June, 1991

US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #91, Monday, 6/3/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:10 PM, Washington, DC Date: Jun 3, 19916/3/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, East Asia, Eurasia, Southeast Asia Country: Iraq, Kuwait, China, USSR (former), Israel, Jordan, France, Vietnam, Hong Kong Subject: Regional/Civil Unrest, Development/Relief Aid, Arms Control, NATO, Trade/Economics, Refugees, State Department, Human Rights, Nuclear Nonproliferation, International Law, Mideast Peace Process (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Middle East Peace Process]

MS. TUTWILER: I don't have any announcements. I'll be happy to try to answer any of your questions. Q We have a report that Mr. Baker might be meeting with Mr. Levy in Europe later this week. Can you confirm that? MS. TUTWILER: I never heard of such a suggestion. Q Is there a possibility that they might? MS. TUTWILER: Anything is always possible, but that's the first I've ever heard of that. It certainly is not for me to announce. I believe I was told several days ago -- in fact, when we were last in Israel -- that at some point soon Foreign Minister Levy will be visiting the United States. I would envision, should that be true, obviously, should he be coming to Washington, the Secretary of State would see him here. I know of no such meeting even being contemplated in Europe. Q Margaret, if I understand the construction, the Syrian Foreign Minister, looking for parallels -- I wasn't on the trip -- but didn't the Secretary suggest that the Syrian Foreign Minister come to Lisbon to meet him? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, we said that. Q OK. So it's not the most outrageous, outlandish notion that the Secretary might ask the Israeli Foreign Minister, while he's in Europe -- MS. TUTWILER: I didn't say it was outrageous. Q Oh, OK. So the Israeli Foreign Minister hears his plan; he's in Paris, or arriving momentarily, and he's supposed to go back to Israel on Thursday. The Secretary of State will be going to Europe about that time. MS. TUTWILER: To Copenhagen. Q Right. So is the Secretary of State intending to, going to, planning to -- I'm trying to cover all the possibilities -- MS. TUTWILER: I just answered that. Q -- to ask the Israeli Foreign Minister to hang around and maybe they can have a meeting? MS. TUTWILER: The first I have ever heard of such a suggestion was 90 seconds ago when Frank asked me a question concerning the Israeli Foreign Minister being in Europe when we are. Second of all, Barry, when we said that Secretary Baker asked the Foreign Minister of Syria to come to Lisbon, it was specifically to personally deliver a letter from President Bush to President Assad. As Marlin has confirmed this morning from the White House, Prime Minister Shamir received a letter from President Bush, and there was a decision, obviously, that it was not deemed necessary for Secretary Baker to personally deliver that to Foreign Minister Levy -- nor did he -- nor to deliver President Bush's letters -- as I believe Marlin confirmed this morning -- to President Mubarak and to, I believe it was, King Hussein. Q Well, you know, technically -- I wouldn't have brought this up, since it's such a minor technicality. But since you mentioned it, the White House staffers were asking this morning if, indeed, the President had sent a letter to the Syrian President and also had delivered a copy to the Foreign Minister. There was only one copy; is that what you're saying? In other words, he could give Levy a copy of the same letter, couldn't he? MS. TUTWILER: I believe that the White House staff is fully aware of the President's letter to the President of Syria, Barry. Q I think you're missing the point. MS. TUTWILER: I must be. Q Let's put it this way. I'm trying not to ask you a White House question, because you'll say "Ask the White House." MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q The Secretary of State gave the Syrian Foreign Minister a copy of the President's letter to the Syrian President; correct? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q The President of the United States, therefore, didn't have to send a copy of the letter to the Syrian President otherwise; correct? That was the one and only copy? MS. TUTWILER: I have no idea, Barry, if there are more copies of this letter at the White House or at State. I'm not exactly sure what you're asking me. Q I know what I'm driving at, believe it or not. Q Margaret, can you tell us, are any additions being contemplated to the Secretary's trip to Copenhagen? Or as you stand here at the moment, all things being possible, changes being likely, even at the last minute, is it still planned that he should be returning Friday, having visited the Danish capital only? MS. TUTWILER: As I am standing here at this moment in time, freezing this moment in time, we are currently planning to return. But as I always say, I cannot be held to that frozen moment. Anything is possible. Q If I could follow up. I don't know why, but for some reason at the White House we never asked why the letter had to be delivered personally to Syria but not personally to the other four countries. MS. TUTWILER: The Secretary and the President chose to handle this particular letter in this fashion, and the Secretary answered it basically that way, Connie, out on the road. So I'd just refer you to the transcript. Q What does the State Department -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me, John. What? Q You didn't answer the beginning of Alan's question. MS. TUTWILER: What was it? Q Are any additions to the Secretary's trip to Copenhagen being planned at the moment? MS. TUTWILER: I did answer it. Q You said we're planning to return on Friday. MS. TUTWILER: That's right. I said, as I stand here right now, the current plans are to return, as scheduled, on Friday. I said, as I do every time I get asked this question, I cannot and will never rule out that anything is possible. Q But, Margaret, last week, when the Secretary took off on a somewhat similar trip, there had already been machinery in motion for this meeting with the Syrian Foreign Minister. MS. TUTWILER: Wrong. Q Thursday, there wasn't -- MS. TUTWILER: That decision was made on the plane enroute to Lisbon. The Secretary of State called the United States Ambassador, Edward Djerejian, in Damascus and asked him, would he go make an inquiry. He called us back when we got to Lisbon. Q And there was no early work done on that on Thursday? It wasn't until he got on the plane -- MS. TUTWILER: Not that I'm aware of. Q -- that the thought occurred, let's meet with the Syrian Foreign Minister, maybe, in Lisbon? MS. TUTWILER: There were a lot of thoughts that occurred. Some, in fact, which included travel, Barry. But that's quite different than the thought that I'm aware of that actually came to be. When we got on the plane and the Secretary of State, as I just said, called the United States Ambassador. As I remember, when we arrived in Lisbon -- I can't remember what time -- Ed gave us back that the preliminary answer was, yes, but they wanted to discuss it overnight in Damascus and would give us a final answer on Friday morning, which we received some time around lunchtime. Q With respect to John's and Alan's questions, I think we speak in one language and the government thinks in terms of plans. Is it possible today and in the future, can we address these things without using the word "plan" in the answer? In other words, what we're asking is not whether he's planning a trip which, to you, means arriving at 12:37 -- MS. TUTWILER: I know exactly what it means. Q -- getting in a limousine. We know final details -- MS. TUTWILER: And I know -- Q -- are resolved at the last minute. We're asking if the Secretary is contemplating, considering, thinking about -- MS. TUTWILER: He always is. Q -- taking preliminary steps -- forget thinking (Laughter) -- preliminary steps to hook this trip into some Middle East activity? Now, can you just answer that? MS. TUTWILER: Barry, he is constantly having creative thoughts. Q I didn't say "creative." I just said -- MS. TUTWILER: He's very creative. I know that it would simplify your life than it would, to be honest -- Q It's not my life -- MS. TUTWILER: Many people -- Q We're reporters. We don't happen to believe -- MS. TUTWILER: I'm not going to make news until we want to make news. Q -- that everything is decided at the last minute. We're not talking about our lives. We're not talking about convenience. It gives a certain dramatic impact, I know, to have everything spring suddenly out a plane enroute. We know enough about relations between countries that things aren't done instantly all the time. MS. TUTWILER: They have been in this Administration. Q Most of the time they have to be sort of set in motion. Q Why don't you two change places. You go on the podium and she can sit down here. Q No. This business of talking about plans is absolutely ridiculous because constantly you are making arrangements to do certain things and you withhold the information until you have the arrival time. MS. TUTWILER: So where are we? That's our prerogative. Q Well, of course. It's only the U.S. Government. MS. TUTWILER: And I don't mislead. Q I know that. Q Can I ask a question? MS. TUTWILER: Sure, Alan. Go for it. Q A slightly change of focus. Q What does the State Department -- MS. TUTWILER: Wait. Alan was asking -- I think a real question.

[Iraq: Oil Revenue Ceilings]

Q A very slight change of focus. The Secretary General of the U.N. made an announcement last Friday saying that there would be a 30 percent limit on the percentage of oil revenues that Iraq could be required to pay in compensation. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q The United States -- U.S. officials had previously been talking of a figure in the range of 40 to 50 percent. Do you have any reaction? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Today, I can confirm for you what our percentage is and what our position has been. As you know, I've been unable to do so up until this date. Concerning the 30 percent level that was recommended by the Secretary General, we do not think that the 30 percent level suggested is adequate to compensate on a timely basis Kuwaitis and the others who have suffered so grievously at Iraq's hand. As a result of the damages incurred, and Iraq's continued repressive policies, we believe the figure suggested is too low. We are in consultation with the other members of the Security Council concerning our belief that the ceiling should be 50 percent. The Secretary General makes a recommendation on the ceiling. The Security Council makes the ultimate decision. The Security Council is not obligated to approve the Secretary General's recommendation, although certainly his recommendation will carry great weight. There is no date set for consideration of this issue by the Security Council as of this briefing. Q Margaret, some people in this building have been talking about an additional 10 or 20 percent, or even more, on top of the 50 to pay for, I guess, environmental damage as opposed to war damages. Is that still an option? MS. TUTWILER: Let me check, Alan. I don't know if the 50 percent that we've now made public encompasses the environmental or not. I'll just have to ask. Wait a minute. Jim Anderson had a question. Q On that same subject. On such a vote, where the Security Council is approving a recommendation by the Secretary General, does the veto rule apply? In other words, if the United States votes no, does that scrap that motion? MS. TUTWILER: I would assume that it does, Jim, but let me ask. On something that's procedural like this, let me just check for you. I don't know. Q One small point. Are you talking about 50 percent of profits or 50 percent of revenues? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is -- correct me, Richard (Boucher), if I'm wrong. This was -- what? Revenue, I believe, isn't it? MR. BOUCHER: We'll have to check the resolution. MS. TUTWILER: That's what I think it is, Alan, but let's check the resolution. Q Margaret -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes, Mark. Q It's still United States policy, isn't it, that there should be no relaxation of sanctions at all as long as Saddam Hussein is in power? MS. TUTWILER: That is how the President has, basically, without using your exact words, expressed our policy and his views. Q Isn't any discussion of either of these percentages academic? MS. TUTWILER: We went through this, I think, last Tuesday before I left. This is the United States view, but the United States is operating within the United Nations and within the coalition. So that is the United States view, but we have been, throughout this, operating in an international body. So I would have to assume if the vast majority of the international body feels very, very strongly another way, I don't know what decision the President would make at that particular point. He's expressed our point of view. Just like, for instance, on this percentage. I'm not going to go through what percentage the other members of the Security Council are advocating, but they're not all at 50 percent. It's all over the globe. Where it will come out, I don't know. Q Margaret, just a point of clarification. MS. TUTWILER: Sure, John. Q When the President spoke to the press with Chancellor Kohl of Germany, he was asked this question and, basically, to paraphrase him, what he said was, yes, we are against relaxation of sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein remains but he could see positions whereby in order to make urgent necessary reconstruction, to pay sanctions, that it might be necessary to have some relaxation. That still holds, too? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. I don't believe he used the word "relaxation." You're correct, the President had a full statement. I'm having a hard time remembering the exact phrase, but I believe he addressed himself to food. As you remember, medicine has always been totally exempt from the sanctions. He did have one particular phrase in there, and I just didn't bring it with me. Do you have it, Richard? But, John, you're absolutely correct. Q Did Baker explain the U.S. position on this when he met Perez de Cuellar in Lisbon? MS. TUTWILER: To be honest with you, I attended that meeting with the Secretary; the subject never came up. Q Also on Iraq. Has the State Department seen the report that a former high ranking Iraqi nuclear official had turned himself in to U.S. authorities and said that a lot of the nuclear installations in Iraq had been missed by the raids? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, we've seen the report. I don't have any comment on the specifics of the NPR report, the one that we have seen, since they clearly involve intelligence matters of some sensitivity. As you all will recall, we've previously said that the Iraqi disclosures on their nuclear facilities -- the first report they sent to the United Nations, we said, fell well short of reality. You'll remember they then sent in a lengthier report, and we characterized that as more in line with reality. The International Atomic Energy Agency sent a team to Iraq in May, as called for by Resolution 687. The team was able to visit the sites they wanted to see. We provided recommendations to the IAEA team and will continue to do so. With the assistance of the special commission, the IAEA made its own decisions on what sites to visit. We see this as the first of what will likely be many inspections of Iraq's nuclear, chemical, biological, and missile capabilities in order to ensure their destruction. We expect to continue working with the IAEA and other inspection teams to ensure that they have complete and accurate information as they proceed with their work. Q Without going into the specifics of whatever -- MS. TUTWILER: I can't, on this individual. Q Right. Without going into that, as a result of this man coming over to U.S. authorities, will the United States now ask the IAEA to modify its future inspections in light of whatever information has been turned over? MS. TUTWILER: That, unfortunately, Jim, could cause me to be accused by some of indirectly answering a question that I have specifically been asked not to answer concerning this report on NPR. Q On another -- MS. TUTWILER: Individuals feel very, very strongly about it in this building. Q On another Middle East question. Does the State Department take any view of the exchange that took place over the weekend between Israel and Jordan about the possibility of a meeting? MS. TUTWILER: Do we have a view of it? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: Yes, we do. The main message of what King Hussein said is that taboos must disappear, as he said in a joint press conference with Secretary Baker in Aqaba, Jordan, on April 20. We could not agree more with his statement. Peace isn't possible without direct dialogue. The Secretary's efforts have been designed to produce direct face-to-face negotiations. Secretary Baker told the House Subcommittee on Appropriations on May 22, "We have sought in our current round of talks to engage in a process that could break the taboos on direct dialogue between the parties and to establish that dialogue and diplomacy -- not violence or rejectionism -- could become the currency of politics in the Middle East." As you know, we have consistently encouraged a breaking of barriers to Israelis, Arabs, and Palestinians meeting directly. Q In other words, you would favor a meeting even outside of the context of a regional conference, or anything that the Secretary is talking about during his last trip? MS. TUTWILER: I just saw a ministry spokesman for the Jordanians speak this morning saying that these comments were in line with, and they would envision being part of, a regional conference. Check with the Jordanians, but that was something that I saw this morning their own government put out. As you know, this is something that has been part of this Administration's two-track approach for people to sit down and talk. We would view this as something very positive and that we welcome. We don't disagree with it. Q O.K. But the Israelis have invited the King of Jordan -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me? Q The Israelis have invited the King of Jordan -- said, "Come to Jerusalem, and we'll talk peace." Do you have any information from Jordan that they might be inclined to accept that information? MS. TUTWILER: You would have to ask the Israelis what they have done, and you will have to ask the Jordanians what they're intending to do. Q Margaret, on another subject -- Q Wait. Can you confirm that there have been meetings in the past between King Hussein and Israeli officials? MS. TUTWILER: You would have to ask the Israelis for an answer to that and the Jordanians. Q So what has happened that is positive that you welcome -- that the King agrees with the United States that there should be Middle East peace talks? I don't understand what the development is that you're welcoming. MS. TUTWILER: The development, as we understand it, Barry, that I think you also understand -- Q I heard him. MS. TUTWILER: -- is that the King of Jordan gave an interview -- I believe it was in some French publication -- indicating that he would be willing -- again, check with the Jordanian Government, this is not my job -- to have direct talks with the Israelis. It is my understanding from press reports that the Prime Minister of Israel addressed himself to this last night to members of the press, and the Foreign Minister of Israel did. So I think that basically you know what the lay of the land is concerning such a hypothesis -- something that might happen in the future should these two decide to do so. That is something that the United States Government could not agree with more. As you know, this is something that is part and parcel of the Administration's two-track approach, and what the Secretary of State has been encouraging, and the President, since the cessation of the war. Q But is this with or without the Syrians, or, if you don't know -- MS. TUTWILER: This is something that two countries are talking about, Barry. Q No, no. I'm sorry. When we had him in Jordan, the big unanswered question is whether the Jordanians would be willing to do this without Syrian participation. He said he wasn't prepared to say. Have you any knowledge that his views have developed beyond that -- that he has now made a decision that he would go without the Syrians? MS. TUTWILER: I'd have to refer you to his own interview yesterday. I don't believe that he addressed himself to that. I have not, to be honest, read the entire interview. But what the press has been carrying, and what I am aware of, is his comments concerning talking to Israel. Q Margaret, is this the kind of statement that might lead the United States to end its review of Jordanian aid which has been frozen effectively for several months? MS. TUTWILER: That's something, Alan, that would be a White House decision. We've said that we obviously have no disagreements with this statement as we have read it, but as far as where we are on Jordanian aid, I believe -- and check the record -- the Secretary addressed himself to this when we were in Aqaba. And I just want to check the record to make sure exactly how he expressed it, because he did address this question. Q Well, I believe people have said that the positive contribution to the peace process would go some way toward erasing the bad feeling that was created by King Hussein's stance during the Gulf war. MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. And I also believe -- and forgive me, I just can't pull it up out of my memory -- that there is something that we have done in the general aid area since the end of the war. I just cannot remember the figures off the top of my head. So that's why I want to check the record. Q Could you get those for us? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Margaret, could you tell us what, if anything, is new on the START process as a result of --

[Kuwait: Elections; Human Rights Abuses]

Q Could we stay on the Middle East? I have a couple on Kuwait. MS. TUTWILER: Kuwait? Q Yes. One, if you have any reaction to the Amir's setting elections for October of '92? MS. TUTWILER: Not a lot, Johanna. As you know, when Secretary of State Baker last visited Kuwait, he discussed this with the Amir. The Amir told him in private and the Amir has said in public that they would be holding elections. This is something he had already announced. The only new thing yesterday was he gave a specific date. When the Secretary met with him at that time, he had said -- as I believe the Secretary reported to all of you after the meeting -- that he would envision holding elections in 1992. Yesterday or the day before, he has now said in October of 1992. Q Well, given that the opposition is unhappy with this date, I wondered how the United States now feels about it. MS. TUTWILER: This is, obviously, a sovereign nation that is making decisions determining their own internal workings in government. It is not for us to judge or not judge when any country, including Kuwait, should or should not set a date for their own election. Q And the other on Kuwait was new reports of graves discovered -- recent graves containing the bodies of apparently tortured Palestinians. MS. TUTWILER: We have seen press reports of a Human Rights Watch representative stating that bodies had been "dumped at a cemetery outside Kuwait City." We do not have anything to substantiate these reports, but our Embassy is checking into them. We continue to raise reports of human rights abuses with the Government of Kuwait. You all are very familiar with how many times we've raised this. The Crown Prince/Prime Minister said on May 26 that he would not accept any actions by interior officials, including the police, which are against the law. He appealed to citizens to turn in anyone suspected of committing such actions. Q Should we keep in touch with you as to what this investigation produces, or will you -- can we ask -- perhaps it will be easier -- when you have the results of checking into that, could you tell us about it? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. I'll be perfectly honest with you and tell you that our Embassy in Kuwait -- because of the time change -- has just woken up and was just notified of this report. They just don't know anything about it. Q You know, sometimes we don't hear for a couple of days -- MS. TUTWILER: Sure. A lot of times I try to come back out the next day and tell you what we know. Q He could talk at night. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. John, you had a question, I believe, on START.

[Arms Control]

Q Is anything new on START as a result of the agreement over the weekend on CFE? MS. TUTWILER: Not really. The Secretary of State met first thing this morning with the Under Secretary, Reggie Bartholomew. They are discussing the best ways to proceed. The Secretary also discussed this yesterday from his residence with the President. And, as you know, the remaining issues are technical, and they include downloading, data denial, and other details of the inspection regime. And, as you know, the Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister said in Lisbon that they planned to have intensified work on this. That is still the view this morning. I just don't have a next step for you, other than he and Reggie discussed it this morning on what to do next. Q And is there any possibility the State Department can now discuss how the CFE impasse was bridged? MS. TUTWILER: No. I asked this morning, and we are still in our consultation with our allies, and so I'm in the same posture that the Secretary was on Saturday in Lisbon. Those consultations are going well. We don't know of any particular problem, but we cannot yet do that for you. Q Regarding the emigration law that was passed by the Soviet parliament 2 weeks ago, evidently there's no decision yet on whether it truly establishes a right to emigrate or provides for all sorts of red tape. Is the State Department conducting its own study of this? MS. TUTWILER: I believe that last week when I dealt with this, Barry, we said we would be looking at it in detail. I didn't check this morning, I'll be happy to ask for you. Q Yes. I'm trying to get a notion if it's the State Department that makes the judgment and passes the recommendation on to the President, because I did check this morning -- there's no judgment yet -- but I don't know if this is a legal study. I mean, 2 weeks is a long time. I wondered -- MS. TUTWILER: I'll just be honest. I don't know where we are on that, other than I know that we responded to the first initial press reports coming out of the Soviet Union. We said we were going to get the whole report and look at it, and I just haven't checked on where we are on it. Q Margaret, do you have any details on the meeting later this month in Paris which President Bush has asked for to discuss conventional weapons? Have the Perm Five members been invited officially, and have they accepted, including China in particular? And is it still decided that it will be at a level where someone such as Reggie Bartholomew would attend? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding of this is that Reggie Bartholomew will definitely be our representative, as envisioned. My understanding, secondly, is that the French who are hosting this have not announced a date, and I do not know where they stand with others accepting it. And as of this morning when I talked to Reggie, there's no date set that he knew of. Q Do you have a reaction to the French non-proliferation announcement?

[Arms Control: France Signs Non-Proliferation Treaty]

MS. TUTWILER: Yes. We warmly welcome the French decision to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This decision makes a major contribution toward strengthening the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. It will also be a powerful example for others. With regard to other aspects of the French proposal, we are pleased that the French government shares the goals announced last week by President Bush in his Middle East arms control initiative. The French ideas and approach are basically compatible with our own thinking. We look forward to the meeting of major arms suppliers that will be hosted by the French Government in Paris. But, as I said -- decision, I don't know when. Q Margaret, can I follow up? Will the U.S. urge France now to cease some of its testing, particularly in the Pacific where it's quite controversial? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know, Connie. I'll be happy to ask the arms experts for you. Q Margaret, do you have anything on the talks that are taking place today between British and Hong Kong officials here in Washington over the boat people? MS. TUTWILER: Not a lot, Jan. My understanding is they are meeting here. These are normal, it's my understanding, routine consultations. They're going to go on for 2 days, and it's my understanding, the United States' policy is the same as it was before the meetings, and I don't have anything else other than that. I think they began meeting just today. (TO STAFF) At what level? Do we know? MR. BOUCHER: (Inaudible) MS. TUTWILER: Oh, yes. That's right. Princeton Lyman's conducting the meetings for us. Q Margaret, do you have anything on the -- I'm sorry -- Q Do you know anything about this report that the Chinese Government is selling human organs -- kidneys, for example -- some of them ostensibly taken from executed prisoners? MS. TUTWILER: I hadn't heard a thing about it. I'll ask. Q Could you, please? MS. TUTWILER: Never heard of it. Yes.

[USSR: Violence in Vilnius]

Q Do you have anything on the Soviet report about the violence in Vilnius that apparently absolves the military of culpability? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. My understanding is that we have seen the TASS report, and the incident in Vilnius in January has been of great concern to us. As you know, we've spoken out about it any number of times at all levels of our government and certainly it deserves a full objective investigation. We have seen one TASS report of the results of the Soviet investigation. That TASS report says that the Soviet investigators found no proof that those who died when Soviet troops seized the Vilnius television tower were killed by Soviet soldiers. The report also states that these casualties were caused not by shots from troops or by being run over by tanks but by shots from "Lithuanian fighters." We find these conclusions to be at odds with facts as widely reported in Lithuania at the time. Videotapes and pictures taken at the time and forensic evidence developed by the Lithuanian authorities both indicate that Soviet troops were responsible for the deaths in January. The Secretary and the President have both expressed their concerns about the violence in January. We are awaiting the whole report and look forward to reading the actual report in detail. Q Excuse me, Margaret. A Miami official is meeting with Ambassador Lafontant -- if I'm saying that right. MS. TUTWILER: Jewel Lafontant? Q Yes. -- on the number of Cuban refugees flying into Florida. Do you think the State Department will change their policy on how many Cubans they let into -- MS. TUTWILER: Number one, I'm unaware of the meeting, and, number two, I can't answer that in a vacuum without asking someone. Q Margaret, sorry I'm late -- Q Any reaction to the Israeli raid -- attack today on south Lebanon, other than the usual deploring the cycle of violence? MS. TUTWILER: No. I don't have anything new to add to it. Q Mideast question, please. MS. TUTWILER: Yes, Mark. Q I don't know what was said at the White House, but in addition to the letters to the four heads of state and heads of government, have there been any communications either with Lebanon or with the Palestinians with whom the Secretary has met when he's gone to Jerusalem? MS. TUTWILER: Any communications with any American official? Q No. Communications from the United States to Lebanon or to the Palestinians along the same lines as the letters that President Bush sent out. MS. TUTWILER: I don't know of a Presidential communication to either place, but I'll check for you. And Marlin's announcement this morning that I have a synopsis on, I don't recall him mentioning Lebanon or Palestinians. But as far as what I can answer for you, I mean, there are government officials who talk to both of those entities all the time. I can't say that they have not been continuing their normal talks. Q I'm sorry I'm late. MS. TUTWILER: That's O.K. Q Did you have something to say about Jordan and King Hussein? MS. TUTWILER: We've done it all. Q It's on the record. Do you have something to say about the Evans ∧ Novak item about the American diplomat who was reportedly faced with a gun? MS. TUTWILER: No, sir. To be honest with you, I have not had an opportunity this morning to read today's Evans ∧ Novak, and, as you know, as a policy I don't comment on columnists' stories in newspapers. Q If I could follow up just a minute. I appreciate your response. MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me? Q I appreciate your response, but the question is whether or not this actually happened. MS. TUTWILER: One, I haven't read it, so I don't even know what we're talking about, and I will be happy to look into it after the briefing. Q Margaret, I have one for you from the Fairfax Journal -- (laughter) -- the owner of the popular Japanese Steak House says he is being forced to move after 20 years by the State Department which is taking over the entire building and claims that it would be a security risk to keep the Japanese Steak House there. MS. TUTWILER: I don't know anything about this. I haven't read the Fairfax Journal this morning. I will be happy to ask whoever -- Q Is in charge of Fairfax. (Laughter) MS. TUTWILER: Right. I don't know. I guess this comes under M, under property management. I don't know. (Laughter) Q Margaret, have you a reaction to the decision by Iceland to ignore the resolution of the International Whaling Commission and resume commercial whaling? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of that decision, Alan. I'll be happy to take your question.

[China: Tiananmen Square]

Q Any comment at all on the anniversary of Tiananmen Square, Margaret? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. We deeply deplored the brutal suppression of peaceful demonstrators around Tiananmen Square in June 1989. One significant step China could take to heal the wounds of Tiananmen would be to release all those imprisoned after the pro-democracy movement in 1989 for the peaceful expression of their political views. We have consistently pressed the Chinese leaders to release all those who are incarcerated for non-violent expression of political views, and those who were jailed for the exercise of internationally recognized human rights such as free speech and assembly. Chinese authorities recently provided a more complete accounting of the numbers of persons detained, tried, and released in Beijing in the wake of the 1989 demonstrations. According to their figures, 1,804 were detained, of whom 970 have been released, 715 were convicted on non-political charges, and 72 on political charges through the end of 1990. Twenty-six more have been convicted so far this year, and 21 remain in pretrial detention. These figures are generally credible, in our opinion, but do not include those detained in other parts of China and apparently also exclude those held only briefly for questioning in 1989 and those sent to labor re-education camps without trial. As you know, consistently since Tiananmen Square, we, the United States Government, have never given out a figure of what we believe are those who have been detained, and we still cannot do that today for the same reasons that have been our reasons over these many months is that we are not sure it's possible to have an accurate number, and to ascertain how many, total, were detained. Q Do we have an idea how many people have been executed as a result of trials? MS. TUTWILER: I'll ask. I've never seen a total, but I'll ask. Somebody might. Q And does the United States now have a figure that it believes credible on the number of dead at Tiananmen Square 2 years ago? MS. TUTWILER: I've never seen, to be honest with you, even at the height right after Tiananmen Square, a figure that the United States Government had. I'll ask again. I haven't asked, obviously, in months, but at the time I don't believe that we ever felt comfortable enough to come up with a number. Q Thank you, Margaret. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (The briefing concluded at 12:45 p.m.)