University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Thomas R. Carper
Congressional Papers

See below for collection citation and reference information.

I.C.12. Issue Files -- Foreign Affairs, 1986-1992

+ Series I.C.12. -- Scope and Content Note
+ Series I.C.12. -- Contents List

Extent: 2.5 linear ft.

Boxes: 39 - 41

Contents: Correspondence, news clippings, reports, legislation, memoranda.

Arrangement: Arranged alphabetically by topic and then chronologically within.


Reflecting the range of international issues Carper encountered, the Foreign Affairs Issue Files mirror the changing dynamics of the world political system, particularly during the years 1990-1992. This period marked the conclusion of the Cold War and the beginning of a new world order, and the United States found itself operating within a new global structure. Carper's files reflect this transition and demonstrate commitment to peaceful negotiations and exploration of new levels of human rights engagement on the part of the United States.

A member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, Carper was one of many congressional members who consistently wrote and signed letters to leaders of governments to object to violations of human rights occurring around the world. Many of these letters were written on behalf of individuals unjustly imprisoned, or on behalf of foreign citizens not allowed to leave their countries when they sought to join families already residing in the United States. It is not clear how successful these solicitations for change were, but there was a deliberate campaign on the part of the Caucus to alter social and political rights of a significant number of victims worldwide. The Human Rights Caucus wrote letters and notices opposing apartheid, fighting hunger and famine, confronting the use of torture, advocating freedom of speech, and supporting democratic practices.

Letters concerning human rights violations in the Soviet Union make up the largest segment of the Foreign Affairs Issue Files. Many letters are to the USSR requesting that older individuals, who have been detained because of prior access to state secrets, be allowed to emigrate for health and familial concerns. The Human Rights Caucus also made a concerted effort to help Soviet Jews whose emigration requests were thwarted by religious discrimination.

Another group of files pertain to the Gulf War. These files, covering allied contributions, reconstruction of Kuwait, and medical readiness, reflect issues of preparation for war and its aftermath in contests between states.

Concerned with who should pay for the war, the allied contributions portion of the files confronts the issue of expenses during the conflict with Iraq and how the approximately 57 billion dollar bill should be divided up. The contributions of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Germany, and Korea are discussed.

Offering another perspective to the Gulf War, Carper's files document two stages of postwar reconstruction for Kuwait. The first step, emergency relief for civilian populations to provide food, water, medicine and communication tools, incurred a cost of nearly $500 million. The files show that U.S. firms were significant benefactors of these needs, receiving about 70% of the reconstruction contracts organized by the Kuwaiti government.

Stage two, where the majority of the approximately $60-$100 billion construction is concentrated, involved detailed damage assessment and design work. The files document the ability of U.S. firms, both because of expertise and their country's commitment to helping Kuwait, to secure a substantial percentage of contracts for stage two. An example is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's acquisition of a $46 million contract in the initial stages of damage assessment and rebuilding design.

The last Gulf War file concerns medical readiness for troops. The adequacy and sufficiency of U.S. and allied plans to provide satisfactory medical care and treatment to U.S. troops in the event of injury is examined. Data on primary and secondary hospitals, as well as installation support centers, is provided for Carper's evaluation. Newspaper articles documenting the buildup of medical forces provide specific information.

International trade issues are a significant part of this series. The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and the following dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the changing dynamic of the international markets regarding trade are documented in these files. While some Americans and members of Congress were eager to open new avenues of trade for the United States in these developing markets, others were concerned with national security and reluctant to trade with the former Soviet Union. The files discuss the pros and cons of easing restrictions on exports, while ensuring the country would not be flooded by foreign products or cost American jobs.

On the one hand, these changes in Eastern Europe had opened new markets and trade avenues for American companies and manufacturers; on the other hand, concern for national security and reservations on open trade with the former Soviet Union caused uneasiness about lifting bans and loosening restrictions. Legislation entitled The Export Facilitation Act of 1990 addressed these concerns. The trade concerns of DuPont (F518), Noramco ICI Americas (F519), and other Delaware corporations are expressed in Carper's legislative files regarding duties and tariffs on materials and chemicals imported for use in the manufacture of goods.

A major issue within this series is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA files offer a clear understanding of what was going on during the development of the alliance. Included are public statements by various groups and individuals both supporting and denouncing the union, congressional floor statements, "Dear Colleague" letters, and Congressional Research Survey (CRS) reports and summaries.

The extent of NAFTA files in this series demonstrates the dominance of the topic throughout the late 1980s and into the early 1990s. Passed by the House on November 17, 1993, and then by the Senate three days later, this tripartite trade agreement eliminated all tariffs between the United States and Mexico for the next fifteen years. In addition, the bill made changes to the U.S.-Canada free trade agreement, which had been approved by Congress in 1988. A majority of the NAFTA files are made up of letters to Carper from labor and interest groups concerned with the negative effect such a policy would have on U.S. workers and the environment of the countries involved. Conversely, proponents argued that NAFTA would have a strong, positive effect on trade worldwide, and would display the virtues of continued efforts to remove barriers to free trade. After putting in a great deal of effort into its development, Carper, who was elected Governor of Delaware in November 1992, never had a chance to vote on NAFTA.

Files pertaining to President Bush's efforts to renew China's Most Favored Nation (MFN) status also comprise part of this section on trade. Most Favored Nation status, or nondiscriminatory treatment in trade is given by the United States to other countries when they also allow for normal, non-discriminatory trade practices. Every year since 1980, the United States had granted China MFN status, but following the 1989 Tiannanmen Square massacre, questions emerged as to whether or not this relationship should continue. The Most Favored Nation files pertain to 1992 legislation (H.R. 5318) that would have placed conditions on renewal of China's MFN status. The bill called for changes from China regarding human rights, trade, and weapons proliferation issues before MFN status could be reinstated. This legislation did not receive the two-thirds vote necessary in the Senate to override Bush's veto and eventually was dismissed. The files contain reports and fact sheets on economic, human rights, weapons, and trade issues, as well as correspondence asking for support of H.R. 5318. Congressman Carper was in favor of the restrictions and supported the fundamental human rights issues behind them.

Other files of the Foreign Affairs series deal with U.S. relations with Japan, Taiwan, El Salvador, Korea, and Israel, and the plight of the Kurdish populations in Iraq. Overall, the files cover a wide variety of topics from the time period, and testify as to the breadth of U.S. involvement in a complex international society.

+ Contents List for Series I.C.12. Issue Files--Foreign Affairs

+ Return to Index Page for Thomas R. Carper Congressional Papers

+ Guide to Other Political Papers at the University of Delaware Library

+ Return to List of Manuscript Finding Aids by Title

citation and reference information:

Thomas R. Carper
Congressional Papers

1979 - 1993
(bulk dates 1982 - 1992)

Manuscript Collection Number: 399
Accessioned: Gift of Thomas R. Carper, 1992, 1998-1999
Extent: 84 linear ft. and oversize material
Content: Legislation, correspondence, reports, documents and publications, memoranda, speeches, photographs, audio-visual material, newsletters, news clippings, and ephemera.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: November 1997 - December 1999 by Rebecca J. Altermatt with assistance from Rob Costello; edited by L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin.

for reference assistance email Special Collections
or contact: Footer
Back to the UD Special Collections Home Page

This page is maintained by Special Collections
Last modified: 01/19/11
  • UD Library Special Collections  •   181 South College Avenue  •   Newark, DE 19717-5267  •   USA
    Phone: USA +1 302-831-2229  •   ©2014