173. Telegram From the Embassy in Iraq to the Department of State1

937. Embtels 804,2 929.3 Kurds and Iran.

FonMin Talib had at me again last night at Japanese reception. Obviously he has not wanted to stay “set straight” very long. In presence of Education Minister Zaki he repeated old theme that Iranian policy is in fact CENTO policy, said it was vital to GOI to know what was discussed in CENTO meetings4 or in private talks. For first time [Page 349] accused Iran of giving material assistance to Kurds, and declared Shah’s policy on Kurds would lead to situation which would be dangerous to Iran itself and to CENTO. He pointed out that Iran had had no issues with Iraq when both were members of Baghdad Pact and seemed to imply that an Iranian objective was to create a situation in Iraq through the Kurdish problem which would lead to government willing take Iraq into CENTO. He objected strenuously to Shah’s basing of his policy toward Iraq on his allergy to Nasser.

I repeated that Kurdish problem not discussed in CENTO and I unaware of any private conversations. Reminded him Pakistan member of CENTO, yet Pakistan had been doing utmost through good offices role to try bring Iran and Iraq into some degree of harmony. Pakistanis could tell GOI whether Kurds discussed in CENTO and whether Shah amenable to US advice on this matter.

At my request, Talib identified Iranian material assistance to Kurds as comprising several loads of unidentified equipment transported onto Iraqi soil in jeeps without license plates. (Zaki chimed in that Shah was also sending aid to Yemeni royalists, but this was not pursued.)

I then gently chided Talib for backsliding after my previous talks with him. Said would report conversation, including information about material assistance; was gratified at obvious respect Talib showed for power and influence of USG but wished assure him there were great many things US could not control or even influence. Talib said GOI felt USG could get Shah change policy if wished. As we parted, to cheer him up I told Talib our latest report was that armored personnel carriers would be delivered in May, June and July, but since this report conflicted with other information, I was seeking authoritative statement. He was pleased.

Comment: Talib himself probably is pursuing CENTO scent as tactic, but some of his colleagues surely believe it. They all believe US can make Shah change policy on Kurds.

Turkish Ambassador in call April 5 (reported by memcon Dept and Ankara)5 expressed idea that out of Iraqi Army failure defeat Kurds could come govt willing take Iraq into area pact with Turkey and Iran. In our opinion this is nonsense. If Shah thinks pro-Iranian government can be brought about by helping Kurds, believe he is as wrong as he proved to be in past on imminence of UAR-Iraqi union.

Action request. I still hope to see Talib in his office before long to discuss some other matters. Have about run out of arguments on Kurds-Iran-Iraq triangle except possibly pointing out Arab interference in Khuzistan cannot be ignored by Shah. Would appreciate any [Page 350] thoughts Department may think useful with Talib. Also would be helpful have instructions responsive to his insistent references to Secretary’s private talk in Tehran. Seems useless any longer try pretend Iran not helping Kurds.6

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 23-9 IRAQ. Confidential. Repeated to London, Tehran, Kuwait, Jidda, Dhahran, Taiz, Cairo, Ankara, and Karachi.
  2. Dated March 25. (Ibid., POL 15-1 TUN)
  3. Dated April 29. (Ibid., POL 23-9 IRAQ)
  4. The Thirteenth Session of the Ministerial Council of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) was held in Tehran, April 7-8; see Document 7.
  5. Not found.
  6. Telegram 655 to Baghdad, May 4, stated that the Department believed the Ambassador had given the Iraqis all the arguments available to convince the Iraqi Government that the U.S. Government was not involved in Kurdish dissidence. It was unlikely that further arguments could erase the Foreign Minister’s suspicions, but U.S. officials should continue to reiterate the U.S. policy line. Strong could also tell Talib that Secretary Rusk had not brought any new element into his discussion of Iranian security with the Shah. (Ibid.)