US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #73: Thursday, 5/2/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 11:58 PM, Washington, DC Date: May 2, 19915/2/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, South Asia, E/C Europe Country: Iraq, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Iran, USSR (former), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Israel Subject: Democratization, Immigration, Regional/Civil Unrest, State Department, Development/Relief Aid, Arms Control (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I don't have anything, if you all do. (Laughter) Every day it's getting slower and slower.

[US Middle East Peace Initiative]

Q Has the Administration decided to scale down its ambitious program for peace in the Middle East? MS. TUTWILER: I can't even remember where I saw this one report this morning. As you know, we have refrained from characterizing in any way what the Administration's literal program is. But, without characterizing "scaled down," "scaled up," I leave it where it is. I would not steer you in that direction at all. I would steer you in the direction that both the President and the Secretary of State plan to continue to work on this very important issue and believe that work should continue on this issue, and they want to do what they can to promote peace in the region. Q But have they made any decisions about how they're going to proceed from this point, given the fact that the Secretary seemed to have such little success on his last trip? MS. TUTWILER: Without buying into your second characterization, I would just report to you that, as we mentioned yesterday, the Secretary of State was going to meet with the President. He did. He gave the President a full and thorough debrief of his trip to the region. And, which will not come as a shocking surprise to you, I will not have any specifics of any decisions that they may or may not have taken in that meeting. They will determine when and in what fashion they want to publicly proceed. But I do want to leave you with the thought coming out of that meeting, as I just expressed earlier, that both the President and the Secretary of State agreed that the United States should continue to do what it can to promote peace in this region. Q Does that mean the two-track policy is alive and well? MS. TUTWILER: As far as I know.

[Iran: US Visa for Former President Bani Sadr]

Q Has the Administration decided to give a visa to Bani Sadr, the former President of Iran? MS. TUTWILER: No. That's under review. And it is my understanding -- let me get you the specific technical language on this. Bani Sadr is ineligible for a non-immigrant visa under Section 212(A)28(F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which precludes the issuance of visas to aliens who advocate the use of violence against officials of the Government of the United States. As I said, the Department is currently reviewing whether or not to recommend a waiver of that ineligibility to the Department of Justice which, as you know, is the lead agency concerning visas and has the ultimate responsibility for deciding whether to grant a waiver or not. Q Does that mean he advocated violence at some point? MS. TUTWILER: That who advocated violence? Q Bani Sadr. MS. TUTWILER: The main reason for this, Bill, as I'm sure that you're aware, is, as has been done in the past, that anyone associated with the Iranian government at the time when they were holding United States hostages in Tehran, has to be looked at carefully. Q Well, he was due in the United States the beginning of next week. I mean, he's got some appointments next week. So -- Q He was due in today. Q Today. MS. TUTWILER: I've heard yesterday, I've heard today. Q Well, when do you think a decision might be made? MS. TUTWILER: I don't really know, to be honest with you. I mean, I'm aware, just as you said, next week. I've heard his private schedule a number of different ways. To be honest, I don't think they'll make a determination based on someone's personal, private schedule. I think that they will make the determination, as they have in the past, concerning former Iranian government officials who were in office at the time the United States hostages were being held, and that is the determining factor. This matter is before the Department, and it could be they will make a decision today. I'm not exactly sure when that decision's going to be made. Q (Inaudible) -- the application -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me? Q When did you get the visa application? MS. TUTWILER: I have no idea. I'll be happy to ask Consular Affairs for you. Q (Inaudible) Q This waiver -- MS. TUTWILER: Saul says the 23rd. I don't know. Q I'm sorry. The waiver decision is strictly for Secretary Baker to decide eventually? MS. TUTWILER: This is not, it's my understanding, before the Secretary of State at this moment. I believe it's before the Deputy Secretary of State. Q I don't understand where the Justice Department fits in. Does the Justice Department make a determination, and then it's before the Deputy Secretary of State, or how does that work? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding of this, Saul -- I believe how this works is that we're reviewing it. We make a recommendation to the Justice Department. The Justice Department is the ultimate lead agency on visas, waivers of visas, etc., and for deciding whether or not a visa is waived. So I guess there are instances of -- I have not done a lot of research on this. The State Department could make X recommendation, and Justice could decide not to do that. Q But Bani Sadr has a reputation for being one of the Iranian moderates during that period who was forced out of office and fled to Paris where he now lives. Why does he come under this section of the U.S. Code that you mention, advocating violence against -- MS. TUTWILER: Well, he is -- according to United States regulations -- ineligible for a non-immigrant visa. That's a fact of life. Q Because he advocated violence against -- MS. TUTWILER: Correct. What we can do is -- it's my understanding there are any number of examples of this -- that many people are not eligible under this specific code in our law. We can choose to grant a waiver or not grant a waiver. That is what is being reviewed. There is no argument over whether he is eligible under our law to have this type of visa. Q What I'm trying to put together, Margaret, is the advocacy of violence against American nationals: Did that come during the seizing of the hostages? Is that what you're referring to? MS. TUTWILER: That is my understanding of this. And what I read at first is verbiage from the actual code and gave you the code number of what determines the first part of this puzzle. There is no argument or questions that he is ineligible for this non-immigrant visa. Q As is -- MS. TUTWILER: We are reviewing -- excuse me, John -- whether to waiver this or not, which, it is my understanding, has been done in the past. Q As is frequently the case in this sort of instance, there is the stated reason by the State Department for denying a person a visa, and then there is the political reason, as has been the case with the Nicaraguans in the past and various other governments. Are you willing to comment on the political problems which may surround this man's visa? MS. TUTWILER: No. Because my understanding of this is this is honestly -- and I attended a meeting this morning where this was discussed. I didn't hear, which I think you're referring to, other considerations that people might think are going into this. What I heard was straight out: An individual who was in the Iranian government at the time that our United States hostages were being held. This, it is my understanding, has been done in the past. And there are some people here who served at that time who feel quite strongly about this. Q Margaret, has the United States received a protest from the Government of Israel? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. I saw that one wire copy reporting that Elie had mentioned this to Ambassador Brown, but I can't find in the building that there is, to use the phrase that you used a quote/unquote "protest." Q Have you heard from the Government of Israel in any way since -- MS. TUTWILER: Not as of this briefing. Q Margaret, the Secretary was due to talk to the Kuwaiti Ambassador this morning. Do you have any readout on that meeting? MS. TUTWILER: No. The meeting began at -- it was scheduled to begin at 11:30. The Ambassador had requested this meeting with the Secretary last week when we were on the road, and when I came downstairs, the meeting hadn't concluded. But I'll get you one.

[Iraq: War Reparations/Embargo]

Q Is there an effort by the United States to try and find a way in the Kurdish refugee situation for the U.S. to be reimbursed for its out-of-pocket expenses, the humanitarian expenses, through the sanctions mechanism to get money back from Iraq to help pay for the aid effort? MS. TUTWILER: There is not a mechanism that I can point you to, but our view is that Iraq should help pay for the cost incurred by the international community in assisting the refugees whose plight was caused by Iraq's repressive acts. Q But you -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't have a mechanism yet. This is something, it's my understanding, that has recently come up. It is something that is being discussed at the United Nations, and the only thing I can report to you today is this is our position, and this is what we're obviously presenting in those discussions. Q So although there is not a formal mechanism, what you are saying -- MS. TUTWILER: There is not even agreement yet about that. Q What you are saying is the U.S. position is that some mechanism should be worked out whereby Iraq would pay and one could logically assume that that mechanism would have to somehow piggyback on the sanctions mechanism which is in the process of being developed now. Is that correct? MS. TUTWILER: You got it. Q I got it? Thank you. Q Margaret, are you saying that they should pay everything or simply part? MS. TUTWILER: I said "help." Q How much has been spent on this effort, do you know, so far? MS. TUTWILER: No, I don't. Do you mean by just us or by everybody or -- Q Either way. MS. TUTWILER: I don't have those figures. I'm not sure, to be honest with you, where I would even go to compile them. I could try. Q Could you ask, because it is a lot of bodies out there, and, if it's only $200, then one would -- MS. TUTWILER: It's more than 200. Q Well, one would suspect if it's -- MS. TUTWILER: I'll see if I can pull it together for you. You know what the President has allocated -- the various amounts of money that we have done as emergency funding. I'll try to get that all pulled together for you. I obviously would have to talk to the Pentagon to see if they are keeping a tally on what their costs are. I'm just not sure, to be honest with you, if anybody's pulled that together yet. Q As a form here, tomorrow the Secretary General and the U.N. are issuing a report to the Sanctions Committee to begin to set up a mechanism -- percentages and a mechanism whereby money for other things would come out. Does this mean that the U.S. is now going to lobby very strongly to add this to the other burdens, if you will, or the other responsibilities that Iraq now has from the flow of oil from the -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't know how to characterize for you how strongly. That is something I would obviously have to ask the White House without my prioritizing for you which is more important. But I have expressed for you today our view that however this mechanism is worked out -- which is not worked out yet, including even percentages of oil compensation. There is a lot of conversation and different views on this. Our view, though, is that the Iraqi government should help to pay for the costs incurred by this refugee situation. And I know that concerning percentages of Iraq oil for the compensation fund, those are not even worked out yet -- the percentages. Q Margaret, a follow-up on that: It's been reported that the United States view is that a figure of 40-50 percent should be earmarked from the oil revenues to go to pay the total reparations, compensation, anything that's claimed from Iraq. Can you give us any response on that? MS. TUTWILER: The United States does have a view, Mark, on what the percentages should be. That view or that number to my knowledge has not been made public. This is being discussed up in the United Nations, and so I don't think that I today can give you a figure that our Government is discussing up in New York. But, yes, we have an idea of what we think would be an appropriate percentage.

[Iraq: Destruction of Chemical Stores]

Q Margaret, most of us now have got copies of the letter from Iraq to the IAEA -- MS. TUTWILER: You do? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: Very good, Alan. Q Yes. I have one on my desk. Do you have anything -- MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen it. Q You haven't seen it. MS. TUTWILER: I really haven't. And in fact I asked today. As I believe I said yesterday, the Board of Governors is meeting on May 6 to discuss this. Today I don't have any further elaboration for you than what we had said yesterday, which is, as I recall, paraphrasing myself, was that this certainly appeared to be more in line with reality. That's how I remember we described it. But, honestly, I have not seen it, and we don't have anything new to add today to it. Q 687 sets out mechanisms whereby the IAEA will take charge of nuclear material in Iraq, and also somebody -- it's not clear who -- has to take charge of chemical -- MS. TUTWILER: There's a Special Commission that the Secretary General set up, it's my understanding, dealing with chemicals. Q That's to go in and check it out, but it doesn't -- MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Who is actually going to take charge of destroying those chemical weapons? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding as of being in this two days ago -- I believe this is called a special commission and comes under this resolution and the Secretary General is working this out. I'm not sure exactly how the mechanisms work or if they have all been finalized and worked out. I know that as of two days ago they were still working on this up at the U.N., and I just don't know where they are today on it. Q Is the United States prepared to assure Iraqis and others that no environmental risks or damage will be caused by the destruction of those chemical weapons? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding, Alan, is that the Secretary General's intentions are -- and check with the U.N. -- to name, or either has named, to this Commission, experts in this field who have an enormous amount of knowledge on how to deal with this type of arms situation. I believe Richard [Boucher] addressed himself to this last week, and said obviously it is always of concern to us when these types of weapons are destroyed or moved. As you know, there's been previous experience with this -- I believe it was last year -- when materials were moved, as I remember, out of Germany. But I don't have for you a literal process yet that I'm aware of that has been totally developed. But I do know that the Secretary General's intentions had been to name experts in this field. Q Margaret, back to the compensation question again, all this talk of percentages and so on presupposes that they are being allowed to sell oil again, or they would be allowed to sell oil again. The U.S. has in the past taken a dim view of this. Are you now saying that if arrangements could be made to fund these various things, including the refugee aid, that the U.S. might lower its objections to Iraq selling oil? MS. TUTWILER: That would be a Presidential decision, and he spoke out on this subject most recently, and I'd just refer you to what he said. The percentages aren't worked out yet, and that would be something for the President to determine once you see what these final percentages are, what the mechanisms are, etc., etc. And he spoke on this the other day, as I remember. I did not bring his words with me. They're on the record. And he spoke, in my opinion, as I recall, very forcefully about the United States view of the Iraqi government being able to resell their oil. As I remember, they were asking for one billion to be able to sell and to unfreeze one billion in assets. Q He was against it. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q But now you're saying that if these various arrangements could be worked out, he might not be against it. MS. TUTWILER: I did not say that. I specifically -- or was attempting to refrain from saying what the President might do, based on your hypothetical question of "once these percentages are worked out." Q Why would you be working out percentages if they weren't going to be allowed to sell oil? MS. TUTWILER: Because we're part of an international coalition and a member of the United Nations, and that is where the world community has deemed that this will be determined. Q New subject. Margaret, there are some leaders of the Baltics coming next week for meetings in Washington. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Could you say who they are and who they're going to be meeting? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Marlin gave a full readout of this this morning in his announcement at the White House. I would refer you to his record. They are, it's my understanding, the three heads of the Baltic states. They are here, as Marlin said this morning, on a private visit. They will be meeting with the President, and it's my understanding -- I believe Marlin said -- other individuals within our own government. I don't have that list for you. He just announced this this morning. Q Are they coming here? MS. TUTWILER: To be honest with you, I'm not sure if they're on Secretary Baker's schedule or not, or if he will be attending the President's meeting.

[Bangladesh: Update on Cyclone Damage and Relief]

Q Margaret, do you have any assessment on the scale of the disaster in Bangladesh, and any U.S. aid that might be forthcoming? MS. TUTWILER: We had one this morning. Ours is probably behind what continues to come out on the wires. I just saw a wire copy recently, about an hour ago, saying the estimated official death toll was now 47,000. We could not get a call through to our embassy to verify that one report. I can tell you that, as of this morning, the Bangladesh government confirmed that there were 3,000 dead but estimates the final toll will exceed 30,000. One government report believes the death toll in the Chittagong District alone will reach 25,000. The total number of persons affected by the cyclone could be as high as 10 million in 16 districts. The Bangladesh government estimates it will take 2 to 3 more days to adequately assess the cyclone's impact and relief needs. The government's immediate priority is to provide safe water supplies, deliver food to affected areas, and restore communications. In addition to the measures that I had mentioned yesterday that our government was doing, the State Department's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is authorizing a grant of $100,000 to be used by relief organizations to meet some of their immediate needs, pending further assessment. As I mentioned yesterday, our Ambassador was going to be out for 48 hours doing an assessment. I don't have a readout yet from the Ambassador on his return, and we do not have a readout of the A.I.D. team that also was out doing an assessment. So that's really where we are. Q On Iraq again. Correct me if I -- MS. TUTWILER: On what? Q On Iraq. Correct me if you addressed this before I came in. There are reports citing Western diplomats as saying that Saddam Hussein has offered, in the settlement with the Kurds, to give them control of the city of Kirkuk? MS. TUTWILER: I've seen that report. I simply have no way of confirming it. Q Margaret, are some Kuwaiti opponents of the Amir's government coming to visit the State Department? MS. TUTWILER: What do you mean? Q On a coming date? MS. TUTWILER: It's a hugh Department. Q No. What I mean is, some of these people are in town and they say they have an appointment here, and I was wondering if you could confirm that? MS. TUTWILER: With who? Q That's what I don't know. MS. TUTWILER: I don't either. I don't know (1) people are in town; (2) it's an enormous building. It covers 4 city blocks. I don't have any idea. I'll be happy to check for you.

[USSR: US Embassy Fire Update]

Q Margaret, can you bring us up to date on that fire and whether any documents were stolen? MS. TUTWILER: Moscow Embassy? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Yesterday, Assistant Secretary Sheldon Krys, who heads, as you know, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, returned and reported back on his trip to Moscow. Immediately after the fire, a team was sent to our Embassy to conduct an assessment of the extent of damage caused by the fire and to determine what extent, if any, security systems and sensitive classified equipment had been compromised. That team is not back yet, even though Sheldon has come back and given us his preliminary and initial report. Firemen did, indeed, have unescorted access to the Embassy for a time. The fire began at 10:15 a.m. Moscow time. Soviet firefighters were immediately called to the scene. Embassy Marine Security Guards were issued respirators and assigned to escort firemen into the building. After about 30 minutes, the Marine escorts were forced to withdraw because their respirators were depleted and the heat and heavy smoke posed a serious risk to their lives. Marine Guards and security personnel re-entered the building about 2 hours later, although even then the intensity of heat and smoke was such that they could not access some areas. By 3:30 p.m., the building was totally secured. No sensitive operations have been conducted in the Old Embassy Building since then. Preliminary findings indicate that the most sensitive areas were appropriately locked and these first examinations show that those areas were not breached. A small number of offices had to be abandoned before all safes could be secured. These were not in the secured areas. And though we consider the material and equipment compromised, we do not believe it was national security sensitive. Contrary to some reports, we found no evidence that cryptographic or secure communications equipment was removed from the building. A number of computer disks were taken from open offices, most of which were unclassified. All equipment throughout the building, however, will be thoroughly examined and tested before it is used again. In addition, further forensic tests are being conducted on a number of items. Because of the damage to the building and the access to offices by Soviet personnel, it will be used for unclassified purposes only at this time. Ambassador Matlock, as I believe I've mentioned earlier this week, has strongly protested efforts to misuse this tragic event. It is a shame that the real courage shown by some Soviet firefighters, in battling this serious blaze, has been blemished by such actions. There were Soviet firemen who, at considerable risk to themselves, effectively fought this fire, and we greatly appreciate their efforts. Q Margaret, did you say that most of the computer disks that were taken were unclassified? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q That suggests then that there were some classified disks that -- MS. TUTWILER: Right. What I cannot do is get into how our embassies are physically set up, which you can understand. It's an intelligence matter. But I would also key you back to the phrase I used, that we do not believe it was "national security sensitive". Q Magaret, I believe you also said that there are no sensitive operations now going on in the Old Embassy Building. As the new building is also compromised, does this suggest that people are working out of their homes in sensitive areas? MS. TUTWILER: I cannot answer this for you. This gets into, obviously, intelligence matters. We're doing the best that we can, and we have ways and means of dealing with this. Q But you can assure us there can be work done, sensitive work, safely? MS. TUTWILER: It has been. It will continue to be, and it is being done. What I obviously cannot get into is how that's carried out. Q How does this affect the plight of the Embassy as a whole, which even beforehand you've been complaining for years -- you, collectively, have been complaining? MS. TUTWILER: It makes it double tough. I talked to Jim Collins briefly about this when we were recently in the Soviet Union. His office was destroyed. He's operating now in one of the offices that we use when we go there for ministerials and meet. It has obviously put added strains on our Embassy personnel there. We were working in cramp quarters, to begin with. Now, it's even obviously more difficult for them. Q What is holding up any kind of solution of the various kinds that you have suggested? MS. TUTWILER: You would have to talk to the various committees up on the Hill about that, Alan. As you know, the Administration has put forward -- I believe it was at least a year ago; the Secretary of State did in his testimony before the subcommittees with oversight of this -- the Administration's position -- view and position on this. So far, there's no closure. We've stated what our view is. Q Is there any progress towards closure? MS. TUTWILER: Not the last time I checked into this with Ivan [Selin] and Janet [Mullins]. Q Progress? MS. TUTWILER: Not really. It is something that Ivan Selin, as the Under Secretary of Management, continues to work strenuously on. It is something that Janet works on a lot. But I cannot characterize for you that there is an agreed-upon decision. Q Speaking of testimony by the Secretary of State, anything to tell us about scheduled testimony? MS. TUTWILER: I have nothing to announce at this time. Q Next week maybe? MS. TUTWILER: I just have no announcements to make concerning future testimony by the Secretary. Q Has the Secretary made some special pleas since this happened for more progress on the embassy business, aside from Janet and Ivan Selin? MS. TUTWILER: Well, we were on the road, Saul, remember, when the fire happened. Since he's been back -- yesterday, I think, was his first day back. I'm not aware that he has called any Congressmen or Senators. I do know that Ivan gave him an update yesterday of where we are concerning this situation -- yesterday morning. Q Does he have any plans to ask him to get a move-on to solve this problem? MS. TUTWILER: The Hill is very well aware of the Secretary's interest in this subject. His taking a position -- I believe it was a year ago -- and if you remember, up to that point, the Administration -- the previous one and this one -- had a difficult time saying what their actual final decision was. He did that. He did it in public testimony. He is very anxious for this to be resolved, to get moving. It is something that was needed before this fire. It is even needed more so now. It is something that he would, yes, like to see resolved, come to closure, get going, make a decision. Q I'm just asking -- your arguments are all very articulate and good. Why doesn't he tell that to the Hill? MS. TUTWILER: They're very well aware of his views on this. Q Margaret, what does this say about the state of U.S.-Soviet relations? After all, you've moved from confrontation to cooperation. The Cold War is officially dead and buried. What does this tell us about the kind of relations, the kind of trust between these two countries? MS. TUTWILER: Well, Alan, until the final report is back and we know who these individuals were, etc., etc., I'm not going to jump to a conclusion that this was X authorized by here or that Gentleman Y knew about this, etc. I have said, which is very strongly felt by the Diplomatic Security people here, that it is felt by our Ambassador and the personnel who were caught in this fire, that there were many, many brave Soviet firefighters, at great risk to themselves, who went in and helped. Yes, we have said that there were some that were unescorted. I have been forthcoming this morning and honest and said, yes, there are some things that we have strongly protested there but I cannot take it further than that until I know the extent of what was done and who was responsible. Q If you protested it, you must know something. What did you protest? What did you say in the -- MS. TUTWILER: We protested the evidence or the material of what we found to be missing. Again, go back to my descriptions. The offices where the safes were left open, what areas they were in, we do not even, in our preliminary findings, believe that this was a national security sensitive breach. And, understandably -- I don't know how all of you would reaction, but I would guess it would be the same way I would react -- if I'm in a room where smoke is coming in, in a really bad fire, I'm going to leave. A lot of people did, and that's understandable. Q You protested missing computer diskettes, in particular. Were you that specific or were you not that specific? I mean, if the Soviets -- MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen Jack's [Matlock] actual protest that he made. We are aware that, again, some things were missing. I've explained out of what areas, to the best of my ability, without compromising our own security and structures at embassies. I have also given you a realistic characterization of what this material may have been. Q But you feel strongly enough about it to protest to the Soviet government. And therefore my question is -- and you apparently do not have the answer this morning -- what is it you're protesting? They know about it. Our government knows about it. MS. TUTWILER: I've told you, some things that are missing. Q So you say. OK. We're protesting some things missing? MS. TUTWILER: Right. I would not characterize them as furniture. Q Have you asked for them to be returned? MS. TUTWILER: Have we asked for them to be returned? I don't know if Jack did that or not. Q Margaret, what is "national security sensitive?" Is that a level of classification? If it's not, can you describe or give a level of classification to the material that was taken? MS. TUTWILER: I'm trying, within the obligations I have to our intelligence and to our national security, to explain this in the best way I can. What I am not going to do is be able to, either today or in the future, go through and say the way our embassies are set up; X operates here; they have X type of classification, so this type of safe -- I just cannot do that for, I think you would understand, obvious reasons. So I'm not going to be able, other than to keep referring you back to the direction I'm trying to say, without being, I'm sure, as clairvoyant and clear as you would like, what types of things may have been missing out of some of these open safes. Q We're talking about papers in addition to the computer disketts? MS. TUTWILER: We well could be. Q We're not talking about the safes themselves, are we? MS. TUTWILER: No. There was a fire going on, a bad fire. Q Was the fact that safes were left open, was that found to be a security breach on the part of Embassy personnel? MS. TUTWILER: Under the circumstances, I haven't heard anyone raise that. As I've described, this was a very serious fire. I've even said that firefighters and our Marine Guards, their respirators gave out, had to step outside. There were employees in this building who were -- and I think some of you have seen much of the film footage -- trapped in a very, very dangerous situation. I'm not aware of -- I could be mistaken --someone comes back and says this person is going to be severely reprimanded. People stayed as long as they could stay. People did everything they could do. At some point, you have to make a fundamental decision, and those decisions were, I'm getting out of here and save my life. Q Does the Department have any reason to believe now, after having looked into this, that the origins of the fire were anything other than accidental? MS. TUTWILER: I have not heard anyone say that; no. It's my understanding, as I remember this, we believe this fire began with a welder's torch. I haven't heard anything different on that yet. Q Accidental with a welder's torch? Q Accidentally or -- MS. TUTWILER: It's my understanding, yes. Q Who was welding? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. Q Margaret, you've said that the sensitive areas of the Embassy did not appear to be breached; that they appeared to be locked, but -- MS. TUTWILER: I said the most sensitive areas were appropriately locked. Q Were appropriately locked. And I think you also said, did not appear to be -- MS. TUTWILER: I said preliminary findings indicate that the most sensitive areas were appropriately locked and these first examinations showed they were not breached. Q Right. But you have decided just out of caution, even so, not to carry out the normal activities that would go on in those areas until a more conclusive finding is made; is that correct? MS. TUTWILER: It's not only those areas. It's my understanding it's the entire building. Q Right. But those areas would be the only areas -- MS. TUTWILER: That's been done since the first day. Q -- that would be used? MS. TUTWILER: The whole building. Q Were you asked about the former Iranian President and his visa application? MS. TUTWILER: You got it, George. Q Can't I ask -- don't say "thank you." MS. TUTWILER: What, Connie? Q I haven't bugged you about New Zealand for a few days. MS. TUTWILER: You haven't. That's true. Q For weeks, actually. Anyway, the Foreign Minister is on his way over. He says he hopes to meet with Baker. And also the Prime Minister of New Zealand is saying there is a loophole in which American ships can return to New Zealand. Do you have any comments on either of those? MS. TUTWILER: Number 2, I know nothing about and haven't seen the Prime Minister's comments on that part of your question. Number 1, I believe I have seen, since I've been back, a request for the Secretary to see the Foreign Minister of New Zealand. I don't know what the answer is to that. Q Do you mind looking into that second question? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (Press briefing concluded at 12:33 p.m.)