received 11:49 p. m.]

79. Foreign Office telegraphed [telephoned?] today saying Minister for Foreign Affairs would receive visits of congratulations from chiefs of diplomatic missions tomorrow morning. British, Turkish, Egyptian, Iranian, French and American will not attend leaving only the Japanese and Italian.


890G.00/570: Telegram

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

BAGHDAD, April 16, 1941-5 p. m. [Received April 17-9: 31 a. m.]

84. British Ambassador's recommendations as reported in my 75,32 have been approved by Cabinet and he will see Gailani today. This might result in peaceful landing British troops especially in view strength of accompanying naval units.

It is possible my telegrams are not being sent and I therefore asked Ambassador to request Foreign Office, London, to keep our Embassy informed.



Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State
[WASHINGTON,] April 18, 1941.

The British Ambassador 33 called at his request and handed me a copy of a telegram from his Foreign Office relative to developments in

31 Franz von Papen, German Ambassador in Turkey.


Dated April 11, 10 p. m., p. 499.

33 Viscount Halifax.

Iraq. I thanked him and said that we naturally are very much interested in the disquieting developments of the past few days in Iraq. C[ORDELL] H[ULL]


Copy of Telegram From the British Foreign Office to the British Embassy in Washington, Dated April 17, 1941

Please inform United States Government that Rashid Ali has agreed to a request for opening line of communications through Iraq in accordance with provisions of Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of Alliance and that Imperial troops are due to reach Basrah immediately. His Majesty's Government regarded this as test case and His Majesty's Ambassador accordingly informed Rashid Ali on April 16th that provided unconditional cooperation was forthcoming for opening line of communications, His Majesty's Government for their part would be prepared to enter at once into informal relations with his Government, and accord full recognition to new regime as soon as there has been sufficient time to judge whether new regime is capable of acting up to Rashid Ali's own assurances.

In any case we consider presence of Imperial troops in Iraq can hardly fail to act as stabilizing factor in the situation.

You should conclude by again expressing to the United States Government my thanks for their welcome cooperation in this question and say that His Majesty's Ambassador at Baghdad will of course keep in close touch with their representative there.

740.0011 European War 1939/10087: Telegram

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

BAGHDAD, April 18, 1941-9 p. m. [Received April 19-12: 03 a. m.]

87. Sea-borne British troops arrived Basrah and air-borne at Shaiba today without incident.


8900.00/576: Telegram

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

BAGHDAD, April 19, 1941-3 p. m. [Received April 21-9: 50 a. m.]

89. With arrival British troops tension relaxed but not dispelled. Gailani has requested (1) recent arrivals be despatched out Iraq

within few days, (2) no further arrivals until (1) accomplished, (3) further arrivals be notified reasonably in advance, (4) size of British forces here never to exceed present number, namely, about 8,000. Gailani informed Cornwallis Iraq garrison at Basrah will be increased to one division. In view many evidences hostile attitude of Iraq Army it is obvious Gailani hopes retain Iraq military superiority pending signal and help from Germany.

Cornwallis tells me Gailani's request will not be complied with. Additional troops due about 2 weeks. Communications will then be taken over by British troops and garrisons established also at Baghdad and Habbaniya. Excuse if necessary will be protection of Iraq in accordance with treaty.

Cornwallis calling on Gailani today to tell him his Government has intimated he may have informal relations with him; that official recognition will follow depending upon satisfactory future developments. He has asked London text of communication he should send Gailani re informal relations. I recommend that I be instructed to follow similar policy but in my case perhaps written communication unnecessary, sufficient if I call on Foreign Minister [apparent omission] time of day and if question of official recognition arises merely say I am as yet uninstructed.

My estimate of situation follows: Upon arrival and planned distribution additional British troops, teeth of four Army leaders will be drawn. Many of their own officers and the politicians will not [then?] cease to fear them. Politics will then follow usual course and result in fall of Gailani government. Another government probably headed by Midfai [Madfai] will take power and Abdul Ilah will return to regency-present Regent having been unconstitutionally chosen. Hence, full recognition of present government should be withheld pending further developments.


890G.00/578: Telegram

The Minister Resident in Iraq (Knabenshue) to the Secretary

of State

BAGHDAD, April 21, 1941-7 p. m. [Received April 22-4: 30 a. m.]

90. British Ambassador has received note from Iraq Foreign Office formally demanding immediate assurances of fulfillment Gailani's four requests reported first paragraph my 89, April 19. Gailani has told Edmonds, who has been acting as intermediary between Gailani and Cornwallis, that British refusal these demands will be interpreted as nonfulfillment treaty and that Iraq will consequently re

« PreviousContinue »