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:

[table id=1 /]

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