Mr. HELMS. Mr. President, last week the West German Embassy delivered to each Senate office a copy of the West German Government's report to Parliament identifying German firm involvement in the Libyan poison gas complex at Rabta. The report addresses the questions, what did they know and when did they know it?
The easy answer is, they knew a lot and they knew it early. As early as April 22, 1980, the West German equivalent of the CIA, called the BND, reported that `with the help of West German experts, Libya is developing a plant for the manufacture of chemical warfare agents as well as a system for using them.'
Mr. President, the German report contains a chronological accounting of the information which was received and what action, if any, was taken in response. According to the chronology, the BND sent in 24 positive reports on Libyan chemical weapons activity between April 22, 1980, and January 1, 1989, when the issue became a page 1 story in the New York Times. During the same period there were at least five positive reports from West German embassies in Moscow or Tripoli and one report from German Customs.
In March 1984 the United States began a diplomatic offensive designed to encourage the German Government to take action. The chronology lists seven increasingly urgent diplomatic notes and six reports on Libya to the BND from `an allied intelligence service,' presumably the CIA. Finally, the United States held three intelligence briefings, one of which was by the Director of the CIA. All of these efforts failed.
Many of these reports by American and German entities identified German companies by name. For example, as early as July 1984 the West German Embassy at Moscow, reporting from `non-Eastern sources' identified Imhausen, and detected its plans to ship chemical weapons equipment to Libya using Hong Kong as a cover. The Embassy knew and reported that a West German Government-owned firm was involved. We now know that the Government-owned firm, Salzgitter AG, assigned 45 engineers to actually design the poison gas plant and that this was an open secret.
Mr. President, perhaps as much as anything, the chronology reveals a massive failure on the part of the German Government to respond to the information it was receiving. The issue goes beyond mere incompetence. It is clear that German bureaucrats knew that higher ranking officials did not want to hear accusations against German exporters.
For example, the United States gave the German Foreign Ministry a diplomatic note on May 18 of last year. The note
expressed `concern over the participation of companies from the Federal Republic of Germany in the supply of chemical facilities to Libya and the reequipping of Libyan C-130 aircraft to give them mid-air refueling capability.' Foreign Minister Genscher was allegedly not informed of the American note until January 16 of this year--nearly 8 months later and at a time when the German Government was under a blizzard of criticism on this issue. No one at the German Foreign Ministry has been censured for this delay, making it fairly obvious that the bureaucrats at the Foreign Ministry were carrying out their orders. One German magazine called this policy, `Death For Sale. Export at any Price.' Who can quarrel with that description?
While the German report is revealing, it raises a number of questions and issues. It is designed as a damage-limitation exercise and covers only Libya. it does not mention information which the German Government may have received about German firm involvement in Iraq, Syria, or Iran. For example, we have recently been told that the State Department sent a diplomatic note to the German Government on German firms supplying chemical weapons equipment to Iraq in November 1983.
Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that a chronology on German firm involvement in the Rabta, Libya, poison gas complex be printed in the Record at the conclusion of my remarks. The chronology is a condensed version of the report submitted by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to the German Parliament on February 15, 1989.
There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:
22 April 1980--`The BND [West German equivalent of the States Central Intelligence Agency] reports that, with the help of unnamed East and West German experts, Libya is developing a plant for the manufacture of chemical warfare agents as well as a system for using them'.
12 February 1981--`The BND reports that Libya intends to import chemical warfare agents which can be used with long range artillery, helicopters and high-speed aircraft as well as with medium-range missiles. The chemicals needed for the production of chemical warfare agents are reportedly to be purchased in Western Europe (Great Britain, Italy and Germany). It is thought that, in view of the growing amount of evidence, there can be no doubt about the seriousness of Libyan efforts'.
22 July 1981--`The BND reports that Libya is attempting to purchase precursor chemicals in Italy and Spain.
15 December 1981--The BND reports that Libya may already have the ability to use chemical warfare agents on a small scale.
13 December 1982--The BND reports that it is `highly probable' that a production facility for nerve gas already exists in Libya, though it is more likely to be under construction.
22 July 1983--`The BND reports that Libya has its own plant for the manufacture of mustard gas which attacks the skin. The plant is said to have started production at the end of 1981. Its location is presumed to be near Abu Khammash.'
July 1984--The BND reports that a former employee of a German company had gone to Libya for one year and earned a great deal of money. The BND presumes that he had built a plant for the production of mustard gas next to the Abu Khammash chemicals complex. The BND reports that this complex contains a chloride electrolysis facility built by a German company according to a standard design and operating on the basis of sea-salt and that it could produce one of the precursors needed for mustard gas.
5 December 1984--`The BND reports that a production facility for nerve gases may exist in Libya, though it is thought more likely to be still under construction.'
5 July 1984--The West German embassy in Moscow reporting on information from a `non-Eastern source' indicates that the Imhausen Company has contracted in Hong Kong to provide supplies for a pharmaceutical project. Because of the secrecy surrounding the project and the special design of the plan (`glass instead of steel pipes, which implies the production of poison gas') there is suspicion that it may be for Libya. A German government owned firm is also involved.
15 January 1986--The BND again reports that a production
facility for nerve gasses may exist in Libya.
28 January 1986--`The BND reports that the plant for the manufacture of mustard gas in Libya is said to have been constructed under the management of a member of a German company identified by name. The plant is presumed to be on the site of the Tajura nuclear research center'.
7 February 1986--`The BND reports on news from an allied intelligence service according to which 100 tons of sodium fluoride may have been shipped from Zeebrugge [Belgium] to Libya on the Panamanian freighter `Capira' at the beginning of October 1985. This is said to involve a German shipping company identified by name'.
18 February 1986--The BND reports that Libya possesses chemical warfare agents including mustard gas and possibly the nerve gas sarin. The location of the factory is thought to be in or near the Tajura nuclear research center.
17 March 1986--`The BND reports that the recipient of the 100 tons of sodium fluoride is the Tajura nuclear research center where, in the opinion of the allied intelligence service, research work is also carried out on chemical warfare agents. Should this be true, the sodium fluroide purchased by the center is believed to be intended for the manufacture of nerve gas'.
25 March 1986--The United States Embassy Bonn passes a `nonpaper' [informal diplomatic note] stating that a company was thought to be negotiating with Libya on the sale of nuclear, biological and chemical defense equipment.
28 October 1986--An `allied intelligence service' requests information on the IBI [Ihsa Barbouti International] operation in Frankfort in light of its belief that IBI had been commissioned to set up a micobiological research center in Libya.
Late October 1986--The United States hands over an unofficial paper indicating that Libya is attempting to procure protective equipment against chemical weapons.
22 June 1987--`According to information from an allied intelligence service, a [chemical] warfare agents factory is about to be completed near Rabta with a production capacity estimated at 1 to 3 tons of sarin [nerve gas] per day'.
2 July 1987--`The BND reports that production is expected to begin at Rabta in September 1987'.
3 August 1987--`The BND confirms from its own intelligence (SPOT satellite pictures) that the new industrial plant near Rabta is most likely the new [chemical] warfare agents factory'.
inquiry regarding Barbouti International in Frankfort.
27 August 1987--The BND reports that `Libya possesses specially trained units for chemical warfare and nuclear, biological and chemical defense'.
28 October 1987--A German businessman in Libya reports to the West German embassy Tripoli that preparations are being made by the Libyans `with the assistance of Western companies' to produce poison gas.
7 January 1988--The West German embassy Tripoli reports that there is thought to be a Libyan military research facility northwest of Rabta `presumably for research work and the manufacture of nuclear, ballistic and chemical weapons'.
26 January 1988--The German embassy in Tripoli reports `that the military research center for the production of chemical warfare agents is probably already capable of operating. German companies are also involved'.
27 January 1988--`The BND confirms that its own intelligence and the opinion of allied intelligence services indicate that the object identified near Rabta is a plant for the production of warfare agents and possibly for ammunition'.
15 March 1988--West German Customs discovers that IBI (Barbouti) `may be involved in the illegal transfer of technology'.
18 May 1988--The United States Embassy Bonn delivers an unofficial diplomatic note expressing `concern over the participation of companies from the Federal Republic of Germany in the supply of chemical facilities to Libya and the re-equiping of Libyan C-130 aircraft to give them mid-air refueling capability'. Imhausen was named as was the firm Technical Trade and Logistics Society Limited.
15 July 1988--`The BND receives information from an allied intelligence service concerning possible supplies from German companies for the construction of a poison gas production plant in Rabta. The firms named are IBI, Pen Tsao and Imhausen'.
12 September 1988--BND `intelligence work reveals the possible involvement of individual citizens of the Federal Republic [of Germany]' in the Rabta complex.
21 September 1988--West German State Secretary and BND inform parliamentary control commission of chemical weapon capabilities in the Middle East and the possible involvement of Germans in Libya.
21 September 1988--The American Embassy Bonn hands an unofficial paper to the German Government `according to which Libya has
developed a chemical weapons production capability with outside help, including Western European companies, and is about to begin mass production. The U.S. Administration appeals for a stop to any assistance to Libya for the development of its own capability to manufacture and use chemical weapons'.
30 September 1988--The BND reports that according to an allied intelligence service `Germans are to be found among those working on the [Rabta project].' The BND also reports that `even before the project began Imhausen had been delivering unspecified precursors'.
11 October 1988--The BND holds `a meeting with foreign experts. These mention IBI and three other German firms involved in work at Rabta'.
13 October 1988--The BND issues an extensive report on Rabta and concludes that German firms, among others, are extensively involved. The BND suspects that one German firm `(identified by name)' had been supplying precursors as early as 1985.
14 October 1988--An allied intelligence service reports to the BND on the involvement of the Imhausen firm in `putting the alleged [chemical] warfare agents plant into operation and possibly the repair of damage to the production facilities, too'.
20 October 1988--Chancellor Kohl is briefed for the first time on the information gathered by the German intelligence services in relation to Libyan efforts to establish a chemical weapons factory. The Chancellor is informed that German firms may be involved, particularly Imhausen.
25 October 1988--`The BND President presents an account of Libya's [chemical] warfare agents program and the information he holds on the contribution of German companies'.
11 November 1988--Secretary Shultz sends a letter to Foreign Minister Genscher indicating concern in the U.S. administration over Libyan chemical weapons capability. The Secretary offers an `intelligence briefing' during Chancellor Kohl's visit.
15 November 1988--Secretary of State Shultz and CIA Director Webster inform Foreign Minister Genscher and Chancellor Kohl `of the involvement of German companies, including Imhausen and IBI'.
18 November 1988--The BND reports to the German Federal Chancellery extensively on Rabta noting that the State-owned firm of Salzgitter AG had supplied a plan of the plant and Imhausen Chemie had supplied components and chemicals. `Deliveries are said to have been made by, among others, two major companies identified by name'. The BND also reports that Imhausen `had removed documents to a neighboring country in spring 1988 in response to a report published in the New York Times on 24 December 1987 on the production of chemical weapons in Libya'.
21 November 1988--The German embassy in Washington reports that the U.S. Department of Defense has `confirmed intelligence' on the chemical weapons plant.
24 November 1988--The BND delivers to Chancellor Kohl a report similar to its report of November 18.
5 December 1988--The U.S. Ambassador to West Germany hands to the German Foreign Ministry a paper concerning the technology center and the chemical factory at Rabta. `The paper contains references to the production of mustard gas and sarin [nerve gas] as well as to the participation of the Imhausen and IBI companies'.
15 December 1988--The U.S. Embassy Bonn hands over an unofficial note to the German Foreign Minister with an appeal to counter Libyan efforts to acquire a chemical weapons capability.
22 December 1988--U.S. delegation presents photographic material on the Rabta plant to their German colleagues'.