316. Telegram From the Interests Section in Baghdad to the Department of State1

1233. Subj: Barzani’s Presence in USA. Ref: State 209897.2

1. My guess is that GOI regards Barzani as a spent force and incapable of inspiring or leading a future rebellion. Exception would be almost unthinkable situation in which Iran and Iraq were at war and Shah elected to use and support Barzani once again to tie down portion of Iraqi Army.

2. GOI does not particularly care where Barzani is, so long as his hosts are not giving him effective encouragement to make mischief in Iraq.

3. Without foreign support Barzani cannot be more than a minor irritant to GOI. He might, however, make trouble not for GOI but for [Page 848] USG—and not so much now as later, especially after resumption of diplomatic relations—or possibly during any future talks leading to resumed relations, were Barzani to get wind of them. It is not difficult to imagine him lobbying on the Hill or with his numerous sympathetic contacts in the press for some sort of concessions for the Kurds as a price for resumed relations, or for a long-term U.S.–Iraq oil bilateral or a civil aviation agreement or arms sales or whatever else might come up.

4. It is important to remember that (A) GOI regards its Kurdish policy as nobody’s business but GOI’s, and (B) the autonomy package that GOI offered and Barzani turned down was not, on face of it, an inhumane proposal. The two toughest features of the package: Kurds have to learn Arabic as a second language and Kirkuk oil belongs to the nation, not to the autonomous region. Would any Government of Iraq demand less? Prior to Barzani’s rebellion, there was no rpt no evidence that GOI planned to force large numbers of Kurds to move into Mesopotamian lowlands.

5. Seems prudent to resign ourselves to probability that if Barzani ever decides he does not want to leave States, we will not make him, for he could marshal too much sympathetic and influential opinion in his favor to make the effort sustainable. To this future, therefore, USG should be prepared to reconcile itself. If this is case, it is realistic to concentrate on what limitations, if any, USG can expect Barzani to accept on his political activities in USA. If he could be persuaded to keep quiet on Kurdistan or even seek reconciliation with GOI, we might be able to trade that with GOI for change in latter’s stance on matter of no little interest to U.S.—Puerto Rico (e.g. in Non-Aligned Movement, at forthcoming UN General Assembly and elsewhere).

6. With an eye to longer term U.S.–Iraq relations, I recommend that someone take close look at the June 7, 1934 U.S.–Iraq extradition treaty (USINT does not have a copy). If it is still in force or if it would come back into force with resumed relations, what would happen if GOI tried to invoke treaty to return Barzani to Iraq for trial?.3

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, D760329–0428. Secret; Immediate; Exdis.
  2. Telegram 209897 to Tehran and Baghdad, August 24, informed the posts that the Iranian authorities no longer insisted that Barzani return promptly to Tehran and that he clearly intended to stay in the United States for a while. The telegram requested input from Tehran and Baghdad on local attitudes toward the issue. (Ibid., D760323–0463)
  3. In telegram 8852 from Tehran, September 1, the Embassy observed that Iran basically hoped to get Barzani back as quickly and quietly as possible and was “edgy” about his intentions. The Embassy noted, however, that if the Kurds accepted the Iraqi amnesty offer, this would help to defuse the Barzani problem. (Ibid., D760331–1348)