310. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in the United Kingdom and Iran and the Interests Section in Baghdad1

162819. Exdis London for Amb Helms from Habib. Subject: New Development in Barzani Visit.

1. [less than 1 line not declassified] following several feelers, Barzani has now made formal request for a meeting with State Department officials.2 Request did not include names of specific persons in the Department, nor did it indicate reason for talk. Impression [less than 1 line not declassified] is that Barzani has now decided he wants to stay in the U.S. and that this would be subject of any discussions with Department. Meanwhile, SAVAK escort has instructions to return Barzani to Iran within a month.

2. We understand that there has been a total remission of original cancer and no evidence of second tumor. Barzani should be through at Mayo Clinic by Monday, June 28, following examination there of son Sahad, who is reportedly suffering from extreme overweight. [less than 1 line not declassified] plans to escort party for approximately one week’s sightseeing.

3. Having a State Department official meet with Barzani presents obvious problems with respect to relations with Iraq and, to some extent, with Iran, although these may be ameliorated if the contact is not at too senior a level. Against these factors we must weigh the fact of previous meeting (Sisco last fall)3 and possible public and Congressional perceptions (e.g., Barzani may already have made his presence in the U.S. known to such earlier contacts as Senator Kennedy, Justice Douglas, and George Meany). On balance, therefore, we have tentatively concluded that an unpublicized, discreet, appropriate-level contact within NEA would be logical and reasonable.

4. Whether to allow Barzani to remain in the U.S., if that is in fact his desire, presents a more sensitive question. In the U.S., he would undoubtedly be involved, directly or indirectly, in propaganda activities—particularly against Iraq—which could complicate our relations [Page 839] with both Iraq and Iran. Iraq, which has already formally protested Kurdish refugee emigration to the U.S. from Iran, would certainly find even more objectionable our providing a haven for Barzani. Anti-Iraqi activities by Barzani in the U.S. could also be embarrassing to the Iranians in their rapprochement efforts with the Iraqis. At the same time, refusing to let Barzani remain in the U.S. could produce criticism in the press and on the Hill.

5. If Barzani meets with Department official and raises this question, we plan to discourage him from remaining in the U.S., although there may be a problem if he, for example, decided to apply formally to stay and made the fact public. We will plan to keep the Iranians closely informed of the developing situation and seek their views. We would plan to take no initiative in informing Iraqis of the situation.

6. Embassy London: Please inform Ambassador Helms of foregoing and seek his views.

7. Tehran for Chargé Miklos, Baghdad for Wiley: Would also appreciate your views and suggestions but, of course, without going to host government officials at this time.4

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, D760253–1106. Secret; Immediate; Stadis. Drafted in NEA/ARN, cleared by Atherton and Saunders, and approved by Habib.
  2. According to a June 29 memorandum from Atherton to Habib, Barzani requested a meeting with Department officials after his arrival in the United States for medical treatment. (Ibid., P830162–0935)
  3. See footnote 4, Document 301.
  4. The Interests Section responded in telegram 903 from Baghdad, July 4, that a Barzani visit to the Department at the Country Director level was unlikely to disturb U.S.-Iraqi relations. If Barzani were to remain in the United States permanently, however, the Iraqis could react strongly, given their suspicions of U.S.-Syrian collaboration in aid to Kurdish dissident activity in Iraq. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, D760259–0242) The Embassy in Tehran replied in telegram 7489, July 23, that the Iranian Government had been informed of Barazani’s request, but had not yet responded. (Ibid., D760283–1137)