243. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Colby to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Mulla Mustafa Barzani’s Requests for Additional Assistance

1. On 11 March the Ba’th Government in Baghdad unilaterally promulgated a decree giving limited autonomy to the Kurdish areas of Iraq.2 The decree was unsatisfactory to Kurdish leader Mulla Mustafa Barzani and his followers in the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), but attempts to negotiate an agreement satisfactory to the KDP failed. Baghdad has made moves to reinforce its military forces in the Kurdish areas and otherwise deploy the army in a way suggesting the likelihood of punitive action against the Kurds. Prior and subsequent to 11 March there have been clashes. Further hostilities are expected and Barzani expects a major effort to suppress Kurdish resistance and remove him from Kurdish leadership.

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2. Barzani has been in Tehran this week seeking substantial additional assistance from the Iranians. Attached hereto is a verbatim copy of his petition to the Shah.3 In brief, Barzani ambitiously asked for (a) a total of some $360 million in financial subsidies and (b) Iranian acceptance and support of a separatist Kurdish-Arab government to be situated in a Kurdish safehaven protected by Barzani. We do not yet know the extent to which the Shah will be responsive, but it is most unlikely he will come anywhere near to meeting Barzani’s optimum requirements or recognizing a separatist Kurdish-Arab government located in northern Iraq.

3. Mulla Mustafa has also called on our Chief of Station in Tehran whom he informed of his request to the Shah. He also indicated he would like additional U.S. assistance as well. It is our understanding that Ambassador Helms has been in communication with you on this subject.4

4. [1½ lines not declassified]

W.E. Colby5
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry Files, Job 80M01048A, Box 4, Folder 17. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. According to a memorandum from Korn to Atherton, April 22, the Iraqi Government, following the breakdown of negotiations for Kurdish autonomy, unilaterally announced its plan for Kurdish self-government on March 11, the end date of the 4-year Iraqi-Kurdish truce. Saddam Hussein gave the Kurds until March 26 to accept the proposal, but the Kurds objected because it excluded oil-rich Kirkuk from the autonomous region and granted insufficient internal autonomy. (National Archives, RG 84, Baghdad Post Files: Lot 76D452, Iraq, 1973–75, Box 1, POL 13)
  3. Attached but not printed.
  4. Helms sent Kissinger an account of Barzani’s report of his appeal to the Shah for additional aid in backchannel message 849 from Tehran, March 20. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 426, Backchannel Files, Middle East/Africa, 1974, Vol. II)
  5. William E. Nelson’s stamped name indicates he signed for Colby above this typed signature.