281. Backchannel Message From the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft) to the Ambassador to Iran (Helms)1
WH50453. 1. Secretary Kissinger has asked me to pass the following message to you.
2. Begin text: I have received your reports on the Iran–Iraq agreement as it affects the Kurds and the message from Barzani with your recommendations.2
To begin with, please reply to Barzani’s message with the following oral message: “We appreciate the deep concern which prompted General Mulla Mustafa Barzani’s message to Secretary Kissinger. We can understand that the difficult decisions which the Kurdish people now face are a cause of deep anguish for them. We have great admiration for the courage and dignity with which those people have confronted their many trials, and our prayers are with them. We will be talking with our Iranian friends and will be in contact with the General later.”
You should also approach the Iranians in whatever way you consider appropriate and attempt to determine how Iran intends to handle its future relationship with the Kurds. On the one hand, as you have noted, there would seem to be some responsibility not to cut them off suddenly and completely. You should find a tactful way to mention the problem both the Iranian and the U.S. Governments will face in the U.S. and elsewhere if there is a massacre and Barzani charges that he has [Page 757] been let down. The plight of the Kurds could arouse deep humanitarian concern. On the other, it would create an impossible situation if we were to be working at cross purposes with Iran.
Finally, you are authorized to tell the Shah we are prepared to provide the March subvention and seek his views. Bill Colby will provide any necessary added details on this. End text.