251. Memorandum for the Record0


  • Minutes of the Special Group (CI) Meeting
  • 2 p.m., Thursday, May 16, 1963


  • Governor Harriman, The Attorney General, Mr. Gilpatric, General Taylor, Mr. Forrestal, Mr. Coffin vice Mr. Bell, Mr. Wilson vice Mr. Murrow, Mr. Karamessines vice Mr. McCone
  • Mr. Martin and Mr. Belcher were present for Item 1
  • Mr. Bowling was present for Item 3
  • Mr. Maechling was present for the meeting

[Here follow items 1 and 2 on unrelated subjects.]

3. Implications of a Renewal of Kurdish Hostilities1

Mr. Karamessines in commenting on the Special Estimate prepared for this item2 mentioned that there are indications that the Iraqi Kurds and the Iraqi Government are preparing for possible hostilities. We have no firm evidence that Soviet material assistance is being provided to the Kurds.

General Taylor recommended that we should contact the British and French on this matter. The Chairman added that this is a very serious question and he does not believe that the Iraqi Government would be able to successfully cope with a possible Kurdish rebellion. He pointed out that the Soviet interest in these developments was a disturbing sign.

In response to a question by Mr. Forrestal, Mr. Karamessines stated that the Shah is giving some aid and comfort to the Kurds but that material assistance is not significant. The Iraqi Kurds have used border areas of Iran for temporary safe haven. The Shah is providing assistance to the Kurds in Iran.

The Group agreed that this matter should be kept under close scrutiny by CIA and subsequent reports should be submitted to the Group if [Page 543] the situation deteriorates. Mr. Bowling commented that he was concerned over the possibility of an overland link-up with the Soviets which would greatly facilitate the movement of supplies to the Kurds.

The Chairman mentioned that Embassy Tehran had responded to the State cable urging intensified efforts by the Country Team to assist the land reform program and methods by which we can influence Iran to modify its conservative fiscal policy. He suggested that after this response has been studied by the responsible Washington agencies it should be brought to the attention of the group.

[Here follows a short paragraph on the schedule for the next meeting.]

James W. Dingeman
Executive Secretary
Special Group (CI)
  1. Source: Department of State, Special Group, Counterinsurgency Files: Lot 68 D 451. Secret. Drafted by Dingeman. Circulated to the Special Group on May 20 under cover of a memorandum from Carol C. Moor, in anticipation of the Group’s May 23 meeting.
  2. In early May, the Department of State had instructed the Embassy in Baghdad to renew its demarche to the Iraqi Government to continue negotiations with the Kurds and avoid a resumption of the fighting. (Telegram 583 to London, May 4; ibid., Central Files, POL 26 IRAQ) Additional documentation is ibid., and ibid., POL 27 IRAQ.
  3. SNIE 30-3–63, “Some Implications of a Renewal of Kurdish Hostilities.” (Ibid., S/P Files: Lot 70 D 199, Iraq) See the Supplement, the compilation on Iraq.