930405 Daily Press Briefing  Return to: Index of 1993 Daily Briefings || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

Note: This Electronic Research Collection is an archive site. For the most current information, please visit the US State Department Homepage.
                         DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                         DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #63

                  FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 1993, 1:07 P.M.
                (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)


         MR. BOUCHER:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  There will 
be a sign-up sheet posted after this briefing for any of you who wish to 
sign up, should there be a possible trip by the Secretary to Europe.  I 
was to emphasize that there are no decisions at this point.  But you are 
aware, as I am, of the possibility and rather than scramble frantically 
should something be decided over the weekend, we thought we would do it 
this afternoon.  Having this in place, then, we can either use it if 
there is a trip or not use it if there's not a trip.

           So I have no travel to announce for you at this point, but 
we'll be glad to take the names of anyone who would like to come on a 
"magical mystery tour" with us.  If there are any decisions on timing 
and things like that, we'll get back to the people who we can take on a 
hypothetical airplane in hypothetical seats and tell you more about it.

          Q  What are the hypothetical stops?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Can't do that yet.

          Q  Richard, can I just ask one question about this?  You know 
that Vitaly Churkin announced that the Secretary is going to be in 
Moscow the 4th and 5th?

           MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

          Q   Richard, is that a premature announcement?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Mary, as I said, there have been no decisions 
made.

          Q  The Russians are wrong?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I didn't say that.  I said there have been no 
decisions made.

          Next one:  The Department will host the Twenty-Third Annual 
Washington Conference of the Council of Americas on Monday and Tuesday, 
May 3-4, in the Department's Loy Henderson Conference Room. The 
Secretary is scheduled to deliver a major policy address on Monday at 
9:15 a.m. on the "Clinton's Administration's Policy towards Latin 
America and the Caribbean."  I wanted to announce this for you because 
this will be one of the first major speeches and statements we make on 
Latin American policy.

          Other speakers during the two-day conference include Assistant 
Secretary Bernard Aronson, Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, and U.S. 
Trade Representative Mickey Kantor.

          All sessions are on the On-the-Record and open to the press.  
Members who wish to cover must register at the counter next to the 
conference room and receive conference material at that time.  A 
conference agenda is available in the Press Office.  The speech by 
Secretary Bentsen will take place at the Watergate Hotel.  If there's 
anybody interested in that, feel free to come.

          Third:  Today the Department of State submitted to Congress 
its annual report on "Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1992."  Copies of 
the report are now available in the Press Office.

          The report covers international terrorist and counter-
terrorist activity for calendar year 1992.  It does not cover events 
that have taken place this year.

          Among the main points in the report:

          -- International terrorist attacks declined last year to the 
lowest level since 1975.

          -- U.S. casualties from acts of terrorism were the lowest ever 
recorded in a single year since we began doing these reports in 1968.  
There were two Americans killed and one was wounded during 1992.

          -- Iran and Iraq remain the most active state sponsors of 
terrorism last year.  Other sponsors were largely quiescent.

          -- Today's report contains no changes in the terrorism list.  
However, we continue to monitor behavior by Pakistan and Sudan closely.

          The report also notes that, despite the dramatic drop in 
terrorist attacks, we must remain vigilant to counter the terrorist 
threat.

          We'll have a briefing for you ON BACKGROUND with one of our 
experts this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. in this room and will be glad to 
answer questions on the report at that time.

          Q    I have one tangentially on the report.  Since Iran, as 
you said, is still on the list, is the Department aware that the Iranian 
Permanent Representative to the United Nations was in Washington today?  
Apparently, he's here to attend an IMF session, but he also took the 
opportunity to address a breakfast organized by a magazine.

          Was the Department aware that he was going to be giving this 
address in Washington, D.C.?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know, Alan.  I'll have to check.

          Q    Could you take the question of whether his permission --

          MR. BOUCHER:  I can't even remember at this point if he has to 
get permission to travel.  I think he does.  I don't remember the exact 
rules.

          Q    He himself said that he is restricted to within 25 miles 
of the United Nations.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I see.  Okay.  That's what I assumed.

          Q    He came on special permission to attend the International 
Monetary Fund, and I would like to know whether that permission also 
included addressing people and saying things in public here in 
Washington, D.C..  It was the first appearance in Washington by an 
Iranian official since the Islamic revolution, he said.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.  I'll have to check.

          That's all I have for statements and announcements, so we can 
move on to questions.

          Q    Since you said the reports are now available, that means 
we can go get them now?  There are already circulating. Some people have 
them.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I doubt that.  But, in any case, yes, if you 
really want -- well, I don't know.  What's the rules for you all?  
Should it be embargoed, or what?

          Q    She should ask for a filing break, I guess.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Unless there's a filing break, is what your 
colleagues say.  It's really in their hands.

          Q    So request a filing break.

          Q    Can a humble little reporter ask for a filing break?

          MR. BOUCHER:  It's okay with me.

          Q    Thank you, John.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Filing break for the terrorism report. All 
right.  Now we can move onto to other questions?  Who's going to start?

          Q    If I could just tag one onto Alan's taken question.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Okay.

          Q    Does this also signal a change in U.S. policy towards 
Iran and Iranian travel in the United States -- allowing Kharazi to come 
to Washington.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Once again, Sid, I'll have to check on that.

          Q    Tag it onto Alan's.

          MR. BOUCHER:  We'll check on that, too.

          Question over there?

          Q    Siddiqi (Muhammad Ali), "Dawn," Karachi, Pakistan.  Is 
there any possibility of Pakistan being put on the list of state-
sponsored terrorism shortly, because the CIA chief said Pakistan was on 
the brink of being good?  At the same time, he said he said it would 
take days or weeks or months, so what is your opinion?  Do you want to 
keep Pakistan  guessing?

          MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, I don't have any particular 
timing to offer you.  We said, I think in January, that we would monitor 
the behavior of Pakistan and Sudan and watch what was going on out 
there.  We've made clear that this is a very important issue to us that 
we would like to see resolved.  But I don't think I can give you a 
precise timeframe at this point.

          Q    Richard, how does the report deal with Hamas?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think I have to leave you to look at the 
report, John, and you can ask our experts later.  I'm not an expert in 
the whole thing, so I'd hesitate  to try to describe it at this point.

          Q    Richard, do want to say anything about whether Syria 
seems to be cleaning up its act?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Once again, you'll see a description. This is a 
factual report.  You'll see a description.  As I said, other countries 
on the list of state sponsors have been quiescent.  But various 
countries, including Syria, do continue to host groups that engage in 
terrorist activities.  So you'll see all that explained in the report.

          Q    Richard, some people have suggested that the American 
support for guerrillas in Afghanistan, and also even for the contras who 
fought in Nicaragua, was not so dissimilar to the way Pakistan is giving 
support to people in Kashmir. Would you care to comment on that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No.

          Q    Richard, could I go back to Hamas for a moment? Mrs. 
Ashrawi said this morning that "we" -- meaning the Palestinians -- do 
not think of Hamas as a terrorist group but as part of the Palestinian 
political spectrum.  Does the State Department agree with that point of 
view?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Once again, John, I'm somewhat at a loss because 
I'm really not in a position here to explain the whole issue of Hamas 
and people associated with Hamas and terrorism. But I think you'll find 
that amply explained in the report.

          Q    Could we get the expert who is going to brief at 3:00 
this afternoon to talk ON-THE-RECORD instead of ON BACKGROUND, since you 
don't seem to be willing to talk ON-THE-RECORD about the report?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The whole report is on the record, and the whole 
report will have sections on Hamas.

          Q    There's a certain point to having certain things on the 
record.  Would the expert be willing to at least have an opening 
statement or one or two -- be able to respond to a couple of questions 
on the record?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'll see.

          Q    Richard, on the report, does it mention at all the World 
Trade Center bombing or anyone's role or responsibility for it?

          MR. BOUCHER:  It doesn't deal with things this year.

          Q    I understand the report doesn't deal with things this 
year, but does it --

          MR. BOUCHER:  No.

          Q    It does not mention the World Trade Center bombing?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I haven't read absolutely every word, but it 
does not, as far as I know.

          Q    Richard, just to broaden John's question a little bit -- 
correct me if I'm wrong -- U.S. policy is not to deal with terrorists.  
Yet, here at the Middle East peace talks, we're dealing directly with 
two -- one group, and one group marginally, perhaps, that is directly 
involved and that we've said is directly involved in terrorism.  How do 
you jibe that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think we're making deals with 
terrorists, Sid.  I don't think we're dealing with terrorists. We're 
negotiating for peace in a region that needs it desperately; we are 
trying to help people work out their differences and reach a peace 
agreement.

          Q    Richard, on terrorism again for just a second, I 
understand that a judge has ruled the gag order which has kept Secretary 
of State Christopher and other U.S. officials silent on the World Trade 
Center bombing -- a judge has thrown out that order.  Can we now expect 
that U.S. officials will be more forthcoming in their comments on that 
matter which has affected so many thousands of Americans and businesses?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, I'm not familiar with this new decision.  
I'm sure we'll act accordingly.  But when we have something to say, I'm 
sure we'll be glad to say it.  But at this point, you know that all 
along we have wanted to leave the investigation in the hands of the 
investigators so that they can do a good, credible, thorough job, as we 
expect to have confidence that they will be able to do.

          We don't want, by commenting here or there or saying this or 
that or the other, to interfere in what is an investigation, as you 
point out, of a very important case that matters a lot to a lot of 
Americans.

          Q    A specific question:  In light of the fact that this is 
the day the State Department is making a point of terrorism, and 
particularly making a point in the report of Iran's role in terrorism, 
could you take the question, in view of the judge's ruling, as to 
whether the U.S. believes Iran played any role in supporting those who 
conducted the bombing of the World Trade Center?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, I'm sorry; that is a question for the 
investigators.  It has to do with whatever material evidence they're 
uncovering during the course of their investigation. You can find them 
and ask them that question as many times as you want to.  And if they 
want to answer it, that's fine with us.

          Q    Is the Clinton Administration considering some new 
proposal on nuclear testing?  And what happened to the campaign 
consideration of a comprehensive test ban?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think the best thing to look at, Carol, is the 
statement by the President on U.S. relations with Russia and the New 
Independent States that was issued on the 23rd, last Friday.  It says 
we'll be starting a consultative process within the next two months with 
Russia, our allies, and other states aimed at commencing negotiations 
towards a multilateral nuclear test ban.  That's the most recent 
statement of test ban policy by the Administration that I'm aware of.

          Q    But a multilateral ban, is the intention to go after a 
comprehensive ban?

          MR. BOUCHER:  At this point, I don't think I can go into it 
any further.  As this says, we'll be starting a consultative process; 
these issues that we're looking at.

          Q    The Bosnian Serb leadership is saying this morning that 
they believe at the Athens Conference that the Bosnian Serbs will be 
unable to sign any new document but may be able to sign at some later 
time after their parliament has an opportunity to meet.  Do you have a 
comment on whether that's acceptable to the U.S.?  If there is progress 
made, does that stop the U.S. diplomatic initiative?

          MR. BOUCHER:  John, I think the President and the Secretary 
both made clear yesterday that what matters is what happens on the 
ground, that the killing stop, that there be a negotiated settlement, 
that we see compliance with the United Nations resolutions.  We're 
looking for deeds.  We're not looking for words.

          I don't want to prejudge the outcome of the Athens meeting.  
As you know, we've long favored a negotiated settlement.  We've long 
supported the Vance-Owen process, and Ambassador Bartholomew will be 
going out to Athens for the meeting.  We want the peace process to 
succeed, but we have to be realistic about it.

          And, if I can, I'd like to review a few factors involved here.  
The Bosnian Serbs are clearly the main impediments to peace here.  It's 
all well and good that they and the Serbs have agreed to the meeting; 
but the Bosnian Serbs waited until they had caused additional suffering 
in Bosnia, especially in Srebrenica, before they agreed to this.  Their 
so-called parliament and Mr. Karadzic have previously rejected the 
Vance-Owen process.  They've had numerous opportunities to meet before, 
and they failed to negotiate constructively. They've broken more 
promises than they've kept, and we've seen little evidence that they've 
negotiated in good faith.

          As the Secretary said yesterday, what we need from the Serbs 
-- both the Bosnian Serbs and the Serbs from Serbia -- is deeds, not 
words.

          As I said, they know what they have to do:  comply with the 
U.N. resolutions, stop the killing, negotiate a solution. Whether they 
are, in fact, ready to do that remains to be seen.

          So, again, I won't prejudge the outcome of the Athens meeting.  
But the President and the Secretary have made clear that we'll continue 
on our course.  We'll go ahead with our decision-making process, and 
we'll see what happens in Athens.

          Q    Richard, could you tell us where this suggestion by 
Kozyrev of a gathering in Sarajevo stands?  Is that a live proposal?  Is 
that under active consideration?  And do you have an understanding of 
what the Russians hope to achieve by that meeting?  Have you been in 
contact directly with them on that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The Secretary has discussed the situation in 
Bosnia with Minister Kozyrev.  I'm not in a position to go into any 
details of that.

          I think we said the other day there were various proposals 
that we commented on for international meetings, and we felt that sort 
of international conference-type idea was premature until we had some 
more discussions with allies and friends who are concerned about the 
situation.

          Q    What's your understanding of what that international 
conference -- what that proposal is actually about?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Well, there have been various proposals by 
different people in different ways.  I think you'd have to ask the 
Russians for more details of theirs.

          Q    Since the decision process will go forward and since you 
are in the business today of discussing hypotheticals to some extent, if 
there is a decision --

          MR. BOUCHER:  If I knew --

          Q    -- if there is a Presidential decision tomorrow, as the 
Secretary yesterday indicated there would be, and if he goes overseas to 
consult with the allies, will the American people know what that 
decision is before the Europeans?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Once again, Saul, I'm not in a position to get 
out ahead of what the President decides and in the process what he 
decides when we can say it.  Obviously, as the President's made clear, 
we want to have multilateral action. We'll want to tell the American 
people exactly what would be involved and want to tell them -- want to 
have their support for whatever action we take.

          At what point in that process the President or others can lay 
it out in some detail, I just can't decide from here for you.

          Q    Well, the Secretary's going to take part in the meeting 
tomorrow in which, I guess, this decision is going to be disclosed and 
acted on, I suppose, or beginning to be acted on, is there going to be 
any way that the American people can find out at that point at least 
what it is we're asking the Europeans to sign on to?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Once again, Saul, the President is still 
reviewing various options --

          Q    I know that.

          MR. BOUCHER:  The President expects to complete the review of 
the options by the end of the week.  There is a meeting tomorrow.  He 
has made clear that we want to take multilateral action, so obviously 
the views of our allies have an important bearing on what we do.

          But he's also made very clear that he's looking -- will be 
looking for the support of the American people and will want to make 
sure that they understand fully what he's doing.  So I can't stand here 
at the State Department and dictate to the President exactly when he has 
to have something to say.

          Q    I just thought you might know whether there are any plans 
to let the American people know what it is the President has decided 
before --

          MR. BOUCHER:  If you're asking me is there a specific plan for 
some news conference or statement tomorrow, I just don't know.  You can 
ask at the White House.  That's where the meeting is.  I mean, that's 
what it boils down to.

          Q    Richard, when you say the President wants to act 
multilaterally, does that mean ruling out a unilateral lifting of the 
arms embargo on Bosnia?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Mary, we've -- well, I would decline to get into 
the options, except we've made clear many times that the arms embargo is 
a U.N. Security Council arms embargo; that it's an oxymoron to say 
unilaterally lifting it has to be done through the Security Council.

          Q    Richard, can I try and pin down a little more on what 
you're asking the Bosnian Serbs to do at this point on the ground?  Are 
they supposed to stop all offensive operations? And if that's the case, 
do we believe that all the militias there are under Karadzic or one 
individual's control?  I mean, what do you want to see on the ground?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We want to see the killing stop.  We want to see 
the harassment of relief workers stopped.  We want to see the blocking 
of relief shipments stop.  And we want to see a negotiated solution.  
Without getting into specific individuals, we feel that they have the 
power -- both in Serbia and the Bosnian Serb leadership -- they have the 
capacity to control the decisions, to make things happen if they want 
to.  That's what we want to see.

          Q    A follow-up on that:  That sounds to me as though you're 
talking about a cease-fire in place.  Does that --

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not trying to preview any specific option in 
this case.  The President made clear the other day that his two basic 
goals were to cease the practice of ethnic -- stop the practice of 
ethnic cleansing and to find a peaceful solution.

          Q    Okay.  But you're not in any way, or are you, endorsing 
-- saying -- by saying we want to see the killing stopped, that if the 
killing stops, then everything's okay as far as the results --

          MR. BOUCHER:  No.  And I've given you sort of a long list of 
tracks with a list of goals that we've had before, but I'm not endorsing 
any particular option.

          Q    Let me ask something else, then, that I heard the Foreign 
Minister of Bosnia suggest today that what should happen on the ground 
is the end of the siege of Sarajevo, Gorazde and Srebrenica.  Is that 
what -- is that the kind of thing you want to see?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Once again, Saul, I'm not trying to lead you 
towards any particular options.  The President has made clear that our 
goals are to stop the practice of ethnic cleansing and to find a 
peaceful solution to the problems out there.  What we're trying to see 
is that people stop dying, and that people get the help they need.

          I'm not trying to endorse one particular option of safe havens 
or this area or that area or cease-fire in place, or something.

          Q    I'm simply saying whether it goes as far as asking that 
the Bosnian Serbs end their sieges of these three areas.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Once again, Saul, as far as specifics in order 
to carry out a policy, what specific policy options will be adopted to 
implement those goals that the President has enunciated, I'll leave that 
to the big boys.

          Q    Can I ask a question about Haiti.  Mr. Caputo has either 
gone back or is about to go back.  Does that mean that there's a new 
formula to be proposed to the military?

          MR. BOUCHER:  As far as I know, Mr. -- well, as far as Mr. 
Caputo's travel, I will leave that to him to announce.  My understanding 
of the situation is that Haitian armed forces Commander Cedras sent a 
letter to the Secretaries General of the OAS and the United Nations 
expressing a willingness to engage in good-faith negotiations to resolve 
Haiti's crisis, and specifically to continue talks with Special Envoy 
Caputo.  That would be the reason that he would be going down there.  We 
welcome this development, and we hope it leads to concrete progress.

          Q    Do you consider that the offer of amnesty made by 
President Aristide is sufficient?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Once again, that's another situation where 
parties are negotiating things.  We have a U.N. and OAS envoy 
negotiating things.  I'm not going to start commenting on various 
proposals in the negotiations and discussions.

          Q    Richard, on the Middle East talks, please.  Both the 
Israelis and the Palestinians gave a very upbeat assessment of the 
beginning of the talks today.  Does the State Department have its own 
assessment, and what is it?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Well, we're pleased with the seriousness and the 
commitment to making tangible progress that all the parties have 
demonstrated in this first week of talks.  Clearly, there's much more 
work to be done.  No one believes it will be easy, but we, the United 
States, remain active behind the scenes fulfilling our role as full 
partner, and beyond that I think I'll leave it to the parties to comment 
on their negotiations.

          Q    Richard, the Palestinians also said this morning that the 
United States will be sharing all information with them about Israeli 
settlements -- development of Israeli settlements in the occupied 
territories.  The first sharing session will occur Monday.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't have a specific date for you, Sid.  The 
Palestinians have asked that we -- they've asked to hear our views on 
settlement activity.  We will indeed be discussing this with them.  This 
is a discussion of an issue which affects their interest, not any joint 
action on the issue.

          Q    And can you say which type of information will be -- what 
sources were used to gather this information?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, I can't.

          Q    Richard, are you going to actually turn over to them, you 
know, facts and figures -- they're building X settlements here; there, 
they're spending this much money, they're building this many roads?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I would characterize this as a discussion, as an 
exchange of views.  I would characterize it as part of the discussions 
that we hold around the peace talks, and therefore decline to go into it 
any more than I do the other discussions that we have with the parties.

          Q    Richard, are "views" different than "information"?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Once again, Howard, I don't think I can get to 
the point of sort of discussing what we'll discuss.  We have a lot of 
meetings with the parties during the course of the peace talks.  One of 
the things that we'll be discussing with the Palestinians is settlement 
activities.

          Q    Can you say this is intelligence information, Richard?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'll see if I can get you anything that 
describes what information might be presented at the meeting.

          Q    ;Richard, also on the peace talks, Ms. Ashrawi this 
morning said in describing the U.S. role -- talked about parallel 
negotiations going on -- negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians 
and Israelis and Americans.

          Could you give us a description -- State Department 
description of what the U.S. role is in these negotiations?  Are there 
parallel negotiations going on?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Steve, I continue to characterize our role the 
way we have before, and that's as a full partner with the parties, 
trying to help them work towards solutions to the problems that they're 
negotiating directly amongst each other.

          Q    Richard, has the United States taken any action 
concerning the reports of French industrial espionage?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We have discussed our concerns about these 
reports with the French.

          Q    Can you tell us at what level or in what way?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No.  I'm afraid I can't.

          Q    Have you expressed your concern?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We have.  I'll give it to you one more time.  
We've discussed our concerns about the target list with the French 
Government.

          Q    And have you taken any action against any French 
nationals during the course of this?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I have nothing for you on that.

          Q    I realize you're probably going to refer me to the 
Pentagon on this, but was there a policy decision made that no U.S. 
Government -- that there would be no U.S. Government participation in 
the French -- Paris Air Show?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The answer to that's no.  No.

          Q    There was no policy decision?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Did you say U.S. Government or U.S. firms?

          Q    Well, U.S. Government participation.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know whether or not the U.S. Government 
will be there.  I think I saw a news story saying they wouldn't, but 
there's not been a policy decision to advise firms or tell firms or 
encourage firms not to go.

          Q    I know, but they take their cue to some extent from a 
decision made by the government, and that's why I wondered if there was 
a policy that --

          MR. BOUCHER:  Well, I think the Pentagon -- if somebody goes, 
it's them that go, and, if they're going or not going, they can explain 
to you why or why not.

          Q    Richard, your characterization of that document as a 
target list suggests that you think it is a real French Government 
document.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I don't think I can actually put it quite that 
way.

          Q    Have you seen the target list?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We have received a copy of the document that was 
mentioned in news stories a while back, yes.

          Q    You haven't concluded its source.

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'm afraid I don't have any conclusions to share 
with you.

          Q    Can you say whether the French Government provided that 
document through diplomatic channels, and it was in that context that 
there was discussion, or was it less friendly than that?

          MR. BOUCHER:  No, I can't, Ralph.

          Q    It sounds like the U.S. Government is a little 
discomfited by this report.

          MR. BOUCHER:  Not discomfited.  These are not issues that we 
normally address.  We normally do not address anything whatsoever 
involving intelligence matters.  These are reports of intelligence 
activities, and we obviously take any espionage activities very, very 
seriously.

          When we have evidence of espionage or industrial espionage, we 
take appropriate steps to counter it, but these are not matters that we 
normally talk about very much.

          Q    Well, Mr. Christopher has repeatedly talked since even 
before he was Secretary of State about how active he was going to be in 
defending the interests of U.S. firms abroad, and that there was going 
to an America Desk here and all that stuff.  Wouldn't this fall under 
that kind of category?  If he feels so strongly about it, why isn't the 
State Department standing up and saying -- telling the French publicly 
and telling the American people publicly that it's doing something about 
it?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, I've just told you that we're doing 
something about it.

          Q    No, you didn't.  You said you discussed --

          MR. BOUCHER:  I've just told you that we take it seriously.  
I've told you that we take it seriously; that we take appropriate steps.  
It's our policy to brief American companies when we have information 
that might affect their security, about possible threats for their 
security.

          Q    Have you?

          MR. BOUCHER:  We have an Overseas Security Advisory Council, 
and we've discussed this document with members.  We've discussed it with 
the companies listed in the document.  We've discussed it with Hughes, 
which was one of the companies that people had asked about.

          We do take it seriously, and we take appropriate steps.  That 
doesn't mean we stand up here and we lay out all our views of an 
intelligence matter at the briefing.

          Q    Have any French citizens, official or otherwise, been 
PNG'd over that matter?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'm afraid I don't have anything on something 
like that.

          Q    Richard, when you talked about it's our policy to brief 
American companies when we have information about possible threats to 
their security, is this new or is this something that's been going on 
for a while?

          MR. BOUCHER:  The Overseas Security Advisory Council that we 
use -- it's a joint venture.  It's done between the Department of State 
and a number of American companies with interests abroad.  It was 
designed to facilitate the sharing of information and guidance regarding 
security, and it was created in 1985.

          Q    If you don't have anything for us on the PNG question, 
would you take that question?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I'll see if anything develops that I could share 
with you.

          Q    Why would PNG-ing somebody be a big secret?  Is there 
some rationale for that if it's not a national security consideration?

          MR. BOUCHER:  John, again you're asking me about a document 
which has appeared and which we have a copy of.  But I'm then being 
asked, "Is it authentic, and have you kicked somebody out because it's 
authentic," and anything I say in this area presupposes answers to 
questions that I just can't answer.

          Q    Well, you wouldn't have hesitated for a minute, Richard, 
if this had been the Soviet Union that had been involved in this.  This 
Department wouldn't have hesitated for a second to tell us about how 
many people at the Soviet Embassy had been kicked out and when they were 
to leave, and we would have been told what airport they were leaving 
from and all that stuff.

          It sounds like you're basically trying to have it both ways, 
to be angry with the French privately but not to embarrass them 
publicly.

               MR. BOUCHER:  Ralph, that's -- I would say that's a 
mischaracterization, but you can draw any conclusions you feel like.

          Q    Richard, can I just ask about North Korea again, as there 
seems to be further reports of troop movements in North Korea.  Does the 
State Department have any understanding of what's going on?  I mean --

          MR. BOUCHER:  There are a few things I can tell you based on 
some of the questions we were asked yesterday.  The situation along the 
Chinese-North Korean border is normal. We're not aware of any unusual 
military activity near the border.

          There have been some indications, mostly press reports, of 
sporadic domestic unrest in a city just south of the border. Beyond 
that, I can't comment.

          Q    Anything on airport closures?

          MR. BOUCHER:  Oh, the airport, yes.  The airport was closed on 
April 23 when Prince Sihanouk departed North Korea -- the Pyongyang 
International Airport.  We understand the situation at the airport now 
appears to be normal.

          Q    Richard, can you tell me, does the State Department have 
a reaction to the Pelosi -- Mitchell-Pelosi bill that was tabled to tie 
MFN to China's performance?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I think I talked about that about a week ago 
when it was submitted.

          Q    And following the Dalai Lama's comments, asking for some 
sanctions on China to advance the cause of Tibet?

          MR. BOUCHER:  I hadn't seen those comments.  As you know, the 
White House put out a statement after the meeting over there, and the 
Secretary met with him at a reception on Monday here.

          Q    Thank you. 
(###)

To the top of this page