Lebanese Government Officials Visit Washington with Gifts In Hand

The US State Department recently issued their 2011 list of “Gifts to Federal Employees From Foreign Government Sources Reported to Employing Agencies” as reported by the Office of the Chief of Protocol. Interestingly, it’s a list of gifts high-level US government employees have received from foreign dignitaries on their visits to Washington DC. As Arabian Business has reported,

From diamond watches and Louis Vuitton bags to gold camel statues and silver-coated mobile phones, the six [Arab] Gulf states gave the US gifts worth around $335,919 in 2011, according to the latest official report from the Washington government. Qatar was the most generous gift giver during the twelve months, accounting for 40 percent of all gifts, with its total haul worth around $175,792, according to data released by the US Office of the Chief of Protocol detailing gifts to federal employees from foreign governments.

With that, I decided to look into what Lebanese officials have given as gifts to the US administration. In view of being thorough, I’ve decided to check the archives from 2001 to 2011 (though strangely I could not find the list for 2010). Here’s a summary of the gifts given by Lebanese government officials:

YearLebanese Official and TitleUS Official and TitleGift DescriptionEstimated Value (US$)Current Location
YearLebanese Official and TitleUS Official and TitleGift DescriptionEstimated Value (US$)Current Location
2011Najib Mikati
Prime Minister
Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
Hermes scarf in autumn colors with mosaic design485.00Archived
2009Elias Murr
Defense Minister
John Brennan
White House Staff Member
Crystal clock in the shape of a horse397.00Archived
2009Elias Murr
Defense Minister
Joseph Biden
Vice President
Baccarat jumping horse clock510.00Archived
2009Nayla Moawad
Social Affairs Minister
Joseph Biden
Vice President
40-piece handmade serving set from Lebanon by Haddad, with black horn bird handles with crests dotted in turquoise and red350.00Archived
2009Michel Suleiman
President
Joseph Biden
Vice President
Two 4.5-inch Phoenician juglets in a clear acrylic case500.00Permission to Retain for Official Use Only
2009Michel Suleiman
President
Joseph Biden
Vice President
Tri-handled artifact vase (3.5 inch by 2.8 inch) in a clear acrylic case950.00Permission to Retain for Official Use Only
2009Elias Murr
Defense Minister
Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
Crystal Baccarat clock of a jumping horse485.00Archived
2009Michel Suleiman
President
Capricia Marshal
Chief of Protocol
Sterling sliver tray engraved with a Cedar of Lebanon in a leather presentation box385.00Archived
2009Elias Murr
Defense Minister
George Mitchell
Special Envoy for Middle East Peace
Crystal Equinox clock by Baccarat440.00Permission to Retain for Official Use Only
2009Lt. Gn. Jean Kahwaji
Chairman of Defense
Admiral Michael Mullen
Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff)
Silverware set and cloth robe780.00Archived
2009Elias Murr
Defense Minister
Robert Gates
Secretary of Defense
Small Crystal "Cheval Pendullete Jumping" Baccarat Clock385.00Archived
2008Wafaa Sleiman
First Lady
Laura Bush
First Lady
Stainless steel set of 12 knives, forks, and spoons and one serving spatula with traditional Lebanese design on handles by
S & S Haddad
900.00Archived
2007Saad Hariri
Member of Parliament
George Bush
President
Book, hardcover (3): ‘‘Mount Lebanon" by Col. Charles Henry Churchill; Volumes I–III; held in an engraved leather box5760.00Archived
2007Michel Edde
General Maronite Council
John Hannah
Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs
Mont Blanc Solitaire roller ball pen349.00Archived
2007Saad Hariri
Member of Parliament
Robert M. Kimmitt
Deputy Secratary of Treasury
Three Commemorative Medallions (gold, silver, bronze) of Prime Minister Rafic Hariri765.26Permission to Retain for Official Use Only
2005Emile Lahoud
President
Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of
State
Ancient coins from Lebanon1250.00Archived
2005Fouad Siniora
Prime Minster
Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of
State
Handmade Haddad flatware and cutlery425.00Archived
2003Emile Lahoud
President
Colin Powell
Secretary of
State
Coins—5 silver, 5 bronze, 1 copper and 1 gold, Roman and Islamic periods, inlaid wood case750.00Archived
2002Rafic Hariri
Prime Minister
George Bush
President
Humidor: 12.5 inch x 5.75 inch x 9.25 inch polished wood humidor with street scene painted on lid350.00Archived
2002Rafic Hariri
Prime Minister
George Bush
President
Consumables: assorted pieces of tropical and dried fruit25.00Handled pursuant to Secret Service policy
2002Rafic Hariri
Prime Minister
George Bush
President
Leatherbound book: ‘‘Beirut the wars of destruction and the perspectives of reconstruction’’ with hologram on cover and inscribed by donor; held in a 18 inch x 14 inch navy leather presentation
case
400.00Archived
2002Emile Lahoud
President
Colin Powell
Secretary of
State
Tray, 11.75 inch diameter, silver plate, Christofle, France450.00Archived
2001Rafic Hariri
Prime Minister
George Bush
President
Color photograph (approximately 9 inch x 7 inch) inscribed to President in a silver and leather frame500.00Archived
2001Rafic Hariri
Prime Minister
Dick Cheney
Vice President
Burled wood Boisseliers du Rif humidor, with inlaid wood framing a painting of the Mediterranean,
measures 12 inch x9 inch
350.00Archived
2001Rafic Hariri
Prime Minister
Colin Powell
Secretary of
State
Painting, oil on canvas board,15.5 inch x15.5 inch, village scene, by H. Jouni, late 20th century, matted and framed400.00Archived

Here are some interesting points:

  • The biggest spender was Saad Hariri in 2007 when we gave George Bush a three-volume book set on Mount Lebanon valued at almost six grand (if I am not mistaken it was the time when he flew out of Beirut as Prime Minister and returned back as a MP).
  • Elias Murr loves his “Baccarat jumping horse clock” which he gifted to at least four different people. Not sure why there is a difference in its value though.
  • In 2002, Rafic Hariri probably raised a few alarms when he handed George Bush food in the form of dried fruit.

It’s quite fascinating to have this level of transparency – does anyone know if Lebanon has such public records?

Baccarat jumping horse clock

Elias Murr’s favorite item to gift: a Baccarat jumping horse clock

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