US Department of State Daily Briefing #10: Wednesday,1/16/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:04 pm; Washington, DC Date: Jan 16, 19911/16/91 Category: Briefings Region: E/C Europe, MidEast/North Africa Country: Jordan, Yemen, Nigeria, Iraq, Algeria, Israel, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Sudan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar Subject: Military Affairs, Travel, Democratization, State Department NOTE: AT 7:00 PM, US AIR FORCES BEGAN ATTACKS ON IRAQ. There was a Presidential Statement to the nation at 9:00 pm, Defense Secretary Cheney briefed immediately thereafter, followed by an informal State Department briefing by Spokesman Tutwiler at 9:30 pm. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Security Increased]

MS. TUTWILER: Several of you all asked me yesterday what the State Department was doing concerning security and you asked me what we were doing overseas. I said that I knew that the State Department had been addressing this subject matter for many, many weeks but I did not have the details with me. I'd like to give those to you this morning. The Department has implemented a more stringent building security program. Procedures have been put in place to ensure a safe workplace for all and to provide safeguards for government property and sensitive information. The following procedures are being effected: An increased, uniform security personnel presence in the building's public areas. Closer inspection of vehicles and deliveries coming into the building. Mandatory wearing of building passes while in Department of State buildings. Adherence to established visitor clearance procedures and escort requirements. Employees are asked to curtail sponsorship of all visitors who do not have official business in this building. The Department is closed to public tours. And functions on the Eighth Floor and in the auditoriums are being reduced in numbers. Should hostilities occur, we will close certain public entrances and further restrict parking around the State Department. As an additional precaution, employees are requested not to display their building passes or parking permits when outside the Department. As far as what we have done overseas, I cannot give you as many details as I could concerning the building. But I can tell you that the Department has asked U.S. Missions to review their respective security situations, provided them with security guidelines, and advised them to take appropriate action as necessary. This has been an on-going process since Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2.

[Update: Travel Advisories]

I would like to recount for you -- many of these, as you know, we've put out in any number of travel advisories. The Department has ordered or authorized the departure of non-essential U.S. Government employees and dependents from the following countries: Jordan, Yemen, Nigeria, Iraq, Algeria, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Morocco, eastern province of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Mauritania, Pakistan, Sudan, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar.

[Terrorism Precautions]

Concerning U.S. precautions on terrorism: In view of threatening public statements by Iraq, and planning activities undertaken by terrorist groups supported by Baghdad, the United States Government believes that acts of terrorism directed against American interests are likely in the event of hostilities. President Bush has said that the United States will hold Saddam Hussein directly responsible for any terrorist attack Iraq sponsors. Some of the steps that the United States Government is taking to help counter this threat are the following:
One:
Since the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, we havereleased four public announcements warning of the risk of Iraqi-sponsored terrorist activities. These warnings remain in effect.
Two:
The Department has authorized or ordered thedrawdown of personnel from most United States diplomaticfacilities in North Africa and the Middle East. We have publicized this information in travel advisories, and we strongly urge that Americans considering travel abroad review all travel advisories affecting the region or country to which they may be planning to travel.
Three:
Ambassador Busby, who is the State DepartmentCoordinator for Counter-Terrorism, has worked closely with theFederal Aviation Administration, which has implemented majorenhancements of aviation security standards for both domesticand international service by U.S. airlines. The internationalmeasures have been carefully coordinated with our major aviationpartners.
Four:
Ambassador Busby has travelled extensively sinceAugust to discuss the terrorist threats with our allies and isworking very closely with them in coordinating whatever measureswe are planning.
Five:
The Department has asked all United Statesdiplomatic missions worldwide to review their respective security situations.
Six:
American Embassies and Consulates throughout theworld have been briefing local American communities on stepsthat they can take to increase their personal security in this time of heightened tension. As we have said before to you, while it is likely that terrorist events may occur, for which we have no forewarning, should specific and credible information on a threat to the American public be received, the Department of State will provide information for travellers and other concerned parties.

[Update: The Baltics]

The next readout I'd like to do is on the Baltics, concerning an update on that situation.
Lithuania:
There has been no new violence reported inthe last 24 hours. Today is the funeral for those killed in the recent violence. The Lithuanian government continues to meet in the Parliament Building. Parliamentarians have received visits of delegations from the republics of Russia, the Ukraine, and Moldavia. These groups visited Vilnius to show their support. Private groups from Poland and France have also visited the Parliament in Vilnius to show their support. The Federation Council Mediation Team, which was sent to Lithuania several days ago, returned to Moscow and was to report to the Supreme Soviet this afternoon. The Supreme Soviet is sending a group of deputies today to talk to President Landsbergis about the situation in Lithuania. Pro-Moscow workers at a power plant in Lithuania say power should be cut off at the end of the day if National Salvation Committee demands are not met.
In Latvia:
The conditions are tense, but there hasbeen no military action and no violence in the last 24 hours. The Latvian Parliament is meeting today to discuss the on-going crisis. The Supreme Soviet is sending a group of deputies to Latvia to discuss the situation. Black Berets remain in control of the heating plant in a Riga suburb. Yesterday, the Latvian Supreme Soviet repeated a November 14 action which had called for the cutting off of local support to military bases where Black Beret units were stationed.
In Estonia:
There has been no violence or significant military action reported in Estonia in the last 24 hours. Yesterday evening, Bob Zoellick and Dennis Ross and Kurt Kamman received Endel Lippmaa of the Estonian government. They met for approximately 90 minutes. Mr. Lippmaa expressed his gratitude to the United States for its support and said he hoped that the United States would use its good offices to help the Baltic States if things did not improve. Yesterday, in Tallinn a pro-Moscow group announced the creation of a National Salvation Committee such as exists in the other two Baltic republics. The Estonian government reached agreement yesterday with the Soviet Ministry of Defense that they would allow Estonian draftees to serve in Estonia. In addition, deserters from the Soviet military would be allowed to serve in Estonia without punishment. Estonia radio this morning carried an Estonian government appeal for Estonians who had been paratroopers in the Soviet military to contact the Estonian government in order to join up with the Estonian Self-Defense Forces. Pro-Moscow workers at a power plant in northeast Estonia have said that electrical power should be cut off at the end of the day if National Salvation Committee demands are not met.

[Update: Secretary's Activities]

The only other thing I would like to give you an update on is Secretary Baker's activities. The Secretary worked here at the Department until approximately 10:00 p.m. last night. This morning, he had breakfast at the White House at 7:00 a.m. with Secretary Cheney and General Scowcroft. He also met separately at the White House with President Bush. He will be having lunch today at the White House with the President, and he will have his regularly scheduled 1:30 meeting with the President at the White House. The Secretary met early this morning with Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar for consultations on the situation in the Gulf. He has also this morning talked to the Foreign Minister of The Netherlands. Yesterday afternoon, Secretary Baker talked to the new Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union. He called the Foreign Minister in Moscow. He called to congratulate him on his appointment and said he hoped he would be able to continue -- that they would be able to continue the path of cooperation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. He noted, however, that the current Soviet actions in Lithuania put that objective at risk. He emphasized that continued Soviet commitment to the process of reform would be essential to U.S.-Soviet cooperation. In this regard, the Secretary said, "Enduring cooperation is not possible in the absence of shared values." He told the Minister that the United States sees absolutely no justification for the use of force against the peaceful and democratically elected Government of Lithuania. In response, the Minister said that maintaining close U.S.-Soviet relations was extremely important from the Soviet standpoint. He reiterated that the Soviet Union had no intention of changing their foreign policy and he sought to be reassuring on the Baltics. Q You're going to be shocked but I'm going to ask you if they talked about the Gulf, and if the United States will give the Soviet Union any advance word before it moves against Iraq? A I won't respond to your second question. To your first question: Yes, they discussed the Gulf. As you know, Barry, when we were in Geneva, Secretary Baker called then-Foreign Minister Shevardnadze, and we have kept you up to speed on the back and forth with this Ministry and their Ministry. Also, yesterday, Secretary Baker took the occasion to tell the Minister that he appreciated the help the Soviet Ambassador at the United Nations was giving concerning yesterday's activities. Q Was there a discussion of this last-minute effort that now the Soviets have made, where they've pledged to Iraq that they would help to try to get the Middle East discussed in an appropriate way if Iraq would please pull out of Kuwait? A Not in the conversation that Secretary Baker had yesterday, which was early afternoon. Q Margaret, I may have missed it in your list of countries from which you had asked that non-essential people leave the country. Was Israel included in that? If not -- it was included? A Sure. Q Has the United States made any special effort to evacuate Americans or to assist Americans to evacuate Israel? And if not, why not? A Not anymore special, John, than any other country where we are assisting in various means, some of which I can publicly tell you, some of which I cannot. But our embassies in all of these areas have been working for many weeks. This is not new information. I just did a compilation for you. These announcements were made concerning the country you're asking me about, I believe while we were out on the road. There have been any number of airline flights out, Americans leaving, etc. So this was just an effort today for you all to pull that part of this together. But absolutely the embassies are helping there. And there are various means, if Americans need help, of having expedited -- getting Americans out of these regions and these countries. Q Do you have a comment on the Soviets last-minute peace initiative that the Deputy Foreign Minister has talked about, saying that they have offered the various things that Barry just described? A No. Q Does the U.S. support their effort at this point? A I don't have -- to be honest with you, before we came to the briefing -- a thorough readout. There have been so many various reports this morning concerning this and other matters in the Soviet Union, we just are not in a position to respond at this briefing. Q Has the United States Government had any word from Baghdad in the last 24 hours? And is the door still open to a potential bid from Baghdad to try and stop what appears to be about to happen? A We have had absolutely no word from Baghdad. The Secretary remains hopeful that there will be a realization by Baghdad of the seriousness of this situation and the need to comply with the United Nations resolutions. Obviously, if there was an initiative or indication from Baghdad of a willingness to comply with those resolutions, that would have to be pursued, but only if it did not involve a walking-back from the United Nations resolutions. The sad and tragic fact is that there has been no indication of any flexibility in the position of Iraq. Q But you're saying the door is still open? A I am saying what the President has said, which is what Marlin has said, the Secretary has said. I'm, Number l, not going to play hypotheticals. We're going to refrain from doing that. I think that this statement speaks for itself which is nothing new that has not been said by the highest government officials in our country previously. Q You're saying that even at this late date Iraq could forestall war if they would make a move? A Everyone here knows, so I don't need to remind you. The United Nations Resolution 678, if you read it, said that after January 15, it authorized the use of all necessary means. It did not call for action on that date or a specific date after that. Q In addition to the Soviet Union, what initiatives are you hearing about that are now taking place in an effort to still try and resolve the Gulf situation? A To be quite honest, I am not aware of any new initiatives that are out there. There may be some but I am personally not aware of any. Q On-going, though? A I'm not aware of any that are on-going. You saw the Secretary General's statement last night. I believe you've seen what the French government has said today. Various parliaments across Europe are voting today. I'm not aware of any new initiative that is in play or one that is on-going. Q Why not any optimism about the Soviet effort? A Excuse me? Q Why not an optimism about the Soviet effort? A Because I make it a habit of not commenting on something that I am not familiar with. I have not seen that. As I said, there have been any number of various reports coming out of the Soviet Union this morning on this subject and other subjects. The Department was simply, at this briefing, not in a position to respond responsibly to something we've seen piecemeal. Q Margaret, just for the record, could you explain what was going on in Taif last Friday night when the -- if we had not reached some sort of a deadline or call for action on January 15, what was going on the other night in Taif when the Secretary said that on January 15 we reach the brink. Was that just psychological warfare on the part of the United States, or did the Secretary misspeak? A Of course he didn't misspeak. It's the same thing that the United Nations said, John. The United Nations resolution -- and I'm sure you've read it and are very familiar with it -- says, "After January 15, you are authorized to use force." The resolution does not address itself to any specific date, but the date is anything that the coalition deems is necessary. "After January 15, you are authorized to use" -- the literal language is, "All necessary means." So the brink was, as the Secretary stated on Friday, last night at 12:00 midnight. Should the coalition make such a decision, they have the authority of the international community and the United Nations Security Council. Q Margaret, not to play word games with you, but we're already over the brink, then; is that correct? A The deadline was 12:00 midnight Eastern Standard Time, January 15. Q No, I'm using the Secretary of State's phrase, that the brink would be reached. We're already over the brink, then; is that correct? A That's correct, John. That doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Q Margaret, does your guidance still reflect the idea that an attack could come sooner rather than later? A I'm sorry, Bill, what? Q Does your guidance still reflect the idea that an attack could come sooner rather than later? A Correct. Q Margaret, has the Secretary spoken -- Q Can you reiterate -- A Can I what? Q Do you reiterate that, that the attack is more likely to come sooner than later? A That is what Mr. Fitzwater has said today on behalf of the President. That is what he said yesterday. It's what the Secretary of State has said. It hasn't changed. Q Margaret, has the Secretary of State spoken with any other foreign minister or foreign official this morning, either on his own or with President Bush? A Other than the Foreign Minister of The Netherlands, as of the briefing, he had not. And as I said, he had met with Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar. Q Margaret, does the United States feel that it knows where Saddam Hussein is? A I would never answer a question like that. Sorry. Q Well, I didn't ask you where he was. I asked you if the United States feels that it knows where he is? A That's a question that I'm just not going to respond to at all. Q Margaret, can you tell us what other kinds of consultations are planned in the next hours or days with other members of the coalition? A There are none that I'm aware of that are planned. Q Do you expect others to occur as if unplanned? A There are none that are scheduled and there are none that are planned. I can't predict the future and say that right now while we're briefing that Foreign Minister X is not calling the Secretary or the Secretary has had a meeting and decides to call several foreign ministers. I can only address what is real as we're standing here. There are none that are planned. Q Margaret, I find your statement today hopeful that they'll still show a willingness to comply. Is there a deadline for them to show the willingness, since we've already passed one major deadline? A Those are the types of questions that I absolutely -- and I'm sure you understand -- will refrain from answering -- any and all types of questions along those lines. Q Margaret, news organizations are being asked if the people who make these decisions have relatives, close relatives on active duty. So, naturally, we're being asked at State if the Secretary has a son or any close relatives on active duty in the Gulf who might be involved in hostilities. Could you tell us if he does? Q He has a niece's husband by his first wife who is serving in Saudi Arabia. He has a stepson that is in the Reserves that is in Texas that has not been called up. Those are the only two members of his family that I'm aware of. Q And that first person -- the niece's husband -- do you happen to know if he's in the Army or Air Force? A I don't. Q Margaret, in terms of the on-going security measures that you mentioned within the State Department, within the diplomatic corps, and as well for U.S. citizens in foreign countries, was there any dramatic change, any increase, any implementation as of midnight last night in these plans? A This is something, as I said, that Diplomatic Security and the officials here have been working on and are aware of. Some measures were put in earlier this week, I believe. I don't have an exact timetable for you. But, definitely, all the measures that they have deemed would be appropriate for this building and other missions are now in place. Q Have there been incidents that you are aware of that have been foiled by any of the increased efforts at airports? Are you aware of any of the alleged busts that have been made of various cells throughout Europe and perhaps in the United States as a result of increased efforts to counter terrorism? A No. Q No? A No. Q Could you take that question, please? A Sure. We had a thorough briefing this morning -- so I'm very current on this -- by Ambassador Busby for the Senior Staff. This question was addressed and the answer was, if you want a specific, "No, I do not know of a specific." Q When was the last diplomatic contact that the United States had with any Iraqi official? A I don't know. Ambassador Mashat, as you know, left last night with his wife and driver. I don't know if someone in the Department escorted him to the airport or saw him at the airport. I know that he has left. I don't'know. As you know, the President has not severed relations with Iraq. He has kept their embassy here open and they are down to four employees. The very reason that he kept it open was, should they decide to get in contact with the United States Government, they have their functioning channel that is there and open. Q Margaret, could you clear up a point? Was Ambassador Mashat asked to leave, or did he choose to be among the people who left as part of the drawdown of the Embassy here? A My understanding is that he was recalled back is how he announced it. He was not asked by the United States Government. The United States Government did request that the Iraqi Mission here be reduced to four people. It was their choice who the four people would be. Q Margaret, yesterday Jack asked you repeatedly whether or not the midnight deadline meant that diplomatic doors were closed, and you repeatedly stated that last night's midnight deadline was the final deadline. It was a real deadline. Today you're saying that if there is a willingness from Baghdad to withdraw some troops, then there seems to be a window. Are you rolling back at all? A No. I am not running backwards. I am stating, number one, let's deal with the facts. The facts are to my knowledge not one single Iraqi soldier has crossed back into Iraq. I believe there are close to 600,000 of them there, or at least over 500,000. Not one in five and a half months -- not one sign of flexibility has been shown -- not one indication has been shown. There is one human being on the face of the earth who can stop this -- Saddam Hussein. That has been the case for over five and a half months. That is what the real world is. I'm not going to deal with any number of hypotheticals. We're going to deal with what the facts are. Q (Inaudible) A Wait a minute, Barry. The facts also are, as I said yesterday, there has been an unprecedented, historical international community effort to try to get through to this one human being who has it within his grasp to stop this, and nothing has worked so far. And everyone -- everyone that I am aware of -- has come to the same conclusion. They have exhausted every diplomatic avenue that is known to man right now. Not playing the hypothetical game, which I will not, yes, I said that should -- and who knows -- they give any type of indication or initiative from Baghdad of a willingness to comply with 12 United Nations resolutions, one of which is, as you know, unconditional, total, immediate withdrawal from Kuwait, that would have to be pursued. But please deal with what's real, and the real world is -- there has not been one sliver of an indication that they intend to do such. Q Margaret, the world -- undoubtedly, though, the magic moment, the brink, has passed without the United States acting, and I wondered if you could tell us why there are some experts who appear on television a lot, and I think -- I hope I'm not misquoting, but I think former Secretary Kissinger is one of them who was not for holding back much longer. But these folks seem to think that it could be very characteristic of Saddam Hussein to act now immediately after the deadline -- you know, within 24/48 hours -- and offer something. Is that why the United States is holding back? Is it an additional attempt to elicit compliance from Saddam Hussein, or is it simply a military judgment that the U.S. will pick the time and place? A These are the types of questions that I am going to refrain from answering. Q Margaret -- Q But a brink is a brink. I mean, in answer to John Dancy -- A I'll go back to -- Q -- you sort of walked away from the fact that Mr. Baker stood out there with pilots and said, "You will soon know." He also said with great drama that the brink will be passed at midnight -- A And it was -- Q And it was passed, and we are still sitting here, and the world is still at peace, and I wondered if that's because the United States would like to allow a little more time at least to see if Iraq will come forward. A Let's also deal with the facts. The facts are that the United Nations resolution did not call for action at 12:01 on January 16, correct? Q Correct. A No one in this Administration, to my knowledge, has ever said at 12:01 we are going to take action. The United Nations resolution clearly states, Barry, that after January 15, which was the brink -- it was exactly as the Secretary said -- the international coalition is authorized to use all necessary means. Q Margaret, you're giving the impression that Saddam Hussein could still stop this by saying a few words. My impression was that the U.N. resolution demanded the total and unconditional withdrawal of all Iraqi troops from Kuwait by January 15. Can he really stop it just by saying a few words? A These are getting me again down the hypothetical path. The President addressed this question on Saturday, but it is still -- as Mr. Fitzwater has said this morning, as the President has said -- within Saddam Hussein's power to stop this. Q Well, Margaret -- Q What does he have to do? A He has to withdraw, massively withdraw -- eventually all of it, because it's unconditional -- his troops, his force, from Kuwait, restoration of the legitimate Government of Kuwait. They're the same demands the international community has been making for five and a half months. Q O.K. So words are not enough. He has to do something, right? A I'm not going to play hypotheticals. Q Well, Margaret, can I just -- could we just go back about two weeks then to a statement by the President -- the date of which I do not recall exactly -- but he said very clearly that Saddam Hussein had to have all of his troops out of Kuwait by January the 15th. Was that, (a) unrealistic, or (b) psychological warfare on the part of the United States? There seems to be a consistent pattern of, to use your phrase, walking back from various deadlines, and I'm just wondering why you're doing it. A I don't know how in the world you could say that anyone in this Administration is "walking back from a deadline." What do you mean? What deadline? That deadline -- you must have or misinterpreted the United Nations resolution or misinterpreted the President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the international community. You must have been misinterpreting or a little bit confused that at 12:01 war starts. There was no confusion on behalf of the international community, the coalition or the President. None. Q No, no. You folks put a gloss on the U.N. resolution. The resolution doesn't speak of war. We all know that. A "All necessary means." Q That's right. The resolution does not say midnight, Eastern Standard time. But either for the reasons John Dancy is suggesting -- psychological warfare or something -- you folks narrowed and made very explicit when that brink is, and you said that he had to get all his troops out by midnight, Eastern Standard time, the 15th of January. That has passed, and we're simply asking, some of us think that's a bit of a reprieve, and we're asking why the reprieve, and what could he now do that perhaps would extend the reprieve. Now, it's a little early to speak of a reprieve. It's only 12 hours or 14 hours, but it is a bit of a reprieve, and it's self-evident. We're not the ones who put midnight into the U.N. resolution, you folks did. A And we have never said, Barry -- I don't know how many times I have to say it; check the record -- we have never, ever, ever, ever said "12:01 we will authorize all necessary means." Q We know that. A O.K. So what are we debating? Q The thing is, the United States Government interpreted the resolution to mean midnight, and he's got to get everybody out by midnight, and he hasn't. And we're just wondering, why not? A My understanding of United Nations rules and regulations, Barry, is that some resolutions specifically say and state Greenwich Mean Time. Some state other specific times. This one was decided, even though it did not specifically say it, we would use U.N. time, which happens to be Eastern Standard time in the United States. That is how that decision was determined and that is standard operating procedure in the United Nations. Q So, Margaret -- A Yes, Bill. Q Deadline's passed. He is still in there. So now what? Q Why isn't it too late? Q Well, no. Now what? Now what? A I have said this yesterday. I'll keep saying it today. Saddam Hussein should do as the world community is demanding: withdraw immediately, massively, unconditionally. The international community has called for him to leave Kuwait, get out of Kuwait; the legitimate Government of Kuwait to be restored. But, please, let's deal, as I said earlier, with the real world. As of this briefing, there is not one shred of evidence, one indication, that he is taking any initiative to do what the international world has been demanding for five and a half months. Q So, now what? A I'm not answering "now whats." Q But if he did do any of the things that you are indicating, even though we have passed the deadline, it sounds as though the United States is still willing to listen. The door is still open. Is that correct? A I'm only going to continue to answer this the way that I have been answering it. I don't have any new explanations for you all; new ways to push the story forward for you. I am not going to play hypotheticals. The United Nations deadline was the brink. It was the pass -- it has passed. Q But you're not willing to say that you're willing to talk to him, although you're suggesting that you're willing to talk to him. Q She said yes, they are willing to talk to him. A I said -- again, let's deal with the real world -- if there was an initiative or indication from Baghdad of a willingness to comply with 12 United Nations resolutions, that would have to be pursued, but only if it did not involve a walking back from any single one of the 12 United Nations resolutions. I have also said any number of times that the tragic fact is, there is no indication of any flexibility in the position of Iraq. Q Margaret, you ad lib a lot right there, and it's very commendable. But would you throw into that, too, still the Mideast peace conference? A I think that -- Q No walking back. Now, wait a minute, you've covered about the whole waterfront. It's a lot to remember. But you have no walking back from the resolution -- A Which has been standard United States policy for five months. Q Exactly. But you didn't happen just this moment, so I'm asking you if it's just -- you know, just -- A No, Barry, it's not an oversight, and I think we spent probably close to 40 minutes on that subject yesterday. Q No, I'm saying would you put in your statement -- A Our policy hasn't changed today. Q Will you put in the statement if there's any indication, blah-blah-blah-blah, etc., etc., ellipsis, and no linking to the Mideast peace conference? Is that still part of it? A Our policy, Barry, has not changed overnight. Q Can I have a filing break? A If you want. Q Do you have a comment on the actions by the French and British governments in the last 24 hours? Their parliamentary bodies basically supporting the decisions of their executive part to follow through on military action. A I don't have a comment other than it's just like our vote in our Congress. It's another signal to Saddam Hussein how serious not only our government but various governments are. As I said earlier, there are, it is my understanding, a number of votes going on in European parliaments today. All of them had not been concluded, to my knowledge, before we began the briefing. But if he needs another signal, which is kind of a stretch of the imagination, then here is yet another example of governments and people who support those governments saying, "Get out of Kuwait." Q You've mentioned the decision to act within the basis of the coalition. Do you read the resolution to require some unanimous decision, a concurrence among some number, or is it possible that the unilateral action of any member of that coalition can precipitate the use of force? And, if it requires some sort of concurrence, by what means would this be established? And, if there are members of the coalition that don't agree with the use of force, what is the concept here that you're describing? A Those are, all three questions, I believe that you asked, that I will refrain from answering. Q Margaret, in a British newspaper over the weekend on Sunday, I believe, Foreign Secretary Hurd was quoted as saying that as of midnight when the deadline approached -- A The brink. Q -- all of the allies -- the brink approached -- all of the allies would consult by telephone as to what to do next, and at that point command and control, I believe you said, would pass to the United States. Did that telephone call take place? What's happened? A I saw the same newspaper article that you did. It was when we were there, while the Secretary was meeting with the Prime Minister. The copy I read had no attributable quotes. An unnamed source said Foreign Minister Hurd had said there would be a phone call at 5:00 a.m. I'd never heard of any 5:00 a.m. phone call. No such phone call took place. But in fairness to Minister Hurd, those were not direct quotes. It was an unnamed source saying that they had been told this was what would happen. Q Margaret, do you have anything on the proposal from the Pope for a meeting with the U.S. and Iraqi Ambassadors to the Holy See? A I believe that letter was sent to the President. Marlin has commented on the letter on behalf of the President this morning. Q Can you describe the ongoing consultations between the United States and Israel? Are there any new assurances given or sought? A Ongoing since Mr. Eagleburger was in Israel? Q Ongoing as of right now. A I am sure that there are, just as there are with all of our friends and allies, constant communications. But I don't have a specific for you. Q Soviet diplomats have been quoted as saying that they get the impression that the Iraqis don't really believe that the U.S. or the allies are ready to use force. A That gets me into a question of: "Is the United States going to use force." I'm not going to answer that question. I will keep referring to what the United Nations resolution authorizes. And as far as what the Iraqis believe or not, I have no way of telling or knowing or analyzing. Q Margaret, going back to the wording of what you said, are you trying to convey a message to Iraq that even though the deadline has passed, there is still a chance for this to be resolved peacefully? A There's one message I'm trying to relay, and it's not to the Iraqis, it's to Saddam Hussein. The whole world is sending the same message. He obviously has not received it. That he should withdraw unconditionally from Kuwait. Q But that it's not too late. A There's one message we're sending to Saddam Hussein: Withdraw. Q My question, though, it's not too late? A January 15th, at 12:00 midnight, was a brink, and that brink has passed. After that, the United Nations authorizes "all necessary means." Q Margaret, can you be more specific about the Secretary's contact this morning with his colleague from The Netherlands? A No, not really. It was to discuss the situation in the Gulf, and that was really about the only characterization I can give you. Q Was it about the political uncertainty in The Netherlands if the Dutch would participate in a fighting war? A I'd just have to leave it at generalizations, unfortunately, sir, that they discussed the situation in the Gulf. Q Margaret, perhaps I read the wrong schedule. Is there not a meeting today between Secretary Eagleburger and Israeli officials? Did I read that -- A You're right, Candy. And they handed me that at the very end. (TO STAFF) Do you remember who it's with? The Ambassador? The Ambassador. You're right. Sorry. I forgot. Q To discuss the Gulf situation one -- A I'll ask Larry. Sorry. Q Margaret, can the U.S. by itself decide to use force? A These are all the types of questions that I am simply going to refrain from answering. Q Can I change the subject? A Gladly. (Laughter) Q A few questions about the Soviet Union. Today Gorbachev apparently announced or revealed that he's considering pulling back on press freedoms, and I was wondering how you reacted to that? A As I said earlier when asked a question about some new Soviet initiatives, there had been a number of reports out of the Soviet Union today, and many of them had been confused, and I've seen them reported both ways. I don't have, nor does the Department have, a clear reading of whether, indeed, this is what they are intending to do. It is my understanding from one report, this is a President Gorbachev proposal. In another report I have read just from the wires, it says that, no, he is not going to do this. Our position is, as you would expect, if this is true, it is obviously a step in the wrong direction. Q You also said that in his conversation with Bessmertnykh that the Foreign Minister had sought to assure the Secretary on the situation in the Baltics. And that leaves the question in my mind as to whether he actually did assure Baker -- whether the Secretary was actually satisfied with what the Foreign Minister told him. A I want to leave it the way we described it, Carol. Q And one more question: Has the Administration made a decision about any further steps, sanctions, ending high-level meetings or low-level meetings, or whatever, with the Soviet Union? A Not that I'm aware of. Q Can I follow up on that? Q And a member of the Lithuanian Free Council -- A Wait a second. Excuse me. Margaret has a question. Q Two related questions: One is, Secretary Baker told us on the trip that Shevardnadze did not give him a specific warning about last weekend, what happened. But I wonder if either Gorbachev gave to Bush, or whether from any other source, an allied source or any other source, the U.S. Administration had any advance warning of what was coming? A Not to my personal knowledge. Q And then secondly, what is the status of the review of American aid -- and this is sort of another way of asking Carol's question, but to the Soviet Union in light of what happened? A I don't have anything new or a new update. To be honest with you, Margaret, I don't believe the Administration has said they are doing a review. I believe the Administration's posture has been that we are going to monitor the situation closely. Q And summit planning once again. A Marlin had no update and nothing new to add to questions concerning the summit. Q Did Secretary Baker discuss going to Moscow with Mr. Bessmertnykh to maybe work on summit arrangements? A He did not discuss in his conversation yesterday with the new Foreign Minister a potential trip by the Secretary to the Soviet Union, nor did he discuss the summit. Q Margaret, one more on that: There was a report out this week that the Soviets -- or the Soviet military had again tried to link SDI with the START Treaty, and I wondered if that were true? A I don't know, Carol. I'll be happy to ask Reggie [Bartholomew] for you. Q Margaret, just to dot the last "i" on this. Was there any discussion of a U.S.-Soviet Ministerial anywhere -- A In yesterday's conversation? Q Yes. Anywhere on the globe. A What do you mean "anywhere on the globe"? Q The question was asked in terms of would Mr. Baker go to Moscow. A Oh, no. The subject of travel did not come up. This was, as I described it, it was three parts basically: A congratulations; to thank him for what the Soviet U.N. Ambassador was helping us do yesterday in New York; and (3) to say to the new Foreign Minister, as he had to the old, personally, how concerned he is about the situation in the Baltics. Q Does the Secretary hope a Ministerial can be arranged early on since he's got a new Minister to deal with? A To be honest with you, it's something I hadn't even heard him mention. Q Margaret, have you had any comment on the new Prime Minister to the Soviet Union, Mr. Pavlov? A No. Q And do you -- A No. I'll be happy to ask if they do. Q Margaret, yesterday a member of the Lithuanian Supreme Council reported to European sources, journalist sources, that their FAX communications with a number of European governments were being interfered with, and that they had asked for a number of actions, including the convening of a United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the bloodshed in Lithuania. Has the U.S. received a request of that? Are you aware of these problems that that parliament is having, and what would be the U.S. position on such a call? A Since I am unaware of such a request, I would rather refrain from the hypothetical, "If such a request came, what would the United States' position be?" Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 12:49 p.m.) (###)