248. Backchannel Message From the Ambassador to Iran (Helms) to Secretary of State Kissinger1

873. Ref: WH40988.2

1. On 20 April I conveyed the contents of ref telegram in detail to His Imperial Majesty. He expressed full agreement with our position on the Kurdish autonomy declaration and authorized me to have the COS so inform General Barzani. H.I.M. welcomed the money we are offering for refugee assistance and the proposed ordnance package being prepared for delivery. In connection with the latter, he made some suggestions for acquiring additional types of weapons. I have turned these over to the COS. H.I.M. indicated that he was increasing his own assistance to the Kurds from two hundred million tomans a year (about 30 million dollars) to five hundred million tomans a year (about 75 million dollars).

2. Following my meeting with the Shah the COS met with General Barzani and Dr. Mahmoud Uthman. He informed them of our decision [Page 690]to provide [less than 1 line not declassified] for refugee aid; indicated the ordnance being readied for shipment; and told them the Shah and we judged it would not be desirable for them to issue their proposed autonomy proclamation at this time. Contrary to our expectation that General Barzani would be disappointed, his reaction was one of apparent understanding of our position and warm gratitude for the additional aid we are planning to supply. He asked the COS to convey his thanks to the President, Secretary Kissinger and those Agency officials who have understood and supported his efforts to defend the rights of his people. He reaffirmed his strong attachment to American policy and America’s historical role as supporter of oppressed peoples. He offered himself and his movement for whatever tasks the United States might ask them to perform. He confirmed that the Shah has promised to increase the level of Iranian support to five hundred million tomans a year.

3. General Barzani said too that he wanted to send two Kurdish leaders, Mohammed Mahmud Abd-al-Rahman and Muhsin Dizayee, to New York to lobby for the Kurdish cause at the United Nations and with international press people. Both men are former Iraqi Cabinet Ministers and have Iraqi diplomatic passports. [2 lines not declassified]

4. We think this recent exchange among the Shah, the Kurds, and ourselves has turned out very well. Both the Shah and the Kurds appear to have accepted the soundness of our position on autonomy and to have understood the constraints against raising the level of our support beyond a point which can be kept covert. We still have a challenging logistics task to perform but have crossed a difficult political hurdle. We here greatly appreciate the work of those members of your staff and of the Agency who helped establish a positive and viable position and your own clear guidance and decision in this very complicated matter. Warm regards.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Iran, Chronological Files, Box CL–152, 2 January–30 April, 1974. Secret; Immediate; Eyes Only. Sent through Scowcroft with the instruction to deliver at opening of business April 22.
  2. See footnote 4, Document 246.