181. Circular Airgram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Iraq1



  • U.S. Arms Policy for Iraq


  • CA 11684, Apr 18, 19632

The instruction contained in the airgram under reference continues to constitute the basic U.S. policy guidance on the sale of arms to the Government of Iraq. However, recent developments in the arms build-up in the Near East warrant certain minor revisions of that instruction. Accordingly, the specific provisos on page 3 of the instruction are modified and restated herewith as follows:

The U.S. should:

Avoid sale to Iraq of any heavy military equipment or sophisticated weapons, including napalm and other chemicals, tanks, military aircraft (except unarmed helicopters), and naval vessels classified as anything higher than a “craft”.
Agree to requests for reasonable quantities of small arms up to and including machine guns, but not preclude consideration on a case by case basis of requests for small numbers of light and medium artillery guns provided the latter are no heavier than 105 MM.
Be willing to sell quantities of transport vehicles, communications equipment, engineering equipment, and other “non-shooting” material.
Continue the present program of grant aid non-combat training, consider requests for additional training on a reimbursable basis, but not preclude additional grant aid training if U.S. interests would be served.
Interpose no objection if the British sell Iraq military equipment of a type which does not violate USG arms policy, though we would also bid on these items ourselves if asked to do so by the Iraqis. If the Iraqis should seek to negotiate a military sales package with the British, the U.S. would be willing to cooperate with the British and furnish those items of military hardware not precluded by our arms policy.
Agree to continue to sell Iraq spare parts and ammunition for equipment of U.S. origin still employed by the Iraqi Army.
Given Iraq’s relatively favorable foreign exchange position, undertake only cash sales to Iraq.
Sell nothing classified to Iraq.
Consult with the Iranian and Turkish Governments before concluding agreements for major arms purchases by Iraq.
After informing the UK and French Governments of the foregoing, acquaint the Iraqi Government informally in the near future of the essentials of this policy as restated above.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 1 IRAQ-US. Confidential. Drafted by Kinsolving; cleared in draft by Stoddart (DOD/ISA), G/PM Director of Operations Howard Meyers, Colonel Billy W. Byrd (NEA/NR), and Symmes; and approved by Hare. Repeated to Amman, Ankara, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jidda, Kuwait, London, Tehran, and CINCSTRIKE/CINCMEAFSA.
  2. See Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, vol. XVIII, Document 216.