Various versions of what happened have been produced but the most commonly believed is one that states
..."We have no opinion on your Arab-Arab conflicts, such as your dispute with Kuwait. Secretary Baker has directed me to emphasize the instruction, first iven to Iraq in the 1960s, that the Kuwait issue is not associated with America."
James Akins, the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (he had been Attache, in Baghdad,(1963-65) at the time, was interviewed on PBS radio in 2000 and offered a slightly different (and odd) perspective.offered a somewhat different perspective in a 2000 interview on the US Public Broadcasting Service.
"I have talked to a lot of my colleagues and said, "What would you have said if you were with Saddam and the subject of Kuwait came up? You would say exactly what April said, wouldn't you?" I know I would have. He talked about the border dispute with Kuwait, and she took the straight American line, which is we do not take positions on border disputes between friendly countries. That's standard. That's what you always say. You would not have said, "Mr. President, if you really are considering invading Kuwait, by God, we'll bring down the wrath of God on your palaces, and on your country, and you'll all be destroyed." She wouldn't say that, nor would I. Neither would any diplomat."
Which is remarkably different from what Richard Holbrooke said on PBS when he went to see Slobodan Milosevic when he had refused to sign the Rambouillet alleged Treaty.
You're sent again to talk to Milosevic, after the Albanians finally agree, at least in part. What happened in that March meeting, just before the bombing begins?
" .....I went back alone, and I sat there alone with Milosevic. I said to him, "You understand that if I leave here without an agreement today, bombing will start almost immediately." And he said, "Yes, I understand that." I said, "You understand it'll be swift, severe and sustained." And I used those three words very carefully, after consultations with the Pentagon. And he said, "You're a great country, a powerful country. You can do anything you want. We can't stop you." There was an air of resignation to him, and we sat alone in this big, empty palace, surrounded by these inherited Rembrandts and other art left over from earlier regimes. I said, "Yes, you understand. You're absolutely clear what will happen when we leave?" And he said, very quietly, "Yes. You'll bomb us." . . . I told him that the White House and the state department are waiting for a report, and that I've got to go. I asked, "Is that it? And one more time, you understand what happens?" He said, "Yes." So we left, and that was it. I want to stress that there was no misunderstanding in his mind. He knew the bombing would start immediately after our departure, and it did, less than 30 hours later.
They must have gone to different schools of diplomacy.