258. Backchannel Message From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to the Ambassador to Iran (Helms)1
WH42553. Reference: Teheran 930.2
Your message outlined the situation and likely developments very clearly. As you know, only shortly thereafter we received a message from Barzani predictably appealing for more help.3
When we increased our total contribution and added the special [less than 1 line not declassified] contribution for refugee relief, we concluded that our effort had reached a level which could not be further increased in any significant way without very high risk of disclosure. On the basis of your cable and the Barzani request, we reassessed the whole picture again and came to the same conclusion. We are about at the limit and to go farther would risk all that has been done so far.[Page 707]
Nonetheless, we recognize that the Kurds do need help, and we want to do what we can, not only because they continue to keep worthwhile pressure on the Baath government but also to evidence our continuing support for the Shah. As you are aware, during General Nasiri’s visit, we did arrange to shift some resources which had been programmed for delivery of AK–47’s and associated equipment, and in this way made about [less than 1 line not declassified] available for procurement of anti-tank weapons. CIA is helping the Iranians locate the weapons for purchase. We could not be helpful, however, with the anti-aircraft weapons. The equipment required to meet the threat of high-flying bomber aircraft simply is just too big (would require prime movers to transport), too complicated and too expensive to pursue.
We are working on the possibilities for increasing media focus on the war and its effects on the Kurds. We also are looking into additional refugee relief through overt means and hope to be able to generate some support for the Iranians in this effort. We will keep you advised of progress.
Please forgive the delay in response. As you can imagine, we were heavily occupied, but want to assure you that your concerns were recognized and being acted upon. Dick Kennedy continues to follow this closely.