US Department of State Daily Briefing #26: Thursday, 2/14/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:02, Washington, DC Date: Feb 14, 19912/14/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, E/C Europe Country: Turkey, USSR (former), Iraq, Kuwait, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania Subject: Arms Control, Military Affairs, NATO, United Nations, Development/Relief Aid, State Department, Trade/Economics (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Announcement: Secretary and USSR Foreign Minister on Arms Control]

MS. TUTWILER: Yesterday, a number of you all asked me if Secretary Baker had spoken with any of his coalition counterparts or, specifically, with the Soviet Union Foreign Minister. He has not spoken with any other Foreign Ministers as of this briefing. He has spoken with the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union. He placed that call some time early yesterday afternoon. He received the call over at the White House where he was in a meeting. In the conversation, they discussed arms control, CFE, and START, the situation in the Baltics, and the Primakov visit. The Minister also took the occasion to inform Secretary Baker that Minister Tariq Aziz would be coming to Moscow later this week, as you all now know. He also said in this phone conversation, he only had a preliminary brief for the Secretary, because Mr. Primakov had only been back in Moscow for two hours. And that the Secretary would receive a much fuller briefing that he would send on -- a written briefing. He did receive that late last night. It was delivered here from the Soviet Charge. As you know, we do not get into details of diplomatic exchanges. I'm not going to be able to elaborate very much at all on this particular phone conversation or the later message. Basically, though, I would characterize it for you as the basic overall message was that Saddam Hussein was told that he must comply with the 12 United Nations resolutions and that he must leave Kuwait. The Foreign Minister echoed the same sentiments that you've seen in print of Mr. Primakov. Q And do you find anything at all promising in what the Secretary said? A Secretary Baker doesn't want to characterize whether he thinks it's promising or not promising. His view is basically that it remains to be seen if there's anything there. Q The fact that there is a continuing dialogue, with Aziz now going to Moscow, is that in itself, without getting into the substance of it, is that in itself an encouraging sign? A I don't know how to characterize that for you, Jim, and I think it would be inappropriate for me to do so. As you know, Minister Tariq Aziz was in the Soviet Union prior to the January 15 U.N. deadline. I don't think it would be appropriate for me, as I said, to characterize what type of signal it is or is not in advance of his getting there. Q Margaret, you offered a generalization about what the Soviets told Saddam Hussein. Could you offer a similar generalization of what the Iraqis told the Soviets? A No. Q Margaret, you said the Foreign Minister echoed the statements made by Primakov in print. Were you referring to his characterization of the talks as offering a ray of hope? A What I've seen him use -- Mr. Primakov -- was "a possible gleam of hope," that there may be something encouraging here. Sentiments along that line were expressed by Foreign Minister Bessmertnykh, but I don't want you to overwrite that either. It's the same as -- if you read carefully, as I have this morning, all of Mr. Primakov's public statements, they are very, very balanced in that he has said: they must abide by the 12 United Nations resolutions, there may be hope, there may be a gleam of hope, there could be something -- flexibility to work with. He hasn't had an emphatic statement that there is definite flexibility. So I would definitely characterize the Foreign Minister's comments as exactly along those lines. Q Can you tell us whether the Iraqis have even discussed with the Soviets the subject of withdrawal from Kuwait? A No. Q You can't tell us, or they didn't discuss it? A It is a policy here, Number 1, not to discuss our own diplomatic bilateral conversations and especially at this level and at this sensitive moment. I know it would be highly inappropriate to characterize anything that our counterpart told us about a third party. I just don't have any leeway on that, Ralph. Q I can understand that you don't have any leeway, but you did characterize -- you did talk about some of the contents of the diplomatic communication, a very select portion of it which is what -- A I gave a very general description. Q But you chose very carefully what you chose to describe, which is telling Saddam Hussein that he must comply. The key point, obviously, for the U.S. is whether the Iraqis in any way, shape, or form are discussing compliance. We don't have any way of gauging that at this point on the basis of what you said. That's the way you prefer to leave it? A That's right. Q Margaret, how would you describe the process that is going on? Is it negotiations or pre-negotiations or mediation? What's happening? A I don't know, Jim, how to describe how the Soviet Union views this. I think it's best that they answer those types of questions. As you know, our policy is that we welcome any and all overtures, attempts, conversations, talks, discussions, whatever adjective you want to use, if that leads to getting Saddam Hussein to abide by 12 United Nations resolutions and leave Kuwait. We have said we welcome anyone who can persuade him to do that. The Secretary, as you know, on Sunday said, "More power to them, if they can get him to do it." Q Margaret, a minor point, but you said earlier that the State Department was always briefed on these Primakov missions to Baghdad and expected to be again in this instance. When you began today, you said that the Secretary called Moscow. Is that significant? Is that the first time we've had to call them for a debrief? A No. The significance, Johanna, should be -- I said they discussed 3 subjects. As you all have asked me almost everyday this week, "Where are we on CFE and who's working on CFE," I've given you a pretty good indication today of who is. I said, when the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union was here -- I believe it's now almost what? -- two weeks ago that they would continue to try, as you know, to resolve this CFE issue. So I cannot characterize for you that the sole reason the Secretary of State placed this phone call was to get a personal readout on the Primakov visit. It wasn't. Q Let me just pin it down. Is the Secretary confident that Mr. Bessmertnykh would have, at some point, called him? A Absolutely. Q What progress, if any, was made on the CFE question during the conversation? A They're still working the issue. I don't have a characterization for you. It is something that they are working on. Q Margaret, has any decision been made yet, either with the Soviets or among the alliance, about the question of how to proceed on the talks in Vienna? A On the CFE I talks or -- Q CFE IA. A I'm sorry. You're correct. CFE IA, as I told you, I think two days ago, they begin their meetings today in Vienna. But I will tell you -- when you kept asking me, Ralph, if it wouldn't be business as usual, I have some specifics for you now that might help clarify what we mean by that. For instance, we will not table any proposal. We will not agree to the formation of working groups, and we will not engage in negotiating the substance of CFE IA. Q Has that position been conveyed to the Soviets? Was that among the things that Secretary Baker talked about with Mr. Bessmertnykh? A To be honest with you, I don't think he got to this level of detail. This is something, as you know, our working experts are working on in Vienna. I can't imagine that he would have a conversation at that level of detail. Q And the Allies, Margaret, are on board doing the same thing? A Absolutely. It's exactly what I said the other day: That we are in consultation with our Allies, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora and that it will not be business as usual. Q Margaret, you've told us what -- A Excuse me. The first meeting, I believe, was November 26. They agreed in December that this meeting would take place -- reconvene today. It did. Q You told us what the U.S. side won't be doing at that meeting. It doesn't sound like they'll be doing anything but waiting for the Soviets to clear up the outstanding discrepancies. Is that a fair characterization? A In CFE IA? Q Yes. A It's certainly not going to be a meeting with business as usual. We went through this a million times the other day. The reason and the problem is CFE. As we said, we went to the meeting, as we had said we would do in December. It convened today. I've given you now some literal specifics of what we mean by "business as usual." I've said the Secretary of State talked to his counterpart in the Soviet Union yesterday concerning CFE. So we are definitely working, as are our Allies, on CFE. If and when that is resolved, I have to assume business will be usual in CFE IA. Q So meanwhile there's really no business to be done in IA? A In CFE IA? Q Right. A That would be a fair characterization. Q Margaret, why were new travel advisories issued on Iraq and Kuwait? A Basically, if you've read the travel advisories, they have to do with the invalidation of United States passports. If you read carefully, that's what they say. The reason this is done is, this is a precautionary measure and part of the State Department's general travel restrictions for Kuwait and Iraq that were put into effect in August. My understanding is that this action has been in play for some time. We have taken similar actions in the past. For example, in 1981, with Libya, and in 1987 with Lebanon when, despite warnings of danger, Americans continued to travel to these areas. Under Section 211A, Title 22 of the U.S. Code, the Secretary of State has the authority to impose geographic travel restrictions for a country with which the United States is at war, where armed hostilities are in progress or for the physical safety of United States travelers. You will also note, if you read the two travel advisories, accredited journalists are exempt from this as are specific humanitarian cases that are judged on a case-by-case basis, as are members of the Red Cross. Q Can I ask a question about the exemptions? The release -- the travel advisory -- wasn't clear to me, at least, on that question. It seemed to say to me that journalists and humanitarian cases and Red Cross members, and so on, must still apply for validation but that they would be exempt from not being given those validations. In other words, they would be given the validations but they would still have to apply for them; is that correct? A I don't know, Ralph. I didn't get into that level of detail. Q Or are they exempt from the requirement to apply for a validation? A What I know they're exempt from is a sentence, a fine, which is explained in there. I don't know the bureaucracy -- "Do they have to get a validation?" This is something that I was personally involved in. I know that journalists are exempt. You may have to come get some type of sticker, but you are exempt and we are not prohibiting you from going to either Iraq or Kuwait should you so choose. Q The question is of more than just passing interest because until now it had been possible -- if one were able to obtain permission from Iraq or Kuwait to go in. You could take your passport and go and get in. At this moment, at least, my understanding of this regulation is that the United States Government requires a bureaucratic step first and that could prevent people who are at the border -- or close to it -- from going in. So could you at least take -- A It's not my understanding. I believe we posted this last night, and I'll read it to you: "Professional reporters are exempt from the prohibition on use of a U.S. passport to travel to Kuwait or Iraq and do not need to apply for the validation procedure to travel to those countries." We posted that last night. Q The way this worked, when you did this on -- A I've got two people talking to me. Q It was not posted. A It wasn't posted? Q It was not posted -- A We'll post it. Q Are there other explanations like that that are in that posting? A I can read the entire thing if you'd like me to. I basically have told it to you. It's the Red Cross and humanitarian cases -- they will be looked at on a case-by-case basis as they have been in the past. I think I've now cleared up your question on journalist at the border, applying validation. They don't have to. Q Margaret, the way this worked when you did it for Lebanon is that those of us who wanted to go to Lebanon after this restriction was imposed could just do it at the embassy in whatever country you were in, such as Cyprus. Do you have any reason to believe it will be different now? That you could do it, for instance, in Amman? You simply take it into the embassy, they say that you're OK, and you go? A Number 1, I think I've just said that accredited journalists need not apply for the validation procedure to travel to those countries. So in my mind, Mary, that would kind of mean it's being handled a little differently. I'm not familiar with the Lebanon case, but you say you had to go to an embassy. This would lead me to believe that we're saying you don't. Q As a follow-up to the same question, to the same subject, do you have any information to share with us about those U.S. citizens who had chosen to remain in Iraq since before the war? A Do I have any information on them? Q If you have any information. That's what I mean. A I don't have any information on them. As I remember, we said there were approximately 300 Americans who had chosen to stay in Iraq and Kuwait. I don't have any information on them. Q Margaret, the travel advisory says the passports cease to be valid on February 8. It was issued five days later. Can you explain why that happened? A No. I'll be happy to take your question and ask the consular officials. I just don't know. Q On a different subject, could you -- Q No. One more on this, please. Just as a matter of practical effect, it has already been illegal for Americans who are not journalists or humanitarian workers to travel to Iraq since they would be violating the economic sanctions. Right? A I don't know if it was illegal or not, Jim. But this clearly has a specific penalty for it. This is something we have done previously. I gave you two specifics; I'm sure there are others. I don't remember saying that it was illegal or our trying to arrest John Connally or any number of Americans that went there, if you remember, trying to get hostages released. Mohammed Ali comes to mind. There are any number of Americans who were going on humanitarian trips to help release some of the people that Saddam Hussein was holding hostage. So I'm not aware of that legality. Q Yeah, but that's because the State Department chose not to enforce whatever Treasury regulations would have punished them for spending any money in Iraq; is that not right? A I will have to check with the Treasury Department. I'm very familiar with the rules that they have at the -- I think it's called Assets Control Office. I will check for you if specifically in the United Nations resolutions an interpretation of this was humanitarian visits. For instance, I remember, off the the top of my head, several wives who went to visit their families. I do not remember mass exoduses of Americans flying in, chartering airplanes, renting 2600 rooms in a local hotel. I don't really remember that, but I will check for you the literal, technical legality of those Americans that did choose -- most of whom, I remember, were humanitarian reasons -- to travel there at that time. The reason, again, just so that we're clear, for taking this extra measure now is, one, predominantely of safety, and to make even a more public or strong case. For someone, I guess, who needed some help, this is a very dangerous area. This is a war. This is for Americans' safety -- to take an additional step to basically discourage them. And I don't know of any Americans who were trying to go, to be quite honest. But this is so that we are on the record of taking an additional step of showing how seriously we view this area. Q Still on the same subject, please. In the Libya case, there were a number of Americans who went to Libya after that regulation was put in place and were able to do so without violating the U.S. law by not "using their American passports." Is that true here as well? If the passport is not "used" in order to accomplish the travel, there would be no violations; is that correct? A I'm not that familiar, Ralph, with the consular rules that govern the issuance of this directive. I have spoken to you about the section of the law under which the Secretary of State has this authority granted to him. I will be more than happy to look it up for you. I, to be quite honest, did not anticipate that there would be this request for this much detail on this subject. I will be very happy -- it's all part of the public record -- to get the consular office , the bureau here, to put out chapter and verse of all the ramifications of this and all of the specifics and how it affects that. I just apologize to you. I did not anticipate that there would be that many questions on this subject. Q One more. There's some suggestion that this directive was issued as a means of keeping dissidents and peace groups out of Iraq and Kuwait. I take it from everything you've said that you can deny that? A I have never heard that mentioned. I'm not aware that that is what drove this policy, since, specifically, I gave two other instances and I'm sure there are more, which I will try to get for you this afternoon. My understanding is, this is a precautionary measure that we have taken. Predominantly, the overriding concern is safety of Americans. Q Margaret, what is the definition of "professional reporters?" A I will have Consular Affairs -- Q No one here. (Laughter) A Right, George. I believe I said accredited professional reporters. In other words, again, I will go to Consular Affairs -- I'm sure they have got some regulation that has a definition of this, but someone who is an accredited journalist. You know that there are many journalists or individuals who could say they were going in under the guise or pretense of "I'm with X association" and, indeed, they're not. So I think that it has to be, as it always is in order to get a press pass here, you have to be an accredited journalist. Q Accredited to whom and under whose rules? As the United States views them? A I can only (inaudible) American journalists. Q But I mean who would accredited the journalists? A The same people who accredit you so that you're here. You're an accredited journalist. There's no doubt about it. Q Theoretically, if a person wanted to go to Iraq and said that he or she represented the Peace Daily, as we construe the First Amendment law, generally, that person could be seen to be a reporter? A I guess we'd have to check it out and see if there's such a publication. Q Another subject. A Gladly. Q Do you have any comment on the statement made by Mr. Genscher of Germany with regard to Syria's willingness to recognize Israel? A No. Q Did you detect any similar attitude from the Syrians during your latest contacts with them? A What I'm not going to do today is get into this story. The comments are those of the German Foreign Minister. I believe there's a statement this morning by President Assad. There's no purpose served for me to get in here. I would be more than glad, which you're very familiar with, to restate United States policy concerning Syria but I'm not going to engage in this particular story. Q Margaret, could you confirm and expand on the latest reports out of Kuwait of civilian executions that came in overnight? A No. Q The State Department doesn't have any knowledge of these reported executions? A We have knowledge of a lot of things that we don't talk about. They're intelligence matters. Q Margaret, back to the Bessmertnykh letter, is there anything in there involving the Gulf that the Secretary wants to follow up on, thinks it's worth pursuing. And can you tell us what, if anything, is being done about it? A The answer would be no to all your questions, other than, Mark, the Secretary, as we said, hopes that anyone who can persuade Saddam Hussein to abide by 12 United Nations resolutions, does so. Q Margaret, did the Secretary and the Foreign Minister discuss at all the issue of the bombing of -- yesterday's bombing? A I didn't ask, to be quite honest. Q Could you take the question? A I'll look at it, but honestly, I don't know. As I pointed out to you all, the conversation took place at the White House, and it's just something I didn't even think to ask. I don't know. Q During that conversation, did Mr. Bessmertnykh offer Secretary Baker any new information on the CFE data that changes the situation? A I tried to answer that earlier. I know it's a non-answer to you. I recognize that. All I can say on this is that they are continuing to work the issue. Q What did they say on START and the Baltics? A I can't do this for you. I'm sorry. I would love to be able to. It would make my life, as you all know, a lot easier, and it would certainly make yours easier. I simply cannot do it. This was a private conversation. I've given you the generalization on what I thought that you would be the very most interested in. I recognize that it's not as much as you would like. I'm doing the best that I can, and I cannot, after every time he has a conversation, run down here and say everything that he has said. I just can't do it. Q Could you take the question as to whether he found anything intriguing enough to follow up on -- to ask follow-up questions? A What subject are we on? Back on arms control? Q We're talking about the Primakov visit -- the discussions with the Iraqis. A I think I answered that. That was Mark's question. Q But you didn't answer it. You said you couldn't touch it. A I said no to all the three questions he'd asked me in a row, and I said, having said that, that the Secretary -- one of the questions he asked, George, was that very question -- we would wish well to anyone who can get Saddam Hussein to withdraw. Q Did they discuss at all the conduct of the U.N. session in New York? A If they did, the Secretary didn't mention it. Q Margaret, do you have any comment on the outpouring -- A Excuse me. And I believe, Ralph, that the Soviet Union representative there voted the same way the United States did. Q I know. But I was curious to know whether they discussed what might be said during the session or what positions they might take. A I think that was handled at a different level. Q Have you got any comment on the outpouring of negative comments from both coalition allies on yesterday's bombing and other countries? A I'm not aware of an "outpouring of negative comment." Have you seen what President Mubarak said this morning? Have you seen what President Assad said this morning? I am aware in certain countries that, yes, there has been a negative media reaction, but there has not been, as you characterized, in my analysis of it, an "outpouring of negative reaction." Q I wouldn't call it necessarily negative media reaction when you have the Labor Party in Britain saying -- having all kinds of -- that's not media; that is government. I mean, it's opposition but it's still legislators. A I haven't seen what the British government -- I thought you said coalition countries. Q We're a member of the coalition. (Laughter) A I'm sorry. I haven't seen what the opposition party in Britain has said or not said. I'm just not aware of it. Q Are you aware of the demonstration at the U.S. Embassy in Amman? A Yes. Q That's the first time, I think, the Jordanian government has permitted demonstrators to approach any Western Embassy, specifically the U.S. Embassy, during the course of this conflict. Does that -- A My -- Q Excuse me? A My understanding -- and I'll be honest with you, it's probably your network. I've only seen it on TV is I thought that there were Jordanian police that were there on the street in front of our Embassy. Q But demonstrators have not been permitted to approach the Embassy as far as I'm aware. A But are they in every capital? I mean, to get up close enough to do harm? Q Well, they are here in the United States. Anyway, regardless of whether or not it's the first time that's happened, what do you have to say about the fact that some 400 Jordanian Arabs demonstrated against yesterday's events outside the U.S. Embassy? Is this a threat to the Embassy? Are you requesting the Jordanians for any additional protection, or anything like that? A No. As you know, we've had any number of travel advisories in this region. One of the countries is Jordan. As you know, there have been drawdowns in any number of Embassy posts in this region, but there are no new measures that the United States Government is considering taking today based on one demonstration, which I understand included about 200 people. Q Is the U.S. attempting in any way to convey its point of view to citizens in countries like Jordan who apparently disagree with the U.S. position on the events of yesterday? A I think there's any number of ways. One is the air waves. You saw the statement yesterday by Mr. Fitzwater. I assume your network carried it -- yours did -- and that it played in that region. I don't track this stuff, but that message is no secret. I am sure that our Ambassador and employees there in that country and other countries, as is part of their job, continuously say what the United States policy and positions are. That's normal. Q Margaret, can you tell us anything about Mr. Kelly's meeting yesterday with Perez de Cuellar? A Not really. As I characterized it yesterday, it was a general brief on the situation in the Gulf. It was a meeting that had been scheduled several days ago, and I believe that Pete Williams yesterday at the Pentagon said that they, too, had sent briefers there, and it was just a general briefing, and he returned yesterday. Q Are the reports true that it also included an intelligence briefing then? A That's an intelligence matter that I cannot confirm or deny or get into. Q Margaret, going back to the Syrian letter -- A I'm sorry. Q Going back to this -- Q (Inaudible) -- the United States did show some pictures to, I think, the Secretary General but perhaps other U.N. members as well yesterday. A I'm aware of those reports. Q Are they true or false? A It's an intelligence matter that I simply -- Q Oh, those were intelligence pictures? A I cannot comment on the briefing, the specifics of the briefing, that was given by United States Government officials to the Secretary General of the U.N. Q Margaret, going back to the Genscher/Syrian meeting, without going into the substance of what Genscher said or what he believes to be true, when Secretary of State Baker met with the Syrians in January, was he told something analogous to that? A Not that I know of. But I'll be honest with you, I didn't ask him. If he has, I've never heard him mention it. I don't know. But I've got to be fair, I didn't ask him. Q Margaret, if I may ask two questions: One, since the Secretary received the full readout on Primakov, the written -- A Fuller. Q Fuller. I'm sorry. A Fuller. Q Do you expect more to come soon? A I don't know. Maybe there could be. That's why I said "fuller." Q Anyway, since that was received, has there been any communication with the Soviets -- A This morning? Q -- following up on it? Yes. A Not this morning by Secretary Baker that I'm aware of. No. Q O.K. And the other question was, while you had this dialogue of whatever kind going on between the Soviet Union and the Iraqis with Tariq Aziz going there in a few days, will that affect in any way the prosecution of the war by the coalition? A No. In fact, I would refer you to the spokesman for the Soviet Foreign Ministry this morning who addressed himself to that. I'm paraphrasing. Vitaly Churkin basically said that just because there are talks going on does not mean there would be any change or difference, or they wouldn't expect any difference in what was going on. In fact, if you wait one second, his exact quote is: "Moscow is not demanding any halt to military action by U.S.-led alliance while talks were continuing with Iraq"-- that from the Soviet Foreign Ministry which I read on the wires this morning. Q Margaret, was there any discussion -- Q Can we attribute that to you or to -- I mean, are you speaking for the Soviet Union? A No. I'm just telling you what -- that's what the Soviet Union says. Q They don't expect it, and you don't expect to do it either. You don't expect it to affect the military planning at all? A Not to my knowledge, no. Q Margaret, was there any discussion of the complaints or charges raised by Prime Minister Pavlov about Western economic warfare actions against the Soviet Union? I note that Russian Prime Minister Filshin has resigned in response to this brouhaha that's going on inside the Soviet government, and the question would be, "Was there any mention of these charges in discussions with the United States?" A If there were, I'm not aware of it. Q Do you have any comment on the allegation about a Western conspiracy to undermine the Soviet economy? A Yes. Basically, we would characterize that comment -- we had it yesterday -- as outrageous and ludicrous. Q Margaret, the purpose of the upcoming meeting between Mr. Baker and the Turkish Foreign Minister who will be in town February 20? A Do I have any comments about it? Q No comment. The purpose -- the purpose of the visit. A The purpose -- to be honest with you, I haven't looked into it. I'm aware the Foreign Minister is coming. I'm sure they have any number of bilateral subjects to talk about. I'm sure they'll talk about the Gulf, but I have not yet seen anything specific on whether the Foreign Minister has a specific thing on his mind. I would just characterize it as an overall discussion on the situation in the Gulf and any other matters that the Foreign Minister may want to bring up. I just don't know. Q Do you know when the meeting will take place? A No. Q Margaret, the Communist Party newspaper Pravda today criticized the U.S. decision to give aid directly to the Baltics, saying that it would undermine Soviet sovereignty. Has there been any authoritative criticism to this government from Moscow on this issue? A No. Q And one other thing on this same subject: Are you planning any other kinds of aid directly to the Baltics -- technical aid, economic aid?

[Baltics: US Medical Aid]

A Well, yesterday we had said that when we originally made this announcement, that medical aid would be continuing, including the republics and to the Baltics. I don't have a specific time schedule for you. On the medical aid, I can tell you that representatives of Project Hope, the private voluntary organization coordinating this initiative, arrived today* in the Baltics to advance the end-February arrival of the first shipment of medical supplies. As the White House announced on February 6, this first shipment is destined for Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Ukraine. This first shipment will be followed by others in the next 12 months to areas in the Soviet Union experiencing acute, immediate shortages of basic medical supplies. No shipments under the program has as of yet been delivered. Q Margaret, yesterday we asked you about this problem between the Soviets and the Poles about the timetable for withdrawal of Soviet troops from Poland. Since we spoke to you yesterday, the Poles have now issued a very tough statement, saying that they would withdraw their permission for Soviet troops to be on the soil of Poland if they didn't get out and expressing their displeasure with this timetable that stretches it into 1994. You didn't have much of a response yesterday. Do you have anything more today? A No. And I haven't seen the quote of the Polish official that you're referring to. I'm not familiar with that. But even if I had seen the quote, I don't have anything further for you on what the United States policy is concerning this. Q Can I follow up on Carol's question for just a moment? I think the other day you said, when you dealt with this aid to the Baltics, that you hoped this procedure would be with the Soviet Union's approval and encouragement. Has the Soviet government agreed with the procedure for sending this first shipment to the Baltics, and did Baker and Bessmertnykh discuss that subject at all? A Did they discuss it yesterday, or did they discuss it in his three-day visit here? Q Either one or both. A Three-day visit? Q I think we know they discussed it in their three-day visit. A Correct. Yesterday I didn't ask. He didn't mention if they raised it yesterday. You know they discussed it when he was here for three days. Q I think after that time you said you hoped the Soviets would go along with it. A I don't remember saying that. I'm sure that you're reflecting the record accurately. I am unaware, as I just said to Carol, of any official Soviet objection. Q Margaret, just one mechanical question: When Baker and Bessmertnykh speak on the telephone, do they speak in English, or is there a translator involved? A I didn't ask yesterday. As you know, he speaks fluent English, and other times they have spoken in English. But I didn't literally ask. As you know, he responds to you all, members of the press, in the lobby in English. So I don't know. Q Just in case anybody asks me what the Secretary of State is doing today, could you offer us any ideas as to what he might be up to? A Today? I cannot remember if he had his routine breakfast this morning at the White House. He is having various meetings here with members of his staff on various different subjects. I cannot remember, to be honest, Ralph, what his afternoon schedule is, and who he's scheduled to meet with. I just don't remember, but I'll be happy to get it for you. Q Margaret, do you have any update on peace talks in Ethiopia? Is there any effort being made to bring those talks between the government and the rebels to Washington? A I don't know, Carol. I haven't asked about this subject in quite a while. Hank's here. I saw him this morning. I'll be happy to ask. Q Margaret, yesterday you were asked to take a question about whether the Department was blocking Ambassador Glaspie's testimony before the Hill. When the reply was posted, the question was rewritten to eliminate her name, and thus missed the point. Could you take the question again? A I'll take the question again, and I'm sure that the Congressional Affairs office is going to respond in the same way. I told you yesterday there are any number of committees that are requesting any number of officials, not only in the Middle Eastern Bureau here at the State Department but all Bureaus. And just because somebody requests -- as you know, all the time we work on schedules, and we work it out so that we can work between the two branches of government. And their point yesterday, as the President makes continuously, was to show how cooperative we have been as an Administration with the Congress. Even many members of Congress have said what extraordinary lengths we have gone to, to keep them fully briefed, to have very senior members of this Administration up there briefing them on a regular, fairly routine basis. And so that was our point back to you. And I will just have to say as a general category that there are any number of requests for any number of officials to come and testify before Committees, subcommittees, etc. Q Isn't it congressional courtesy? Doesn't that generally extend to all officials who were confirmed? A I'm sorry, Bill. What? Q Doesn't congressional courtesy usually call for making available any official who was confirmed by Congress? A Yes. And I don't believe that I've said or our guidance -- our response last night said that we are not going to do so. Q But haven't you been keeping Ambassador Glaspie under wraps? A Secretary Baker answered that. She is not any more under wraps than any other Ambassador in this region. The question comes, specifically at requests from you all, for interviews with her and other Ambassadors -- Ambassador Wilson, Ambassador Howell, Ambassador Harrison, Ambassador Freeman -- I mean, I can name any Ambassador in this region, and our response has consistently been that our view is that all these people are very, very busy. I think everyone understands that they are busy, and that they simply have not had time to take it out of their schedules to go do on-camera interviews for you and on-the-record interviews. My understanding is that many of you -- many of you in this room -- have talked to these individuals, but you've been talking to them on background. Q Well, for what it's worth, Ambassador Glaspie did utter a few words in response to a -- A Stakeout of her home. Q -- CBS stakeout of her house, and her response wasn't quite the same. It didn't indicate that she was too busy to talk. I don't have the words in front of me, but my recollection of it was that she had been asked not to discuss the subject. A She had been asked, as all Ambassadors in this region have been asked -- this is not in our opinion -- and you may absolutely have every valid right to disagree with it -- not the time to be doing TV interviews and magazine interviews and newspaper interviews. And I think you will find -- correct me if I'm wrong -- that that policy has been uniform for this region for all of our Ambassadors. Q Your earlier answer suggested that it was a matter of people being too busy. That does not seem to be the case. A That is what our view is of it. And I'm not aware that she disagrees with that. Our view is that these people are understandably very, very busy in their region of the world where there is obviously a very major situation -- for lack of a better characterization. Q A little while ago Marlin Fitzwater at the White House read from a report about the -- new reports about Iraqi atrocities in Kuwait. Do you have any information on that you could -- A No, Pat. This gentleman asked me that earlier. You arrived a little late. And, no, I do not, and maybe that helps this gentleman. He can read Marlin's transcript. Q O.K. Thank you. Q Can I just ask a procedural question? A Sure. Q What is the -- since Mark asked that question about the taken question, what is the policy? Is the policy to respond to the question that was asked, or is the policy to respond to a question that the Administration wishes to respond to? A The policy is to try to get back to you all on those questions that I specifically say that I will take and answer. We try for 4:00 p.m. We do not have a very good track record on that, as you all know. I believe and hope that that track record is going to improve, and it is not any different or any reflection of our Press operation than from previous Administrations. We try for 4:00 p.m. We don't usually make it. But, obviously, the Bureaus are tasked with the question that is asked, and in their opinion they have answered it. In this one specific, Mark has raised the question and feels that they did not answer it, so we will ask them to please address themselves to it again. Q Cyprus: Margaret, I asked yesterday Mr. Popadiuk of the White House if the U.S. -- A Mr. who? Q Roman. A Roman. O.K. Sorry. Q -- if the U.S., as in the case of Kuwait, will enforce Turkey to comply with the U.N. resolution of the Cyprus problem too? He asked me to address this issue to the State Department. Could you please answer my question? A I'll be happy to take your question. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 12:42 p.m.)(###)