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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Tracking Number:  248923


Date:  19921021


(Text: Eagleburger letter to New York Times) (410) (The following letter by Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger was made public by the State Department October 20 and published October 21 in the New York Times.)

To the Editor: Whether deliberately or not, the Editorial Board of the New York Times -- as well as many of the newspaper's columnists -- continue to distort the facts about U.S. policy toward Iraq prior to the Gulf War. The most recent example of this penchant for distortion occurred in your editorials of October 6 and 14. Let me set the record straight for you and your readers.

First, no investigation to date -- by the Congress, by the U.S. attorney in Atlanta, or by any federal agency -- has established Iraqi misuse of grain credit guarantees to purchase military weapons or a diversion to third countries of commodities sold to Iraq.

Second, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) was not involved in any of the $500 million in credit guarantees actually approved by the Bush administration for the Iraqi purchase of U.S. agricultural exports.

Third, the U.S. government's export control policy toward Iraq was tougher than that of any other industrial country -- and it worked. During Desert Storm, coalition forces encountered no U.S. supplied weapons or other U.S. exports of any kind on the battlefield. And the over 40 inspections conducted in Iraq since the Gulf War by the International Atomic Energy Commission and the U.N. Special Commission have demonstrated conclusively that U.S. technology made no significant contribution to Iraq's military capabilities.

Fourth, there was nothing secret or covert about U.S. policy toward Iraq. Our goal, simply stated, was to seek to moderate Iraqi behavior with a mix of limited incentives and strong disincentives.

Finally, there is no basis for the charge of a cover up by the administration. We have provided literally thousands of documents to the Congress at a cost of tens of thousands of man hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars. The administration has not denied Congress access to one single document about U.S. policy toward Iraq.

These are the simple facts about U.S. policy toward Iraq prior to the Gulf War. Whatever disagreements the New York Times may have with that policy, you owe it to your readers to get the facts straight.

(end text) NNNN

File Identification:  TXT302
PDQ Text Link:  248923
USIA Notes:  *92102102.TXT

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