The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]


> Can anyone confirm the bit about the US diplomat in 1990? It was
> significant enough, I seem to remember, for various people to have to deny
> it.

>From Ramsey Clark's The Fire This Time (1994, Thunder's Mouth Press),

On July 25 - the day after the United States announced Gulf exercises with
the UAE, while Iraqi troops were massing on the Kuwaiti border, and as
General Schwarzkopf readied CENTCOM for war against Iraq - Saddam Hussein
summoned Ambassador [April] Glaspie to his office in what seems to have
been a final attempt to clarify Washington's position on his dispute with
Kuwait.  Glaspie assured him: "We have no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts,
like your border disagreement with Kuwait.... [Secretary of State] James
Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction."
[83] She was expresssing official policy.  On July 24, she had received a
cable from the State Department explicitly directing her to reiterate that
the United States had "no position" on "Arab-Arab" conflicts. [84]

After the war, on March 21, 1991, Glaspie denied this version of her
meeting with Hussein.  She testified to the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee that she had repeatedly warned Hussein that the United States
would not tolerate Iraq's use of violence to settle the dispute with
Kuwait.  She said Hussein had been too "stupid" to understand how the
Unite States would react. [85]

But in July 1991, Glaspie's cables to the State Department describing the
meeting were finally released to the Senate.  The cable showed that her
Senate testimony was largely fabricated, and that the version released by
Iraq was accurate. [86] On July 12, 1991 Committee Chairman Senator
Claiborne Pell wrote an angry letter to Secretary of State James Baker
demanding an explanation for the inconsistencies between Glaspie's
testimony and the cable.  Senator Alan Cranston charged that Glaspie had
deliberately misled Congress about her role in the Gulf War. 

[the book continues with Assistant Secretary of State Kelly telling a
Congressional committee on 31 July that the US had no treaty obligations
to defend Kuwait]


[83]  "The Glaspie Transcript: Saddam meets the U.S. Ambassador," in The
Gulf War Reader, Micah Sifry and Christopher Cerf, eds., (New York: Times
Books, 1991), 130. AVAILABLE IN THE UL
[84]  Leslie H. Gelb, "Mr Bush's Fateful Blunder," New York Times, July
17, 1991, A21.
[85]  Thomas Friedman, "Envoy to Iraq, Faulted in Crisis, Says She Warned
Hussein Sternly," New York Times, March 21, 1991.
[86]  "U.S. Messages on the July Meeting of Saddam Hussein and American
Envoy," New York Times, July 13, 1991.  See also Sydney Blumenthal's,
"April's Bluff: The Secrets of Ms. Glaspie's Cable," The New Republic,
August 5, 1991.

The Fire This Time is out of print but will try to find it for 

The dispute with Kuwait centred on slant-drilling into Iraq during the
Iran-Iraq War.  Clark describes Iraq's attempts to peacefully resolve this

Colin Rowat
King's College                                                 
Cambridge CB2 1ST                       tel: +44 (0)468 056 984
England                                 fax: +44 (0)1223 335 219

This is a discussion list run by Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To be removed/added, email, NOT the
whole list. Archived at

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]