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Coll 17/10(3) 'Internal: political situation; relations with HMG' [‎226r] (451/513)

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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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INDIA pir^m
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ctober 17, 1940.
CONFIDENTIAL. S^f5 AcvwAx^ iK i^jk-o : - Section 1.
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[E 2790 495 93 Copy No. 9(>
Sir B. Neivton to Viscount Halifcur.—{Received October 17.)
(No. 455. Confidential.)
My Lord, Bagdad, September 28, 1940.
THE anniversary of the beginning of the Arab revolt against the Turks,
which is known in Arabic as the “ Id-al-Nadha," was celebrated in Iraq by a
number of broadcast speeches and special articles in the press. These manifesta
tions of political sentiment and pan-Arab aspirations seemed to evoke no great
enthusiasm, and their importance should not be exaggerated. At the same time
they were typical of feelings and tendencies in leading political quarters, and as
such I think it is desirable that they should be recorded and duly pondered. They
are not encouraging.
2. As the Arab “ renaissance,” which is what the Arabic word “ Nadha ”
means, was initiated by His Majesty’s Government in the last war, and its success
was almost solely due to British efforts and sacrifices, it might have been thought
that some kind of acknowledgment of this vital assistance would have been
expressed. Above all in Iraq, and above all at the present time, such expression
would seem appropriate and natural, seeing that, whatever disappointments other
Arab countries may have suffered, Iraq at least has gained everything and lost
nothing, that the independence won for this new country by British lives and
money can only be ensured by the continuance of British support, and that every
other country created as the result of the last war has for the time being at
least lost its independence in the war now raging. Unhappily, I have to record
that not even the merest lip-service was paid to the services of Iraq’s British
ally; on the contrary, the references made to Great Britain were abusive and
3. Most of the broadcasts were inoffensive except for the latter part of an
address by Colonel Kamil Shabib, the Officer Commanding the First Division of
the Iraqi Army, who is one of the four army leaders considered to be of dominating
political importance. I have the honour to transmit herewith a summary of this
part of his address, and also extracts from the press.( l ) It will be seen that
Colonel Shabib delivered over the radio much harsh comment on the alleged failure
of the foreigners to keep their promises to the Arabs. In the press there was talk
of the “clutches of the British lion,” of the betrayal of the Arabs by their
Western Allies, and of the hope of deliverance from the heel of imperialism.
Such were the expressions passed by the censor and used in the Arab country
which owes its very existence to 92,000 British casualties, an immense increase in
its prosperity to British co-operation, its retention of Mosul and the Kirkuk
oil-fields to British diplomacy, and the assurance of its future progress and
continued independence to the British alliance. It will be seen, too. that even in
the midst of another great war, which has consumed vast areas and populations
and overwhelmed every country created since the last war with the single
exception of Iraq, people are reckless and foolish enough to complain that “ other
nations have benefited while the Arab nation has not.”
4. It is because this spirit of ungrateful and short-sighted folly exists in
high places (notably with the Prime Minister, Rashid Ali, and the Minister of
Defence, Taha-al-Hashimi) that I spoke to the Minister for Foreign Affairs with
the emphasis indicated in the last sentence of paragraph 4 of my telegram
rbf'S No. 505 of the 31st August. On many previous occasions I have spoken" less
blunily' but in a similar sense to the Prime Minister, to the present and the
previous Ministers for Foreign Affairs, and to other political leaders, urging them
to spread enlightenment by speeches, through the press and in the education of
the youth. The press attache has also done all he can to diffuse knowledge of
P) Not printed.

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' [‎226r] (451/513), 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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