266. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Lebanon, Jordan, Syrian Arab Republic, and Iraq Affairs (Korn) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Atherton)1


  • The Sale of Civilian Cargo Aircraft to Iraq

In mid-October, you approved a memo (Tab B)2 in which we proposed that Lockheed be informed that the Department could not at this time approve the proposed sale of their L100–30 cargo aircraft to Iraq. Our position was based on the similarity of the L100–30 to its military counterpart, the C130 cargo carrier, and the possibility that the Iraqis might use the L100–30 for military purposes.

Shortly thereafter, it was brought to our attention that Boeing was nearing the completion of negotiations with the Iraqis for the sale of a substantial number of their convertible passenger/cargo aircraft. In the interest of fairness, we called Boeing in and informed them of our concern that Iraq’s military airlift capability not be increased and of the position we had taken in regard to the sale of L100–30’s to Iraq. We informed Boeing that we had asked for a study on the comparative military capabilities of all of the U.S. civilian cargo aircraft in which the Iraqis might be interested, i.e. the Lockheed L100–30, the Boeing 727, 737 and 747C, and the McDonnell-Douglas DC–10.

The Boeing representatives told us that they were in fact in the final stage of negotiating with the Iraqis for the sale of three 727s, one 737, and two 747C’s, together with a management and training package. They added that they expect to finalize these agreements this month and would appreciate knowing as soon as possible the outcome of our study. The Boeing representatives said they hoped to be able to sign contracts with the Iraqis by mid-December.

That study has now been completed and is attached at Tab A.2 It shows that of the aircraft in question, the L100–30 appears to be the one most adaptable to military airlift use, by virtue of its relatively large [Page 727] cargo capacity, shorter runway requirement, and ramp loading capability. The Boeing 727 and 747C, though they have, as do the other craft, a limited military capability, are essentially civilian aircraft; both are being sold in this case in a passenger configuration. There is no problem with the Boeing 737, which Boeing has sold to the Iraqis in the past.


1. That, on the basis of the study at Tab A, Boeing be advised that the Department will raise no objection to the proposed sale of their 727, 737 and 747C.

2. That if Lockheed makes further inquiries concerning the sale of the L100–30, they be informed that a joint State–DOD study has confirmed that the adaptability for military use of the L100–30 is such that the Department cannot at this time approve the sale of this aircraft to the Iraqis.3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P800093–2349. Secret. Drafted by Mary H. Maughan (NEA/ARN).
  2. Not attached.
  3. Not attached.
  4. Atherton initialed his approval of both recommendations. The Department informed the Interests Section in telegram 383 to Baghdad, January 2, 1975. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, D740165–0459)