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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April, 1975

REPORT ON THE RESULT OF THE VISIT TO THE USSR BY SADDAM HUSSEIN

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    The Soviet meeting with Saddam Hussein resulted in affirmation of Soviet-Iraqi cooperation, arrangements to improve Soviet-Iraqi relations, evaluation of Iraqi-Iranian relations, discussion of Kurdish autonomy within Iraq, and emphasis to strengthen relations with other Arab countries.
    "Report on the Result of the Visit to the USSR by Saddam Hussein," April, 1975, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Translated for CWIHP by Daniel Rozas. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121074
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REPORT

On the results of the visit to the USSR on 14-15 April of this year [1975] by Assistant General Secretary of the regional leadership of the Arab Socialist Rebirth Party, Assistant Chairman of the Council of the Revolutionary Command of the Republic of Iraq,
Saddam HUSSEIN

The main results of the discussion by comrades A. N. Kosygin, A. A. Gromyko, and B. N. Ponomarev with S. Hussein are reflected in the published joint Soviet-Iraqi communiqué.  In addition, we would like to confidentially inform you of the following.

In examining the questions of Soviet-Iraqi cooperation, S. Hussein emphasized that Iraq intends to further build its relations with the Soviet Union on a principled and long-term basis, using the foundation of the 1972 Agreement on Friendship and Cooperation.  On our part, it was strongly stated that the Soviet Union will further continue to strengthen and develop relations with progressive Arab countries, including Iraq.

During the course of the talks, steps were planned for the further development of multi-faceted relations between the two countries.  An agreement was reached that in the near future a plan of action will be signed outlining the party ties between the CPSU and the Ba'ath party for the years 1975-1976.  Concrete questions for broadening and improving Soviet-Iraqi economic ties, which were touched upon in a general manner during the talks, will be examined in detail at the upcoming session of the Permanent Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation that will be taking place in Moscow.  There was also agreement on measures for further strengthening the defensive capability of the Republic of Iraq.

S. Hussein informed the Soviet leaders on the agreement reached between Iraq and Iran to settle disputed questions - the drawing of the Iraqi-Iranian border in the region of the river Shatt El-Arab along Talvega and the cessation of interference in each other’s internal affairs.  Expressing satisfaction with this agreement with Iran, S. Hussein maintained that Iraq had not additionally taken upon itself any secret commitments.

The Soviet leaders expressed a positive evaluation of the steps taken toward normalizing Iraqi-Iranian relations, which could help improve the state of the political climate in the Middle East.  Along with that, the focus of the Iraqi side was turned to the importance of maintaining vigilance with respect to Iran’s hegemonic aspirations in the Persian Gulf area, bearing in mind its attempts to reignite the activities of aggressive pacts in this region.  S. Hussein stated that the foreign policy course of the Iraqi leadership is based on a principled line and that Iraq will never become a participant in a pact of that kind.  

Touching upon the Kurdish question, S. Hussein stated that, having lost the military and financial support from Iran, the Kurdish leadership headed by Barzani has ceased its armed resistance.  He noted that, while carrying out an armed struggle with the Kurdish rebels, the government of Iraq focused its military and political measures on implementing the law of Kurdish autonomy.  The Iraqi government is in almost complete control of the situation in the northern area of the country and strongly intends to implement this law to the fullest extent.  

On our part, during the discussions with S. Hussein, it was emphasized that the primary task under the current conditions is to attract the support of the broad masses of the Kurdish people in implementing the law that will grant the Kurds national autonomy on a democratic basis within the Republic of Iraq.  Only with such an approach will the autonomy of Iraqi Kurdistan be effective in serving as the final resolution of this important all-national problem and become a solid foundation for a peaceful and united Iraq.  

In discussing the situation in the Middle East, our side laid out the principled approach of the CC CPSU and the Soviet government toward the question of a Middle East settlement.  We emphasized that a stable and fair peace in this region can be reached only by withdrawing all aggressor forces from the Arab lands they occupied in 1967, granting of the legal national rights to the Arab people of Palestine, including their right to establish their own country, and ensuring the conditions for peace and security for all countries and peoples of the Middle East.

On the questions of the Middle East settlement, S. Hussein repeated Iraq’s well-known view, which is based on the refusal to recognize Israel as a country.  On our part, we expressed the opinion that such an approach is unrealistic and does not take into account the actual situation in the Middle East.  Taken objectively, such an approach creates additional obstacles for reaching a settlement in the Middle East that would be in the interests of the Arab countries and the Arab people of Palestine.

In the course of the talks with S. Hussein, attention was focused on the importance of strengthening the unity of actions by Arab countries, particularly countries with progressive governments, in the face of continuing aggression by Israel and its imperialist forces.  In this connection, it was emphasized that the normalization of Iraqi-Syrian relations, which have been exhibiting tension for a number of years, would be a serious investment in strengthening the anti-imperialist solidarity of Arab countries.  On our part, we expressed the hope that Iraq and Syria will undertake concrete steps, particularly with respect to settling the problem of water-sharing from the river Euphrates.

S. Hussein said that the leadership of the Republic of Iraq is not opposed to continuing efforts to harmonize cooperation with Syria, expressing readiness to resume negotiations with Syria with the aim of concluding an agreement for water-sharing from the river Euphrates.

On the whole, in our opinion, the visit by S. Hussein to the Soviet Union was successful.  A broad exchange of opinions on the above-noted questions and the signing of the Soviet-Iraqi agreement during the course of the visit have allowed the broadening of cooperation between the USSR and Iraq, and helped exert a certain influence on the Iraqi leadership to carry out a progressive course in questions of domestic and foreign policy.  This visit will help in the further broadening of cooperation between Iraq and socialist countries.