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Public Papers - 1991 - January

Letter to Congressional Leaders on the Persian Gulf Conflict

1991-01-18

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

On January 16, 1991, I made available to you, consistent with section 2(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution (H.J. Res. 77, Public Law 102 - 1), my determination that appropriate diplomatic and other peaceful means had not and would not compel Iraq to withdraw unconditionally from Kuwait and meet the other requirements of the U.N. Security Council and the world community. With great reluctance, I concluded, as did the other coalition leaders, that only the use of armed force would achieve an Iraqi withdrawal together with the other U.N. goals of restoring Kuwait's legitimate government, protecting the lives of our citizens, and reestablishing security and stability in the Persian Gulf region. Consistent with the War Powers Resolution, I now inform you that pursuant to my authority as Commander in Chief, I directed U.S. Armed Forces to commence combat operations on January 16, 1991, against Iraqi forces and military targets in Iraq and Kuwait. The Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Canada are participating as well.

Military actions are being conducted with great intensity. They have been carefully planned to accomplish our goals with the minimum loss of life among coalition military forces and the civilian inhabitants of the area. Initial reports indicate that our forces have performed magnificently. Nevertheless, it is impossible to know at this time either the duration of active combat operations or the scope or duration of the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces necessary fully to accomplish our goals.

The operations of U.S. and other coalition forces are contemplated by the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council, as well as H.J. Res. 77, adopted by Congress on January 12, 1991. They are designed to ensure that the mandates of the United Nations and the common goals of our coalition partners are achieved and the safety of our citizens and forces is ensured.

As our united efforts in pursuit of peace, stability, and security in the Gulf region continue, I look forward to our continued consultation and cooperation.

Sincerely,

George Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Robert C. Byrd, President pro tempore of the Senate; George J. Mitchell, Senate majority leader; Robert Dole, Senate Republican leader; and Robert H. Michel, House Republican leader.

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