US embassy cable - 90BAGHDAD3788

PUBLIC IRAQI GESTURE TOWARD THE USG

Identifier: 90BAGHDAD3788
Wikileaks: View 90BAGHDAD3788 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Baghdad
Created: 1990-07-03 08:11:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL US IZ
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 030811Z JUL 90
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4365
INFO ARABLEAGUE COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 03788 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL:OADR 
TAGS: PREL, US, IZ 
SUBJECT: PUBLIC IRAQI GESTURE TOWARD THE USG 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  THE BAGHDAD MORNING NEWSPAPERS ON JULY 2, 
THE FIRST DAY OF 'ID AL-ADHA, BROUGHT A VIRTUAL 
ANNOUNCEMENT OF SADDAM'S DESIRE FOR BETTER 
RELATIONS WITH THE USG.  ALL FOUR ARABIC 
LANGUAGE DAILIES FEATURE ONE RPT ONE 'ID 
MESSAGE TO SADDAM, AND THAT MESSAGE IN ALL 
DAILIES IS BOXED IN A FEATURED POSITION 
UNDER A HEADLINE: "THE PRESIDENT RECEIVES 'ID 
GREETINGS FROM THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT."  THE 
ENTIRE TEXT OF PRESIDENT BUSHES MESSAGE, 
INCLUDING THE SIGNATURE AND SALUTATION LINES, 
ARE PRINTED. 
 
3.  WE HAD RECEIVED THE PRESIDENT'S GREETINGS 
BY CABLE AT MID-DAY JULY 1, AND THE MFA PROTOCOL 
OFFICE KEPT ONE OFFICER PRESENT TO RECEIVE THE 
MESSAGE (EVERY ONE WAS DEPARTING EARLY TO BEGIN 
'ID CELEBRATIONS) UNTIL WE COULD GET THERE. 
OBVIOUSLY THE MFA RUSHED THE TEXT OVER TO THE 
PRESIDENCY AND TOP LEVEL MFA OFFICIALS MADE A 
POINT OF INFORMING THE AMBASSADOR THAT THE 
TEXT OF THE MESSAGE HAD BEEN FEATURED ON THE 
JULY 1 NATIONAL TV NEWS. 
 
4.  THE IRAQIS IN THE LAST FEW PAYS, HOWEVER, 
HAVE ALSO SIGNALED, IN PREDICTABLE TERMS, THAT 
THEY WILL NOT ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BE PERCEIVED 
AS PASSIVELY SUBMITTING TO WHAT THE GOVERNMENT 
AND PARTY LEADERSHIP REGARD AS AN ANTI-IRAQI 
"CAMPAIGN" BY WHAT THEY CALL "CERTAIN 
ELEMENTS" IN THE USG.  THE MOST RECENT EXAMPLE OF 
THIS WAS THE FORTHRIGHT STATEMENT BY THE 
MINISTER OF TRADE (RESPONSIBLE FOR CCC AFFAIRS) 
TO CONGRESSMAN NIELSON JULY 1, THAT AS A RESULT 
OF SUSPENSION OF CCC CREDIT GUARANTEES (FOR 
REASONS THE GOI BELIEVES REFLECT UNJUSTIFIED 
HOSTILITY TOWARD IRAQ), THE GOI WILL BUY 
NO APT NO AMERICAN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS. 
(THAT SAME EVENING, THE WHOLE DIPLOMATIC CORPS 
GOT THE MESSAGE WHEN THE IRAQI MINISTER OF 
AGRICULTURE WAS DESPATCHED AS THE PRESIDENT'S 
REPRESENTATIVE TO THE CANADIAN NATIONAL DAY 
RECEPTION.) 
 
5.  THIS IRAQI DECISION IS NOT RPT NOT REGARDED 
LOCALLY AS "SANCTIONS" AGAINST AMERICAN PRODUCTS. 
SADDAM EXPLAINED TO ABC TV LAST WEEK THAT IRAQ 
WOULD NOT INITIATE ECONOMIC WARFARE OF THIS 
KIND.  RATHER, THE IRAQIS SEE THEIR DECISION AS 
A RETALIATION TO A SANCTION TAKEN AGAINST THEM. 
SUCH A DECISION BY BAGHDAD WAS PREDICTABLE; 
THAT THE IRAQIS POSTPONED RETALIATION FOR SO 
LONG, AND EVEN RECEIVED AN AMERICAN INVESTIGATING 
TEAM FROM USDA, IS THE ONLY CURIOUS PART OF 
THE AFFAIR.  THAT THE DECISION IS SO LONG IN 
COMING, AND THAT IT HAS NOT BEEN PROMULGATED, 
ARE FURTHER SIGNALS THAT IRAQ HOPES FOR BETTER 
BILATERAL RELATIONS ACROSS THE BOARD. 
 
6.  NOTE:  FOR THE RECORD, ON THE MORNING OF 
JULY 2 DEPUTY FONMIN HAMDUN INFORMED THE 
AMBASSADOR THAT, ACCORDING TO THE PRESIDENCY, 
AFP WAS RUNNING A STORY ON ITS WIRE THAT A 
PRESS SPOKESMAN WITH PRESIDENT BUSH HAD DENIED 
THAT 'ID GREETINGS HAD BEEN SENT TO IRAQ.  THE 
DEPUTY MINISTER SAID HE HAD BEEN ORDERED TO GO TO 
THE FOREIGN MINISTRY (TOTALLY EMPTY ON THIS 
MUSLIM "CHRISTMAS DAY") AND STAY THERE UNTIL 
THE ISSUE WAS SORTED OUT.  THE DEPUTY MINISTER 
EMPHASIZED THAT A DECISION HAVING BEEN TAKEN 
(BY SADDAM) TO REACH OUT TO US (BY GIVING 
PRESIDENT BUSH'S GREETINGS TOP BILLING OVER ALL 
MUSLIN AND NON-MUSLIM CHIEFS OF STATE), THERE 
WAS CONSTERNATION AT THE IRAQI PRESIDENCY. 
 
7.  SUBSEQUENTLY, WE WERE ABLE TO EXPLAIN THAT 
THE AFP STORY HAD BEEN AN AFP MISTAKE (POPE/GLASPIE 
TELECON 7/2/90). 
 
GLASPIE 

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