179. Telegram From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State 1

1044. Iran-Iraq Relations.

Shah Relaxed. When I suggested 20th that he must be confident Iran-Iraq situation under control or he would not be making his planned trip to Europe, Shah answered affirmative. He said he felt Iran’s main aim been accomplished, i.e. to let Iraqis know that any military action across Iran border would meet with vigorous response and that Iran meant it when it said it would “silence” sources of any such activity.
Long Range Aims. Shah said at no time has Iran objective been acquisition any Iraqi territory, two countries have everything to gain by neighborly relations. He mentioned they both oil producers. They have common water resources which should be utilized equitably. Shia community in Iraq inevitably has close affinity for Iranian Shias, etc.
Kurdish Problem. Shah indicated he has no intention antagonizing his Kurds by actions against Iraq’s Kurds. He described Kurds as “purest Aryan” segment of Persian race. Shah’s point was that problem of Kurds in Iraq is an internal Iraqi problem, not solvable by “butchering” Kurds and not exportable to Iran.
Shatt in Perspective. While this might be moment, Shah said, to exploit tension with Iraq to force solution of Shatt issue, clearly this not Iran’s intention. This question has history of many decades, he said, and Iran can afford to wait few more years. In fact, in few years with development Iran’s Persian Gulf ports, Iran will be virtually independent of Shatt. At that time, when few ships come to Iranian ports, [Page 358] Iraqis will have increasing difficulty with financial burden of keeping Shatt navigable. Shah predicted at that time, Iraqis will come to Iran in hope of sharing this burden, and dividing Shatt between them. Shah noted, however, that without some discussion Shatt differences issue likely be source of unending trouble between two countries.
Recent Progress. Referring to my lengthy chat (Embtel 1034)2 with Hassan Dujaili, new Iraqi Ambassador to Iran, I told Shah that although I had not seen this friend for eighteen years I quickly had recalled what a sincere and constructive fellow he is. I told Shah Dujaili made sense to me when he said no Iraqi Govt. could discuss question like Shatt under duress. Dujaili seemed completely earnest in wanting reduce tensions and develop neighborly ties.
Give Bazzaz a Chance. Noting that evidence seems to be coming in almost every day that while Iraq Govt. still has long way to go to attain competence and constructive purpose of pre-1958 days, I gave as my impression that Bazzaz, now that he is in chair of responsibility, is acquitting himself relatively well and that Iranians ought to give him fair chance. Shah appeared to agree and noted that since Labor government took over in England it has behaved much more responsibly than what one would have expected from its declarations when it was out of power. Shah seemed also to have better realization than previously that Bazzaz and IRWP are not necessarily subservient to Cairo. He characterized Aref as pro-Nasser and “crazy.” He referred this time merely to Iraq’s Egyptian “friends.” He also agreed that even Nasser must realize that Iraq could prove more indigestible than Syria.
Three-point Program. Shah said Iran had tried to move half way by accepting Bazzaz’s three-point proposal but he said three points must be reciprocal. Be third point, he said Iran did not wish Iraqis to be left with impression that payment of compensation which joint investigating commission might determine would resolve all outstanding Iraq-Iran differences. Door must be left open for discussion other problems such as Shatt and also distribution of water resources, 65 per cent of which rise in Persian highlands.
Comment. My impression is that Shah is leaving here with instructions to his govt. that Iran not take any initiatives to cause resurgence in Iraq-Iran tensions. Re long-range issues, he considers both question of Iran aid to Kurds and Shatt-al-Arab question unresolved, but resolution not imperative now. Purpose of my remarks was to encourage Shah to leave his Ministers in no uncertainty as to his wish that situation remain calm during his absence.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL IRAN-IRAQ. Secret. Repeated to Ankara, Baghdad, Jidda, and London.
  2. Dated January 19. (Ibid.)