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                                           BRIEFER:  Michael McCurry

Subject                                        Page

Bilateral Talks ................................1
Discussions between Israel and PLO .............1-2
Department's Contacts with Parties .............2

Inspector General's Inquiry into the Handling of
  Republican Holdovers' Personnel Files ........2-3,10

Humanitarian Relief/Airlifts ...................3
Update on Safe Areas ...........................3
Prospects for NATO Air Support .................4-9
--  Statement by President/Secretary ...........4-5
Status of Negotiations on Agreement ............4-5,9
--  US View ....................................4-5
Secretary's Contacts with Parties/NATO Warning .7-9

Inspection of Ship Suspected of Carrying CW
  Precursors ...................................9


                           DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                           DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #123

                 THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 1993, 12:55 P.M.

        MR. McCURRY:  Good afternoon, everybody.  I don't have any 
prepared statements today, so I'll be happy to get to any questions you 
might have.

         Q    The Times has a headline -- I didn't read the story -- 
that Jordan is ready to make peace with Israel.  (Laughter)  And I may 
have missed this because I guess I was out that moment --

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm sorry, you haven't had an opportunity to 
follow this as closely as you would like.  (Laughter).  

         Q    Since 4,000 reporters in town have to pay attention to The 
New York Times, could you tell us if there's any merit to this 
staggering suggestion?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm afraid, as I often do, it would be best, 
especially recently, to refer you to the parties on this.  I think 
they're in the best position to describe for you the type of progress 
that they have made in their own talks.

         I would go back to something we said yesterday, that we 
certainly do feel that progress in any one of these tracks can serve as 
a catalyst for progress in some of the other tracks.  But, really, the 
parties who are negotiating, specifically the Jordan-Israeli track, they 
are in the best position to really comment on where they are in their 
negotiations, and I suggest you contact them.

         Q    Have you been informed about whether there has been 
agreement now between the PLO and Israel on the modalities, to use your 
least favorite word?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't have anything new.  I understand, from 
people who have been in contact with the parties that are talking, that 
the talks are continuing.  But I don't have anything new, as of about an 
hour ago, on their conversations.

          Q    So if they're continuing, that would imply that there has 
been no final agreement?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not sure how late the information is that 
they were continuing in dialogue.  That's our information here.  I'm not 
sure when -- my most recent report is about an hour old.  I don't know 
how late that information is based on, but it was clearly sometime this 

          Q    Do you know where they're talking, incidentally?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know for a fact.  I've seen the 
speculation I'm sure many of you have seen that they might be working on 
the continent in Europe, but I don't have anything specific on that.

          Q    Michael, in practical terms, how does the peace team -- 
the American peace team -- follow what's going on all over the place 
except in Washington -- I mean, in Europe and the Middle East?

          MR. McCURRY:  That's not a fair characterization.  There is a 
lot going on in the other tracks.  I think that you're suggesting maybe 
that the Palestinian-Israeli track here is sort of waiting to see what 
happens elsewhere in the world, and that's not an inaccurate suggestion.  
The fact is that there are three other tracks in which the activity has 
been very vigorous.  Those discussions are important.

          Now, practically, how do we stay in contact?  We have got a 
lot of telephone calls going on back and forth, and I would say, 
principally, Ambassador Ross is the one who is in touch with the parties 
who are maybe discussing some of the other issues that are still 


          Q    Have the Syrians asked that Secretary Christopher, in the 
relatively near future, begin a shuttle mission between Jerusalem and 

          MR. McCURRY:  I had not heard that.  I don't know whether they 
have or not asked that.  I had not heard that.

          Q    New subject?

          MR. McCURRY:  New subject.

          Q    Did you see the story in the Federal Page of the Post 
yesterday about the Administration going through the files of Republican 
holdovers of the State Department?

          MR. McCURRY:  I have to confess that I breezed through that 
column item yesterday, but I have looked at it a lot more carefully 
today; yes.

          Q    Among other things, Senator McConnell is suggesting the 
possibility of a special prosecutor?

          MR. McCURRY:  Let me tell you -- I wasn't aware of that -- but 
I'll you that this item, when it appeared in the column yesterday, I 
think did cause some concern here in the Department, principally among 
those who handle administrative issues and legal issues.  They looked at 
some of the questions raised by this story during the day yesterday, and 
then I think late yesterday Assistant Secretary Patrick Kennedy, who is 
the head of the Bureau of Administration here, felt that there are some 
questions here that needed to be looked at more carefully.  He has 
contacted today Sherman Funk, the Inspector General of the Department, 
to ask for some further inquiries to be made.

          He feels that, as a management practice, any time you've got a 
situation in which there are questions that need to be looked at 
carefully, it's a proper use of the Inspector General's Office.  Indeed, 
that's exactly what the Inspector General does on many occasions.  It's 
the proper use of that office to look into these kinds of questions.  So 
that matter has now been referred to the Inspector General.

          Because of that, as you can well understand, it's very limited 
about what I can tell you about it.  And, indeed, personally, I don't 
know that much more about the issue itself.

          Q    Can you be any more precise about what questions it is 
that the Inspector General is being asked to clear up?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think all of you have seen the item itself.  
It suggests that there were files that were retrieved.  Then, as a 
separate matter, there are -- in the item -- there are some comments on 
personnel issues.  Those, as I say, raise questions that I think 
Assistant Secretary Kennedy and others in the Department felt ought to 
be referred to the Inspector General.

          Q    Michael, on Bosnia?

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

          Q    Since the President has reminded us that the military 
option is alive, can you tell us the latest on the conditions in 
Sarajevo and the other areas where lack of humanitarian supplies might 
trigger air strikes?

          MR. McCURRY:  That is a situation we're monitoring very 
carefully.  The information I had looked at is now a day old -- dated.  
On the humanitarian situation in Sarajevo itself, there have been 
airlifts into Sarajevo.  There were 21 flights yesterday.  They have had 
good luck getting cargo flights and airlift drops into Sarajevo.  They 
have into Mostar as well.

          The conditions themselves have improved modestly.  There is 
some work being done to restore electricity and other types of essential 
services.  I'd really want to go back and check more directly.  Clearly, 
our concern is over the strangulation of Sarajevo, and there had been 
steps taken to relieve this strangulation.  But, again, as we stress 
very, very often, we wanted to see a consistent improvement in the 
situation on the ground in Bosnia as they head into winter.  That is the 
reason why we watch the situation very carefully.

          Q    Have any land convoys gotten in recently to Sarajevo?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't have a report on land convoys today.  We 
just didn't prepare a convoys report.  I don't know whether there have 
been any that have gotten in.

          From other reports, I've not seen any indications that there 
is trouble on the convoy routes that are principally used now by UNHCR, 
but I'll check further to see if there's anything direct.

          Q    Can you post something on that?

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes, I will post something more on what is our 
up-to-date assessment of both Mostar, Sarajevo, and then some of the 
other safe areas.

          Q    How are we to read the strong statement by the Secretary 
this morning coupled with the warning by the President that the military 
option is still open?  This seems kind of heavy-handed diplomacy.

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know that it's heavy-handed diplomacy at 
all.  I think they are reiterating the fact of the NATO warning which 
was issued earlier in August.  We're at a moment where the talks 
themselves have stalled out and they need to be resumed.

          I think this is a reminder that there are consequences that 
certainly are out there if there is, one, continuation of the 
strangulation of Sarajevo; or, two, an effort to recommence fighting 
and, specifically, shelling of Sarajevo.  So I think there is very real 
concern on the part of the United States over the situation in Bosnia, 
particularly at this moment in the talks.

          But, again, I'd remind you that the Secretary and I believe 
the President as well both said that it is our belief that the parties 
do need to return to the table and to begin to address some of the 
issues that they were addressing as recently as yesterday.

          Q    Mike, the Secretary sent a pretty strong signal that the 
Administration does not think the plan currently on the table is fair 
and equitable.  If you could comment on whether that's true?  And, if 
so, is that also a signal that the United States will not support that 
plan, unless it is changed, with peacekeepers?

          MR. McCURRY:  No, the second part of your question gets ahead 
of where we are right now.  I think the Secretary, as he said, thinks 
that there should be greater flexibility shown by the Serbs and the 
Croats as they look at these adjustments that have been proposed by the 
Bosnian Government.

          I think you know that we don't have a preferred solution to 
the discussions and the negotiations themselves, but I do think, as we 
indicated -- the Secretary indicated -- that a more equitable settlement 
might be achieved if there was more of a willingness on the part of the 
parties to look at these specific adjustments that have been presented 
by the Bosnian Government.

          We don't take a position that the package should be reopened 
or renegotiated, anything of that sort.  We believe that there have been 
some specific suggestions made by President Izetbegovic that ought to be 
taken into account by the Croats and the Serbs.

          Q    I don't understand.  You're saying you don't take a 
position, but you think the Serbs and Croats should agree to the Muslim 
position?  Are you saying, rather than change, it should be tweaked?  
Would that be a better --

          MR. McCURRY:  No, I'm not saying -- we are not getting down 
and drawing maps or looking at the size of corridors or land routes 
through the eastern safe areas.  It just seems to us on balance, based 
on the contacts that Ambassador Redman has had in Geneva, that these are 
adjustments that are being suggested by the Muslim government that 
should not be deal-breakers.  I think that is what they -- they're 
encouraging the parties to go back to the table in that spirit and look 
carefully at these adjustments.

          Q    Mike, one question back, your answer suggested a slight 
shift in when the military option, and the conditions for taking 
military action.  I think you said if the fighting resumes, which I've 
never heard before, the two conditions --

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  Shelling -- if the shelling of Sarajevo 

          Q    All right.  So, why don't I get to the point?  The 
Croatian President said, unfortunately, the war will continue.  That 
sounds like the Croatians, which wouldn't be a surprise, will use force 
now that they can't get entirely everything they want at the negotiating 

          Is the State Department saying, should they do that, they face 
the possibility of military action?

          MR. McCURRY:  That is a statement with ominous implications.

          Q    Hmm?

          MR. McCURRY:  That is a statement with ominous implications.

          Q    Is Mostar one of the cities that we're concerned about 
strangulation?  I mean, is that a potential trigger, Mostar?

          MR. McCURRY:  Mostar is a city we're very concerned about, and 
it is one of the areas that we look at carefully as we determine what 
the situation on the ground in Bosnia is.

          Q    Can you flesh out that statement that that is a statement 
with ominous implications?  What do you mean?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think the Secretary indicated to you this 
morning that he is sending demarche cables to the Croats and the Serbs.  
I believe he also will be in contact with President Izetbegovic.  I 
think he will, in those statements that he referred to earlier today, 
will be reiterating the NATO threat that has been operational now for 
some time, since earlier in the month.

          Q    As you understand it now, there's no plan to reconvene 
talks.  Izetbegovic is supposed to come, I guess, on Monday to talk to 
the Security Council.  Is that the State Department's understanding of 
how things will go, perhaps, if they did resume?  If they resume next 
week or --

          MR. McCURRY:  I think the situation's fairly fluid.  I think 
the parties -- as you know, the talks broke off last night.  I think 
they're assessing what their next steps are now.  We have had some 
contact with them, and I wouldn't want to suggest that something's going 
to happen over the next several days until the parties sort that out 

          Q    So just to, you know, kind of cross the t's and dot the 
i's, Redman is telling the Croats and the Serbs that if they resume 
efforts -- if they resume fighting around Mostar, around Sarajevo, then 
there is a possibility that they would be bombed or hit somehow from the 

          MR. McCURRY:  I think that is more specific -- I mean, you're 
connecting two separate things here.  We've got messages going out to 
those governments that will be sent from here in Washington, since the 
parties now have -- I think President Izetbegovic has even left Geneva 
at this point.

          But we are going to be sending -- we'll be sending this 
message out from the Secretary.  It's going to reiterate the NATO 
warning.  I wouldn't suggest to you that it will be tied to very 
specific things that are going to be happening on the ground.  I think 
it's going to reiterate what NATO has already said.

          Q    You just responded -- when you were asked about Tudjman's 
statement that fighting could resume -- you responded that is a 
statement with ominous implications.

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes, it is.

          Q    Don't you mean that if the fighting resumes, the NATO 
threat would then be activated?  Isn't that what you're saying?

          MR. McCURRY:  Well, the NATO communique is really clear on 
under what conditions NATO air strikes would be initiated.

          Q    So what you seem to be saying is that if they sort of lob 
some shells out in the countryside somewhere and it's not aimed 
specifically at cutting off Mostar or Sarajevo, we wouldn't mind.  But 
if the --

          MR. McCURRY:  That's a hypothetical construction -- just not 
going to get anywhere with that.  That's not what I'm saying.

          Q    It's an attempt to try to get you to be clearer.

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not going to be any more clear than I've 
been already.  And I think I've been very clear.

          Q    Is this warning the United States' to make, or is it 
NATO's to make?  Are we or our allies -- are Great Britain and France 
and all the rest of our brave allies right behind us on this?  Have we 
consulted with them?  Are they in agreement?

          MR. McCURRY:  We have been, on everything related to Bosnia 
and the prospects of action by NATO, we have been in close contact with 
our allies.  I'm not sure at what point we have communicated some of our 
concerns to our allies, but I know that we either have or that we will.

          Q    Can you say that our allies agree -- are foursquare 
behind this demarche Christopher is preparing to send?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think over the last several weeks, it is true 
-- I can't respond to how they are going to respond to the message that 
we're just sending out now.  I can tell you over the last several weeks, 
many of our allies and friends have joined in sending exactly these 
types of messages to both the Croatian parties and the Serbian parties.

          Q    Mike, it seems clear that one of the ways in which you 
can get the Serbs to be more flexible on these adjustments is to talk 
about sanctions, which they have been calling on.  Is there any move 
afoot or any discussion among the U.N. or EC members about the idea of 
offering that carrot -- of partial lifting or any lifting of sanctions 
to try to get the Serbs to sign on to this plan now?

          MR. McCURRY:  That issue has been raised by Mr. Milosevic.  
I'm not aware that it has received a favorable hearing anywhere.

          Q    As far as you're concerned, there's nothing that the 
Serbs can do in these talks whatsoever that would bring about any kind 
of lifting of sanctions.

          MR. McCURRY:  I think they know in these talks the goal is the 
political settlement, and I think that's unconnected at the moment to 
sanctions itself.  That's not a question that people are linking at this 

          Q    Michael, those messages were sent to Milosevic and 
Tudjman.  Is the U.S. Government trying to put pressure on the Bosnian 
Serbs or the Croat militias in Bosnia?  Those demarches were addressed 
to two governments, not to the fighting parties.

          MR. McCURRY:  We believe those two governments do have some 
measure of influence over groups they support within Bosnia, but we have 
also communicated to people who speak on behalf of the parties 
themselves.  Principally, we've been doing that through Geneva.

          I would have to double-check and see exactly how these 
messages will be communicated to people like, for example, Mr. Karadzic.  
I can check further on how we will do that.  But we have been in contact 
with the Bosnian Serbs and the Bosnian Croats as well.

          Q    Mike, what's your current view on whether a decision by 
NATO to act would require the approval of the Secretary General?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think that our view of that is the same view 
that we've had for some time, that there's a command and control process 
that's been looked at carefully, has been tested in practice on the 
battlefield in Bosnia, and that it works to everyone's satisfaction.  It 
does involve a decision-making role by the United Nations.

          Q    Because you didn't mention the U.N. or the Secretary 
General before when you spoke of the people the U.S. has been in touch 
with.  Is it kind of unnecessary because everything's in place?

          MR. McCURRY:  No, I --

          Q    Or did you just, you know, inadvertently leave them out?

          MR. McCURRY:  I inadvertently left them out because we have 
direct and regular contact with the Secretary General through the United 
Nations, and Ambassador Albright frequently does that.  I don't always 
check with her on the nature of whether we're connecting with the United 
Nations, but we customarily do.

          Q    Can I ask you about the Chinese ship?

          Q    One more on Bosnia.  Has the Secretary seen the letter 
that was delivered to the White House yesterday signed by former 
Secretary Shultz and Margaret Thatcher and others?  Does he have any 

          MR. McCURRY:  I think he has seen it.  I don't think he has 
any particular observation on it.  I think their arguments are well-
known.  I think the White House responded pretty clearly to that 

          Q    Given the statements by President Tudjman and given the 
fact that no cease-fires in this conflict have ever held, are you 
concerned that within, say, even a matter of days if you can't get these 
parties back to the table that the war will erupt again?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't want to predict that bad things are 
going to happen.  I think we would prefer to keep the focus on the 
possibility that the parties might re-examine some of the questions that 
have been recently before them in Geneva.

          Q    Mike, forgive me if this has already been asked:  In 
connection with Bosnia and the messages, is there any raising of the 
level of diplomacy here beyond the messages?  Is the U.S. sending 
another -- a higher level official at all to the region or anything of 
that sort?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  We've had -- Ambassador Redman has been in 
Geneva and been in contact directly and often with the parties over the 
last several days.

          Q    The Chinese are saying that the ship in Saudi Arabia was 
not carrying anything lethal, and I wonder if the U.S. agrees with that 

          MR. McCURRY:  Well, the cargo that's inspected so far from the 
"Yin He" has not found any evidence of chemical weapons precursors, but 
the inspection itself has not been completed.  That inspection is 
continuing now with the cooperation of the Chinese and the Saudi 
Governments.  We expect that there will be a full report on this when 
the inspection is completed, but again that's going to take at least 
several more days I am told.

          Q    Another subject.

          MR. McCURRY:  Another subject.

          Q    Did you see a report in The Washington Post yesterday 
about the State Department looking in some personnel files of former 
Bush Administration officials?

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes, Ralph.  We went through that.

          Q    You've already done that.

          MR. McCURRY:  We've done that one already.

          Q    Forgive me.

          MR. McCURRY:  Anything else?

          Q    Thank you.

          MR. McCURRY:  Thank you.

          (The briefing concluded at 1:17 p.m.)


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