Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Tourists are virtually unknown in Doha"

I've been working through some State Department archives and recently happened upon an interesting little cable sent during the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. In it, US Ambassador William Stoltzfus passes on word from his Charge d'Affaires in Doha to the head office regarding the type of environment American citizens in Qatar may be facing during this tense period.

According to the foreign service officer in Doha, it seemed unlikely that any travel warning or evacuation plans would be needed because, first of all, things seemed "completely calm and normal" and, secondly, because there were hardly any Americans to be concerned about. As you can see below, there were thought to be no more than twenty private American citizens in Qatar, and no more than five tourists.
Thirty seven years later, Qatar has thousands of American residents, and around a million visitors from abroad annually.

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