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Coll 17/10(3) 'Internal: political situation; relations with HMG' [‎236r] (471/513)

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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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441 4
Be cypher. Sir B. Nev/ton, (Bagdad).
8 th July, 1940.
D. 11.45 p.m. 8 th July, 1940..
R. 7.55 a.m. 9th July, 1940.
No. 542©
Your telegram No.. 554 [sic] paragraph 4 and my telegram No.
296 and my telegram No.~334.
The policy and methods of Rashid Ali in openly playing for
safety in regard to Italy and war and in making himself a greater
champion of Syria and Palestine than any local inhabitants are
irritating and dangerous and have aggravated the ill effects which
recent course of the war was in any case bound to produce.
Nevertheless in the situation as described below I see no suitable
alternative to Rashid Ali for the time being and my provisional
conclusion is that it would be wiser not to try to force his
resignation unless he were to oppose coming of British troops or
for any other reason the situation became critical.
2. The chief political leader outside the cabinet is Jamil
Madfai, with whom I nad a long informal talk on June 26th. He told
me that when Italy declared war he had advised [?rupture] of re
lations. Since thoi, however, (as British adviser to Ministry of
the Interior agrees) doubts and fears of the government tea spread
[grp. undec.] public who would in consequence be genuinely upset
if the government after all that had been happening gave Italy what
would be regarded as an unnecessary slap in the face.. It would be
better, therefore, he considered, to await some new justification
for rupture such as safety of British troops, transit or_special
concessions in regard to Palestine and Syria.. Madfai said he had
remained outside the present government in order not to antagonise
influential army officers and he did not think any more represen
tative government could be formed in the present circumstances.
5. Some time ago General Nuri told me that if^it became
desirable under war condition to form a government of national
concentration with exceptional powers he believed that the only man
under whom all leaders could serve would be the Amir Zaid. On
July 6 th I elicited that when at Angora Nuri had advised the Amir to
return from Istanbul to Bagdad but ihe Amir had wanted more
explanations than could be given except at a personal meeting.
Nuri admitted also that the attitude of the Regent -towards the
idea of a Zaid government- was uncertain. Nuri is^however evidently
uneasy in regard to the political situation and said he might have to

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' [‎236r] (471/513), 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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