Saddam Hussein did not resort to chemical weapons in the Persian Gulf war partly because of an implied threat by American commanders to retaliate with tactical nuclear weapons, a U.S. commander says.

"We tried to give him every signal that if he used chemicals against us that we would retaliate in kind and may even do more, so I think he was hesitant to use it there," said Lt. Gen. Calvin A.H. Waller, second-in-command to Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf.Waller did not specify whether such signals were limited to comments to the media, or might have included specific messages to the Iraqi leader.

Asked if tactical nuclear weapons were considered against Iraq, Waller replied: "Oh yes. . . . We didn't have to stage them (inside Saudi Arabia). We had them on the ships. We had them on the subs."

After a pause, he joked, "If we needed a nuke, we could just dial that hummer up and send it wherever it was needed."