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Coll 17/10(3) 'Internal: political situation; relations with HMG' [‎129r] (257/513)

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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 Mr. Baxter* s compliments
( sXOth January, 1941.
No. 26.
• | / f"*’
I 5o
B. Nekton (Bagdad)
8.21 p.m.
1.15 p.m.
8th January, 1941.
8th January, 1941.
9th January, 1941.
Your telegram No. 22.
I agree that in the present circumstances t
'‘coup de main"against the Regent is not likely but it is not
impossible, so I feel it desirable to be prepared, at least
to the extent of ccrsuiting you in advance, as far as
possible. I cannot forecast what form the coup would take
if attempted, nor suggest therefore, what counter measures
on our part, if any, might be practicable.
One possibility however, which I have had in
mind is that a small body of men (possibly soldiers) might
on some pretext secure the control of the Regent s person
and keep him shut from outside contacts in.his own palace.
In that event prompt action by the Air Officer CoiManding. (including
the use of force 3 Ll in our judgment this was expedient) might
disnerse the gang and lead xo their being officially disavov;ed.
whereas the delay for reference to you might allow the movement
to gather impetus and become a serious menace. The real danger
mipiit lie not so much in probable strength of the blow but m
the inertia or complicity of those whose duty it would be to
deal with it. It was for these reasons that I asked you to
authorise the Air Officer Commanding and myself at our discretion
to take immediately such limited action as might be practicable
to safeguard or rescue the person of the Regent by the use of
the Royal Air Force resources, without our being obliged to lose
the time required for prior reference to yourself. Existing
instructions governing local Royal Air Force intervention relate
to ouite different circumstances. I had not contemplated military
— 4-v,^ + nr\r* Q-nv+.Vvincr inn re than SueDDing
asserted tnemseives. tuj. purpose Air Uiiicer Commanding
could make available some armoured oars and anything up to luu
British airmen under the Senior Officer.
As regards paragraph 2 of your telegram I assume that
it would be mv duty at any time to help the Regent to escape if
he were forced to flee from the country but the whole purpose of
my encuiry was that the Air Officer Commanding and I should be
prepared to seize any opportunity that might be open to us to
qave him from being faced with tnis necessity. I need hardly
Ity that in all probability the flight of the Regent even tothe
Roval Air Force station at Habbaniya would be fatally damaging xo
his position in this country. I ^ lso .r ea ^ S t}lt hnuld a couo
intprvention of anv kind might weaken it, so that should a coup
OOcS it woSld be far better for him to overcome it unaided if he
I do not think it desirable at present to speak as
authorised in paragraph 5 of your telegram.
Repeated to Middle East telegram Kq. 2.

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' [‎129r] (257/513), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2862, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 20 February 2020]

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