Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) is something of a prognosticator when it comes to Kuwait, it seems.

At a July 25 confirmation hearing for Edward W. Gnehm Jr., the new ambassador to Kuwait, the senator said he and other members of Congress had noticed that Kuwait, at times, had been overly friendly with the Soviet Union.

"If a little country wants to behave like that, then maybe it is easier to have one big country {so} we would not have to deal with so many embassies. You know, we would save on embassies for example," Moynihan told Gnehm. "And maybe give Kuwait to Saudi Arabia or divide it up with Iraq. That has happened before."

Moynihan, according to a States News Service report based on committee transcripts, instructed the new envoy:

"You do not hesitate to tell them in Kuwait that they are a very small, weak country that is very rich, and there are a lot of countries, other countries, that would like to gobble them up."

Gnehm would never have a chance to deliver any message. Only hours before he was confirmed by the Senate, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was underway.

Moynihan could not be reached for comment, but his spokesman, Brian Connolly, said the transcript shows that there was laughter after some of the senator's remarks and that the senator "was not advocating {aggression} by any means."

Added Connolly, "When taken in context, the transcript shows that his comments were facetious."