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Coll 17/10(3) 'Internal: political situation; relations with HMG' [‎53r] (105/513)

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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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With the CcmniimentS
of t h >
Undssr* Secretary of Slat#
for Foreign Affaire—;
CONFIDENTIAL;^ ^ /Kas+i X icjtL/iy .
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[E 694/1/93]
Mr. Winston ChurchiH* to -iLS-
March 11, 1941.
Section 2.
Copy No* (] g
A. (jorftrrallis {Bagdad).
(No. 23.)
Sir, Foreign Office, March 11, 1941.
ONE of the main difficulties which your Excellency will have to face in the
execution of your mission in Iraq consists in the intense interest taken by the
more politically-minded section of Iraqis in Arab affairs outside their own
country, particularly in His Majesty's Government’s Palestine policy, and in such
questions as the future of Syria and the possibility of Arab Federation."
2. This interest has been exploited by German propaganda. On the
1st October last an official declaration was issued by the German Government to
the effect that Germany has always sympathised with the Arab question and
hoped that the Arabs will one day regain their position in the world, which will
honour their race and their great history. It was added that the German
Government have followed with interest the struggle for independence in the
Arab countries, and that in that struggle the Arabs can rely unhesitatingly on
entire German sympathy. The declaration concluded by stating that in this
matter Germany was in full accord with her ally Italy.
3. It should have been obvious, and Sir Basil Newton has on several occasions
drawn the attention of leading Iraqis to this point, that the German Government
carefully confined themselves in this declaration to the most general terms, and
avoided undertaking obligations of any kind. Doubtless, however, in their oral
propaganda they have gone much further than vague expressions of sympathy,
and the enthusiasm, which they have certainly succeeded in arousing in some
influential Iraqi circles, is by no means solely due to the bribes which they have
lavishly distributed, but is also inspired by the genuine belief that pan-Arab
hopes and ambitions may be realised in due course with German assistance.
4. In the making of promises to the Arabs, it is not possible for His
Majesty’s Government, in view of their international obligations and strategic
requirements, to compete with the German Government. I am, however, most
anxious that you should be in a position to combat enemy influence so far as
possible, and that you should make every effort to build up in Iraq an effective
body of opinion which will look to His Majesty’s Government, not Germany, as
the natural friend of the Arabs and the champion of their legitimate aspirations.
The British record in Iraq should provide you with the best arguments to use m
this connexion, but you will no doubt wish to know what line \ou may take on
the three questions referred to in paragraph 1 above, namely, Palestine, Syria
and Arab Federation, both when speaking officially and in private conversation.
5. Palestine—On the question of Palestine you may say that His Majesty’s
Government do not see any reason to make any change in their policy as laid
down in the white paper of 1939. and that it remains unchanged.
6. You should not volunteer any further information, but, if questioned
regarding the implementation of that policy, you should point out that important
steps have already been taken to put it into effect. Immigration and land sales
are in fact already being regulated in accordance with the provisions of the
white paper His Majesty’s Government are making strenuous efforts to reduce
illegal immigration in every possible way. As your Excellency will be aware, it
has often in practice proved impossible to deport illegal immigrants to their
country of origin, since they have taken care to destroy all documents regarding
their identity. However, the number of these illegal immigrants whom it has
been found necessary to retain in Palestine has been deducted from the total
permitted under the white paper. Moreover, some 1.600 illegal immigrants were
recently sent to Mauritius for detention during the period of hostilities and it
has been announced that it is not proposed that they should, at the end of the
war, remain in that colony or go to Palestine. The total figure for immigrants
26MAR 941
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.

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' [‎53r] (105/513), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2862, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 18 February 2020]

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