ANNAPOLIS -- Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer has accepted a cabled invitation from Kuwait's ambassador to the United States to join the emir of Kuwait on his triumphant return to his war-ravaged country.
Mr. Schaefer apparently will be the only U.S. governor on the all-expenses-paid trip to Kuwait. The party is expected to include two former U.S. secretaries of state, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the U.S. secretary of commerce, and the chief executive officers of 20 of the nation's top corporations.
The invitation from Ambassador Saud Nasir Al-Sabah was received by the governor yesterday and hasty arrangements made last night for Mr. Schaefer to join the flight from Andrews Air Force Base tomorrow night, said Paul E. Schurick, the governor's press secretary.
The 69-year-old chief executive met with the ambassador in Washington last month to offer medical and other humanitarian aid to Kuwait. Mr. Schaefer also offered to reserve a portion of the port of Baltimore and Baltimore-Washington International Airport for exclusive use of shipments of materials and supplies needed to rebuild Kuwait.
"The Kuwait government looks to Maryland as its friend," Mr. Schurick said, in explaining why Mr. Schaefer was invited.
Mr. Schurick acknowledged that one purpose of the visit will be to promote trade with Maryland companies. The governor chose to accept the invitation at a time when many of his major legislative initiatives are in trouble in the final month of this year's session of the General Assembly.
Page Boinest, an assistant to Mr. Schurick, said the trip would only cost Mr. Schaefer two working days.
Mr. Schaefer, joining a party that is expected to include Henry A. Kissinger, Alexander M. Haig Jr., Jeane J. Kirkpatrick and Robert A. Mosbacher Sr., is expected to arrive in Bahrain Thursday afternoon.
On Friday morning, the governor and the rest of the party have been invited to join the emir on a "freedom flight" to Kuwait City. It will be the first time the emir has returned to his country since he fled the Iraqi invasion in August.
The party will tour Kuwait City, meet with U.S. Embassy officials and attend two days of meetings in Kuwait and Bahrain before leaving for the United States Saturday night, Mr. Schurick said.