February, 1992

US Department of State Daily Briefing #18: Monday, 2/3/92

Tutwiler Source: State Department Spokesman Margaret Tutwiler Description: Washington, DC Date: Feb, 3 19922/3/92 Category: Briefings Region: Eurasia, East Asia, MidEast/North Africa, Europe, Caribbean Country: United States, USSR (former), Japan, Libya, France, Iraq, Israel, Haiti, Cuba Subject: State Department, Arms Control, Terrorism, Military Affairs, Development/Relief Aid, Cultural Exchange, United Nations, Mideast Peace Process, Refugees 12:21 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

[Announcements: Testimony and Travel by the Secretary]

MS. TUTWILER: I have two things I'd like to do, please. One is, I believe you're aware, the Secretary has two testimonies this week. The first is on Wednesday, February 5, at 10:00 a.m. It is before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. My understanding is the room is 419 Dirksen. The subject will be the FY-93 budget request. On Thursday, the Secretary will appear at 10:00 a.m. before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the same subject. My understanding, the room is 2172 Rayburn. As you know, on days that he testifies, we do not do State Department briefings. Future travel: I will give you what I can. I cannot fill in all the blanks for you. I'm not going to be able to after the briefing. We've been working on this all weekend, and we just don't have all the answers for you. But anticipating that you all need what information I can give you, I'm going to take a stab at it. As many of you know, we're leaving Sunday morning for Frankfurt, Germany. On Monday morning, the Secretary will have a meeting with German Foreign Minister Genscher, and then the Secretary will observe, along with the Foreign Minister of Germany, the first U.S. flights to take off from Rhine-Main Air Force Base as part of the United States previously announced humanitarian assistance to the former republics of the Soviet Union. We will have for you there on the ground -- not before -- fact sheets on where these flights are going, what they are carrying and where the cargo will be distributed. Monday, after this ceremony, the Secretary will head for some of the Central Asian republics of the former Soviet Union. As I said, I'm not in a position to pin all this down for you as of this briefing. As soon as I have it, I will make it available in the Press Office. We're in the process of working out many of these stops. Right now, what we're looking at is visiting those three Central Asian republics that the Secretary has not yet had an opportunity to meet with the top leadership of those three -- that would be Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. We are thinking about arriving in Moscow on Thursday evening -- that would be February 13. February 14 may be spent in Moscow. We are working right now with the Russians to arrange for a time for the follow-up meeting that President Bush announced in his meeting with President Yeltsin at Camp David concerning the Secretary. In our view right now, these meetings will probably be on Saturday, February 15. If that holds up, then I would envision that we would return to the United States sometime on Sunday, February 16. Let me state again so that you know that I am trying to be forthcoming -- there's no reason to call me immediately after the briefing -- I do not have all these answers. This is tentative and it is very subject to change. A sign-up sheet, however, for those of you all who want to roll with it, will be posted this afternoon after this briefing and will be taken down tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. Q Do you, by any chance -- will you be able to provide us with the names of one or two of the places where aid is going to be going in before -- MS. TUTWILER: In advance? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: I'll try. I'm going to meet this afternoon with Mr. Armitage. I've talked to him twice this morning. He obviously has an enormous task in front of him of 54 American sorties. We'll try. Q We need to anticipate at least some of the places they're going. MS. TUTWILER: I understand. Some planes, for instance, which will be in your fact sheet -- at least, one that I know of -- will probably have already departed Monday morning prior to us getting to the airfield. I understand your needs. We've also been working closely with Pete Williams' office to put film crews and press on these flights. I haven't had a chance since I've been back in town to check where we are on that. Pete had told me there would be absolutely no problem. So, yes, I will try to keep feeding that, as much as I can, to you in advance. But, in fairness to Rich (Armitage), I had said that I really have to have it that morning, this fact sheet which he's working on. Q But that's the complete fact sheet. MS. TUTWILER: Of everything; right. Q Obviously, he knows some of the target places that are pretty much locked in at this point? MS. TUTWILER: Oh, sure. Q What about Armenia -- Azerbaijan, Moldova, and Georgia, and places like that? MS. TUTWILER: On this particular trip, due to scheduling, we decided that this is what the schedule would accommodate. As you know, we have already been -- in fact, twice -- to Kazakhstan, to two of the Central Asian republics, and the Secretary felt on this particular trip that it would be useful, and something he had wanted to do in the past, and the schedule didn't accommodate it -- to visit the other three. Q Which is the farthest east of those? I assume you're still planning to go out as far east as possible and work your way back? MS. TUTWILER: That's getting me to a level of detail and decisions that, honestly, just aren't made. I understand your needs. They were pointed out to me on the plane coming home. We are trying desperately, as you know, in many of these places -- I would say in all three of these -- we have no staff; we have no phone communications. So it's difficult for us -- and we're really trying. I just don't know for you yet, which I believe is your question, about overnights. I don't have that yet. Q What's the possibility of some add-ons after Moscow? MS. TUTWILER: Anything is always possible. Q As of right now, there is nothing? MS. TUTWILER: Well, I don't ever like to say that. Who knows? Let's just take this one day at a time. Q Does the Secretary anticipate that when he's at each of these Central Asian republics, he'll be there at the same time the flights will be arriving? Or is the opportunity with the Secretary and flights going to be in Germany and then you're going to be doing other things? MS. TUTWILER: If we've gotten at that, we'll coordinate it. I'm unaware of it. It did not go into his thinking concerning where he is going and the reasons that he is going to these three Asian republics. I will be happy to check with Mr. Armitage to see if, indeed, we know what days we're going to be where; if, indeed, one of the flights that's taking place over the two weeks would, indeed, be there. As you know, we are doing 54 sorties over, we said, a week to two-week period. And that safety permitting, especially with relationship to Georgia, we anticipated sending at least a flight to all of the former republics. Q So if it's not flights, per se, what would you say, loosely speaking, the agendas are for his talks with the leaders of those three Central Asian republics? What's on his mind? MS. TUTWILER: Loosely speaking, I just don't want to do that for you today. He has a whole host of things to discuss with these leaders, but I'm not in a position today to go through for you in any detail his proposed agenda. Q Margaret, can you tell us something about the Moscow talks? Is it -- what are you going to try to do in the Moscow talks? Is it envisioned that there will be some sort of treaty coming out of this or a communique, or something, as to how the two sides are going to proceed with arms control? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard mentioned, John, this morning of either a treaty or a communique. We are discussing internally, as you can well imagine -- an interagency -- at the highest levels of our government, as the President said that we would be doing -- how we are going to proceed on following up on the proposals that President Yeltsin made. President Bush stated any number of times Saturday, in his press conference, that Secretary Baker would be going, and the other experts, to discuss this in quite some detail. I don't have the detail yet to give you of what the U.S. delegation, headed by the Secretary, will be in a position to discuss or not to discuss. Q Does the U.S. have a preference as to how to proceed with this? MS. TUTWILER: If we did, I certainly wouldn't reveal it here. Q I'm simply asking you if you do have one, or if you're simply open to whatever they want to suggest? MS. TUTWILER: They've already made a suggestion. Part of this, as you know, is the United States' reaction to that suggestion. The President gave his initial reaction at Camp David on Saturday. Secretary Cheney spoke to you all, or to an American network, on Saturday saying what parts of this he thought were very interesting and needed to be discussed. That is the Administration's attitude, that this is definitely something we want to follow up on; that the experts, again, headed by the Secretary of State, will be in Moscow in two weeks, and they will be following up in detail on these proposals that were made just -- when was it? -- Thursday or Friday. Q Margaret, there's another round of treaty negotiations a la START II. Is that one of the options? Is that one of the possibilities? MS. TUTWILER: I haven't heard that mentioned. But, again, I think it would be highly unusual to assume that over the weekend the Administration -- these are, after all, bold proposals the President made in his State of the Union; there are bold proposals that President Yeltsin has made -- that this Administration has spent all weekend long and has a nice, neat, little package of -- here is every single thing we're going to do. It just doesn't exist yet. Q I just want to find out -- since we're looking for a mechanism -- whether the mechanism has to be treaty negotiations which can be extended, or if reciprocal actions -- MS. TUTWILER: Or you could have unilateral actions. These were two unilateral statements. Q But I'm trying to find out whether treaty negotiations is one of the options? MS. TUTWILER: The Secretary of State has had one meeting this morning concerning this subject with his senior level experts. I heard no mention, in that particular meeting, of treaty language, but I'm sure there will be many, many other meetings prior to his meeting in Moscow. Q Margaret, to follow up on Saul's question, do you think we're looking at the start of a many-year process here of negotiations? Or do you think we're talking about something that's moving much more dramatically and much faster toward trying to reconcile these two proposals? What's your sense of this? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not exactly sure, Mary, that I understand what you're asking me. Q In other words, are we about to start long, detailed, intricate negotiations that you anticipate -- or is it anticipated they are going to go on for many years, ultimately resulting in some sort of treaty? Or are you talking about more dramatic and faster action than that? MS. TUTWILER: I think over the last seven days you see pretty dramatic, fast action by the two heads of state in their proposals that they have made. I can't answer for you -- many of the proposals that are made, when you work out the detail, take quite a bit of time to implement. Are you talking about implementation or are you talking about arms control as usual in Geneva? I'm not in a position to answer that. But I would steer you towards, it is not arms control as normal, in my opinion, when you look at the very bold statements that both Presidents in the last span of seven or eight days have made concerning the arms control agenda. I would point you to that in less than two weeks the Secretary of State will be back in Moscow following up on that. That is not Geneva. Q It's just that at the same time as these proposals were depicted as "bold," the President sort of made no commitment on them and the Secretary of Defense, according to the papers this morning, has sort of dismissed them as unrealistic. This sounds like the beginning of a negotiation. The last negotiation on this subject took ten years. MS. TUTWILER: I'm aware of that. I don't agree with your characterization of Secretary Cheney's comments. I would, again, steer you back to President Bush, just Saturday -- I believe it was at 2:00 p.m. -- concluded a meeting with President Yeltsin. President Bush's statements, that I've read of the transcript, said: These are very interesting, this is something we want to pursue; I am asking Jim Baker to return to Moscow within two weeks; this is something that we have to look at in detail. Nothing has changed yesterday -- with Sunday -- or this morning. The Administration -- I can at least speak for the State Department; I'm sure it's true at the Pentagon and the White House -- are very seriously engaged in looking at details of these proposals. That's where it is this morning.

[Japan: Prime Minister's Comments on US Work Ethic]

Q Margaret, do you have any comment on the Japanese Prime Minister's description of U.S. work ethics? MS. TUTWILER: I would only refer you to -- the Japanese Government has issued a clarifying statement this morning emphasizing that Prime Minister Miyazawa regrets any misunderstanding concerning American workers but was trying to make a general point about his economic philosophy. The statement also says that the Prime Minister had no intention of criticizing American workers. Marlin (Fitzwater) has addressed himself to this this morning, and I would refer you to his transcript. He obviously pointed out that the achievements and dedication of the American worker are well known and speak for themselves. Q But don't you think -- you don't have to be a Freudian expert to realize, at least, slips seem to happen very often and may be buried somewhere deep in the Japanese unconsciousness -- subconscious -- these uncharitable thoughts about the United States. Isn't that something that you worry about? MS. TUTWILER: I have given you what I'm going to have to say concerning this. The Japanese Embassy has delivered over here a copy of the statement that I believe the Prime Minister's spokesman made, and I'll be happy to give that to you at the conclusion of this briefing. Q Did they deliver also an apology, or a statement of regret to the State Department as well? MS. TUTWILER: You would like me to read it to you? Q Yes. MS. TUTWILER: This is a comment of the Press Secretary, the thrust of what the Prime Minister said in the Diet. "Interpretation was in recognition of the excesses of Japan's bubble economy to stress, as a part of his economic philosophy, the importance of producing things and creating values by the sweat of our brow in an approach to work. The phrase 'work ethic' was used to explain such philosophy of work and the Prime Minister regrets any misunderstanding which may have been caused. The Prime Minister had no intention whatsoever of criticizing American workers." That is their statement of this morning. Q It's an apology? MS. TUTWILER: That's their statement. Q Margaret, do you have any comment on Qadhafi's statements to the Washington Post? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Basically, we see nothing new in this interview. Qadhafi simply repeats Libya's position which he has taken since indictments were handed down. The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 731 on January 21, and Libya must comply fully with the requirements of that resolution. So we don't see any change or anything new or significant in it. Q There's no room for compromise which he seems to call for? MS. TUTWILER: Again, we didn't see anything new. He's used this phraseology previously. So in our interpretation, there's nothing new here. Q Do you maintain your moot stance with regard to France and the George Habash situation? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, we do. Q There's no comment at all on the fact that Mr. Habash has now managed to walk away without even being interrogated? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q And the U.S. had no desire to interrogate Mr. Habash and did not feel that its ally ought to interrogate him? MS. TUTWILER: We have nothing to say concerning this situation. The only thing that I'm aware of, it's my understanding, is that Mr. Habash -- I believe it was on Saturday -- is now in Tunis. Q Margaret, the same area of the region: Do you have anything today on that U.S. News ∧ World Report story about the Scud missiles in Iraq? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware of that report. Q Could you look into it and take it? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. What is it -- something today? Q It was yesterday, and Cheney dodged it also. It claims that -- MS. TUTWILER: I really don't know anything about it. I don't get my U.S. News ∧ World Report on Sundays at home. Q It claims that they've manufactured up to 800 Scud missiles and that they still are producing them everyday. I think I got it right. Correct me if -- MS. TUTWILER: I'll be happy to look at the report. I don't know anything about it. Q Margaret, going back to Qadhafi, one of the points that he made in the interview is that it's difficult to communicate with the United States now since the representing power has given up its duties. Is there any thought of either, one, choosing a new representing power, or dealing directly with the Libyans? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is that the Belgian Government still represents our interests and that they have been since 1980. If that's changed, then I have misinformation. Q What Qadhafi said is that he wanted direct ties with the United States. MS. TUTWILER: I'm aware of what he said. Q What do you think of that? MS. TUTWILER: But I thought Jim was saying to me that our third party interest doesn't exist anymore. I'm not aware of that. I believe it's the Belgian Government. Our thoughts on it are that the way we communicate with the Government of Libya is through our protecting power, the Belgians. Q And you don't want to upgrade that? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Margaret, has the Secretary scheduled a follow-up meeting with Israeli Ambassador Shoval, and, if he has not, does he plan to before he departs on his trip next week? MS. TUTWILER: Yes and yes. He will in all likelihood, as he told you last week, be meeting with Ambassador Shoval prior to departing on this trip on Sunday, and no time has been set. I would look toward the end of the week rather than early this week for that meeting to take place, but, again, nothing has been scheduled. Q Margaret, the IAEA reports that Libya is willing to have inspectors come in to look at its nuclear program. Do you have anything on that? MS. TUTWILER: No. I'll be happy, though, to take that question. It's just something that I'm not aware of, and it deserves an answer. If indeed that's true, I just don't know about it. Q Can we return to Shoval just a moment again? MS. TUTWILER: Sure. Q Has the Administration made a decision on the loan guarantee issue? Has it established a posture on how it's going to proceed? MS. TUTWILER: The United States is still in the position of discussing this with the Israeli Government through, as you know, the person they have designated, Ambassador Shoval, and those discussions will continue probably later this week. Q So the Administration has formed internally a position which it hadn't about a week ago, you maintain? MS. TUTWILER: I maintained a week ago that these were preliminary discussions, and that Secretary Baker was in a listening mode. That is true. He did a little bit more than listen on Friday, to be perfectly honest with you. But that there is a final, finite, ironclad United States decision -- I can't say that for you. These are discussions. They're ongoing. Ambassador Shoval said to you all here outside the State Department, I believe, that he wanted to get back in touch with his government, which is certainly understandable. And I don't know, because there has not been, at Secretary Baker's level, any communication since then, and they will get together this week. Q When they get together, it will not be in a listening mode this time? It will be in an active negotiation mode? MS. TUTWILER: I said, to be perfectly honest, that Friday turned into a little bit more than listening, so I'm being straightforward with you. So since that happened on last Friday, this week they will continue their discussions. But, no, I'm not aware, number one, what Ambassador Shoval and the Israeli Government have decided and what he would be coming back in here with, if anything. They may well have further questions from the United States. I just don't know. This is something that is in a state of play. Q Margaret, on that point, did you ever confirm that the Secretary asked Israel to freeze the new construction? MS. TUTWILER: Did I confirm that? Q Has it ever been confirmed? Are you ready to confirm that now? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that the Secretary said that. Q Can you give us any idea -- MS. TUTWILER: Of what he did say? No. Q Margaret, do you have a definitive date yet for the resumption of the next round of bilaterals? MS. TUTWILER: No. But I saw one wire copy briefly before I came here, and I think it was -- I can't remember -- either an unnamed official -- I think I saw Hanan (Ashrawi) mentioning some dates. I'm not aware, and to be honest with you, I just didn't check. I know they're all working on it, and I know they're looking towards some time in February. But let me just check with Djerejian.

[Haiti: US Support for Restoring Aristide Government/Update]

Q Margaret, on Haiti, I wanted to ask you if U.S. policy now reflects a sort of resignation that Aristide is not going to be restored to power, and that the United States Government has to take certain actions that flow from that presumption? MS. TUTWILER: I'm not aware that the United States Government has a presumption that President Aristide would not be returned to the constitutional government there in Haiti. I'm not aware of that, and I don't know what you mean by "certain actions the United States may have to take." Q Well, the return of these exiles -- do you have any -- MS. TUTWILER: That's standard U.S. law and policy. That doesn't, to be honest with you, have anything to do with the situation as evolved. But President Aristide and our support of him -- this is, as I've said before -- and I can restate it for you -- U.S. immigration policy. Q Do you have an estimate on how many Haitians will be repatriated, and how many will have a plausible claim to refugee status? MS. TUTWILER: Let me do this for you, since we haven't done it -- or I haven't in awhile -- and bear with me, because there are a lot of numbers. Let me go through with you the numbers that we have, prefacing it by saying that these numbers are approximate numbers. They change, as you know, and fluctuate on us. Following action by the Supreme Court and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday to stay the injunction banning the repatriation of Haitians not found to have a plausible claim to asylum, 162 Haitians boarded a Coast Guard cutter on Saturday evening, February 1, to be repatriated to Haiti. A further 219 Haitians left Guantanamo on another cutter yesterday, on Sunday. The first cutter with 162 Haitians aboard arrived in Port-au-Prince this morning around 9:00 and off-loaded without incident. The other cutter is scheduled to arrive in Port-au-Prince this afternoon around one o'clock. The standard procedure is for Embassy officials and the Haitian Red Cross to be present during the off-loading. It is my understanding that more Haitians will be embarked on a cutter today for repatriation, and I don't have any details right now of that timing. Haitians picked up over the weekend: 611 Haitians were picked up over this past weekend -- 587 on Friday, 24 on Saturday and none yesterday. This brings the total number of Haitian boat people picked up since the coup to 15,054. On those who have been flown to Miami, it's my understanding that 1,402 Haitians have been flown from Guantanamo to the United States -- Miami -- to pursue their claim to asylum. To date, 3,609 Haitians have been found to have a plausible claim to asylum. 594 Haitians have returned voluntarily to Haiti. That breakout is 177 from third-country safehavens and 417 from Guantanamo. Approximately 10,860 Haitians are ashore at the U.S. Naval facility at Guantanamo Bay. This number includes those who have been screened in, and who are awaiting transportation to the United States. Some 1,483 Haitians are on board Coast Guard cutters. This number includes the 381 Haitians who are being repatriated to Haiti today. 27 Haitians remain in temporary safehaven facilities in Venezuela. 146 remain in temporary safehaven facilities in Honduras. Two have been medically evacuated to the United States, and 538 were repatriated to Haiti in November. That's all the numbers that I have. Q Margaret, do you still intend to process political refugee applications in Haiti as you stated earlier from this podium? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. In fact, I'm not sure that I stated it earlier. I said that we were looking at what's called an "in-processing facility." That is very current. It's not set up yet. It's something that we are discussing with the Haitian Government and with, obviously, our Embassy, and it's my understanding that there are only three other places in the world where we have set up such a service -- I believe I'm correct -- Vietnam, Cuba and Moscow. Q Do you have a response to the criticism from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees about the forced repatriation policy? MS. TUTWILER: Not really. My understanding is that she has said that she regretted the decision. I would point out that we have consulted closely with the UNHCR from the beginning of the Haitian boat people situation in November, particularly on finding other countries in the region willing to take Haitians. And, as you all know, the regional solution produced very little. The United States has followed, and continues to follow, careful screening procedures to ensure that no Haitian with a plausible claim to asylum is returned. Q Margaret, what about reprisals? MS. TUTWILER: Can I give you one other fact that I did not know but learned this morning? This concerns our immigration policies. During the past five years, the United States has given permanent resident status to over 95,000 Haitians. Q Margaret, I'm just curious, what assurances have we had from the government there that when these people go back, they will be treated okay, and what kind of warnings have we given the government that's there to handle these people with care? MS. TUTWILER: Number one, let me give you a fact that I was given this morning. I believe that it is in -- if you look at the history of repatriation from Haiti, which has gone on for 11 years -- there is no evidence, it's my understanding, not a single case, in which a Haitian who was repatriated was targeted for persecution by the regime. This was true in the period when there was enormous political violence under Duvalier, under the successor regimes, and under this de facto regime that has taken power after the coup. So we just don't have any evidence of it. Q Margaret, the State Department Report of Human Rights on Haiti appears to me to be equally critical of the Aristide Government and the de facto regime. Is the State Department prepared to acknowledge that human rights have deteriorated under the coup plotters? MS. TUTWILER: One, I have not had an opportunity to read this year's Human Rights Report, but I understand or know that Ambassador Schifter gave a very thorough briefing on this subject on Friday -- I wasn't here. Q (Inaudible) MS. TUTWILER: Yes, he did. Q Yes. He did give a briefing. MS. TUTWILER: Oh. You're quibbling with my characterization. Q Just the adjective. MS. TUTWILER: Right, I understand. Q A nice briefing. MS. TUTWILER: So I really, to be honest with you, I'd rather, because I'm not familiar with what the report says -- I just haven't had an opportunity to read it -- refer you to Ambassador Schifter's office and see if they can help clarify it for you. Q Do you have anything on -- Q Margaret, the second part of -- MS. TUTWILER: What was it, I'm sorry? Q -- diplomatic warnings that we might have issued to those in power? MS. TUTWILER: I can't imagine that they need a diplomatic warning. The whole world through the media is focused on this. You cannot help but see it and be aware of it and know. I would also point out that from our information and our records in 11 years of repatriation, we do not know of an incident. But we have Embassy employees there at Port-au-Prince, we have Haitian Red Cross officials, and we are obviously watching this very, very closely and will continue to. Q Margaret, what effect would you expect this to have on further refugees leaving Haiti? MS. TUTWILER: We hope the same effect that we've been hoping for for weeks which is that people will not take to these dangerous boats and go out into open sea and risk their lives to try to leave Haiti. That has been our concern. We don't know how many people have been lost at sea, and we would certainly hope that people would get the message: Don't risk your life and your family's life to go out into the open sea in these less than navigable boats. Q Is Ambassador Adams still in the United States? MS. TUTWILER: Yes. Q Are there any plans for him to return to Haiti, and can you tell us under what circumstances he would return? MS. TUTWILER: There are none that I know of -- there's no decision on that -- and he's here on consultations, and, as you know, he was recalled. But I'm not aware of a decision that has or has not been made concerning when he would return.

[Cuba: US Policy on At∧T Replacement of Telephone Cable/ Allocation of Revenues]

Q Margaret, on Cuba, do you have anything on this report of improved phone service with Cuba? MS. TUTWILER: Yes, I do. The story that I read today said that the United States is relaxing our embargo. We are not relaxing the embargo, and the facts are as follows: In 1987, the undersea telephone cable that linked Cuba and the United States wore out. Since then, as a temporary measure a radio-telephone link established in 1959 has been used for telephone service. AT∧T was authorized to replace the undersea cable and install the replacement cable in 1989. Last December, AT∧T received permission to propose to the Cubans a formula for paying Cuba a share of the revenues from the phone calls carried on the cable. AT∧T is now engaged in talks with Cuba on this issue, and, if these talks succeed, the replacement cable can be turned on. Our policy on this, George, is that we support free flow of information between the United States and Cuba. Replacing a worn out telephone cable will permit greater communication between the Cuban-American community and their relatives on the island. The license review process ensures that the Cuban Government will not earn excessive revenues as a result. How it's been handled in the past is payments to Cuba have been authorized for the operation and maintenance of telecommunication lines. Cuba's share of revenues for the current radio-telephone link and for the previous undersea cable are paid into a blocked account to which the Cuban Government has no access. Given the value of maintaining communications links with Cuba, we judged it appropriate to allow Cuba to receive a limited share of the revenues from the replacement cable. Q So is that cable there physically? And you said something about if those talks are successful, then you would turn the cable on. Is it on? Has it been laid? MS. TUTWILER: The new one? I just learned a lot about this this morning. [TO STAFF] My understanding is that it is, right? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. MS. TUTWILER: But it hasn't been turned on, and we're still using this worn out cable, it's my understanding -- limited understanding of this -- that's been in place since 1959, right? Q The radio link. MS. TUTWILER: The radio link. I don't know. Q It's also not clear, at least to me, whether the revenues which would be generated from the new cable would also be paid into the blocked account or whether they would be -- MS. TUTWILER: Let me steer you toward -- we judged it appropriate to allow Cuba to receive a limited share of the revenues from the replacement cable. Q "Receive" means directly and unencumbered? MS. TUTWILER: I don't know about "unencumbered and received directly," but in my understanding of this, that would not be as has been handled in the past -- Q Thank you. MS. TUTWILER: -- under the block system. Q This is a softening of the past tradition, correct? MS. TUTWILER: Those are your words, as we are not relaxing our embargo. And, yes, we have now, in our effort to support the free flow of information between the United States and Cuba, have judged that this limited share of the revenues would be allowed. Q But you're saying that you're not going "soft" on Cuba? (Laughter) MS. TUTWILER: No. Q No. Heavens, no. But you are going to allow them for the first time since you have imposed the embargo to receive a certain amount of revenue from one of these enterprises. MS. TUTWILER: A limited share. Q Sounds awfully soft to me, Margaret. MS. TUTWILER: I don't know what the percentages are going to be. I just learned all about this this morning. Q Could you take the question as to what a "limited share" means -- MS. TUTWILER: What is going to be worked out? Q -- in terms of dollars and cents, roughly? MS. TUTWILER: Right. I'm not sure, to be honest with you, if I can do that, because, as I said, AT∧T is now engaged in talks with the Cubans. So I don't know if I can say that this afternoon for you, but the Administration made a judgment that they would be allowed to receive this limited share of the revenues. Q This is the first time in your opinion -- MS. TUTWILER: In my tenure? Q -- that the United States would permit Cuba to have access to dollars through an enterprise operated and owned by an American company? MS. TUTWILER: My understanding is that is correct, but let me again check with the experts to make sure there is no other example. Q Margaret, are you aware of any other instances where we've changed policy to promote the free flow of information between Cuba and the Cuban-American community here? MS. TUTWILER: No. But again I'm not -- as many of you can point out, and especially George -- I'm not an expert on this. This is something that came to my attention this morning. I've tried to gather as much information as I could for you. I'll be happy to look into it. Q Margaret, is the "limited share" -- is that up to AT∧T and Cuba to negotiate, and then the U.S. Government says, "Fine," or is there some sort of cap that the U.S. Government has said, "No more than this." MS. TUTWILER: I said I did not know the percentages -- I don't -- and I'll be happy to look at your question as part of the whole big package. Q Do you have anything on South Africa accepting an interim multi-party -- multi-racial government? MS. TUTWILER: No. Q Could you take that, too, please? MS. TUTWILER: I'll look at it. Q Thank you. (The briefing concluded at 12:55 p.m.)