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

1815. Subject: Situation in Northern Iraq.

1. According to usually well informed USINT source, situation in northern Iraq continues tense. Approximately, two weeks ago six Kurdish professional men, including a professor at Sulaimaniyah University, were tried and executed for forming a secret political organization. Executions took place in the jail at Kirkuk, and in accordance with Iraqi customs, the families were informed and asked to pick up the bodies. Families arrived at the jail in a convoy of about 200 cars and a spontaneous demonstration took place which required the intervention of the security forces to maintain law and order. The next day, school children in the home communities of the executed men all appeared in school wearing black as a protest and the schools were closed by the government. The government has quietly passed the word that depor[Page 909]tation to the south will be resumed if there are any further demonstrations. The situation, however, remains tense.

2. Adding to the tension is the recent death of a Kurdish member of the Iraqi Communist Party who had been arrested and tortured in prison during the Kurdish uprising. He had been partly paralyzed as a result and had been kept in a prison hospital in Baghdad in recent months. Upon his death in the hospital, his relatives were permitted to take his body home for a funeral in the north. During the funeral there were demonstrations and speeches made against the regime by Kurdish members of the Iraqi Communist Party.

3. In general, source believes that situation in north is not being handled well by GOI. All too frequently security officers and party members are assigned to the north as a penalty for poor performance elsewhere. As a result, mistakes are being made in administering the territory and there is considerable petty graft and corruption on the part of government cadres.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, D760457–1094. Confidential. Repeated to Damascus, London, Moscow, and Tehran.