US Department of State Daily Briefing #9: Tuesday, 1/15/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 1:11 pm; Washington, DC Date: Jan 15, 19911/15/91 Category: Briefings Region: E/C Europe, MidEast/North Africa, East Asia, Europe Country: Israel, Iraq, Kuwait, United Kingdom, France, Japan, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania Subject: Travel, Democratization, Terrorism (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I've got several things I'd like to do. Since several of you have asked me -- I'd like to give you an update on what Secretary of State Baker did once we returned yesterday to the city, and what he has been doing this morning.

[Update: Secretary's Activities]

Prior to leaving on the last trip, Secretary Baker had instructed his staff to leave his schedule for today completely open. The reason he did so was so that he would have the flexibility to deal with any late-breaking developments on the situation in the Persian Gulf. So he has no scheduled public meetings today, because that is the way he chose to have this day scheduled. To update you on what he has done since he's returned. As many of you know, yesterday he attended three different meetings at the White House with the President: the meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister, the meeting with the congressional leadership, and the meeting with our Charge Joe Wilson. He also spoke a number of times by phone with the President yesterday. He also yesterday afternoon met at the Pentagon with Secretary Cheney and Chairman Powell. The Secretary spoke this morning by phone with the President around 6:30 a.m. As many of you know, he has been at the White House this morning, practically all morning, and he met with the President from 10:30 to 12:30, and he has returned to the building. The Secretary also has spoken this morning by phone with British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd. He has been very involved in the situation up at the United Nations. And at 9:45 this morning the Secretary held a meeting with some senior State Department officials on the situation in the Baltics. He plans on meeting later today with the Soviet Charge in Washington to discuss the situation there. Without presuming to tell news organizations how to conduct their affairs, we have issued any number of travel advisories recommending against travel to Iraq. We have removed our own personnel and roughly 2,500 private American citizens. Most nations of the world have done the same. In the current situation, those actions speak for themselves. As the clock ticks down to midnight, we feel the obligation to remind everyone that this is a truly very dangerous situation.

[USSR Foreign Minister Appointed]

I have a statement for the Department on the announcement of Mr. Bessmertnykh on his appointment as Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union. We are pleased by the appointment of the Soviet Ambassador to the United States, Alexander Bessmertnykh, to the post of Soviet Foreign Minister. Ambassador Bessmertnykh is a skilled diplomat of long standing who brings to his new position great skill and the highest standards of professionalism. We know him well, and we know he was instrumental in the positive improvement in our mutual relations during Foreign Minister Shevardnadze's tenure. We hope the marked positive improvement in our relations of the last few years can continue; that we can continue to find points of mutual advantage, and that there will be no reversal in the Soviet new thinking as it pertains to foreign policy. Having said that, the events of the last few days in the Baltics deeply disturb and concern us. There can be no lasting U.S.-Soviet cooperation without shared values. And, as the President said on Sunday, events like those now taking place in the Baltic states threaten to set back or perhaps even reverse the process of reform which is so important for peace in the world and the development of the new international order. We remain deeply concerned and disturbed about the situation in the Baltics. Force has been used in Lithuania, and a terrible tragedy has ensued. Only peaceful dialogue, not the use of force or the threatened use of force, can resolve this situation without further bloodshed, not only in Lithuania but in Latvia and Estonia as well. An update on the situation in the Baltics for you all. As of 7:00 a.m. this morning in Lithuania things were relatively quiet. Mr. Landsbergis was in the Parliament building and a parliamentary meeting was going on. In Latvia, the National Salvation Front held a rally at approximately 8:00 a.m. our time in a military stadium outside of Riga. There was no violence. We have also seen press reports that several Soviet officers may have deserted, but we have nothing to confirm this report. We have also seen a report that black berets took over a police training academy, but we do not have a confirmation of that report either. In Estonia, there was a rally of the pro-Moscow Interfront Movement. The meeting was lightly attended, and there were no reports of violence. There remains a danger that front organizations in Latvia and Estonia are engaging in provocative actions by calling for the removal of the democratically elected governments there. We are watching this closely and urge dialogue rather than provocation as the best path toward defusing the crisis and reversing the damage already done. That's it. Q Margaret, I'm tempted to ask you a lot of questions about the Soviet Union, but that clock that you're talking about its ticking, and it's obviously the focal point. When you spoke just before of the Secretary being involved with the United Nations, could you elaborate a little? A Sure. Q Certainly, the Ambassador's words are quite clear as to what he thinks of the French proposal, but tell us, please, if the Administration is dead set against the French proposal as being more of the same old thing and linkage, etc.? A Let me tell you that the Security Council, as you may already know, met til 3:30 a.m. last night. They were due to meet at 10:00 a.m. this morning, and I think actually started meeting in informal session around 11:00 or 11:30. Concerning the French proposal, our view of this is that it would modify resolutions already passed whose full implementation we have been calling for. We have been very clear in our refusal to consider any initiatives which involve linkage with the Palestinian issue or walking back from full compliance with the already passed 12 United Nations Security Council resolutions. You should know -- and Secretary Baker discussed this with Foreign Minister Hurd this morning -- we would be prepared to consider a Council statement that encompasses the decisions already made in the Council's 12 resolutions over five and a half months. This is a British proposal which we welcome, and it has the support, without speaking for others, of other countries. Q I can't recollect if we have them all, of course. Do those resolutions speak of the need for some sort of a Mideast conference? A The ones that have already passed? Q Yes. A No. Q In other words, you're prepared to summarize what's been done already, but is the Administration prepared to offer Saddam Hussein some language that gives him some hope of getting a session going to deal with the Palestinians? A No. I just said what we're proposing. And my clear understanding of the 12 resolutions that have already passed is that they do not call for an international conference. Q I did remember them calling for it. I just wanted to check with you. A O.K. No. Our policy has not changed this morning. Q Just to clear this up, the British resolution, as you understand it, would simply restate the aim of the 12 resolutions already passed and nothing further? A Correct. Q What's the point of that? A The point of that is many nations, including our own, have said until the very last moment that we would work for a peaceful resolution of this. This is a proposal that the Foreign Minister discussed with the Secretary this morning, and the Secretary, after studying the proposal and discussing it with the White House -- we welcome this proposal and will support it. Q But, Margaret, how does reiterating resolutions already rejected by Saddam Hussein move the peace process forward? A I don't know if it will move it forward or backwards or leave it where it is, John, but it's an attempt by one nation which we have joined in, in an attempt to try to find in the hours that remain a peaceful resolution to this situation. Q Margaret, if the French proposal came to a vote, would the United States use its veto? A I don't know, Alan. Q You don't know. A I don't know, because these are all -- right now they're meeting in informal session. It is my understanding that there is not a formal agreed-upon document for a vote, and we have refrained, since our tenure here, from ever, without having a final before us, saying how the United States would or would not vote. I have said, I think very clearly today, what our position is on the proposal as we know it. It has not been tabled or called for a vote, and our Ambassador -- Ambassador Pickering -- was very clear last night on the United States position. Q If any country in the Security Council put on the table a resolution which included calling for a Middle East peace conference -- put that to a vote -- would the United States veto it? A The United States, I believe -- without pre-empting a Presidential decision, Alan -- would not vote for any resolution that clearly has linkage. Q The British resolution would simply be a vehicle for reaffirming solidarity at this 11th hour so there could be no confusion about the unity of the U.N. allies? A I don't want to second guess the British reasoning for why they have put this proposal there. I have got a limited characterization of it. I have said the Secretary has been working this morning -- in fact, talking to the Foreign Minister -- and it is a proposal in the shape, as has been described to the Secretary, that the United States would support. But there is no linkage in it. Q During this period of the passage of the 12 resolutions, there was also a resolution passed that stated the Security Council's favoring an international conference at the appropriate time. Would the United States object if this British resolution also reminded the world of this as part of an attempt to suggest to Iraq that such a thing is possible down the road as the President and the Secretary have said? A Saddam Hussein -- and I have to assume the Iraqi people -- are well aware of the Bush Administration position concerning an international conference. Every single member of the United Nations Security Council is very well aware of our policy prior to August 2 concerning an international conference. They also are equally aware of our policy post-August 2 of absolutely, positively no linkage, because we view -- feel strongly that that does nothing more than reward Saddam Hussein for his brutal aggression. Q Well, let me ask you a question that I asked Baker and did not get a satisfactory answer to, because Saddam Hussein had not offered or responded to an offer of linkage. But is the principle of linkage worth the lives that will be lost if a war comes within the next few days? A I think that the United States policy here has been supported unanimously by the vast majority of the nations of the world. Yes, as you well know, there are a few nations who would -- or say they would go -- for a Middle East conference. But the vast majority of the international community does not support the principle of rewarding an aggressor who has brutally invaded his smaller neighbor. Q At this hour, if Saddam Hussein were to blink, would he have the time in the eyes of the Administration -- does he have the time to remove enough troops from Kuwait to make a difference? A Those are all hypothetical questions that I am not going to deal with. Prior to coming to this podium, I am unaware of any signal that Saddam Hussein has given that he is intending to withdraw so much as a single soldier. Foreign Minister Dumas, I have seen on the wires, is saying much the same thing. Everyone is crying out for this man to come to his senses. This is within his grip and his hands to choose the path of peace and not possible use of force against his nation, against his people. And it is Saddam Hussein who can stop this. Q Margaret, may I follow on Saul's question? The French diplomats here and in New York are saying that their proposal restates exactly what the American formula is for a Middle East peace conference, international conference, at the appropriate time, properly structured, and so forth; that it would not be a resolution of the Security Council, but it would be a statement by the President. They say this is an American proposal. Why should the United States oppose that now, having agreed to it already earlier on? A My understanding -- and I am not at the United Nations, and I am not one of the people who is in New York working on this as it is happening -- is that there is a French proposal of last night that in the United States' view and in the view of other members of the Security Council who have said so today, "We believe that there is linkage." And our policy on linkage has been well stated over the last five and a half months. Q Margaret, you indicated in Baker's schedule that he has spent an enormous amount of time at the White House today already, and that he was over at the Pentagon yesterday. What is he doing at the Pentagon? Was he getting a slide show, a tour? What -- A I have no comments other than to confirm that the Secretary had a meeting with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Q How long was he there? A I don't know when the meeting began. It was scheduled to begin -- I think I'm correct on this -- I believe at some time between 5:30 and 6:00, and I believe the Secretary left the Pentagon about 6:45. Q O.K. And what -- Q Was it one meeting or two separate meetings? A One meeting. Q And having spent all this morning at the White House, what's he doing? A I have pointed out one of the things that he has been doing is discussing what is going on in the United Nations. I said that he had discussed with the White House our support of the current British proposal. And, as Marlin characterized, the President has had a meeting this morning. I believe that Secretary Cheney was there. I can't remember who else Marlin said. And that Marlin described it as the President and his adviser were discussing a whole range of issues concerning the Gulf crisis. Q This is not -- Q Would you describe them as preparing for war? A I'm not going to describe them, because that is a White House role, not mine, and Marlin has given the description on behalf of the President of the meeting the President had this morning. Q Margaret, this isn't the first time the French have tried to come up with a compromise. And at the same time, though, we are told repeatedly that France, like everybody else, with the possible exception of Syria in the coalition, would commit its troops and support U.S. policy. They're just simply trying to find some diplomatic approach that the U.S. doesn't find unacceptable. Did the Secretary speak to the French Foreign Minister at any point in this very busy two-day period? Did the French tell the United States in advance the approach, the ploy, they would try at the United Nations? Did this take the Administration by surprise? A Foreign Minister Dumas called for Secretary Baker yesterday when the Secretary was in his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Japan. The Secretary asked if Under Secretary Kimmitt could please take the call for him, since his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Japan was running approximately 40 minutes late. Secretary Baker had kept him waiting because of meetings at the White House, and because he was having a one-on-one meeting with the Foreign Minister of Japan and did not want to step out. So Foreign Minister Dumas spoke with Mr. Kimmitt twice yesterday and throughout late yesterday afternoon any number of times Assistant Secretary Seitz and Under Secretary Kimmitt have spoken with the French Ambassador here in the United States. Obviously, Ambassador Pickering is dealing with the French Ambassador to the United Nations. Q But in some of these conversations, at least in one of them, did the French tell the United States it had this approach it was going to put to the United Nations? A I haven't asked Bob [Kimmitt] that question. I don't know. Q Margaret, the United States at this point may be on the eve of a war which is going to cost thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of lives. Has the United States nothing new diplomatically to offer in these final hours that will bridge the gap and prevent this war? A I believe, John, that the entire world is asking the question, "Why isn't Saddam Hussein saying that he chooses to seek peace." The entire world, I believe, recognizes without question that Saddam Hussein alone, singlehandedly, can stop this. The entire world has for five and a half months exhausted every diplomatic opportunity and creativeness of the best minds of the world. To deal with that, as we have said, this has been an unprecedented international effort. There are 12 United Nations resolutions that have passed practically unanimously. Many of them did pass unanimously. There was a vote in the General Assembly of the United Nations. The entire world is calling for this man, Saddam Hussein, to choose peace, to use whatever is within his means, and any kind of rational wisdom to withdraw from Kuwait. Q And does the United States feel that it has no responsibility at this point to help that come about? A What do you mean? Q No additional responsibility to make some diplomatic move that would help this kind of peace come about? Do you feel that you've done everything that you possibly can do at this point, and that everything is now up to Saddam Hussein? A I certainly think that everything is up to Saddam Hussein. After all, there is one simple sentence that couldn't have more than ten words in it that he could announce to the world that says, "I am withdrawing from Kuwait." Q But, Margaret -- Q That's not good enough. A What do you mean that's [not] good enough. That's what the world has been asking for, for five and a half months. Q No. I say, the U.S. demand is total withdrawal. I mean, you're speaking loosely, but he has to commit himself to a total withdrawal, doesn't he? A Absolutely. Q Margaret, we've also asked for an unconditional withdrawal. A That's right. Q And the President has said no compromises, no face saving, no nothing. So what you're saying is these 12 resolutions are simply unconditional demands on Saddam Hussein, and the French are suggesting that there may be certain conditions that the world and the Security Council could live with, and the United States -- even though Saddam Hussein has not reacted -- the United States appears to be saying no to that. Is that correct? A Let's be clear here. This is not, nor has it ever been, the United States against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. One country you are mentioning, which I have acknowledged -- as we have all along -- there may be a few others -- have said -- Q Germany. A Correct. I said that. Q Italy. A I acknowledged it earlier. But the vast majority of the international community, of the nations of the world, have supported, are continuing to support, the 12 United Nations resolutions. And they call for unconditional withdrawal. So if you go the route of linkage, that is a condition in our interpretation and many of the other nations' interpretations. And then you would be setting the principle of rewarding aggression. Q And the principle of linkage -- you said the French have suggested something that has been called "loose linkage." Indeed, the President, in his United Nations speech, suggested that possibly as well -- what could be called "loose linkage." But now you're saying that there is no opportunity for even that, to include in this new Security Council resolution, at least the statement reiterating not only the 12 resolutions but reiterating the Security Council's belief and the American belief that an international conference could be called at the appropriate time, properly structured, subsequent to the withdrawal from Kuwait, and we're opposed to that? A The United States' position, as I said earlier, concerning an international conference was well stated and well founded prior to August 2. Post-August 2, the United States' position has been: We will not subscribe to linkage which in our minds, and many of the nations of the world, rewards aggression. It violates that very fundamental principle. No one, to my knowledge, is keeping a secret about what the United States' position is. It's a position of many years on a Middle East conference. But the United States, and many, many nations, do not want to reward this brutal dictator, who has invaded a country, by giving him a condition. It is clearly laid out in the U.N. resolutions: Unconditional withdrawal. Q Margaret, there appears to be a growing anti-war movement in the United States and also abroad. Has this taken the State Department by surprise? And what's your view of these protests? Are these people misguided or playing into the hands of Saddam Hussein? And how might that affect U.S. policy if this grows? A Are you speaking of people here in our country? Q Here in this country and abroad. A I'm not aware of Americans who are demonstrating abroad. I'm just not aware of it. As far as Americans demonstrating in America, that is our way of life. That is our country. Q And what about foreigners that are demonstrating in front of U.S. Embassies around the world, including our allies in Germany? A That, again, is a fundamental principle of our government of freedom of expression, freedom of assembly. That is a fundamental right of people in our country. That is their prerogative. Q Margaret, the Secretary and the President have referred to a new world order. How is that being defined? A They are defining it, as the Secretary of State and the President have said, by the insistence on the implementation of the 12 United Nations resolutions. The entire world has been defining it, in my mind, over the last five and a half months. Look at what the United Nations has done. Look at what the world community has done. It's unprecedented and it's historical. Q On the Soviet Union? Q One more on the area. Q Just thought I'd try. Q Margaret, what was the subject of the meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister? A They discussed a host of things, Johanna. It was a one-on-one meeting with our Assistant Secretary there and the interpreter. One of the things they did discuss was 1991 responsibility-sharing for the Gulf. They also, as you know -- and we put out a Fact Sheet yesterday -- signed a bilateral arrangement. I don't have what the Department put out yesterday -- a full readout of the meeting of the various subjects they discussed. Q The reason I asked is, it's curious that on the eve of war the French Foreign Minister calls in with the latest -- perhaps the last diplomatic initiative and the Secretary doesn't take time out from a meeting to talk to him. Does this suggest that Secretary Baker has given up on diplomacy? A The French Foreign Minister, when being told that the Secretary was in a meeting with one of their colleagues, asked to speak with Under Secretary Kimmitt. Secretary Baker did not say, "I cannot speak to him." Foreign Minister Dumas requested speaking with Mr. Kimmitt whom he knows very well. Q Has the Secretary given up on diplomacy? A The Secretary would not give up. He hopes that Saddam Hussein will come to a decision to choose peace. Q Margaret, we both don't like the questions. But if the French send their Foreign Minister to Baghdad, is the United States hostage, then, to French policy? In other words, could the United States go to war while the French Foreign Minister is in Baghdad trying to negotiate something that the United States, in any event, disapproves of but there he is? A That's a total hypothetical for me. Q What happens, Margaret, when midnight passes, and let's assume there has not been a military attack? What is the State Department going to be doing? Just sort of sitting there with a Task Force watching and waiting? A What happens at midnight, in my mind, is, as you know, the world community has said, at that moment the world is authorized to use force, if that is the decision that is ultimately made. Q And diplomatic efforts are completed, as far as the United States is concerned; last minute appeals and all of that sort of stuff. The receptors of the United States Government are shut down after midnight, is that correct? A This deadline is very real, as the Secretary has said and the President any number of times: It is a real deadline. Q It is a real deadline, and we've all heard that. Does that mean that incoming phone calls from the major participants in this, including the government in Baghdad, are not going to be received or heard? A That is a hypothetical, John. I can't tell you that at 11:59 a phone call comes through that the United States Government wouldn't take. Q The question is, if the government of Baghdad tries to do some of the things that the Bush Administration has been warning the world it may do and if it tries to sue for peace and it is, in fact, the 16th of January and not the 15th, is this government saying flat out that it's not going to talk to anybody after that deadline passes; that the time for diplomacy is finished? Or are you leaving yourself wiggle room? A No. Q No, you're not leaving yourself wiggle room? A January 15, Eastern Standard time, at midnight, is a real deadline. Q So there will be no diplomacy on this issue after January 15 as far as the focus of the issue is concerned, and that is the violation of the U.N. resolutions? This government is finished? It's doors are closed on the issue of trying to settle this peacefully after January 15? A I'll have to keep stating for you that January 15 is a very real deadline. Q But does that mean you won't talk to anybody after the 15th? A I'm not going to play that. I'm going to continue to tell you, which we have been saying and we mean, January 15, midnight, Eastern Standard Time, is a real deadline. Q Sure. But without knocking that in any way, and accepting that to be the case, does that mean you won't talk to anybody after the 15th? A If I answer that question, then I might as well say next September 19, we'll still be talking about it and next November 4 we'll talk about it. January 15 is a real international deadline. Q Your warning the journalists had a real sense of urgency about it. Can we draw from that that military conflict is imminent? A No. You can draw from it what we stated, that we felt a responsibility. We certainly do not presume to tell news organizations how to conduct their business, but we feel a sincere responsibility. It goes without saying, to remind that this is a very dangerous situation. Q Margaret, I think what Jack and Bill are asking, and I'm asking, is between the 12:00 midnight deadline, which is real, and the shooting that starts -- whenever it starts -- does the Baghdad government have a way of getting in touch with us to do the things that would prevent the shooting from starting? That's the point. A There's nothing preventing the Baghdad government from calling at this moment or having called for the last five and a half months. This deadline is real. I'm not going to push the envelop further. It is real -- Q I know. But can they call before the shooting starts, after 12:0l? A They have until 12:00 midnight Eastern Standard time. That's the international community's deadline. Q So they can't call after midnight, before the shooting starts? A I'm not answering. One, it's my understanding, Saul, which you know, that the President has not made such a decision. So you keep saying, "Before the shooting starts." I have no authority to answer that question. The Secretary of State told you any number of times on this trip that the President has not made such a decision. Q He hasn't said that lately. Q Margaret, were you given any assurances by the Japanese or by the Germans, specifically, that they would help in the cost, to help defray the cost of this operation this year? A The Foreign Minister himself answered it here at the State Department yesterday. He said that he had told Secretary Baker that he would continue to consider additional steps -- it, meaning Japan -- could take as the situation in the Gulf evolves. Q What about Germany? Their participation has been laxed? A Without addressing myself to that, Secretary Baker said, in his meeting with Chancellor Khol and with Foreign Minister Genscher -- and I'll get you the statements he made afterwards -- that he was very satisfied with those meetings, and that was just five days ago when we were in Germany. Q Margaret, on the same topic. Is the State Department ready yet to announce any dollar figures or percentage figures for responsibility-sharing from the states the Secretary visited on this trip? A No, not yet. Q Margaret, is the Secretary satisfied with the Japanese Foreign Minister's response of yesterday? A Yes. Q Not financial -- I mean, apart from financial? A You should also know that the Japanese announced yesterday that they have pledged to fund the full $38 million start-up cost of the U.N. Disaster Relief Organization's Refugee Relief Program in the Gulf. It is evidence in our mind of their continuing commitment. Q Is there any concern because of the French's proposal that this may be a weakening in the consensus, the international consensus? A No. Let me remind you that President Mitterrand has said on any number of occasions -- and, of course, I'll refer you to his record -- that he supports -- they have voted for -- the United Nations resolutions. He has also said, until midnight January 15, he would work for any type of peaceful resolution that he could. Q Margaret, in all of the linkage debate, can you tell us if Iraq has ever indicated to the United States that if linkage was accepted, they would leave Kuwait? A If you're talking about directly to the United States, I'm not aware of that. They have certainly said it in every bombasting statement that they have made out of their capital, and there has been no secret that that is exactly what they have tried to do. As you know, they came out with the statement that the reason they invaded Kuwait was to help the Palestinian cause. I don't believe that there are many people who believe that is why they invaded Kuwait. Q Speaking of beliefs, does the Administration believe that President Gorbachev did not give the charge order in the Baltics? That actions were taken around him? And, similarly, if you happen to know, did Defense Minister Yazov try to get the troops to return to the barracks and also get disobeyed? A I don't know the answer to either of your questions, and we are not going to speculate concerning President Gorbachev on what he knew or didn't know. Whatever the course of events, the Soviet leadership must be held responsible for the actions of the Soviet government. Q Even if he didn't know, his government is responsible and could be held accountable and might even suffer economic penalties? A As you know, the President has not made any decisions concerning those types of items, Barry. Q Following that up -- Q Summit planning? A I'm not going to speculate on the summit. As you know, Mr. Fitzwater yesterday addressed himself to this and basically said that -- let me get Marlin's exact words -- "The final decision has not been made and will not be made for some time." Q Is summit planning continuing? Are you continuing to have the discussions as though there were really going to be a summit with the Soviet government? Normally, you have almost daily conversations prior to a big meeting like that. Are those occurring? A I don't know. Q Can you take that question? A Sure. But to be honest with you, I don't know -- at what level are you talking? I don't remember the last time when we had the summit here. Q Foreign Ministry-to-Foreign Ministry. A I'll ask. Q And do you know when the last START negotiations were held -- sorry, part of planning. A What? Q If you can't now -- or we could ask ACDA. But do you have any notion of the pace of arms control negotiations -- that treaty that would be signed were it ready, were there a summit, both of which, of course, seem highly unlikely? A Yes, I'll take your question. Alan has a question. Q In his Pontius Pilate statement yesterday, Gorbachev showed scant remorse for the events in Lithuania. Do you have any comment on Gorbachev's statement on his lack of regret for the blood that was spilled there? A To be honest with you, Alan, I have not seen his statement. I have characterized for you what our statement is for today concerning the Soviet leadership on whether they knew or did not know. I just have not, since we returned, had an opportunity to see his statement. Q Can you ask the same question about the Temple Mount? A What? Q Margaret, can I ask you about the PLO shootings and the charges that Israel -- Q Why is the Charge coming? Is Bessmertnykh already -- A He's in Moscow. Q -- back? A He is in Moscow. Q So the Charge is coming in to meet with -- A Secretary Baker. Q And -- Q Filing break, please. In other words, can we just drop out and continue with other subjects, if you'd like? Q Do we know how many journalists are in Baghdad? A No, I do not. But I do know, and you all know, there are American journalists, and I'm sure other journalists, that are there. Q Is there a list of U.N. countries' contributions? For instance, the Canadians sent 17,000 troops and three ships. Anything like that available? A I think we've put that out any number of times. Check in the Press Office and see if they can't give you some of the old copies. Q What time is the meeting with the Soviet Charge? A I can't remember if it was set before we came down there. The meeting with the Soviet -- was it at 1:30? I don't know, Frances; I don't know. Q Margaret, the PLO? A Yes. What? Q I wanted to know if you had any statement on the assassination and also the charges that Israel is behind this? A The first part of your question, the Tunisians have not commented officially on responsibility. A Fatah statement said that the assassin was "an Agent who infiltrated as the bodyguard" of one of the victims and did not link him to any specific group. However, press reports quote Palestinian sources as saying the killer was a former member of the Abu Nidal organization with which the PLO has had a long and bloody rivalry; a rivalry that has led to assassinations in the past. Apparently, the gunman held Abdel-Hamid's wife and family hostage for several hours before being captured by Tunisian police. That answers your first question. Your second question concerning speculation that Israel was involved. The Defense Minister of Israel has said, "Definitely no, we had nothing to do with it." Q With the possibility of war in the Gulf, are there any advisories, outside of the advisory to reporters in Iraq, to U.S. citizens in view of potential increases in terrorist attacks? Any new advisories? A Any new ones? There's not a new one today. But, as you know, we just put out a new terrorist threat advisory last week. There doesn't need to be an updated travel advisory for Iraq. As you know, and all of you know, there are a number of Americans who chose, regardless of how many times they were contacted, regardless of how many flights we had available that went out with empty seats, there are Americans who chose to stay in Iraq. Q Margaret, what about terrorism in this country? Does the Department regard it as a likely possibility, a prospect? A We had a 3-page statement last week, Bill, concerning terrorism, and I would just refer you to that. It's definitely -- terrorism -- the entire category is something we are obviously concerned about. Q Are you stepping up security in this building? Q Could you just address the question of terrorism in this country? In this city, for that matter? Q In this building? Q Do you regard it as a likely danger under the circumstances? A I cannot address myself to "In this building, in this city." I will be happy to take your question. I don't have a current security analysis. I just haven't asked. So I'd be making it up. Q Margaret, on the U.N. thing, you mentioned the British and the French. Will the Secretary be talking to other members of the Security Council this afternoon and this evening? And will he take up the British and the French proposals with the Soviet Charge when he's here? A The intention of his meeting with the Soviet Charge, as I stated, was to discuss the Baltic situation. I don't know, Mark, if this subject, indeed, came up. I'm not sure that it's necessary for it to come up. He might have already had this meeting and completed it. What was the first part of your question? Is he going to call other people? When I came down for the briefing, there were no scheduled phone calls, but he might well talk to any of his colleagues or they could be calling him, but there was nothing planned. Q How many Americans are now in Iraq? A I'm not sure that we've ever given out that number. Have we? MR. BOUCHER: There's about 180. MS. TUTWILER: We've said about 180 who chose to stay. Q Margaret, what is his schedule for the rest of the day? Will he be staying through the evening, going back over to the White House? A As I said, he has intentionally kept his schedule open and flexible for today. When I came down to brief, he did not have any scheduled plans to go back to the White House but he well could. So it's totally open. Q Where is he going to be at midnight? A To my knowledge, at his residence. Q Does that 180 in Iraq include journalists, or is that the -- A I believe this number does not include journalists. This is the American community which we monitored and stayed in contact with throughout the time until November. So, no, it is not journalists. I'm not sure that we do have a number of American journalists or foreign journalists that are there. We just know that many organizations have one there. Q The situation in the Baltics, is that a setback for the new world order? A It is obviously not a step forward. Q Thank you. A Thanks, John. (Press briefing concluded at 1:52 p.m.) (###)