December, 1991

US Department of State Daily Press Briefing #178, Monday, 12/2/91

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: 12: PM, Washington, DC Date: Dec 2, 199112/2/91 Category: Briefings Region: MidEast/North Africa, Eurasia, Caribbean Country: Haiti, Lebanon, Ukraine, Russia, USSR (former), Iran Subject: Mideast Peace Process, Terrorism, Democratization, Immigration, Trade/Economics, Refugees, International Law (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) MS. TUTWILER: I don't have any statements. I'll be happy to take any of your questions that I can answer. Q What can you tell us about visas for Palestinians? MS. TUTWILER: Our policy hasn't changed, as I enunciated a number of times last week. I'll be happy to restate the policy for you, if that would be helpful. We have a visa policy. The policy will not be altered, and the policy is, under Section 212a(3)(b) of the 1990 Immigration Act, as amended: An alien who is an officer, official, representative or spokesman of the PLO is legislatively deemed ineligible. The Secretary of State is vested by law with the discretion to recommend to the Attorney General that the prohibition against a particular PLO member be waived. Our policy has been and will continue to be to consider requests by members of the PLO for visas on a case-by-case basis. As you'll recall, last week I pointed out that the three most frequently used cases are humanitarian cases, academic cases and, obviously, United Nations attendance cases. Q So has any waiver been granted? MS. TUTWILER: Obviously, we have to issue visas for those coming. Contrary to some reports this morning that I saw that the Palestinians were not coming, it is my understanding that in our most recent phone conversation with our Ambassador in Jordan that they're on their way. Q Has any waiver been granted? MS. TUTWILER: Well, they have to receive visas. So, yes, they have received their visas. They have to have visas to come here. Q (Multiple questions) Q Who is "they"? MS. TUTWILER: To PLO members, no. I mean, if you're talking about -- I have to be careful here -- people that have been raised in the press and that you all have raised to me -- people who are in Madrid. I pointed out that the Madrid meeting was quite different. Spain has relations with the PLO. The people that I believe you are asking me about, no. Q Well, in the case of at least one of those -- Nabil Shaath -- he has been to Washington repeatedly on various visas, for whatever reason, and now all of a sudden he is not apparently qualified for a U.S. visa. Why is that? MS. TUTWILER: You'll have to ask the Palestinians who they have requested visas for. I am not going to go through a laundry list with you of people that have been reported to have been asking for visas or not asking for visas. So I would just refer you to them. Q Have you turned down some of them for visas? MS. TUTWILER: We have had discussions, and we have seen some names surface that we have said that, no, we would not grant visas for. Q Margaret, on your own definition, an official or a spokesman or an officer -- the definition that you read out in your policy -- have any waivers been granted to anyone who falls under that definition? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Margaret, can you tell us specifically, does Nabil Shaath have a visa to come to the United States? MS. TUTWILER: I'll answer you the same way I answered John. I'm not aware that this gentleman has requested a visa to come to the United States. Q Margaret, it was on the radio this morning, actually, on the BBC, saying that he had requested a visa. MS. TUTWILER: I'm just going to continue to restate that I personally am not aware that this gentleman has requested a visa from the United States to come at this time. I'm just not aware of that. I'm aware of press reports saying that that's the case, but I am not aware that there is an actual request from this gentleman to come to the United States. Q As it now stands, what is going to happen Wednesday morning? MS. TUTWILER: On Wednesday morning, as I said last Wednesday, we'll be open and ready for business. It is my understanding -- and I would refer you to the Israeli Government -- we do not have any different information than what I gave you last Wednesday. I am aware -- and it's been confirmed to us this morning by the Israeli Embassy -- that B.B. Netanyahu will be coming to the United States tomorrow, but it is with some others. I do not know who the "others" are. It is my understanding from the Israeli Embassy -- but again check with them -- that that is not connected to nor related to the talks that will begin here on Wednesday. It is my understanding that the Israeli Government's position has not changed their views -- that they have a preferable date of December 9 when they would like to begin these talks. So we are where we were Wednesday afternoon. Q So in other words, as far as you know, at this point there will be an empty chair Wednesday morning. MS. TUTWILER: As far as I know on Wednesday, we will be open and ready for business, and we will have the facilities ready. Q At what time will you be open for business? MS. TUTWILER: I don't have a location that I'm in a position to announce for you today. There has been no final decision made on that and -- Q You will let us know. MS. TUTWILER: I will definitely let you know. And I don't have a starting time for you yet, either. Q Margaret, an Israeli official was quoted in the press today as saying they want a ladder from the United States to climb down from the tree that they've got themselves up in. Do you have a ladder to offer the Israelis today? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen that comment. Is it by an unnamed Israeli official? I usually don't respond. It's a big difference to me. I usually don't respond to unnamed Israeli officials or other governmental officials. Q Do you plan to give the Israelis any way that they can back down from what seems to be a position that they will have some difficulty getting off of without help? MS. TUTWILER: I think that it is, as I said the other day, our responsibility as a co-sponsor not to make unilateral decisions. So I don't view this, as you've characterized it, as a way to back down. This is the co-sponsors' recommendation that we have stated before -- everyone knew was coming. And we, obviously, view this, as we believe that most countries in the world do, that these are important talks; these are talks that the Israeli Government themselves have said for 43 years they want to engage in; and I'm not going to characterize what position the Israeli Government is or is not taking. We have also said in the same breath on Wednesday that any date that the parties want to find agreement upon is fine with us. But we have an obligation to be open and ready, having issued this invitation. As you will recall, immediately after issuing it, the Jordanian Government accepted it. Then on the following Monday, as I recall, the Lebanese Government did. And on Wednesday of last week, the Syrians did and the Palestinians did. Q Margaret, does Netanyahu have any appointments here at the State Department? Can you tell me? MS. TUTWILER: He doesn't with the Secretary. I'm not aware of his request for -- if there is one -- to meet with other individuals here. I'm sure that there are experts here, should he ask. I don't know if he will. But, of course, we'll meet with him. Q Can you tell me, would you urge the Arab delegations who come here on the 5th to stay here and wait for the Israelis to come on the 9th? MS. TUTWILER: That would be something that the Arab delegations will be best directing themselves. We are keeping our commitment -- as we said we were on Wednesday -- as a co-sponsor that we will be open and ready on December 4. Q I'm asking whether the United States will urge these delegations to stick around for those five days? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard, Saul, but I don't want to presume to speak for the delegations -- that they're popping into town and popping out on the 5th. So I just haven't heard that. Q No, no. I mean, whether the State Department intends to urge them to stay. MS. TUTWILER: The State Department's view on this is that these are important talks; that we cannot want these talks more than the parties themselves, and we are not dictating to any party what they should or should not do. This is a continuation, after all, of talks that began in Madrid. These are talks that many in the world have called for for decades, and we think what is important here is the substance. Q Margaret, are you at liberty to reveal today the explanations that the United States Government has given to Israel yesterday at the meeting between Mr. Dennis Ross and Mr. Shoval? MS. TUTWILER: They are the exact, to use your phrase, "explanations" -- it is not a phrase I would use -- of our public briefing on Wednesday. I have seen them also portrayed in the press this morning as some kind of clarifications that we sent to Israel. It is nothing more than our public statement of Wednesday. Q Are clarifications also going on? MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me? Q Are there more clarifications that Washington intends to send to Israel during the next -- MS. TUTWILER: We haven't sent clarifications. In my mind, that is an erroneous press adjective they chose to use. This was nothing more than -- Ambassador Ross meets with Ambassador Shoval all the time -- and this was nothing more than what was said on -- I believe they met on Friday afternoon -- what was said here at the podium on Wednesday afternoon. Q There are on-going contacts between the two capitals? MS. TUTWILER: Well, of course. They go on all the time, on any number of subjects. Not just this one. Q Margaret, if it's clear that the Israelis are not going to be in town on December 4th, what's the point of opening -- I know you've got your facility ready. Everything will be ready to go. What's the point of opening up for a photo op, which is basically going to do tremendous propaganda damage to Israel, when it's clear that there won't be actual talks? Why don't you just say, "We are ready, but we're not opening the doors yet, because it's clear that talks can't take place because both sides are not here." MS. TUTWILER: Then we're changing our proposal, Alan. We said on Wednesday that we think that it is important that if the co-sponsors send out a proposal, that we not unilaterally alter that proposal, and so we haven't. Q But your view is that if Israel suffers this damage, it's their own fault, and so be it? MS. TUTWILER: My view is that the co-sponsors made a good faith proposal. That proposal was out there. Other parties accepted that proposal on the basis that it was a good faith proposal, and we have an obligation to follow through with our proposal, and not, in the middle of the game, start altering our proposal. Q But, Margaret, the fact is that there won't be any talks going on. So what exactly do you intend to do? I mean, are people going to be sitting there eight hours a day until -- MS. TUTWILER: That's up to the parties that are there, Mary. I can't prejudge that for them. We will do as we said we will do. We will have our facility ready and open. Q Margaret, are you saying that the United States has no further obligation after investing eight months of the Secretary of State's time? You're saying now there's nothing further to say to the Israelis. You're going to open the doors, and then stand back, and, if this process dies, so be it, it dies. You're not going to do anything more to keep it alive? MS. TUTWILER: Our attitude, Mary, has been throughout those eight months that you mentioned, that we cannot want peace more than the parties who are part of this. We cannot want talks more than the parties, and we have never pretended that we could produce any type of outcome, any type of result. We have been there as a catalyst, as you're familiar with. We have been there as a facilitator. We have been there to help. You are correct. He and others have spent a great deal of time over the last eight-plus months on this, but we cannot force something to happen if the parties themselves do not want it to happen. That's exactly where we are. Q Margaret, will the TV cameras be invited into that building to take pictures of the empty chairs and the chairs that are full for that matter? MS. TUTWILER: It will be handled exactly as it was handled in Madrid. In Madrid, if you recall, it was left up to the parties themselves -- their own press arrangements -- and that is exactly how we will do it this time. It will be up to the parties themselves to determine. As you will recall in Madrid, some decided they did want media coverage; some decided they did not. Since this time I recognize that there is the possibility you will not have one of the parties, then that is something the co-sponsors will be discussing with the parties. Q Will we find out before the day is over where they will be meeting? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Will the U.S. side be ready to respond to Arab requests for consultations -- MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q -- between the U.S. and Arab countries? MS. TUTWILER: Absolutely. We've offered that to all the parties over the last four weeks. Q Margaret, are you planning any bilateral talks with the Arab delegations? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of any that have been requested, but we have said throughout, since we left Madrid -- and, in fact, there have been meetings with any number of experts from different delegations. There have been meetings in capitals, and there have been meetings here. I cannot tell you that no meetings will take place with the various delegates that are coming, but I am not aware of any specific meeting that is scheduled. Q Margaret, I have two questions: One, on the media coverage, you said it's up to the individual countries. But, in fact, in Madrid there was a pool -- MS. TUTWILER: Sidewalk. That was all sidewalk. I don't claim to control sidewalks. Inside, each one of them -- they chose to handle it differently, if you'll recall. Q Well, is there going to be a "sidewalk pool"? MS. TUTWILER: Sidewalks are totally the norm. You can stand on the sidewalk, as you know, anywhere here. So I am not doing sidewalks. Alan's question was the actual room. But stakeouts outside of wherever this facility or facilities will be -- it's totally the normal rules here. You know, whatever you want to do. Q My second question is on this principle you enunciated that the co-sponsors had a proposal, a good faith proposal, out there, and therefore they can't backtrack from it. Whoever comes, comes. MS. TUTWILER: Make unilateral decisions. Q Does that hold for substance, too? If the co-sponsors put a proposal on the table for the Golan Heights, does that mean that everyone has got to accept it? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that the co-sponsors, or that a sponsor, has put a substantive proposal on the table. The co-sponsors -- or the one I believe you're referring to is the United States -- a sponsor -- has, as we have said, made their well-known views again known. There's nothing new contained in what our view is, and our suggestions of areas that will probably need to be discussed, should you get into real substance. Q But my question -- you know, the Israeli concern here apparently is they feel that they were rolled on the date, and they are worried that they'll be rolled on the substance. And you seem to be confirming that by saying that this principle is whenever the co-sponsors put a proposal out there, they're not going to walk back from it. MS. TUTWILER: The co-sponsors -- I'm unaware that the co-sponsors have ever said that they will be in the negotiating room, unless both parties agree and ask them in. I'm unaware that the co-sponsors have ever said that they will be making substantive proposals for negotiations. So you've got a piece of knowledge that I'm totally unaware of. Our proposal has been to get to a peace conference, which we did in Madrid, followed on -- as you're familiar with the invitation, letter of invitation -- by direct bilateral talks which began in Madrid; and then, as you know, the multilateral phase also would follow suit. I have never heard -- that I'm personally aware of -- either the United States or the Soviet Union as co-sponsors say that they will be suggesting, directing and proposing substance. I'm just not aware of that. Q Was not that part of the invitation to this round of talks -- some discussion? MS. TUTWILER: No, ma'am. Unfortunately, you weren't here last week, and we went through this at quite some length. Q Would you confirm today that the multilateral talks will not be in December? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q No? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not in a position -- I don't want to mislead you or steer you -- I'm in a neutral position here. I have no announcement to make on multilaterals as of today. Q Margaret, what did happen to the idea of -- MS. TUTWILER: Hopefully -- excuse me -- hopefully, we will be doing that announcement shortly, but not today. Q There was an idea that the Israelis may send a lower level delegation to the talks. What did happen to that idea? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know. You'd need to ask the Israelis. Q I'm asking about your knowledge of the idea. Did you accept it? Did you refuse it or -- MS. TUTWILER: My knowledge of this is what I stated a few moments ago. I am unaware of -- from the Israeli Government to one of the co-sponsors -- any change in their position since last Wednesday afternoon. But I also said, "Please check with the Israeli Government." That is our knowledge of this briefing. No substantive change in their position. Q Margaret, you said that the United States is not offering Israel any clarifications or public statements that would amount to a ladder to get it down off the tree so they could come on the 4th. Is the reasoning -- the United States' reasoning behind not offering the Israelis something is that a clarification or a public statement would amount to a pre-condition for them attending the bilateral talks, and the United States won't tolerate pre-conditions? MS. TUTWILER: I've tried to express it as the best that I could. The United States and the Soviet Union, after many, many months, weeks and hours of discussion, made a proposal once the parties could not themselves agree to a location and a date, which they requested that we let them try to do for two weeks. They were unable to do so. So we have put our proposal out there. Once putting the proposal out there and parties accepted based on that proposal, we felt that we could not make a unilateral decision to change the proposal. Q So you don't consider the request by Ambassador Shoval for a clarification or public statement a pre-condition? MS. TUTWILER: I'm unaware that Ambassador Shoval sought clarifications or an additional public statement. I'm not sure what you're talking about. Ambassador Shoval meets with Ambassador Ross, as I've stated, all the time. He was in here Friday afternoon, I believe it was, meeting with Ambassador Ross, and I saw in the press your characterizations of it -- some of yours -- as the United States had sent clarifications to the Israeli Government. What I answered earlier was I'm unaware of any clarifications we've sent. The conversation dealt with nothing more than our public statement of Wednesday which expressed what our views were on this. Q The Israelis wanted more than that. MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that the Israelis wanted more. Q Margaret, have you told any parties where and when these things are to be held locally, if they are? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Can you tell me why you're holding that up, since we're talking about the day after tomorrow -- MS. TUTWILER: That's correct. Q -- and they have to make some decisions, perhaps based on that? MS. TUTWILER: Because the co-sponsors have not made a decision on that yet. As you know, there are varying views on this subject also, which is basically a subject of site. As you remember in Madrid, it was a subject of room and starting times, and this is something that, in all candor, we have not made a decision on. We are well aware of everyone's views, and they are aware -- because in our original cable of instructions we said there will be no international press center. It will be in a United States Government property, so there will be no credentialing as such, since you have to have access to a government building, etc. So they know what type of facility it's going to be in. Q But since it's important to them, to some of them, that they be held consecutively or together -- MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q -- in the same place or different places, since that is important, are you discussing this -- still discussing this with them? MS. TUTWILER: Not really. Q So you're about to make -- MS. TUTWILER: But I cannot tell you that their -- as I just said, their views are well known to us, so there have been discussions about this, and I'm sure there are continuing discussions at various levels of our government. But it's just like, to be honest with you, issuing this invitation. At some point do you go ahead and make a decision when the parties themselves cannot agree? Our view is, yes, if you ever want to get to what all the parties say they want, which everyone acknowledges is important -- everyone welcomed Madrid -- is to try to facilitate getting to substance. At some point you are, in my opinion, forced to make a decision when the parties themselves cannot. Q Is security one of the reasons you're not announcing it at this point? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q So, Margaret, when you announce the building or three buildings, that's not going to be up for negotiation, just like the date? That's not up for negotiation? MS. TUTWILER: Correct. Q Who's going to make that decision? MS. TUTWILER: To be honest with you, it wasn't in Madrid. Q Who's going to make that decision, Margaret? I mean, at what level is it decided who -- which buildings it's going to be? Is this something that Baker and Shevardnadze have to discuss, or surely it's lower down? MS. TUTWILER: It's something that a number of people get involved in discussing. Q Does the Secretary get involved, too? MS. TUTWILER: Of course, Jan. Q Margaret, you suggested this was a contentious issue. You hinted that this was a contentious issue. MS. TUTWILER: The site. Q The site. What types of disagreements have arisen? MS. TUTWILER: The same ones that arose in Madrid. As you recall, it was about over 24 hours that was spent on whether they all begin in three different locations; if they begin in one location; if they begin at staggered times; if they begin at the same time. That is still out here floating. You have used the adjective "contentious." I have not, because I don't view that that's where we really are on this right now. We are aware of different parties' views on this subject. We went through this once in Madrid. But again, if we step back and look at the number of questions -- How long have I been out here? -- 15 or so minutes -- what we're talking about are dates, are buildings, are staggered times. What we view, and we said this all last week, as what is really important here -- and it's important that it not get lost in the traffic -- is that these are important, serious talks, and to get to substance, and to get beyond what we've characterized as procedural wrangling. Q Can I come back to the visa question? Earlier today, of course, the Palestinians said they couldn't really come because you refused to grant them some visas. Then they changed their minds, and they're on their way. You stated here there will be no waivers issued to the PLO. Was there a compromise, or did they cave in? MS. TUTWILER: I really like to deal with the future -- the facts as they are now on the ground. I have said, and you have read, that there have been conversations. I have said -- right before I came to the podium, about 45 minutes before -- that our Ambassador called and said they are on their way. I have read Faisal Husseini on the wires, saying much the same thing. So I don't think it's constructive to go back through what conversations may or may not have taken place. I would also remind you on Wednesday afternoon -- I believe it was about 5:30 -- I put out a statement that the Palestinians had accepted December 4 and Washington, D.C., and our view that that was an unconditional acceptance. Q Margaret, will the State Department be briefing the press here as the talks continue and how -- the venue that you'll be briefing on? MS. TUTWILER: No. I said last week that there will not be daily, nor should there be, State Department briefings on these talks. That's for the parties themselves to determine, how they want to handle it, and what, if any, briefings they want to have for members of the press. Q Margaret, Joseph Cicippio was released today over in Lebanon and Syria, and one of the things that Iran has put out subsequently is that a series of agreements were reached with the hostage-holders and the various countries that are involved in all of this. One of the conditions that the Iranians are saying was agreed to by the countries is that the hostage-holders would be guaranteed safety after they release the hostages. Has the United States implied or directly said that they would not go after the hostage-holders when the hostages are freed? MS. TUTWILER: Not that I have any knowledge of. This is the first I've heard of this. I haven't seen an Iranian statement this morning. I'll be happy to look into it for you. Q Thank you very much. Q Margaret, getting to the loan guarantees, $l0 billion in loan guarantees, what is the status of that? And, also, as a follow-up, your Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs said that the Administration supports it in principle -- the guarantees -- but he says it's meant to be subject to acceptable conditions and terms. What do you mean by "acceptable conditions and terms"? MS. TUTWILER: Sir, I'll refer you to his public testimony, to the Secretary of State's public testimony, to the statements made by the Congressional leadership, and by the White House. That, as you know, is something we've all agreed upon that we are not discussing at this time. And, as you know, we sought and received a l20-day delay; and I'd just refer you to the record. I have nothing to say at this time. Q Margaret, in reference to the Haitians, could you just give the justification why you do not consider them political refugees; and how do you decide that? MS. TUTWILER: We decide that based on -- if you're talking about the people who have departed Haiti, we're now up to -- the latest number is 6,370. INS, as you know, interviews all of these people; and, to date, over these many weeks, l20* have been found to have a plausible case for political asylum in the United States and are in Miami. Q Why do you not consider them -- the Haitian boat people -- political refugees? MS. TUTWILER: We have certain criteria that we follow that concerns political refugees and people who seek asylum. That criteria is being followed in this case by the INS officials, and we have found to date l20* out of 6,370. Q Margaret, on the subject of -- contrary to what you or Richard said recently -- the atmosphere in Haiti sounds pretty rough. There are some people saying that there have been executions. Some people have been reported to have been shot on the streets. And other people appear to have what would normally be a well-founded fear of persecution on whatever grounds. Do you, in the light of these reports, still believe that there is no large-scale political persecution in Haiti? MS. TUTWILER: I will restate for you today that we are well aware of -- it's been well-publicized during the coup and immediately after the coup -- there was obviously violence in the street. We saw it ourselves. Of the people that we have interviewed -- and it's my understanding that INS has interviewed all of these people -- we have found l20* people out of 6,370 to date who have a plausible case for political asylum, which is fear of persecution. Note: The number to date is 161. I do not believe -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- that I have made a categorical statement that we do not know of a single, solitary incident. We have said, to our knowledge to date -- from the Catholic Relief Organization, from the International Red Cross, from our Embassy personnel -- we don't have specific cases. We hear and we read about specific cases, but we track them down to the best of our ability and we just are not coming up with it. But we have left ourselves open, Jim, in my mind, for people who want to come forward or who do come forward to say, "Yes, this is terrible." Q Right, but the U.S. Embassy staff in Port-au-Prince has pretty well been winnowed down to just a few people. Are the State -- MS. TUTWILER: It's more than a few people. Q Well -- MS. TUTWILER: It's a reduced staff -- correct. Q Yes, it is a reduced staff. With this reduced staff, do you feel confident that they are able to report accurately on what others say to be an aura of fear? MS. TUTWILER: Obviously, we have confidence in our Embassy personnel that are there. They are working under trying circumstances; and they are, in our opinion, obviously doing a good job. We have consistently said that, recognizing that we have a reduced Embassy staff there, we don't just depend on our Embassy. We are also staying in close contact with international humanitarian organizations. Q Well, Margaret, are the reports that you have in your official channels at variance with the press reports that all of us have seen -- that there have been people executed on street corners? MS. TUTWILER: Not to date. Q O.K. Q Margaret, when you talk about a well-founded fear of persecution, does that have to involve a person specifically, or is it enough to be afraid that anybody could be shot down on the street? MS. TUTWILER: I believe -- and I am not an expert on this, and I would refer you to INS for the literal procedures that they follow -- I know the same procedures are being followed in this case -- that it is an individual fear of being persecuted. I do not believe -- but call INS and Justice and correct me if I'm wrong -- that you can make a blanket statement, "I think I might be shot in l994." I just don't think that's going to get it. Q All right. I think I might be shot next week, but not because they are after me necessarily, but because they're shooting people all the time. MS. TUTWILER: Right. Q Margaret, at some point you can approach -- what seems to be happening, according to news reports from there as well as the reports of interviews by lawyers of the refugees looking into this -- you're approaching the kind of situation that you had in Vietnam, in which the situation is so unstable as to pose a threat to the lives of people. And that is the criteria, I think, that you used in Vietnam, so that individual refugees from Vietnam did not have to say, "I am a subject of persecution"; they simply say that "That's the climate." Aren't we approaching that? And, if we're not, are our Embassy people perhaps reassessing that possibility so that the Haitian situation might be defined as the kind of situation in Vietnam where we are opposed to repatriation of refugees? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of any review -- specific, literal review of our policy -- i.e., in comparison to Vietnam. I am very much aware of the President's -- and he has expressed it -- and this Administration's concern over doing the humanitarian thing, in our opinion, over saving lives. These are the number of people that we know we have picked up. We have estimated, through the Coast Guard, that 50 percent of the people who we have picked up -- 50 percent more have probably drowned. We do not think it is a responsible thing to be sending a signal to these people to take off in these life-threatening vessels to cross six- to seven-hundred miles of open ocean and risk their lives like this. And so that is why, rightly or wrongly, we happen to think it's a humanitarian thing. We have continued to pursue sending the message, and we've done it in every way we know how so that it can get to the people in Haiti: "Please do not take it upon yourselves to do this futile, foolish act for yourself and your family." Q Margaret, do you have a breakdown as to how many came on Sunday and how many on Saturday, and so forth? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. There have been l,253 picked up since Tuesday. Seventy-four were picked up on Wednesday; 593 on Thursday; 23 on Friday; 223 on Saturday; and 340 on Sunday. Q Margaret, can we move on to the Ukraine? MS. TUTWILER: Suits me. Q And could you please tell us what you think of the Ukrainian election results -- the referendum results? MS. TUTWILER: Well, I assume you've read the four-page statement that the White House has put out, and that is our view of it. So I'm not sure what specifically your question is. Q Can you add anything about the Secretary's travel plans or anything else? MS. TUTWILER: The statement says, as you know, we'll be sending -- the President will be sending, and the Secretary of State, an emissary. That will be Tom Niles. The emissary will not be staying there permanently. He is not going as an Ambassador to the Ukraine. The statement also says that the Secretary of State will be going later this month to Moscow. He will, obviously, see the center leadership, the Russian leadership, and he will be going to the Ukraine. Q And, Margaret, do you think this satisfies -- you know, there's been some controversy with the central government's feeling that the United States was prepared to move too quickly on the Ukraine after this referendum. Is this a signal that we're not going to offer full recognition of Ukrainian independence any time soon? MS. TUTWILER: The statement says that. The statement says that this is not full, formal diplomatic recognition. The statement says this is a welcoming of the free and fair referendum -- the vote that was held yesterday in the Ukraine. And the statement also lays out three baskets, as you're aware of, of things that we have concerns about or things that are genuine considerations. The special envoy will be discussing these considerations. He will be there this week. They are, in my opinion -- as I'm sure you have taken note -- a build-on to the September 4, five principles the Secretary of State laid out. And so I don't know, really, what else I can add to that very thorough statement. Q Was there a zig-zag here or was it simply misunderstood last week when there were press reports that the Administration had changed its position and was going to move quickly to recognize the Ukraine -- which then, as you know, prompted the central government to respond that it didn't like that idea at all. Has the Administration zig-zagged here or were there misunderstandings in the press about what exactly the policy was? MS. TUTWILER: Well, Mary, just like I don't respond to unnamed foreign officials in our newspapers -- I just recall reading unnamed U.S. officials, I believe, last Tuesday or Wednesday -- so I think that I will refrain concerning our own unnamed officials. And you have a statement today from the White House. It's a very thorough statement. It is in line, to be honest with you, with many reports that I read over the weekend. So I, obviously, don't subscribe to the Administration as "zig-zagging." Q Margaret, this may be just academic, but does the September 4th statement and the President's statement today change the traditional view from this podium, and, if it doesn't, are you willing to state the traditional view from this podium -- that the United States recognizes the borders of the Soviet Union as they were constituted -- what -- around l9l7 or l9l9 or l92l, or whenever it was? I've forgotten. MS. TUTWILER: Thirty-three. Q Thirty-three. MS. TUTWILER: In my opinion, Saul, the Soviet Union is going through, obviously, a major transformation since the failed August coup. After that, on September 4, this Administration, in the form of the Secretary of State, enunciated five principles -- one of which dealt with borders, you will recall. The Secretary urged respect for existing borders, internal and external, and said that any change of borders should occur only legitimately by peaceful, consentual means. And that, in my view, has been our policy since September 4. That is laid out, once again, in the President's statement today, where they address themselves to the question of borders. Q Margaret, two quick things. One, could the Press Office provide us with a copy of the Secretary's speech from that date? And, secondly -- MS. TUTWILER: It was here in the press room. It was his statement here. Q It was in the press room; if there's a transcript. The other thing is: Do you have anything on the money that was handed over to Iran today in The Hague? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q On $280 million the United States handed the -- MS. TUTWILER: It's part of the on-going process. I'll be more than glad to get the lawyers to get you a statement. I mean it's no surprise to us; it's part of the normal thing. Q Margaret, President Mubarak of Egypt said in an interview published today that he was in contact with this Administration with regard to the Libyan affair of the Pan Am l03, and he came out persuaded that the United States is not thinking of a military action against Libya. Do you have any comment on that? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't seen that statement by President Mubarak. He is, through his embassy here and through various officials that work for his Foreign Ministry, always in close contact with our Government; but I'm not aware of some statement that he has made like that today. Q Margaret, you have not briefed since Yeltsin reportedly took over the finances of the central government. Do you have a comment generally? And, more specifically, does that complicate these diplomatic efforts? Is this one of the considerations that Mr. Niles will be talking about? MS. TUTWILER: No, it is not linked to the Tom Niles' mission, and specifically on the events that have taken place over Thanksgiving. No, we recognize that they have taken place. As you know, there was a Russian parliament bloc vote that preceded this; and then President Yeltsin has taken the actions he's taken. But I don't have a specific analytical judgment of it for you at this briefing. We just take note that this is what has happened and what preceded it. Q Margaret, back on Haiti, do you have an update on the tent city which has been established for the refugees? MS. TUTWILER: How many are down there? Q Well, is it filled to capacity? Are the cutters loaded -- overcrowded all over again? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is that the cutters are -- well, the ones out in the ocean, to be honest with you, George, I don't know today. The ones that were docked -- remember, at Guantanamo Bay -- those people or individuals are now on the ground. 5,320 remain either at Guantanamo Bay or on board Coast Guard cutters. 3,069 are at the U.S. Naval Facility at Guantanamo Bay. I'm sorry, I do have the answer; 2,250 are still on the Coast Guard cutters. I was trying to get for you how many tents and what they have. The Pentagon might be a better place for this. At one point, I think I saw today that they have built enough or have enough facilities or tents for all these people; and I can't seem to find it right this second. Q Well, could you subtract -- MS. TUTWILER: Wait a second. Q -- 2,250 from 5,320, and that would be the number ashore at Guantanamo? MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me? Q You say 2,250 are aboard ships. The total of those at Guantanamo and aboard ships are 5,320. Would it be correct to subtract 2,250 from 5,320 to arrive at a figure, which would be the number in the tent city? MS. TUTWILER: It would be my guess, Jim -- to be honest with you, this is the information that the Coast Guard tries to give us updates on every day. These numbers I've asked that we not be held to literally. These are all approximate numbers. This is what the Refugee Bureau has given me information on this morning as their latest information from the Coast Guard. Q Margaret, back to the Ukraine -- MS. TUTWILER: Excuse me. I have that there are 3,069 Haitians now ashore at the U.S. Naval Facility at Guantanamo Bay. Q There are some lost there. (Laughter) MS. TUTWILER: All right, I'm sorry. I told you this is not a precise science. All the Haitians, as I said, that were on the naval vessel USS Tortuga have been disembarked and are now at the base. The Department of Defense reports this morning that the Haitians are being housed in tents, cinder-block buildings, and huts at Camp Bulkeley on the southeast coast of the naval base and in a hangar containing a thousand cots on the eastern side of the base. I thought I had how many tents they've put up. I can't seem to find it. Q Margaret, when you talk about a 50 percent attrition rate -- MS. TUTWILER: That's what the Coast Guard has said. Q -- is this based on any evidence, or is this just based on a similar kind of exodus as in the past? MS. TUTWILER: This is what the Coast Guard has consistently said since this began. And, to be honest with you, Carol, I don't know what criteria they are basing it on; but it's in public statements by the Coast Guard that that is what they believe -- that 50 percent of the people they have found; the others have probably drowned. Q One more question on the Ukraine, please. MS. TUTWILER: On what? Q One more question on the Ukraine. MS. TUTWILER: The Ukraine? Q Yes. I didn't get that -- is there anything on the White House statement about the independence of the Ukraine -- official position of the United States, I mean? MS. TUTWILER: You did not get it. Q Yes -- I'm sorry. MS. TUTWILER: I'll be happy to give you a copy of the White House statement at the end of the briefing. It's four pages. Q Margaret, going back to Carol's question, it seems inexplicable that 6,000 -- there was one shipwreck that was -- MS. TUTWILER: A hundred and ninety-one -- Q -- which was reported and announced, and people were accounted for. It seems inexplicable that even in the Bermuda Triangle that 6,000 people should have drowned without anyone raising a peep. I mean, maybe you should go back to the Coast Guard and have them check their list, and once again I -- MS. TUTWILER: Or, maybe you could call them and ask them what criteria they are basing this on. It's not a secret; they've said it publicly. This is their estimate, it is my understanding. I don't believe they've come out and said, "We know for a fact." But I remember one day I briefed here and said that one group of 26 people were in a boat in eight- to twelve-foot high seas. It was a very small boat, as I recall -- describing it -- that the Coast Guard, I guess, had seen or knew about -- that these people are out here without life preservers, without compasses, without water, without anything that is adequate. So I'm not aware that they've said that they know for a positive fact, but I know that they have said that it is their belief that as much as 50 percent probably are not making it. Q Yes, but, I mean, do you still feel comfortable with l90 out of 6,000 -- or it's about O.3 of a percent and they're saying 50 percent? MS. TUTWILER: But that's a known sinking, Alan. Q We take your point that it's a dangerous trip and that a lot of the boats there -- MS. TUTWILER: Six- to seven-hundred miles of open sea. We have l0 Coast Guard cutters. Q So are you still happy with the supposition that there are 6,000 people -- MS. TUTWILER: I don't have any reason not to -- Q -- who have gone to their deaths in that sea without anyone knowing about it? MS. TUTWILER: I have no reason not to be, Alan. Q O.K. Q Thanks. MS. TUTWILER: Thank you all. (The briefing concluded at l:27 p.m.)