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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tracking Number:  248867

Title:  "Allegations on Communications with Iraq Denied." The State Department has issued an emphatic and detailed denial of allegations concerning US policy and actions in the days prior to Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Corrected by EUR319. (921020)

Translated Title:  Irak: Les dementis du gouvernement Bush. (921020)
Date:  19921020


(State Department sets record straight) (1160) By Russell Dybvik USIA Diplomatic Correspondent Washington -- The State Department has issued an emphatic and detailed denial of allegations concerning United States policy and actions in the days prior to Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Specifically denied were what spokesman Richard Boucher called "several misstatements of fact" made by independent presidential candidate Ross Perot concerning U.S. policy toward Iraq in the October 19 presidential debate.

"Mr. Perot stated that we told Saddam Hussein he could take the northern part of Kuwait; that we won't even let the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee see the written instructions for (U.S.) Ambassador (to Iraq April) Glaspie; and that Saddam has still got his nuclear, his chemical, and his bacteriological weapons," Boucher told an October 20 news briefing. "None of these assertions are correct."

The spokesman also made public an October 15 letter from Acting Secretary of State Eagleburger to the editor of the New York Times which has not been published. In it, Eagleburger accused the editorial board of the New York Times -- as well as many of the newspaper's columnists -- of continuing "to distort the facts about U.S. policy toward Iraq prior to the Gulf War."

Boucher said the statements made by Perot during the debate were "wrong," as were "statements that were purported to be fact" in the various newspapers, including the New York Times. He said Eagleburger had asked him to "correct the record" concerning Perot's "misstatements of fact."

"First, the United States has never, and I repeat never, told, or in any way indicated to, Saddam Hussein that Iraq could take the northern part of Kuwait. Nowhere in any document is there the statement or even the suggestion that the United States ever told this to Saddam or any other Iraqi," Boucher said.

"Contrary to Mr. Perot's assertions, the administration has not denied to Congress one single document about U.S. policy toward Iraq," he said. "Indeed, we've provided literally thousands of documents to the Congress on this subject, including every single document relating to Ambassador Glaspie's meetings with Saddam Hussein.

"Second, Ambassador Glaspie's meeting with Saddam Hussein on July 25th was short notice. There were never, and I repeat never, any instructions provided to Ambassador Glaspie for that meeting," he said. "On July 19th, the State Department sent her, as well as other ambassadors in the region, an instruction regarding the U.S. position on the Iraq-Kuwaiti border dispute. That document was provided to the Congress and declassified over one year ago.

"It states the U.S. position that disputes should be resolved peacefully and that no force should be used," he said. "It further states that the United States is committed to support the sovereignty and integrity of the Gulf states and that we will continue to defend our vital interests in the Gulf. It adds that we remain strongly committed to supporting the individual and collective self defense of our friends in the Gulf."

Boucher said Ambassador Glaspie delivered this message to the Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister the day she received it. "In order to impress upon the Iraqis the seriousness of our views," Ambassador Glaspie delivered a similar message to the Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister in the middle of the night of August 24-25 and again the following morning. When Glaspie was summoned on short notice to meet with Saddam Hussein on July 25th, "she had no specific instructions," the spokesman emphasized. "Any allegations that the administration is withholding such instructions are simply false."

"The charge that Saddam still has nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons is wrong," Boucher said. "Although Iraq may have hidden some of its former weapons programs, the U.N. teams have successfully found and destroyed critical elements and facilities of Iraq's chemical, nuclear, biological, and missile programs, and will continue vigorous inspections to ensure that these programs are not rebuilt. In addition, the U.N. inspection teams have found that U.S. technology made no significant contributions to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs," the spokesman declared.

Eagleburger's letter to The New York Times makes five basic points: -- First, no investigation has established Iraqi misuse of U.S. grain credit guarantees to purchase weapons.

-- Second, the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) was not involved in any of the $500 million in credit guarantees approved by the Bush administration.

-- Third, coalition forces encountered no U.S. weapons on the battlefield during Desert Storm. And over 40 inspections of Iraq have demonstrated conclusively that U.S. technology made no significant contribution to Iraq's military capability.

-- Fourth, there was nothing secret about U.S. policy toward Iraq. -- And, finally, there is "no basis for the charge of a cover up" because the administration has not denied Congress access to one single document about U.S. policy toward Iraq.

In the face of persistent questioning, Boucher said a "very concise statement" was issued by John Kelly, then assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs on July 31, just three days before the invasion.

"He said historically the United States has taken no position on the border disputes in the area nor on matters pertaining to internal OPEC deliberations, but the United States has taken a strong position in support of the sovereignty of all states in the area," Boucher said. "Iraq's apparent readiness to use force to settle disputes is 'a cause for grave concern'," the spokesman quoted Kelly as saying. "That's the way we told it to the Iraqis."

Noting that President Bush did respond to many of the points Perot raised in the debate, Boucher noted "there were some things left hanging, that there wasn't time to respond to...."

"The acting secretary felt it was important to correct the record," he said. "We think it's important to make the facts of the policy, the facts of the matter clear. And that's what we're doing."

In addition to Eagleburger's letter to the New York Times, Boucher also made available copies of the July 19 instruction cable to Glaspie, which was declassified on July 27 of this year, the declassified portions of the basic policy document -- National Security Directive 26, and the instruction cable of July 24, which was declassified on October 18 of last year.

"Not all the documents relating to this have been declassified, but they have all been provided to the relevant committees," he said. This includes a July 28 message from President Bush to Saddam Hussein which "sought to indicate to Saddam our desire to resolve peacefully the border dispute between Iraq and Kuwait," the spokesman said. The document will not be declassified because the U.S. believes communications between heads of state are privileged and should not be made public. "To declassify one would erode confidence in our ability to have such exchanges," he said.


File Identification:  10/20/92, POL205; 10/20/92, EPF214; 10/20/92, EUR205; 10/20/92, NEA207; 10/21/92, EUR319; 10/21/92, AEF305; 10/21/92, LEF304; 10/21/92, NAA302; 10/23/92, AFF505
Product Name:  Wireless File
Product Code:  WF
Languages:  Arabic; French
Thematic Codes:  1NE; 2FP; 2EL
Target Areas:  EA; EU; NE; AR; AF
PDQ Text Link:  248867; 249634
USIA Notes:  *92102005.POL

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