204. Editorial Note

On February 10, 1973, a large quantity of Soviet arms and ammunition was discovered in the Chancery of the Iraqi Embassy in Islamabad and in the residence of an Iraqi diplomatic officer. The arms and ammunition had entered Pakistan in the Iraqi diplomatic pouch. In response, the Pakistani Government declared the Ambassador of Iraq persona non grata and recalled its Ambassador from Baghdad. As the official Pakistani statement noted, the arms appeared to be meant for distribution to “subversive elements.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 17 IRAQ–PAK)

The Interests Section reported in telegram 72 from Baghdad, February 20, that the most commonly held local view was that the arms were destined for Iranian Baluchistan “as countermeasure to longstanding Iranian military assistance to Kurds.” Opinion was divided, however, on whether the Soviets were aware or involved. (Ibid., DEF 12 PAK)

[Page 601]

In telegram 1522 from Tehran, March 8, the Embassy conveyed Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmad Mirfendereski’s remark that the incident revealed what could be expected from Vice Chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council Saddam Hussein, that “cold-blooded murderer,” and his colleagues. The Iranian Government was convinced that the Iraqi arms incident was not only directed against Iran, but was designed to further the historical Soviet objective of a warm water port by encouraging the disintegration of Pakistan. (Ibid., Central Foreign Policy Files)