Rumsfeld Visits Saddam to Ask for Oil Pipeline
Dec. 20, 1983.
Rumsfeld knew Saddam was using WMD (poison gas)
against his own people almost daily, yet his visit was cordial. He assured Saddam of military assistance against Iran and sought his cooperation on an oil pipeline. Here's how a secret cable to the State Dept. summarized his talk with Saddam.
In his 90-minute meeting with Rumsfeld, Saddam Hussein showed obvious pleasure with President's letter and Rumsfeld's visit and in his remarks removed whatever obstacles remained in the way of resuming diplomatic relations, but did not take the decision to do so. ... Rumsfeld told Saddam US and Iraq had shared interest in preventing Iranian and Syrian expansion. He said US was urging other states to curtail arms sales to Iran and believed it had successfully closed US-controlled exports by third countries to Iran
. In response to Rumsfeld's interest in seeing Iraq increase oil exports
, including through possible new pipeline
across Jordan to Aqaba, Saddam suggested Israeli threat to security of such a line was major concern and U.S. might provide some assurance. Our initial assessment is that meeting marked positive milestone in development of US-Iraqi relations and will prove to be of wider benefit to US posture in the region."
Secret State Dept. cable quoted above.
Dec. 20, 1983 (419k PDF scan).
Secret State Dept. memo on poison gas.
Nov. 1, 1983 (86k PDF scan).
Shows Rumsfeld knew of "almost daily" use of poison gas against Iran.
NY Times report on this episode.
Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam.