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272. Memorandum From Peter W. Rodman of the National Security Council Staff to Secretary of State Kissinger1

SUBJECT

  • Reply to Letter from Barzani

Kurdish leader Barzani has sent you a long letter (Tab B)2 analyzing the political and military situation in Kurdistan and Iraq. He asks for additional military assistance to make maximum use of the winter to improve his military position, and he outlines an ambitious political program against Iraq. These points are summarized by CIA on the first pages.3

Barzani wishes, however, to make “a personal and more detailed presentation of these issues” to you, and therefore asks if he or an emissary could come here for a visit.

Colby advises against a visit (a) because its main purpose would be to importune you for more aid, which we can’t provide, and (b) because of the security risks. A visit by Barzani could not possibly be done securely; Colby does feel that a visit by an emissary, on the other hand, could be kept secret, at least at this end.

A visit of this kind would serve no purpose except as a handholder. However, in view of the valiant and important effort the Kurds have been making, you might consider some way of responding positively to Barzani’s appeal. For you to receive his emissary is a possible solution. The effort we are making [less than 1 line not declassified] should be enough for you to show him when he comes. A draft reply to Barzani along these lines is at Tab A.4

Recommendation:

That you approve the draft reply to Barzani at Tab A.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger–Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 19, Kurds (2). Secret; Sensitive. Sent for action.
  2. The letter of January 22 is attached but not printed.
  3. Colby’s January 30 memorandum to Kissinger is attached but not printed.
  4. Not attached. No record of Kissinger’s response has been found.