298. Telegram 1501 From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State 1 2

[Page 1]


  • Iraqi-Soviet Communique Raises Prospect of Treaty in Near Future


  • Moscow 1235 (Notal)
Iraqi delegation led by Baath Party Deputy Secretary General Saddam Husein departed Moscow Feb 17 after having met with Brezhnev Feb 15 and other Soviet leaders since arrival Feb 10. MFA Counselor Pyrlin had told US Iraqi delegation was scheduled to depart Feb 14 (reftel) but we presume Iraqis delayed departure in order to meet Brezhnev and because of unfinished business. Press says talks with Brezhnev conducted in “frank” [Page 2] atmosphere.
Communique published Feb 18 after delegation departure, however, describes atmosphere of talks as “friendly” and “comradely,” and expresses intention of both sides to study measure that can be taken in near future to put relations on “new, higher level by formulating them into a treaty arrangement.” (Note: TASS English summary of communique omits point about treaty. Otherwise, communique stresses “further development of political, economic, and military cooperation,” and notes Soviet readiness to help Iraq “establish a national oil industry and to exploit its oil wealth independently,” Arab unity and “full support to Arab states and people in Persian Gulf area…for elimination of imperialist domination and all foreign military bases in the area” also called for.
On Middle East settlement, communique briefly states that peace not possible “without liberation of all Arab territories occupied as a result of Israel’s imperialist agression, and without ensuring legitimate rights of Arab people of Palestine.” No mention made of usual Soviet references to SC Resolution 242 as basis for settlement which indicates that, as reported in reftel, Pyrlin’s pessimism over Soviet prospects for persuading Iraqis to close ranks with Egypt on this point was well founded. In this connection, informal chats with EmbOff some months ago, emphasized cautious attitude of Soviets when dealing with Iraqis, and pointed up Soviet tendency to back off from implied pressure on Iraq at first sign of negative reaction from Baghdad.
Delegation membership heavy on economic side and communique points to substantial agreement on exploitation of Iraqi oil resources which, according to Jordanian Ambassador, was main Iraqi interest. Ambassador assumed some measures of nationalization were foreseen and said, in this connection, that Iraq has acquired 15 tankers from Soviets which would sail under Soviet flag (not clear whether purchased or leased), making possible harassment of their operations by oil companies more difficult. Presence of Iraqi Army Chief of Staff Lt Gen Abdel Djabar Shanshal and Iraqi Air Force Brigadier Husein Khayavi point to military discussions during visit but we have no hard information on military aspects [Page 3] of talks, and communique offers no clues.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 IRAQ. Confidential. Repeated to Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Jidda, Kuwait, London, Manama, Paris, Tel Aviv, Tehran, and USUN.
  2. The Embassy reported on the communiqué signed by the Iraqis and the Soviets following a visit to Moscow by Saddam Hussein and other Ba’ath officials.