275. Backchannel Message From the Ambassador to Iran (Helms) to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

95. Please pass the following message to Secretary Kissinger from me: Begin text:

Will be seeing the Shah at 1700 local today (Saturday), but meanwhile want you to have what General Nassiri, Chief SAVAK, gave [less than 1 line not declassified] this morning for passing to me, on instructions of Shah. [1 line not declassified]

“1. His Imperial Majesty instructed General Nassiri to provide the following information for the Ambassador before his audience with H.I.M. this afternoon.

“2. As you know General Barzani submitted a report which was brought to His Majesty’s attention before he left for Algiers.

“3. Until now Iran has provided Barzani with whatever he wanted whether money or other requirements. Iran even provided several field guns and anti-aircraft guns and Iranian personnel, not in uniform, to man them.

“4. In Barzani’s message to H.I.M. was a statement, which H.I.M. noted before he left for Algiers, which read as follows:

It is quite possible for us (the Kurds) to capture many enemy positions but of course with a lot of casualties. But to hold those positions is impossible for us. Immediately after capturing a certain position we would come under fire by Iraqi heavy long-range artillery and air at[Page 748]tacks, as a result of which we would have to evacuate the captured position. (End of quotation from Barzani message to H.I.M.)

“5. On the other hand, President Boumedienne, President Sadat and King Husayn told us the Iraqis were ready to settle all their disputes with us provided that we discontinue aid to the Kurds.

“6. The Kurds, as you know, had said they were unable to fight. The Iraqi Army, with the equipment received from the Soviet Union could easily annihilate the Kurds this coming summer.

“7. It was not in Iran’s interest any longer to send our own troops to the other side of the border. Therefore the following was decided in Algiers in a conference between H.I.M. and Saddam Husayn al Tikriti in the presence of Boumedienne:

The Kurds will be given one week’s time to consider well the situation. Then whoever wishes to remain in the Kurdish area of Iraq can do that and continue fighting; whoever wishes to come to Iran may do so; and whoever wishes to surrender to the Iraqi Government may do so.

Two weeks time will be given for those who wish to come to Iran. After two weeks the border will be completely closed. Those coming to Iran may bring their arms and ammunition with them. (The Iranians plan to disarm them.)

“8. These are principles. Details will be worked out.

“9. In the discussion with Saddam Husayn and Boumedienne it was pointed out by H.I.M. that a Kurdish Communist movement might try to fill the vacuum left by Barzani. The Iraqis replied they would not permit a single Kurdish Communist to exist in Iraq. (General Nassiri privately commented this remains to be seen.)

“10. The Iraqis have postponed addressing the question of reducing their ties with the Soviets until such time as the Kurdish question is resolved. Iraqi propaganda broadcasts against Iran ceased on 7 March.

“11. The Iraqi Foreign Minister will open talks with the Iranian Foreign Minister in Tehran on 15 March. End of General Nassiri’s statement.”

Warm regards and best wishes. End of text.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Backchannel Messages, Box 4, Mideast/Africa, Incoming 3/75. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only.