October, 1991

US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #146, Tuesday, 10/1/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12:20 PM, Washington, DC Date: Oct 1, 199110/1/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, East Asia, Subsaharan Africa, Caribbean Country: Israel, USSR (former), Haiti, North Korea, South Korea, Philippines, Togo Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Regional/Civil Unrest, Democratization, Arms Control, OAS, Nuclear Nonproliferation (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I have one statement that I would like to do and I have one announcement that I would like to make, with your permission. The first statement is concerning Haiti. The United States strongly condemns the removal of President Aristide and the overthrow of constitutional rule in Haiti. We call for the immediate restoration of Haiti's legitimate, democratically elected government. We also call on those who have assumed power in Haiti to ensure the safety and well-being of all United States citizens that are there. We urge all Haitians to refrain from further violence. This outrageous action by elements of the Haitian armed forces is an attack on the democratic aspirations of the Haitian people. Yesterday, the United States joined the member nations of the Organization of American States in condemning this action and in demanding "respect for the government legitimately established through the free expression of the popular will of that country." The OAS will call a meeting of the Foreign Ministers as soon as possible, and we will work in that forum and through other diplomatic activity for the restoration of constitutional rule in Haiti. The United States Government does not recognize this junta. The United States is today suspending all assistance programs to Haiti. Our Embassy reports continued gunfire in Port au Prince last night and this morning. We received one report that an American was caught in a street incident last night. This American was roughed up but not injured. Due to the unsettled situation, we urge all United States citizens in Haiti to remain indoors, and we urge U.S. citizens planning to travel to Haiti to defer their travel. As I believe many of you know, we've put up a travel advisory last night. Since I anticipate that you will ask me our level of aid, I will give you the figures. I will tell you that this morning I am unable to tell you how much of the 1991 figures I'm going to give you has gone or is still in the pipeline. We hope to be able to give that to you in about two hours. Eighty-four million in economic and food aid and $1.5 million in non-lethal military aid was appropriated for Haiti in Fiscal 1991. We requested $88.6 million in economic aid and $2.2 million in non-lethal military aid for Haiti in Fiscal 1992. All that aid has been suspended. Q Margaret, a technical question: The Foreign Minister's meeting -- will the Secretary be there? Apparently there is some arrangement where you don't have to have your Foreign Minister actually. MS. TUTWILER: I've heard that there's been some discussion of that. It has not been raised yet with the Secretary. At a staff level, I've heard that's been raised but it hasn't been raised with him yet. Q Does the U.S. have a line on who these people are? MS. TUTWILER: A line? Q I mean, any notion where they come from politically, or what -- MS. TUTWILER: Where they come from politically, no. Q Apparently, they're not well known. MS. TUTWILER: I don't know a lot. The junta, as you know, was formed by the Acting Commander-in-Chief of the Haitian armed forces. That's about the extent of what I know about him. Q Margaret, you said that you would work through the OAS and other means to restore democracy. Do the other means include the Security Council of the United Nations? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard that raised. But I know that there are -- and have been overnight -- all kinds of diplomatic contacts throughout the region with officials of our government. I know that -- the first thing I know is that the OAS is planning to have this meeting as soon as possible. I just haven't heard the Security Council raised yet. Q Because President Aristide is either in New York or on his way there. MS. TUTWILER: That -- it's our understanding -- that's not true. I saw one wire copy to that effect, and that's not our understanding. Q Some of the Haitians -- MS. TUTWILER: Our understanding is that he is in Venezuela. Q Some of the Haitians are calling for a Security Council meeting. Would the United States support that? MS. TUTWILER: I'll have to ask for you because right now there is a Task Force going, and there are individuals that I've spent time with this morning. But it's a question I have not addressed, and I'll be happy to ask Mr. Aronson later today. Q What's the rationale for cutting off food aid? After all, this affects hungry people. MS. TUTWILER: I think that it is the same question that you always pose to me: Are you just going to say words or are you going to take action? This is action. This is something that we feel strongly about. We condemned it strongly yesterday, and we are taking action; not just coming out here with another strong statement today in light of what's happened since yesterday when we condemned what was apparently going on then. Q Do you have any sense of how strong a grip on power this junta has? MS. TUTWILER: I can't do that analytical work for you right at this briefing; no. And, George, also -- excuse me -- I've seen on the wires -- I don't know if it's true or not -- that other countries have taken similar action. Q Is there any evidence of public protest about this coup in Haiti? MS. TUTWILER: I've seen reports, Pat, that I'm sure you have also seen. There are many people who have taken to the streets who are protesting this action. I don't have right now for you a figure or an analysis of what percentage of the population is supporting/is not supporting, etc. Q Do you know what role the U.S. Ambassador played in the negotiations to save the former President's life, or how any of that negotiation overnight occurred? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have a lot of details except to confirm for you -- which many people already know -- that we assisted, as did the Venezuelan Government, and I believe, the French Government, in talking not only with the President's office, but with the military junta group to ensure his safe passage to the airport. And, as you know, our Ambassador and the Venezuelan Ambassador escorted him to the airport to ensure that he was safely allowed to get on this plane and leave. Q Margaret, I didn't understand your answer to Barry. Is the Secretary planning to attend the OAS meeting? MS. TUTWILER: I said it's never been raised. I've heard that discussed at staff levels. It has not been raised to his level. Q That means it hasn't been decided or he's not going to consider it? MS. TUTWILER: It means it hasn't come up. I don't know, for instance -- Barry even said, "Are all the Foreign Ministers of these countries going?" I don't know. Q As I understand it, the procedure is that, even though it's called the Foreign Ministers meeting, it doesn't necessarily mean the Foreign Ministers are there. I just wondered if Baker would symbolize your concern by going over there? MS. TUTWILER: I'm just giving you an honest -- it just has not come up yet. We're not there yet. Q I understand. Q Is there any notion here about the desirability of using force to restore democratic rule? MS. TUTWILER: United States force? Q No. I'm talking about at the OAS meeting. I think the provisions permit all measures deemed necessary or appropriate to restore constitutional order in Haiti, or whichever country happens to be affected. I wonder whether in your discussions this morning anybody raised that possibility? MS. TUTWILER: Not in my presence. Q How would this affect refugees who might be coming to the U.S. from Haiti now claiming political asylum as opposed to economic? MS. TUTWILER: That's something that I'll be happy to ask the experts to look into. I'm not sure, to be honest, that it's been addressed in the last 12 hours or that we even have an example of this. I'll be happy to take your question. Q Well, that sort of relates to George's question. Because if you're creating food shortages as a way of trying to reverse a coup, presumably, there will be more people beating on the door to come to relocate in Queens, New York? MS. TUTWILER: That could well be, and I guess we'll deal with that when that happens. That has not happened yet. I've just announced officially that the United States Government is suspending this aid. I don't believe in that instant four minutes it's going to affect people who need food. Q I wonder if you could provide any slots or any additional -- maybe you're just going to watch the situation -- but if the U.S. is going to increase the allotment of Haitian refugees because of the turmoil and the food shortages. MS. TUTWILER: These are all excellent questions. But I would just like to remind everybody, that at 3:15 a.m. this morning is when the President of Haiti left his country. It is now 12:30 p.m. our time. I just don't know. They're all excellent questions. In everything we have been trying to facilitate and do overnight, these types of things have yet to be addressed. In due course, I guess if the situation stays the way it is, obviously, they will have to be addressed. Q Technically, can I ask, the situation last night was such -- it was moving very fast. There was no new information obtainable from the State Department. In the sense that this is an emergency, will there be some arrangement where those news organizations which are 24-hour, can check in maybe at 9:00 or at 12:00, or whatever, and get some guidance on any change in the situation? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q Call the duty officer? MS. TUTWILER: That's usually how the system works. Was there not a duty officer? Q The duty officer has to get new guidance. There wasn't any fresh guidance last night. That's all. MS. TUTWILER: At 3:15 in the morning -- is that what you're talking about? Q No, at 10:00 in the evening -- because, probably, an unsettled situation. But, in any event -- MS. TUTWILER: All this didn't take place until 3:15 in the morning. So at 10:00, our guidance that we gave at noon would be the same. Q A lot was going on yesterday. MS. TUTWILER: We'll look into it. Q Do you have a better handle on how many Americans are in Haiti and what the situation is at the Embassy? Are you anticipating a drawdown? MS. TUTWILER: That also hasn't been decided. There are approximately, it's my understanding -- of Americans who have registered with the Embassy -- 6,000 in Haiti; and of our official United States family, including dependents, it's a little over a 100. Q No reports of injuries or casualties? MS. TUTWILER: Other than the one incident I mentioned of an individual last night. Can I do my other announcement, please? Yesterday, I got several questions from you concerning next steps on the follow-up to the President's speech on Friday night. I'd like to tell you, this morning that we, the United States, are offering to send a team to the Soviet Union in the next few days. The exact time of the trip is to be worked out with the Soviets. The interrelationship of the team's visit and the previously scheduled visit of Deputy Foreign Minister Obukhov to Washington is a matter to be worked out with the Soviets. During our discussions, we will explain President Bush's initiative and answer Soviet requests for clarifications. Q Margaret, there was some reporting today that suggests that even though the Soviets have welcomed this initiative, they do have serious questions; and there even seems to be a hesitancy on their part to respond quickly. Are you disappointed at all? Is this the reason why you're moving quickly to send this team to Moscow? MS. TUTWILER: No. I think that the "moving quickly" is your characterization. It's just a natural evolution out of the President's speech Friday night. Today is Tuesday. I said yesterday this was something we were discussing internally, and this is the United States' follow-up to the President's speech. I have not seen anything coming out of the Soviet Union that would suggest the second part of your question -- that somehow we were concerned. I've seen everything as positive responses. Let me help you a little bit. One news organization today wrote that yesterday we had received questions. That is correct. Yesterday, at the Soviet Foreign Ministry in Moscow, one of our political officers was given some, what we would characterize as questions and also clarifications, which we view as only natural: What exactly does this mean? What did that mean? So, no, we do not have any concerns that we would express. Everybody we've seen has been very, very positive. Q What is this team? What level is it? MS. TUTWILER: We're not prepared -- Q What agencies are involved? You're not going to tell us? MS. TUTWILER: Right. As of this briefing, I'm not in a position to answer any of those questions. Q Margaret, that doesn't answer the first question, so let me try the other one. MS. TUTWILER: What's your first one? Q I said I was going to ask you the same thing, and also ask you, please, if you happen to know if the President's proposal is all inclusive? By this I mean, the Soviets, in their response, have raised other issues, like nuclear testing. Will this team -- and however this whole subject is addressed -- will this team go beyond? In other words, is the agenda open for more than just the President's proposal? Will you entertain the Soviet proposals? MS. TUTWILER: Well, sure. We would be in a position, obviously, of listening to whatever they come back with. But we are there to explain the President's initiative to help clarify some of the questions that they had and many I've described as a procedural or language -- "What does this term mean, etc." They were not -- as Carol's question may have suggested to me -- there's some terrible, terrible problem here. That's not my reading of what it is that they requested yesterday. Q Would you include testing in that as a subject? This, and I guess the previous Administration -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q -- not Carter's Administration -- he tried to do something about testing -- but the Reagan and Bush Administration insist that testing new weapons is very necessary. MS. TUTWILER: That's right. Q It wasn't in the President's speech, I don't think. MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Is this something that can be discussed with the Soviets? MS. TUTWILER: On nuclear testing, as I've stated, we will be discussing the President's initiative with the Soviets. The amount of nuclear testing we have conducted has been going down. The President's initiative will, as he said, reduce our nuclear deterrent to make it smaller, safer and more stable; and this could perhaps have some impact on nuclear testing. I will be happy to state long-standing American policy for you on nuclear testing -- Johanna says she doesn't need that -- and, as I said, we're going to be explaining and discussing the President's initiative with the Soviets. We do not intend to raise nuclear testing. If they raise it, of course, we would discuss our views. Q As you pursue Jack's question, the last point, could you see, please, if any Democratic members of Congress will be going along, in the sense of giving us a bipartisan -- there are experts on the Democratic side on the Hill. MS. TUTWILER: That's true. Q Sam Nunn's people and all. MS. TUTWILER: Yes, I'll be happy to look at it. Let me go back to John's question to say it's not a matter of secrecy. This is something that we're right now discussing with the Soviets, so as soon as we have the team worked out and we have it all arranged we'll be putting it all out. Q So we can assume it's an interagency team -- MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q -- and it may be even going from one branch of the Government to the other -- or has that part of it not been bridged? MS. TUTWILER: By "interagency," I thought you meant different departments, right? Q Different departments, but then there's also the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch. MS. TUTWILER: Oh, that -- I have to be quite honest and serious -- I have not heard that raised. Interagency, yes. Q Margaret, I'd like to take another whack at Barry's question. There was a Post story today which says specifically that the United States -- there is some flexibility in the U.S. position and the United States would be willing to go beyond the Bush initiative on land-based -- de-MIRVing land-based missiles. Can you say specifically, yes, that that is where the thinking is at the moment? MS. TUTWILER: No. One, I haven't seen the story; and, two, I'm not familiar enough with it myself to answer your question. Q You don't anticipate this mission will be at the Secretary of State level; you anticipate it will be worker bees -- MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q Thank you. Q Speaking of the Secretary of State, the Israelis, you know, are saying that the -- MS. TUTWILER: The who? Q The Israelis. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q The Israelis -- and others are saying that the person just mentioned may soon be going back there. MS. TUTWILER: I have the same answer today that I had yesterday -- should there be a need and it was necessary, he would be willing to go. There are no decisions and there are no concrete plans for him to do such. Q So you have no time frame for sending the invitations to the conference yet? MS. TUTWILER: That's a totally different question. He's always had a time frame. The President and President Gorbachev, as you recall, in their Summit in July in Moscow, said in their statement -- if you look back at it -- that they would send invitations l0 days prior to the convening of a peace conference. Q If you look at the calendar, it's October. So could we begin the daily ritual of asking you? The last statement by a senior official was, "We still have a shot at it." Do you have a shot at it in October? What's the prospect for a peace conference in October? MS. TUTWILER: I don't like to do predictions, but we still stand by the official who told you that we believe that we have a shot at it. We're working toward October and there's been no change in the feeling of working toward having a peace conference in October. There's been no change in that. Q The two Palestinians who are apt to see the Secretary: Is that now next week -- I think either they said that or one of them said it -- here in Washington? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen anything that they've said today. We haven't changed where we were yesterday on this, which is that the Secretary would expect to be seeing them soon. Q Here? Q How soon? MS. TUTWILER: We haven't said, because there is no decision on date or place. Q How soon? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not going to define "soon." Just soon. Q One of them was on CNN today making all sorts of charges, but one is that she was sure they were going to face some sort of action by Israeli authorities for going to the PLO meeting in Algiers. Does the Administration take a position on whether the Israelis should crack down on these people for going to the council meeting? Have you interceded with the Israelis to not impinge on these reps, or whatever -- representatives? MS. TUTWILER: Number one, as you know, we have referred all questions concerning those individuals' travels to them. We have not commented on it other than that comment. Number two, concerning what the Israeli Government may or may not do, that is something you would have to ask them. Q There were reports in the Algerian press -- and I was in Algeria this past week -- that they coordinated that trip to Algeria with the Secretary of State. Can you confirm or deny that? MS. TUTWILER: No one has coordinated any travel with the Secretary of State -- and I am not confirming that there's been any travel. My response is going to continue to be concerning any travel concerning these two individuals: Ask them. Q The Israeli press this morning is talking in headlines that there is a crisis looming in the Israeli Cabinet and some members of the Cabinet are going to withdraw from Agudat Yisrael. This is one party which has l2-l3 seats. What will be the reaction of the State Department if there will be some crisis in the Israeli Government? MS. TUTWILER: That's a total hypothetical. It's something that I won't deal with today. Should such a scenario happen, we'll deal with it then. Q May I ask a question? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q What do you see about the coming summit meeting between North Korean President Kim Il-sung and his Chinese counterpart? And I wonder if you have any plan to transmit President Bush's nuclear reduction initiative by the PRC to Kim Il-sung? MS. TUTWILER: I apologize. I'm not familiar with an upcoming summit between these two leaders, and I'll be happy to familiarize myself with it. I'm just not up to speed on the fact that they have an upcoming meeting. Q Thank you. Q Wait a minute. Q Just one moment. MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q And do you have any plan or consideration to urge North Korea to keep up their nuclear development plan after the Bush initiative? MS. TUTWILER: Sir, I don't have anything new today to state in the way of new policy concerning the United States on North Korea. I'll be happy to look into this for you. I think you asked me this question yesterday. I apologize. I've not had a chance to get into it. I'll try to this afternoon. Q Margaret, do you have anything on the tumult in Togo? MS. TUTWILER: What do you want? What's your question? Q My question being: Do you have any update on the situation there and what's happening? MS. TUTWILER: Some unidentified elements of the Togonese military took over the radio station at 08l5 Greenwich Mean Time. They broadcast a garbled message saying that they had suspended the interim legislative assembly. At l0l0 Greenwich Mean Time, a message from the President was broadcast calling for the troops occupying the station to return to their barracks and to put down their weapons. The President also called for protection of the Prime Minister. Later in the morning, the local radio broadcast a communique saying that operations at the station had returned to normal and that journalists who had left the facility should return to work. Although there are unconfirmed reports of unrest in some areas of the city, reports from our Embassy indicate that for the most part life has returned to normal. Q Can we return to the controversy over the remains of Ferdinand Marcos? Yesterday you put out something -- MS. TUTWILER: Didn't that clear it up for you? Q Yes. That was real helpful. MS. TUTWILER: It does, if you read it right. Q You put out some guidance yesterday which, in the final analysis, appears to be that the U.S. Government is changing the stringency with which it is going to attempt to bar those remains from returning to the Philippines; and I just thought you might have some more clarifying words today that would remove it still further from legalese and -- MS. TUTWILER: No. We gave it a stab yesterday afternoon to get it out of legalese; and to be honest with you, in my mind, it answers your question. Q Well, it looks like you backed off. That's what it looks like. Q It sounds to me like the U.S. Government doesn't want to play the way it was playing before and that it's pretty much up to the Philippine Government to do what it wants, and I just -- what I was really -- MS. TUTWILER: I know. Q -- going to take a stab at is: Does this have anything to do with the other -- Q Bases. (Laughter.) Q -- aspects of our relationship with the Philippines -- that we, perhaps, are not quite as cooperative on barring body movement because we have trouble with bases? MS. TUTWILER: To be honest with you, I have honestly never connected the two. I've never thought about it. I'll be happy -- maybe I should have, but I have not. This is not something that I had -- this legalese over the FAA, et cetera -- spent a great deal of time on in the last three weeks. I will be happy to see if there is, indeed, some type of connection. I don't know. But I've never -- in my two brief conversations on this subject, I want to be honest, it didn't occur to me to say, "Are these two co-mingled?" Q But there is a sea change, in terms of this one issue -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q -- which, perhaps, is symptomatic of -- MS. TUTWILER: It's new thinking. Q -- other -- that's correct: new thinking toward the Philippines? And I'm just trying to get you to say on the public record -- MS. TUTWILER: I understand. Q -- the fact that it's happening. Q Margaret, on another thing that we were talking about yesterday, have you seen the report that some United Nations and IAEA officials are a bit disturbed at some of this information about the nuclear installations in Iraq has been going straight to the State Department instead of taking a detour through -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q -- those agencies? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Do you have any comment on that? MS. TUTWILER: The IAEA and Special Commission asked all team members to provide their official reports directly to the IAEA and Special Commission. We all know that, and we know that that is the formal authority. Team members did provide periodic status reports to us during the stand-off in the parking lot. It should not seem out of the norm for U.N. officials to be in direct touch with member governments. This happens every day in New York, in Vienna, in Geneva and at other locations. The IAEA and Special Commission have regularly reported results of their inspections to the Security Council and Council members. This is appropriate, as we and other Council members have provided them with intelligence information which has helped the inspectors identify suspect sites to investigate. Q In other words, you're saying that basically the State Department is getting directly information that was going to these other agencies anyway. MS. TUTWILER: I'm basically saying that whether it's this instance or other instances, that we, as a Government, recognize the formal reporting channels; but I'm also being realistic and honest in saying that we're a member of the United Nations -- this is a United Nations team -- that individuals do, whether this subject or other subjects, call their governments. Q Well, now that the U.N. officials have said that this, if it happened, was regrettable and shouldn't happen again, will the Americans on the teams be told not to report to the U.S. Government in the future? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know if an order has gone out like that. They are, after all -- if you're talking about the two individuals that we're calling here on the IAEA team -- they are not State Department employees; so I'm not sure if there's some type of order that's gone to them that's a State Department order. Q Well, has anybody been told that if they call to hang up? MS. TUTWILER: You want a realistic answer? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: I would say that if someone calls in a situation like that and you don't know at that moment whether you're getting documents out or not that are vitally important to the international community, that have an enormous amount -- as all of them have all said, and many of your colleagues have interviewed -- of importance to the world, I can't stand here and say realistically someone would say, "Oh, my gosh, I can't possibly listen to this or take this information." We are sensitive to this. I have stated that. We know what the formal reporting channels are. But I've also pointed out that this is not highly unusual. We are a member of the United Nations. We have all types of conversations with people who are in various and sundry U.N. missions. Q: Back on Marcos -- MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q -- you cannot give a "Yes" or "No" answer to the question of whether the ban on removing Marcos' remains is still in effect? MS. TUTWILER: We answered that yesterday. Q No, no. You did not answer that yesterday. MS. TUTWILER: No, sir. At 3 or 4 o'clock, when we put out the guidance, it was answered. Q Oh, I thought you couldn't go beyond what you said at l2 or l o'clock. MS. TUTWILER: No. We did. At 3 or 4 o'clock yesterday, I answered that question. Q Sort of. Q That ban has been lifted. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (The briefing concluded at l2:48 p.m.)