December 13, 1990 – The Gulf Crisis – Hostage Releases, Terrorist Threats And Wide-Toothy Grins.
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December 13, 1990 – The gulf crisis was continuing on a simmer/slow boil. Word that an Iraqi Airways 707 left Baghdad for Frankfurt, carrying Ambassador Nathaniel Howell and four fellow diplomats and around 25 additional Americans. The last organized American evacuation flight brought out 14 Americans including the last five diplomats there and some 15 Canadians. They were joined in Baghdad by another 16 Americans, including three more diplomats and 49 other foreigners for the onward flight to Frankfurt, Germany. The American diplomats from Kuwait stayed well away from the press, but Joe Wilson, the U.S. Chargé d’affaire in Baghdad said all five of his colleagues from Kuwait looked good and were looking forward to getting to Frankfurt. The American Embassy was to remain open in Kuwait, but was not populated and Iraq said it would respect the inviolability of the premises, even though it no longer recognized the diplomatic status of Foreign missions in Kuwait. Only one American was known to still be in Iraq, waiting for an exit Visa. He would be the last known Foreigner held in Iraq against his will.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Television announced it would begin Civil Defense exercises beginning January 15th, the date of the UN Deadline for Iraq’s exit from Kuwait. The broadcast said the public should be prepared for chemical and even nuclear attack. Japan’s Parliament voted an additional $1 billion in Persian Gulf aid, bringing Tokyo’s total pledge to over $4 billion.
In Vienna, OPEC ministers endorsed continued high oil production to ease any shortages possibly caused by the Gulf Crisis.
And American Farmers and Business groups were praising President Bush’s pledge of food credits to help the Soviet Union avoid famine this Winter. The Aid package would not mean overnight relief, delivery of food supplies wouldn’t happen until at least the coming February. On top of that, The Soviet Union was facing distribution problems and hoarding of food supplies. President Bush said the food aid included up to $1 billion in credits to buy more U.S. products, mostly grain through the temporary lifting of trade restrictions. Those restrictions which were tied to Soviet emigration policy had been in place some 16 years. But now the Soviets and the Americans say instability in the Soviet Union because of the food shortages was “not in their mutual interests”. And despite critical Soviet support for U.S. action against Iraq, the administration insisted the aid package was “mere coincidence” and not a payoff for cooperation in the Persian Gulf.
And that’s just a small slice of what happened, this December 13, 199, as presented by The CBS World News Roundup.