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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Situation in Iraq

September 16, 1991

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (Public Law 102 - 1), and as part of my continuing effort to keep the Congress fully informed, I am again reporting on the status of efforts to obtain compliance by Iraq with the resolutions adopted by the U.N. Security Council.

Since my last report, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Special Commission created under Resolution 687 have continued to conduct inspections and other activities related to Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With strong support from the United States, these bodies have been working actively under difficult conditions to identify, inspect and arrange for the elimination of these weapons and related items. As a result, Iraq has permitted some access to facilities related to these weapons, and inspectors have viewed the destruction of some ballistic missiles and chemical munitions, and catalogued large volumes of equipment related to Iraq's nuclear and other programs.

Iraq continues, however, to misrepresent the scope of its programs in these areas, to use deception and concealment to prevent inspection teams from locating equipment subject to elimination under Resolution 687, and to deny inspection teams full and unrestricted access to facilities associated with weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. This pattern of behavior, as well as other Iraqi violations of the requirements of Resolution 687, resulted in the adoption on August 15 of Resolution 707, which condemns Iraq for these actions and holds it in material breach of its obligations. In addition, the IAEA Board of Governors voted on July 18 to find Iraq in violation of its Safeguards Agreement and thus of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Recently, Iraq has refused to permit the U.N. to base helicopters inside Iraq for these purposes, contrary to an explicit Security Council demand contained in Resolution 707. The United States will not tolerate the continuation of this situation, and if necessary will take action to ensure Iraqi compliance with the Council's decisions so as to fully implement Resolution 678's call for the restoration of international peace and security to the Persian Gulf region.

Significant progress has been made since my last report toward implementation of the resolution of the Security Council concerning compensation for the victims of the unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait. The first session of the Governing Council of the new U.N. Compensation Commission met from July 22 - August 2 in Geneva, and adopted criteria for the first category of claims to be considered by the Commission -- namely, claims of individuals for up to $100,000. The Executive Secretary of the Commission and his two deputies have been appointed, as well as a number of experts on the oil industry, banking and claims processing. The next session of the Governing Council will begin on October 14, and will focus on the adoption of a mechanism for collection and monitoring of Iraqi oil export revenues, as well as criteria for other categories of claims.

On August 15, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 705, which approved the earlier recommendation of the Secretary-General that the ceiling on contributions to the Compensation Fund be set at 30% of Iraqi annual oil export revenues. On the same date, the Security Council adopted Resolution 706, which authorized sales of up to $1.6 billion of Iraqi oil, the proceeds of which would be paid to a U.N. escrow account and used as follows: (1) 30% would go to the Compensation Fund; (2) the U.N. would retain the amounts necessary for costs incurred by the Special Commission, the Boundary Commission, and other U.N. efforts pursuant to Resolution 687; and (3) the remainder would be used for the food, medicine and other items for essential civilian needs, which would be provided under strict U.N. supervision to ensure their equitable distribution in Iraq. We are currently working with the Secretary-General and other Security Council members to implement this resolution as soon as possible.

As I stated in my previous reports, the United States remains concerned about the situation of the Kurds and other internal population groups that have been the object of repressive measures by the Government of Iraq. We have informed the Government of Iraq that we will continue to monitor carefully the treatment of its citizens, and that we remain prepared to take appropriate steps if the situation requires. To this end, an appropriate level of forces will be maintained in the region for as long as required by the situation in Iraq.

I remain grateful for the support of Congress for these efforts, and I look forward to continued cooperation toward achieving our mutual objectives.


George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Robert C. Byrd, President pro tempore of the Senate. These letters were released by the Office of the Press Secretary on September 17.

George Bush, Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on the Situation in Iraq Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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