49. Telegram From the Embassy in Iraq to the Department of State 0

150. Kurdistan Democratic Party officer, known to be responsible for Baghdad, following instruction from Mulla Mustafa called on Embassy officer privately September 18. Kurd made strong plea for US support of revolution movement. Said it needs money now and possibly arms later. Claimed most Communists have been eliminated from KDP and remainder will be removed soon.

In return for support, Mulla Mustafa would promise (1) purge movement of any persons we consider suspect, (2) cooperate with conservative Arab Iraqi elements and bring Iraq back into Baghdad Pact if we wish, (3) give us immediately full information on internal political or military developments in Kurdistan or Arab Iraq. KDP official claimed Kurdish intelligence extensive and accurate. Said this offer would be binding on Kurds in Syria and Iran as well as Iraq.

Kurd said that KDP maintains “close and friendly” contact Iranians both in Baghdad and Tehran. Iranians have agreed not interfere with border crossings or to stop aid given revolt by Iranian Kurds. Mulla Mustafa pleased but also wants material support from Iran. KDP official said Mulla Mustafa believes proposal bring Kurdistan into Iran as “autonomous republic” is attractive to Shah.

[Page 117]

The Kurds also maintain regular contact with the UAR, which is “friendly but unhelpful”, and USSR Embassy Baghdad. He said Kurds were not willing “burn all bridges to Russia” unless they have assurances USG will support their movement. He said that he personally is given ID 1,000 per month by Soviet Embassy for certain Communist sympathizers in KDP but money goes into KDP coffers. Mulla Mustafa does not consider this small sum as assistance to movement.

Kurds have asked Kuwait for assistance but Kuwait refused. British Embassy Baghdad confirms this. Said British have advised Kuwait give no money to rebels.

Israel has offered assistance to Kurds in Europe but this refused—not because Kurds are anti-Israel but because they fear Israel might purposely reveal information and “movement” would be harmed throughout Arab countries.

KDP official said that Mulla Mustafa knows that after downfall Qasim, which he believes imminent, USSR will be anxious help them with money and arms. Kurd said Mulla Mustafa prefers cooperate with West rather than with USSR, “which he does not trust.” However, “all Kurds are nationalists” and must win autonomy now or be prepared for racial extinction. Before Kurds will permit this they would take help from USSR or from “devil himself”.

KDP official was clearly told that USG policy toward Kurdish rebellion has not changed.1 He replied that if it does he should be contacted and message can be transmitted immediately to Mulla Mustafa.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 787.00/9-2062. Secret; Limit Distribution; No Foreign Eyes. Repeated to Ankara, Damascus, London, Paris, and Tehran.
  2. A September 11 memorandum from Strong to Talbot describes the public U.S. position on Iraq’s Kurdish problem as follows: “The United States considers the Kurdish problem in Iraq an internal matter which should be resolved internally. Our Government does not support Kurdish activities against the Government of Iraq in any way and hopes an early peaceful solution will be possible. It is our understanding that some of the Kurdish demands include requests for the reinstitution of certain constitutional guarantees. While the United States’ position is clear on the desirability of democratic constitutional life, any comment on these demands in Iraq would be an intrusion into that country’s internal affairs. We believe the future well-being of Kurds in Iraq, as well as those in Iran and Turkey, is inseparably tied to the well-being of the countries in which they reside. We know Turkey and Iran share this view, and believe the Iraq Government feels the same way.” (Ibid., 787.00/9-1162)