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Public Papers - 1992 - August

Message to the Congress Reporting on the National Emergency With Respect to Iraq

1992-08-03

To the Congress of the United States:

I hereby report to the Congress on the developments since my last report of February 11, 1992, concerning the national emergency with respect to Iraq that was declared in Executive Order No. 12722 of August 2, 1990. This report is submitted pursuant to section 401(c) of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1641(c), and section 204(c) of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (``IEEPA''), 50 U.S.C. 1703(c).

Executive Order No. 12722 ordered the immediate blocking of all property and interests in property of the Government of Iraq (including the Central Bank of Iraq) then or thereafter located in the United States or within the possession or control of a U.S. person. In that order, I also prohibited the importation into the United States of goods and services of Iraqi origin, as well as the exportation of goods, services, and technology from the United States to Iraq. I prohibited travel-related transactions and transportation transactions to or from Iraq and the performance of any contract in support of any industrial, commercial, or governmental project in Iraq. U.S. persons were also prohibited from granting or extending credit or loans to the Government of Iraq.

The foregoing prohibitions (as well as the blocking of Government of Iraq property) were continued and augmented on August 9, 1990, by Executive Order No. 12724 which I issued in order to align the sanctions imposed by the United States with United Nations Security Council Resolution 661 of August 6, 1990.

This report discusses only matters concerning the national emergency with respect to Iraq that was declared in Executive Order No. 12722 and matters relating to Executive Order No. 12724 (``the Executive orders''). The report covers events from February 2, 1992, through August 1, 1992.

1. The economic sanctions imposed on Iraq by the Executive orders are administered by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (``FAC'') under the Iraqi Sanctions Regulations, 31 CFR Part 575 (``ISR''). There have been no amendments of those regulations since my last report.

2. Investigations of possible violations of the Iraqi sanctions continue to be pursued and appropriate enforcement actions taken. These are intended to deter future activities in violation of the sanctions. Additional civil penalty notices were prepared during the reporting period for violations of the IEEPA and ISR with respect to transactions involving Iraq. Penalties were collected, principally from financial institutions which engaged in unauthorized, albeit apparently inadvertent, transactions with respect to Iraq.

3. Investigation also continues into the roles played by various individuals and firms outside of Iraq in Saddam Hussein's procurement network. These investigations may lead to additions to the FAC listing of individuals and organizations determined to be Specially Designated Nationals (``SDN's'') of the Government of Iraq. In practice, an Iraqi SDN is a representative, agent, intermediary, or front (whether open or covert) of the Iraqi government that is located outside of Iraq. Iraqi SDN's are Saddam Hussein's principal instruments for doing business in third countries, and doing business with them is the same as doing business directly with the Government of Iraq.

The impact of being named an Iraqi SDN is considerable: all assets within U.S. jurisdiction of parties found to be Iraqi SDN's are blocked; all economic transactions with SDN's by U.S. persons are prohibited; and the SDN individual or organization is exposed as an agent of the Iraqi regime.

4. Since my last report, one case filed against the Government of Iraq has gone to judgment. Centrifugal Casting Machine Co., Inc. v. American Bank and Trust Co., Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Republic of Iraq, Machinery Trading Co., Baghdad, Iraq, Central Bank of Iraq, and Bank of Rafidain, No. 91 - 5150 (10th Cir., decided June 11, 1992), arose out of a contract for the sale of goods by plaintiff to the State Machinery Co., an Iraqi governmental entity. In connection with the contract, the Iraqi defendants opened an irrevocable letter of credit in favor of Centrifugal, from which Centrifugal drew a 10 percent advance payment. Repayment of the advance payment in case of nonperformance by Centrifugal was guaranteed by a standby letter of credit. Performance did not occur due to the imposition of economic sanctions against Iraq in August 1990, and the United States claimed that an amount equal to the advance payment was blocked property. The district court ruled that the standby letter of credit had expired, that no U.S. party was liable to an Iraqi entity under the standby letter of credit, and that the advance payment funds were therefore not blocked property and could be distributed to U.S. persons. The court of appeals affirmed the ruling of the district court that there was no blocked Iraqi property interest in the advance payment funds, based on applicable principles of letter of credit law.

5. FAC has issued 288 specific licenses regarding transactions pertaining to Iraq or Iraqi assets. Since my last report, 71 specific licenses have been issued. Most of these licenses were issued for conducting procedural transactions such as filing of legal actions, and for legal representation; other licenses were issued pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolutions 661, 666, and 687, to authorize the exportation to Iraq of donated medicine, medical supplies, and food intended for humanitarian relief purposes. All of these licenses concern minor transactions of no economic benefit to the Government of Iraq.

To ensure compliance with the terms of the licenses which have been issued, stringent reporting requirements have been imposed that are closely monitored. Licensed accounts are regularly audited by FAC compliance personnel and deputized auditors from other regulatory agencies. FAC compliance personnel continue to work closely with both State and Federal bank regulatory and law enforcement agencies in conducting special audits of Iraqi accounts subject to the ISR.

6. The expenses incurred by the Federal Government in the 6-month period from February 2, 1992, through August 1, 1992, that are directly attributable to the exercise of powers and authorities conferred by the declaration of a national emergency with respect to Iraq are estimated at ,476,000, most of which represents wage and salary costs for Federal personnel. Personnel costs were largely centered in the Department of the Treasury (particularly in FAC, the U.S. Customs Service, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Enforcement, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, and the Office of the General Counsel), the Department of State (particularly the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs and the Office of the Legal Adviser), the Department of Transportation (particularly the U.S. Coast Guard), and the Department of Commerce (particularly in the Bureau of Export Administration and the Office of the General Counsel).

7. The United States imposed economic sanctions on Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and illegal occupation of Kuwait, a clear act of brutal aggression. The United States, together with the international community, is maintaining economic sanctions against Iraq because the Iraqi regime has failed to comply fully with United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for the elimination of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, the demarcation of the Iraq-Kuwait border, the release of Kuwaiti and other prisoners, compensation for victims of Iraqi aggression, and the return of Kuwaiti assets stolen during its illegal occupation of Kuwait. The U.N. sanctions remain in place; the United States will continue to enforce those sanctions.

The Saddam Hussein regime continues to violate basic human rights by repressing the Iraqi civilian population and depriving it of humanitarian assistance. The United Nations Security Council passed resolutions that permit Iraq to sell .6 billion of oil under U.N. auspices to fund the provision of food, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies to the people of Iraq. Under the U.N. resolutions, the equitable distribution within Iraq of this assistance would be supervised and monitored by the United Nations and other international organizations. The Iraqi regime continues to refuse to accept these resolutions, and has thereby chosen to perpetuate the suffering of its civilian population.

The regime of Saddam Hussein continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, as well as to regional peace and security. The United States will therefore continue to apply economic sanctions to deter Iraq from threatening peace and stability in the region, and I will continue to report periodically to the Congress on significant developments, pursuant to 50 U.S.C. 1703(c).

George Bush

The White House,

August 3, 1992.

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