229. Backchannel Message From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Ambassador to Iran (Helms)1

WH31917. Exclusively Eyes Only for Ambassador Helms. As you remember, we discussed with the Shah what more we could do to aid the Kurds.2 Our interagency review shows the following:

CIA assessment is that Kurds now have sufficient arms to maintain their defensive posture. The Agency needs to replenish its stocks, however, to be certain that additional supplies would be available quickly if tempo of fighting increased substantially. Accordingly, we see options as:

(1) Status quo which would mean CIA stockpiling [less than 1 line not declassified] arms against future contingency need and increasing dollar subsidy by [less than 1 line not declassified] per month to maintain dinar input at current level.

(2) In addition to (1) above, increase subsidy by 50 per cent.

(3) In addition to (1) above, increase subsidy by about 100 per cent which is essentially Barzani’s request.

(4) In addition to (1) above, make one-time [less than 1 line not declassified] contribution for economic, social and health services.

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Would appreciate your comments on these options and also your checking them with the Shah. The minimum we would propose is a combination of options (1) and (4) but we would be prepared to do more if in your judgment and that of the Shah something additional is warranted. Would appreciate also your ascertaining whether the Shah intends to do more himself.

An urgent response would be helpful.3

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 425, Backchannel Files, 1973, Middle East/Africa. Top Secret; Sensitive.
  2. See Documents 24, 25, and 27.
  3. In backchannel message 85, August 17, Helms recommended a combination of options 1 and 2, increasing the cash subsidy by 50 percent. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 425, Backchannel Files, 1973, Middle East/Africa) In backchannel messages 87 and 89 from Tehran, August 21 and 25, Helms reported that the Shah pledged to increase his own subsidy by more than 50 percent and noted that “the increase of our subsidy in response to the Shah’s recommendation is symbolic of our support for the Shah and he likes this reassurance too.” Helms also conveyed the Shah’s feeling that Barzani’s KDP must be kept from joining the Ba’ath–Communist National Front. (Ibid.) In telegram 443 from Baghdad, August 22, the Interests Section reported that the KDP had rejected participation in the National Front unless Baghdad met certain conditions. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, [no film number])