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Rumsfeld Visited Baghdad in 1984 to Reassure Iraqis, Documents Show; Trip Followed Criticism Of Chemical Arms' Use
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Government documents; Weapons of mass destruction; International relations-US -- Iraq
Author: Priest, Dana
Date: Dec 19, 2003
Start Page: A.42
Section: A SECTION

[Donald H. Rumsfeld], then President Ronald Reagan's special Middle East envoy, was urged to tell Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz that the U.S. statement on chemical weapons, or CW, "was made strictly out of our strong opposition to the use of lethal and incapacitating CW, wherever it occurs," according to a cable to Rumsfeld from then- Secretary of State George P. Shultz.

An earlier trip by Rumsfeld to Baghdad, in December 1983, has been widely reported as having helped persuade Iraq to resume diplomatic ties with the United States. An explicit purpose of Rumsfeld's return trip in March 1984, the once-secret documents reveal for the first time, was to ease the strain created by a U.S. condemnation of chemical weapons.

When details of Rumsfeld's December trip came to light last year, the defense secretary told CNN that he had "cautioned" Saddam Hussein about the use of chemical weapons, an account that was at odds with the declassified State Department notes of his 90-minute meeting, which did not mention such a caution. Later, a Pentagon spokesman said Rumsfeld raised the issue not with Hussein, but with Aziz.

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