Gov. William Donald Schaefer learned his lesson last year when the State Department rebuffed his plan for Maryland to aid Eastern Europe.
Now, Schaefer wants to help war-ravaged Kuwait and he has decided to leave the State Department out of it.
Schaefer said he was not going to tell Deputy Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger about the proposal the governor has presented to the Kuwaiti ambassador for a humanitarian and business partnership between Maryland and Kuwait. Eagleburger rebuffed Schaefer's plan to aid Eastern Europe last year.
"We'll do it without [Eagleburger]. Otherwise, he would tell us, 'Come back in two or three years and let us know what's going on,' " said the governor, whose slogan is "Do It Now."
Schaefer said he met with the Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington on Wednesday to propose a partnership with Maryland to provide medical assistance now and to help rebuild the country later after the war.
One aspect of the Kuwaiti Management Maryland Partnership would provide Kuwait with help coordinating the purchase of equipment, materials and services from Maryland businesses, Schaefer aides said.
The governor said he told the ambassador that Kuwait could obtain special space at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and the Port of Baltimore to handle shipments to that country.
Officials want to provide secure, convenient spaces at those facilities to Kuwait for a fee, said Jane Howard, a spokesman for the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development.
The office of Kuwait Ambassador Saud Nasir Sabah confirmed that Schaefer met with the ambassador but would provide no details yesterday.
"We made ourselves available to him," Schaefer said of the ambassador. "We expect to set up a partnership."
Schaefer said he offered to send a team of physicians affiliated with the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins Hospital to Kuwait. The money to do so would be provided by private sources, he said.
"I think the offer of physicians and medical personnel is something that [the ambassador] has to think about," the governor said.
Last year, Schaefer tried unsuccessfully to interest the State Department in diverting almost $1 million in federal aid to Eastern Europe to five Maryland-proposed programs, including one to provide medical assistance to Poland.
"We went around the State Department and did it without [Eagleburger]," Schaefer said of the medical aid program to Poland.