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Coll 17/10(3) 'Internal: political situation; relations with HMG' [‎20r] (39/513)

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The record is made up of 1 file (256 folios). It was created in 29 Apr 1940-24 Oct 1941. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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I /
Sir K. Cornwallis
No. 267
3rd April, 1941.
Dc W/T
Ro 12.20 a.m.
4th April, 1941.
4th April, 1941.
Repeated to Cairo telegram No. 108.
Tehran telegram No, 51.
Angora telegram No. 90.
Governor of India telegram No. 57.
Jedda telegram No. 32.
I have found the Regent at Habbaniya on my arrival yesterday
afternoon and had short talk with him before coming here. As
it was probably my only opportunity of seeing him for some time,
I was obliged to give him advice before I had studied the local
situation but developments of last few hours and my conversations
since my arrival have not * caused me to modify * views which
I expressed.
mu ^ thought the hour of compromise had passed.
The Army Chiefs and Rashid Ali were evidently determined to seize
power and either turn him our or make him a puppet. So far as
my information went the majority of the population and a
considerable part of the army were favouraule to him but this
feeling was likely to wane if he did not take immediate steps to
rally them. I therefore.supported his intention of proceeding
to Basra and encouraged him to take stroug and energetic action
to restore the situation. I approved his intention to form new
Cabinet with Ali Jaudat or Jamii Madfai as Prime Minister, to
summon the Chamber and Senate to Basra in order to obtain their
public support of his cause, to issue an appeal to the nation and
to promise an amnesty to any officers and men of the army who had
been obliged to act disloyally, on condition that they renounce
the army leaders whose dismissal he proposed publicly to
announce. With these and other measures which would be
necessary as the situation developed he thought that there was
a good chance of obtaining such a strong display of popular
synpathy that revolutionaries would collapse through lack of s^rvpo'rt
3. I share his opinion that the situation can be saved but
only if he takes immediate and strong action. Unfortunately
owing to weather conditions he could not leave for Basra until this
afternoon. Ali Jaudat went with him. Whether he and his
supporters will really act with energy and decision remains to be
seen. They seem to nave been singularly negligent in making
plans to meet a situation which has been staring them in the
faces for weeks. _ His adherents here have gone to ground so I
can do little to influence the situation but I propose to fly to
Basra in a few days if a new Cabinet is formed in order to go
through the ritual of presentation [grp. undec.] credentials.
5. [SicJ In the meantime Bagdad is quiet and my advisers
do not anticipate disorders at present.

About this item


This file is a continuation of IOR/L/PS/12/2861. It contains correspondence and memoranda regarding relations between HMG Her or His Majesty’s Government in London. and the Government of Iraq, and documents the reaction of the India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. and Foreign Office to political developments within Iraq. The papers primarily consist of communications between HM Ambassador to Iraq and HM Foreign Secretary, regarding the cabinet of Rashid Ali al-Gaylani, his resignation in January 1941 and the formation of a new cabinet under Taha al-Hashimi, and the resumption of power by Rashid Ali backed by the military in April 1941. The file concludes with papers detailing the escape of the Regent 'Abd al-Ilah, and initial negotiations with Rashid Ali's Government of National Defence.

The papers include detailed discussion of the relations between Iraq and the Axis Powers, and attempts by the British to persuade the Government of Iraq to sever diplomatic ties with Italy. They also discuss British concerns over the growing anti-British sentiment in Iraq, as a result of British interference in Iraqi internal affairs and British policy towards Palestine and Syria. Amongst the papers are intelligence reports on the 'Golden Square' Generals (folios 58-59), and a copy of British plans to undermine the Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Amin al-Husseini (folios 194-195). The file also contains a small number of communications from the Government of Iraq, and from HM Ambassadors to Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the USSR.

Folios 4-8 concern the affairs of the family of the late Khan Sahib Badruddin Khan, and appear to have come from a different file.

Extent and format
1 file (256 folios)

The papers are arranged in rough chronological order from the rear to the front of the file.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the inside front cover with 1, and terminates at the last folio with 256; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. Two additional foliation sequences are also present in parallel between ff 2-256, and ff 206-225; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled.

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English in Latin script
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Coll 17/10(3) 'Internal: political situation; relations with HMG' [‎20r] (39/513), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2862, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 28 February 2020]

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