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


  • Request by Mulla Mustafa Barzani to see Dr. Kissinger

1. On 15 May 1974, Mulla Mustafa Barzani’s representative informed our acting Chief of Station in Tehran that Barzani would very much like to see you at your convenience. They gave as Barzani’s primary reason for wanting to see you his desire to explain in person what he considers to be political opportunities presented by the present conflict. Barzani believes, on the basis of interrogations of captured Iraqi soldiers, that the Iraqi population is becoming increasingly alienated from the Ba’th regime and that the regime would fall if the Kurds could inflict a major defeat on the government forces. Barzani is buoyed by the unprecedentedly large proportion of Iraqi Kurds who are actively supporting him and by the superior fighting qualities his men have shown compared to the Iraqi soldier. He is correspondingly frustrated by his inferiority in armament, particularly heavy artillery and anti-aircraft guns, and believes that only this inferiority stands between the Kurds and a major victory.

2. This request to see you comes in the context of recent Kurdish requests to us, the Iranians [less than 1 line not declassified] for more heavy weapons and high explosive ammunition. We expect that Barzani’s reason for wanting to see you is his desire to make a personal plea for still another substantial increase in material assistance from the United States Government—both in quantity and offensive capability. Consequently, we are reviewing for you below certain relevant factors: the security considerations which govern our choice of ordnance to give the [Page 694] Kurds; our ordnance contribution to them this year; an estimate of contributions given or promised by [less than 1 line not declassified] Iranians; and, our plans for procuring ordnance for next year.

3. The Agency concludes from public statements made by Iraqi officials and from our intelligence reporting that the Iraqis have no concrete evidence that the United States Government has given the Kurds material or financial assistance. The Iraqis would, however, make full propaganda use of material of U.S. origin captured from the Kurds, no matter how the Kurds acquired it, as “proof” of our involvement. [3½ lines not declassified]

4. [21 lines not declassified]

5. Although we do not know in detail what the Iranians [less than 1 line not declassified] have contributed, we do know that [less than 1 line not declassified] have been forthcoming. The Iranians have provided, among other items, a large number of Brno rifles, 1,000 RPG–7 anti-tank rockets, and have, we know, promised anti-aircraft guns. The money subsidy now being given by the Iranians is up to approximately $75 million per year. [2½ lines not declassified] The Kurds have told us that they are reasonably well supplied for the short haul except for anti-aircraft guns capable of shooting down a TU–22 bomber at high altitude.

6. [9 lines not declassified]

7. We plan, therefore, to adopt a new approach to the arms supply problem. While continuing to supply small arms and ammunition as before, we will endeavor to arrange for procurement of heavier weaponry and ammunition through the Iranians to a much greater degree than hithertofore. [2½ lines not declassified]

8. A personal meeting between you and Barzani or his emissary would significantly increase the security risks by thus raising the level of contact with Barzani. I would, therefore, recommend against your meeting with Barzani and request your authorization for our Chief of Station in Tehran to inform Barzani that a meeting with you is not feasible at this time.2

W.E. Colby 3
  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, Executive Registry Files, Job 80M01048A, Box 4, Folder 17. Secret; [handling restriction not declassified].
  2. No reply from Kissinger has been found, but, according to Document 251, high-level Department of State officials refused to receive Kurdish representatives.
  3. Printed from a copy that indicates Colby signed “Bill” above this typed signature.