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Letter to Congressional Leaders on the Situation in the Persian Gulf

July 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.

As I stated in my report of May 17, 1991, U.N. Security Council Resolution 687 required as a precondition for the formal cease-fire that Iraq accept the destruction, removal or rendering harmless of all chemical and biological weapons, ballistic missiles with a range greater than 150 kilometers, and nuclear-weapons-usable material, together with related facilities and equipment; and that it accept international supervision and inspection to verify compliance with these requirements. On June 17, the Security Council approved a plan for this supervision and inspection, to be conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Special Commission created under Resolution 687.

With the strong support and encouragement of the United States, these bodies have been working actively to identify, inspect and arrange for the elimination of these weapons and related items. While some inspections of declared missiles and chemical weapons have occurred, Iraq has generally engaged in obfuscation and evasion of its obligations. In recent weeks, public attention has focused on Iraq's nuclear equipment and material, but this has also been true with respect to Iraq's undeclared chemical weapons and ballistic missiles and its continuing refusal to acknowledge any biological weapons development activities. We will not allow these Iraqi actions to succeed. We will continue to insist on the full identification and complete elimination of all relevant items as well as the imposition of a thorough and effective monitoring regime to assure Iraq's long-term compliance with Resolution 687.

In addition, the United Nations has moved forward in the implementation of other requirements of Resolution 687. The Security Council has created a U.N. Compensation Commission to consider and pay claims for losses caused by the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait, to be funded by deductions from Iraqi oil export revenues. The U.N. Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission has deployed into the demilitarized zone created by the Security Council along the Iraq-Kuwait border, and the Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission has made a substantial start toward the final demarcation of the boundary, which would eliminate one of the ostensible causes of the war. However, in light of the intransigence of Saddam Hussein and the failure of Iraq to comply with its obligations under the Resolution, the Security Council has not further relaxed the current economic sanctions.

In my last report, I described the Iraqi repression of the Kurds and other internal population groups, which necessitated the introduction of U.S. and other coalition armed forces into northern Iraq to provide relief and security for the civilian population. As I stated then, this effort was not intended as a permanent solution to the problem, nor as a military intervention in the internal affairs of Iraq. Rather, it was intended as a humanitarian measure to save lives. Having succeeded in providing safe conditions for the return of Kurdish refugees from the mountainous border areas, U.S. forces have now withdrawn from northern Iraq. However, we have informed the Iraqi Government that we will continue to monitor carefully its treatment of its citizens, and that we remain prepared to take appropriate steps if the situation requires. To this end, the coalition plans to maintain an appropriate level of forces in the region for as long as required by the situation in Iraq.

I remain grateful for Congress' support of these endeavors, and I look forward to continued cooperation toward achieving our 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.

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

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