NEW YORK, SEPT. 26 -- Secretary of State James A. Baker III today rejected as "repugnant" an Iraqi demand for a list of non-diplomats who have taken refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad that carried a warning that anyone hiding refugees could be executed.

Baker, here to attend the U.N. General Assembly, confirmed reports that Iraq had sent such a notice to the embassy. "We've received a note to that effect," Baker said. "It falls under the heading of the principle of the three R's, I think: We've read it, it's repugnant and we reject it."

When reporters asked if he meant the United States would refuse to give names, Baker replied: "That's absolutely right." He added:

"So, having rejected it, I think you would conclude that it doesn't affect the policy approach the United States is following nor does it affect, quite frankly, our view that all countries should observe the basic standards of international norms in dealing with diplomats."

Iraq's ambassador to Washington, Mohamed Mashat, was summoned to the State Department tonight on the matter, officials said. Earlier, Mashat denied that Iraq was "threatening anyone" by the demand.

Other U.S. officials, who asked not to be identified, said they could not predict with certainty the seriousness of the Iraqi threat. However, they added, the State Department tends to think that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's government is unlikely to take a step that would horrify the world and force President Bush to consider major military retaliation against Iraq.

Instead, the officials said, the notice, which apparently also was sent to other Western embassies in Baghdad, probably was part of the war of nerves being waged by Iraq to remind the U.S. public that many Americans trapped in Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait would be at serious risk if Iraq were attacked.

U.S. officials have not said how many Americans who are not diplomats have taken refuge in the embassies in Baghdad and Kuwait City.

Iraq has allowed many American women and children and some male U.S. citizens of Arab descent to leave. But it has rounded up large numbers of other Americans and detained them at potentially critical targets as human shields.

It also has made life difficult for American diplomats in Baghdad and has put the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City under virtual siege in an effort to force its closure.

The Iraqi note, as released by the State Department, noted that Iraq's ruling Revolutionary Command Council had decreed on Aug. 26 that "housing a foreigner for the purpose of hiding him or her from the authorities is a crime of espionage. The punishment of death shall be imposed on the individual who commits such a crime."

The message then said, "The ministry will appreciate it if the esteemed mission would kindly inform the ministry of whether any of its citizens or any other nation's citizens are residing in the missions, embassies and/or diplomatic residences, whether or not these citizens have contracts with the government or are working with foreign companies operating in Iraq."

Iraq also told diplomatic missions in Baghdad that starting Monday, it will no longer provide them with food rations for distribution to their communities, the Associated Press reported. "We received a memorandum explaining that the government's priority is to feed the Iraqi population," a Western diplomat told AP. Tens of thousands of foreigners are still in Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, including about 6,000 Westerners.

Iraq, through its official news agency, denounced the Soviet Union, saying that "the threatening tone" in a harshly critical speech Tuesday by Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze "clearly illustrated the bribery presented by America and its allies, the oil sheiks," Reuter reported from Baghdad.

"We tell Shevardnadze, 'If you are not keen about ties of friendship with the Arabs and wish to be dragged on your face behind the American aggression, then the Arabs will not be keen about you and your likes,' " the Iraqi News Agency said.

Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney said in Washington today that successful economic sanctions against Iraq could push Saddam "to use his military force to try to break the stranglehold that the embargo has imposed."

Cheney said the Iraqi leader's threats of the past few days are "the first beginning evidence that, in fact, he's really beginning to feel the pain."

Meanwhile, confusion broke out at the United Nations and in Jordan and Iraq over whether passenger planes are permitted to fly to and from Iraq and Kuwait under the embargo on air traffic voted by the Security Council on Tuesday night.

State Department spokesman Margaret Tutwiler said the resolution was intended to tighten U.N. sanctions prohibiting trade with Iraq, except for medicine and humanitarian food shipments. She said the new resolution is aimed at preventing cargoes from reaching Iraq by air and does not prohibit passengers although "it is the responsibility of each U.N. member to look at each flight on a case-by-case basis."

Other Western officials, concerned that the resolution might be used to block further evacuation flights of foreign nationals, were even more explicit. British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd told a news conference: "Passenger flights per se are not banned. What is banned is the carriage of embargoed goods by air."

Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Qassem, who is at the United Nations, released a statement saying his country, which has the only remaining commercial air links to Iraq, was halting all flights in compliance with the embargo. But later he said that "the situation regarding those scheduled flights will now be reviewed" in accordance with the Security Council resolution.

Three passenger planes from Baghdad landed in Amman, Jordan, today and at least two flew from Amman to Baghdad. Reuter reported that about a dozen expelled French diplomats and dependents and two British military attaches were among the passengers on one of the planes reaching Amman.

Officials at Amman's Alia International Airport said that the flights today had been inspected for contraband cargo as required by the U.N. resolution.

Washington Post correspondent James Rupert, who was on one of the two planes flying into Baghdad today, reported that it appeared those hardest hit by any cutoff in flights to Iraq could be Arab foreigners who lived in Kuwait but were out of the country when Iraq invaded on Aug. 2. Most of the 140 passengers on the Boeing 707 appeared to be Palestinians and Jordanians returning to Kuwait to pick up what they said they hoped would be some shred of their former lives there.

"I worked as an accountant for 30 years {in Kuwait} and saved my money in the bank and had my house," said a middle-aged Jordanian who said he was on vacation when Iraq invaded. He was returning to try to recover personal belongings from his house and to find news of a brother and co-workers.

Baker, among his meetings today, conferred for two hours with Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy. Sources familiar with the talks said they hope to reach agreement on a $400 million housing loan guarantee that Israel wants to help provide shelter for thousands of Soviet Jews migrants.

The sources said that Dennis Ross, chief of the State Department's policy planning staff, and Eitan Ben Tsur, an aide to Levy, were designated by Baker and Levy to work tonight on a formula that would overcome the remaining differences blocking Bush's approval of the guarantee.

The administration has balked at approving the guarantee unless Israel provides assurances that the money will not be used to settle any of the Soviet immigrants in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Arab governments have expressed concern that Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's government wants to use the immigrants to increase the Jewish population in the West Bank, thereby bolstering Israel's claim to the territory and opening the way to forcing out its 1.7 million Palestinian inhabitants.

Correspondent Nora Boustany in Amman and staff writers Molly Moore and Al Kamen in Washington also contributed to this article.