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

Note: This Electronic Research Collection (ERC) is an archive site. For the most current information, please visit the US State Department homepage.
US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING 
Thursday, September 9, 1993

                               BRIEFER:  Michael McCurry
Subject                                       Page

ANNOUNCEMENT
US-Japan Common Agenda for Cooperation in
  Global Perspective ...........................1

MIDDLE EAST PEACE TALKS
Israeli-PLO Agreement/US Role ..................1-10
--  Signing Ceremony/Timing/Invitations ........1-5
--  US Visas for PLO Members ...............    1-4
--  Funding of Implementation ..................7-8
Conditions/Prospects for US-PLO Dialogue .......1-4
Progress on Other Tracks/Secretary's Efforts ...5-6
Secretary's Contacts with Congress .............6
US Contacts with Norway ........................7

SOMALIA
Congressional Concern re:  Bringing Troops Home 10-12
US Review of Command of US Troops ..............11-12
War Powers Act .................................14-16

PEACEKEEPING/PEACEMAKING
US Review of Command of US Troops ..............11-12
War Powers Act .................................14-16

CUBA
Announcement re:  Allowing Private Enterprise ..12

FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
Bosnian President's Meeting with President 
  Clinton/Security Council/White House Briefing 13-16
War Powers Act .................................14-16
Negotiations on Political Settlement ...........16-17,20-21
--  Implementation/Peacekeeping/US Role ........16-17
War Crimes Tribunal ............................17-19
Evacuation Policy ..............................19

SOUTH KOREA
Asst. Secretary Gallucci's Visit ...............19-20

NORTH KOREA
Status of Talks with US ........................20


(###)


                       DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                       DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #126

             THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 1993, 12:59 P. M.
              (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)



         MR. McCURRY:  Good afternoon.  I've got just one quick 
housekeeping item before we get to your questions.

          There is an opening session of plenary talks on the U.S.-Japan 
Common Agenda for Cooperation in Global Perspective.  This is the global 
affairs basket in the overall U.S.-Japan Framework talks.  They are 
beginning today at sort of an organizational level.

          I just want to alert you to that.  There will be a photo 
opportunity at 2:15 today, and then Counselor of the Department Timothy 
Wirth and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Matsuura 
will be available at approximately 5:00 o'clock at the conclusion of 
their meeting today to give a further readout.  I think they're going to 
do that outside the C Street entrance.  I just wanted to alert everyone 
to that, so you would know of it.  

          And with that, any questions?

          Q    Mike, assuming that you're going to leave the big 
announcements to the White House, could you tell us about a technical 
problem.  How would -- or what have you done so far to make it easy for 
a PLO official to come here for the signing?

          MR. McCURRY:  To my knowledge, nothing at this point.  The 
current situation -- I think as many of you saw -- the President had 
some remarks earlier.  We are certainly delighted with the news of an 
agreement that has been reached, although my understanding is there are 
still some additional things occurring in the region that will make it 
possible, perhaps later today, to be able to say that they have reached 
an agreement that is truly historic, if not breath-taking.

          As we watch that development today, I think the President 
indicated to you he will have more to say later today.  I know that a 
question he addressed earlier on what steps then occur to resume a 
dialogue with the PLO, he indicated that there would be an effort to 
examine the announcements by the parties themselves to see if our 
conditions are satisfied, and at that point he could then make some 
decisions on next steps.

          Q    But he's talking about recognition, and I'm just asking 
the narrow question of what is -- is the way clear now for a PLO 
official to come here, despite all the prohibitions and Congressional 
restrictions?  What's the mechanism that you're using?

          MR. McCURRY:  At 1:00 p.m., at this moment, the way is not 
clear.  But, as I say, it's our understanding that there will be some 
announcements and some language available later today that we'll be able 
to examine.  The President then indicated that he would have more to 
say, I believe he said, about resuming a dialogue, I think.  I don't 
believe he addressed the question of recognition.

          Q    Are you sending any invitations for the ceremony?  Who is 
going to come to Washington on Monday?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't think we have sent any invitations out, 
and I believe that the contingency planning that has occurred for a 
signing ceremony, if one could, in fact, occur on Monday, is underway.  
But I think of many, many details that I think would be of interest to 
all of you are far from settled.  I expect it's really going to be 
tomorrow at the earliest before we can give you a good accurate game 
plan on what will happen.

          Q    But, Michael, could you just tell us -- you must have 
some idea by now -- what kind of ceremony you envision.  Are you 
envisioning --

          MR. McCURRY:  A nice one.  An historic one.

          Q    Are you envisioning inviting all the parties that came to 
the Madrid conference, and also has there been any talk of inviting 
former Secretary of State Baker and possibly former President Bush?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think all of those are very good questions 
that will be addressed in due course.  All of those things are questions 
that have been addressed that we are looking at.  We just don't have a 
definitive game plan that we can share at this point.

          Q    Can you spell out the different legal things that the 
State Department is going to have to deal with in order to resume the 
dialogue with the PLO, the different legislative barriers and the 
different problems?

          MR. McCURRY:  There are separate questions that arise between 
resuming a dialogue and contacts.  That's something that as recently as 
1988 to 1990, of course, we had a dialogue with the PLO that was then 
suspended.  Resuming a dialogue and having contacts with the PLO is a 
much different question than establishing some formal recognition.  In 
fact, I think those are complicated questions.  I don't think they're 
going to be addressed in the immediate future.

          Q    Is there a kind of standing official request from the PLO 
to resume the dialogue with the United States Government?

          MR. McCURRY:  Well, I think there has been from the parties in 
the negotiations representing the Palestinians a fairly routine -- not a 
routine request, but a request made very often that there be direct 
dialogue with their leadership.

          Q    Wait a minute, you didn't answer my question.  Spell out 
for us, if you can, the legal barriers that must be overcome on both 
reopening the dialogue and formal recognition.

          MR. McCURRY:  I'll check and see if there are any legal 
barriers to re-establishing a dialogue and having contact.  I'm not 
aware of any, and, as I say, the other question is a question involving 
recognition.  I can't spell out for you all of the steps that would have 
to be taken, but I suggest to you that's probably not something that 
would happen in the immediate future anyhow.  I think it's a question 
that would have to be looked at over time.

          Q    Mike, assuming that there's a --

          MR. McCURRY:  Mark, you were next.

          Q    What are the conditions for resuming the dialogue?

          MR. McCURRY:  The President covered them I think in an 
abbreviated way.

          Q    Very abbreviated.

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

          Q    They were spelled out clearly at the time that the 
dialogue was broken off.  Can you reiterate those now, please?

          MR. McCURRY:  I am not going to reiterate those now, because I 
think that clearly we'll be looking at the comments that are made by the 
PLO as they formalize their document to see if those conditions overall 
are satisfied.

          The President I think referred directly, as you heard him 
earlier today, to a declaration that Israel does have a right to exist, 
a renunciation of terrorism, and other steps that might be taken.  I 
think I would just leave it at that right now.  I think the President 
spoke on that.

          Q    So you're holding the door open to shrinking the 
conditions or casting some of them aside if you're generally satisfied 
with the PLO document.  Is that correct?

          MR. McCURRY:  The President said that he would have to be 
satisfied that the necessary conditions were met, and I think he will 
certainly address that later today.

          Q    But, Mike, the question is:  Do the conditions that have 
always been there still exist, or are you setting a new set of 
conditions?

          MR. McCURRY:  I wouldn't be the one to set it.  I think you 
should ask the President later maybe.

          Q    Mike, the Secretary has discretionary authority to give a 
visa to PLO members or officials under certain conditions such as, to 
attend an academic conference or to go to --

          MR. McCURRY:  Or to be available --

          Q    -- visit the United Nations, things like that. But would 
this cover something like coming to the White House?

          MR. McCURRY:  That discretionary authority has existed to 
allow people to be available here to consult with the party negotiating 
here.

          Q    But that's been never formally acknowledged.

          MR. McCURRY:  We have said several times that we would 
certainly do nothing -- would create no impediment to the ability of the 
parties to formally finalize an agreement.  I think that's a pretty 
self-evident statement.

          Mary.

          Q    Michael, back to this whole issue of the signing 
ceremony, when you say that nothing's been solidified, is it being 
handled by the White House?  Is the State Department involved --

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

          Q    -- or is this being handled by the White House?

          MR. McCURRY:  The presumption now is that it will be a White 
House event, so it's their venue, their address.  But we've been working 
very closely with them -- and the Secretary, knowing that there was a 
possibility of a signing ceremony -- established some contingency 
planning procedures earlier in the week, just so we would be able to 
look at some of the questions that you're asking me now.  We don't have 
answers that are satisfactory and definitive answers.

          Q    Now, are you telling us that right now you still don't 
know what kind of a ceremony you want to have?

          MR. McCURRY:  No, I'm not saying that.  I think that from the 
outset of this -- in fact, I'd say from the time of the Secretary's 
meeting with Foreign Minister Peres in Santa Barbara, it's been the 
desire of the parties themselves to have a Washington ceremony, 
presumably at the White House.  We haven't been neutral on that 
question.  We were hoping all along, of course, that there would be the 
type of an agreement that could be signed at a ceremony at the White 
House.

          Q    Mike, the Jordanians have said that the only thing 
holding them back from a similar agreement with Israel is the PLO 
agreement.  Is it the Administration's understanding that once the 
signing between the PLO and Israel happens Monday, that the Jordanian-
Israeli agreement will happen shortly thereafter?

          MR. McCURRY:  I would not rule that out as a possibility, but 
it's far from clear at this moment that that is indeed what will happen.

          Q    Could it be a dual sort of thing?

          MR. McCURRY:  I said I wouldn't rule that out, but it is far 
from clear at this moment that that would happen.

          Q    I mean a dual signing ceremony.  Have you ruled that out?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think the contingency planning that I am aware 
that's taking place is for the agreement between the Israelis and the 
Palestinians.

          Q    Following that up, can you shed any light on the 
Secretary's plans to use the signing of an Israeli-PLO accord as a 
springboard to achieve a more comprehensive settlement?

          MR. McCURRY:  I can tell you that, as you know, he has been 
very actively working some of the other tracks in the aftermath of the 
news about this breakthrough, with the hope that it would lead to a 
comprehensive peace.  I'd say that we're satisfied we're making some 
progress.  I would not indicate, as I just did, that there's any other 
signing ceremonies or any other successful conclusions to dialogue about 
to happen.  

          But I do think there has been progress as they've worked 
through this, and I think, yes, the Secretary does intend to use the 
momentum created by this historic breakthrough to continue the hard work 
on some of the other tracks.  Indeed, as I say, there are some 
indications that some of those tracks are coming together as well.

          Q    Apart from Jordan, what else?  What signs of progress are 
there?

          MR. McCURRY:  Looking not just in the last several days but 
looking over the last several weeks from where we were prior to the 
Secretary's trip to the region and where we are now, for example, in the 
Syrian track, I think that there has been some important progress.  But 
it's clear that that is going to take some time to unfold.

          Q    Is there an agreement yet on when, after the historic 
breakthrough, the talks will resume following the high holidays?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know the answer to that.  That may have 
been something that the parties themselves have addressed, with our 
help, but I don't know that they've agreed on it yet.

          Q    Has the United States yet issued an invitation on a date 
certain to return?

          MR. McCURRY:  Not that I'm aware of.  I'm certainly not aware 
of that.  We're still considering the question of issuing invitations 
for a signing ceremony.  So the next round beyond that, I don't know 
that we have any definitive word on that yet.

          Q    What about the structure of the talks?  Do you envision a 
reshaping, for instance, of the Palestinian delegation?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know that anyone has made any definite 
determination on that.  That certainly would be a possibility, I think.

          Q    Michael, has the Secretary now started informal or formal 
consultations with Congress on this whole issue of the PLO?  Did he meet 
with Congressional leaders?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't think that he has met with anyone yet, 
although he's planning to host -- a previously scheduled appointment -- 
he's planning to host a gathering of freshmen members of Congress this 
evening here at the Department.  He has, I believe, had some telephone 
contact with various members of Congress, as have other officials within 
the Department.

          I believe that these have not been formal briefings.  They've 
been more informal soundings out of opinions -- routine consultation.

          Q    And can you give us a sense of where they are at on this 
issue of talking to the PLO again?

          MR. McCURRY:  Well, I think many of them are in the same place 
the President of the United States has been in today, that they want to 
see more about the agreement itself,  and they want to know more 
details.  But I think that there is a receptivity to the issue.  There's 
a great deal of anxiousness to learn more about the nature of the 
agreement itself.

          That's how I'd describe in summary.  Now, that doesn't apply 
in each and every case obviously.

          Q    Mike, the Foreign Minister of Norway is in Tunis to have 
contacts with the PLO people.  Is there any kind of coordination between 
the U.S. Government and the Norwegians?

          MR. McCURRY:  We have been in contact with them and we feel 
like there has been good exchange of information back and forth.  He may 
not necessarily be there at this moment, but we have been in close 
contact with them and deeply appreciative, as I'm sure the world is, of 
the role that they've been playing.

          Q    Are you aware of the mission of the Norwegian Foreign 
Minister in Tunisia?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think that his role as it has been described, 
and as certainly we understand it, has been to help the parties conclude 
this historic agreement.  It appears now that they have played that role 
successfully, and, as I say, that's something I think the entire world 
is appreciative of.

          Q    Can you bring us up to date on the fund-raising effort to 
implement the PLO-Israel accord?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't have anything new.  We covered, as you 
know, earlier in the week some of the steps we're taking to begin 
reaching out to the world community and to potential donor nations -- 
the Japanese, the Nordic nations, EC nations, Gulf Council states -- and 
I'd say we have made some progress on that front.

          I don't know that I can describe for you specific amounts that 
individual countries have pledged, although there have been some good 
conversations with individual governments.  But that process will 
certainly continue.  We'll continue to be in contact with our G-7 
partners, among others, about how we build the resources necessary to 
make sure that this agreement, as it comes to fruition, is a successful 
agreement, and that the functions that transfer to the Palestinian 
authorities are done so in a way that they can be successful in taking 
on those responsibilities.

          Q    Is there any ballpark figure for the total amount that 
we're seeking?

          MR. McCURRY:  Not that we consider authoritative at this 
point.  There have been a variety of estimates.  I think some of you may 
have seen estimates put out by the World Bank.   There have been others 
developed in the region that range quite -- there's quite a range, 
ranging from several hundred millions up to billions -- and for that 
reason I don't think we consider any of this authoritative.  It's 
something that we will certainly be spending a lot of time, with expert 
analysis, coming to understand better.

          Q    Have you heard from the Saudis any expression of 
willingness to restart their funding of the PLO and their financial aid 
to the PLO?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know the answer to that.  I think we've 
had discussions with them on that subject.  I haven't heard anything 
that indicates to me that they are less than receptive, but I just don't 
know exactly the answer.

          Q    Will the U.S. approve of the World Bank promise of 
assistance to the Palestinians?

          MR. McCURRY:  That's a general question, I think, that they 
move on a very specific procedure, and there are other agencies -- 
specifically the Treasury Department -- that are involved in that, and I 
really am not in a position at this point to speak for other entities 
that would have to look at specific applications for credit.  

          But as a general proposition, as you've heard from the 
Secretary and here, that we do stand ready to help with the financial 
resources necessary to make this agreement work, and we will work within 
the international community to see that those resources are available.

          Q    Can we go to another subject. 

          MR. McCURRY:  Any more on this?

          Q    Yes, I have another one on this.  Looking back 
historically, we had President Carter and his sort of hour-to-hour 
involvement with Camp David.  We had Bush and Baker making sure that all 
the -- almost all the Middle East developments came right out of the 
White House, the announcements and so forth.

          We've had sort of a hands-off approach from this President.  
It looks like his first real personal involvement with the process is 
going to be standing by for the signing on Monday.  We've sort of had a 
rash of stories saying that the Administration has been out of the loop 
on this, has been on the sidelines.

          I'm wondering whether there's a gap between the public 
perception and what's actually been taking place.  Has there been a 
bigger role that this Administration's been playing in this?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't want to overstate the role, but I think 
that the history of this breakthrough will become clear in the days and 
the weeks ahead, and I think the United States is satisfied that we've 
played an important role.  But the parties themselves can describe that.  
I think the parties' interest in gathering here to conclude this 
agreement speaks to our level of involvement as well.

          Q    On Somalia --

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.  Before we do that, one more.

          Q    Maybe same question.  What is your self-appraisal of U.S. 
Government role for the success of the PLO/Palestinian negotiations?  
For example, do you think that it is only solely U.S. role to reach that 
kind of historic negotiations between the PLO and Israel, or that was 
worked out with the whole cooperation of worldwide diplomatic -- 
something like that?

          MR. McCURRY:  No, I don't think that we take it on -- we've 
indicated all along that we wished to be helpful when we can be helpful.  
We've played that role going back from designing the Madrid process 
forward, and by no means are we the only country involved.

          I think, as you know, this entire process, which defined many 
of the issues and many of the positions that have now been fleshed out 
by the parties directly, this process itself was co-sponsored by Russia.  
As you know, Norway has played a very significant role here.  Certainly 
U.S. leadership has been important, but it's not solely the role of the 
United States to help encourage these types of historic breakthroughs.  
That is, indeed, the responsibility the world community itself has.

          Q    But in the ceremony, all the nations who had worked for 
the success of the negotiations could be invited to the White House 
ceremony or no?

          MR. McCURRY:  I just don't know the answer to that yet.  
That's sort of a protocol question about who will be invited and, as I 
say, I don't have any firm details on that at this point.

          Q    Can I just follow on -- I mean, when you say the history 
will reveal the role, I mean, are you hinting that there is -- that the 
U.S. was much more involved than press accounts would indicate?

          MR. McCURRY:  No, no.  I mean, I think that in reaching in 
what appears to be an exchange of letters between the PLO and Israel 
directly, I think that that came about, as we largely know, under the 
auspices of direct dialogue that was sponsored by Norway.

          What I'm suggesting is that in the overall history of this 
region and the attempt to reach peace, the role that we've played has 
been significant.  I think the role we played in helping to shape some 
of the issues and the substance of the dialogue that's now occurred 
directly between the PLO and Israel has been significant as well.  

          But I think that's something that's not for us to brag about.  
I think that's up to people who themselves were directly involved in the 
parties to talk about themselves as they reflect on what's happened 
here.

          Q    Michael, do you have any expectations for secrecy to take 
over after the success of secret negotiations between the PLO and 
Israel?  Do you expect secrecy to have the upper hand now?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  That's a kind of a complicated question.  
Any complicated negotiation of this nature is a mix of public diplomacy 
and private communications and discussions informally between parties.  
It's probably true that no complicated, difficult negotiation is 
possible without a full engagement by the parties directly, and that 
certainly often occurs in private.

          But I think that there have been a variety of ways in which 
this discussion and this dialogue has proved to be fruitful.

          Q    Somalia?

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.  Nothing -- we are developing -- I think 
you are all aware that there are some news accounts from Mogadishu that 
there has been a serious incident there.  News of that is being gathered 
at this very moment.  I don't have anything further after checking with 
the Pentagon and others just prior to the briefing.

          Q    That wasn't my question.  My question is, there's a great 
debate going on on the Hill at the moment, and support for the U.S. 
position there seems to be eroding and opposition growing.

          What effect is that having on the Administration's 
determination to keep forces in there, keep the Rangers in there, keep 
the pressure on General Aideed?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think that we understand that Congress wants a 
clearer definition of what the mission in Somalia is about, and we 
understand that there's a very great eagerness to see that our troops 
come home as soon as possible.  That's certainly sentiments that we 
understand, we know are being reflected in the debate up there, and 
we're committed to working with Congress on those objectives.

          But we also feel at this time that the attempt to interrupt 
the ability of the United States to participate in this mission would 
not be helpful.

          Q    If you understand that they want a clearer definition of 
what the U.S. role is there, is that a concession on your part that the 
definition hasn't been clearer to this point?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think that we would acknowledge -- and I think 
others in the Administration have acknowledged -- that the definition of 
the mission has not been as clear as it needed to be.  And I think 
that's one reason, among others, that Secretary Aspin at some great 
length went into that subject in his speech recently at CSIS.  

          I'd refer you back to that speech.  It's a pretty clear, 
comprehensive account of what the U.S. role in Somalia is about, why 
it's important.  It looks at the history of our effort there to save 
lives and what has to happen there so that we can continue to save lives 
as part of this humanitarian effort.

          Q    Mike, there's been news accounts recently that are saying 
that the Administration is so dismayed by the problems in command and 
control in Somalia as a U.N. peacekeeping effort, that, for instance, 
it's now utterly determined that if there's a peacekeeping effort in 
Bosnia, it's going to be handled by NATO, as the President said 
yesterday.  Does that extend to peacekeeping missions, in general?

          Is there a re-thinking in the Administration of, for instance, 
the notion that U.S. combat troops would serve under U.N. commanders?  
Is there a sense that Somalia now shows that the U.N. simply can't 
handle this and we won't put U.S. troops under their control?

          MR. McCURRY:  There is, I think, a Presidential review, an 
interagency review that's been going on on exactly those questions.  It 
had not been completed and is still not completed.  I don't believe that 
the principals have presented final recommendations to the President yet 
on that, so I don't know that there's been a re-thinking.  I think 
there's been a "thinking" about exactly those questions.

          Q    As Somalia unfolds or unravels, or whatever, is that 
going into the thinking?  Is Somalia so alarming to you that the idea 
that was coming out of U.S. troops under U.N. command is now being 
thrown out the window?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't want to accept the characterization that 
you made in the question.  I would say that, as you've heard others in 
the Administration say, as the first Chapter VII U.N. peace-making 
operation of its kind, that  we have felt all along that there would be 
things we would learn from the effort in Somalia as it applies to future 
peacekeeping and peace-making operations.

          Q    Well have you learned that you don't want U.S. combat 
troops under U.N. command?

          MR. McCURRY:  That's not something that I'm going to say now 
because it's part of the things that are being -- they're being reviewed 
at a very high level within the Administration.

          Q    What's the state of alarm within the Administration over 
just the simple fact that this debate -- noisy and quarrelsome -- has 
broken out on the Hill questioning why the United States is there?

          MR. McCURRY:  What's our sense of that debate?

          Q    No.  What is your sense of -- what is the state of alarm?  
Are you alarmed by it?  Do you feel that your support is eroding?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't think we are alarmed by it.  I think 
that we understand that there are significant concerns among members of 
Congress that should be addressed.  I think we're attempting to do that.

          Q    Michael, does the Secretary of State know that Secretary 
of Defense Les Aspin wanted to travel to Sarajevo?  Or did he read it in 
the newspaper, as Tony Lake apparently did?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware that he was aware of plans by the 
Secretary to travel to Sarajevo.

          Q    Does he think it's a good idea?  Or is he glad that the 
Secretary appears now not to be traveling to Sarajevo?

          MR. McCURRY:  We take no opinion on that question.

          Q    Are you going to send him the travel advisory?

          MR. McCURRY:  What?

          Q    Are you going to send him the travel advisory?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  I will resist the opportunity to say 
anything about it.

          Q    Another topic.  The Cuban Government announced just 
recently that they are going to allow some private enterprising in Cuba.  
Do you have anything on this?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't have anything new on that.  We have been 
following some of those developments very carefully, and I'll see if I 
can work up some additional information on that.

          Q    Mike, on Bosnia, after the President called on Clinton 
yesterday, the White House briefing threw a lot of cold water -- buckets 
of ice cubes -- on any notion that the U.S. is going to do anything for 
Bosnia.

          Also, I couldn't seem to get a good explanation why you're so 
determined -- the U.S. is -- to have any peacekeeping troops under NATO 
instead of U.N. command.  What does Izetbegovic get out of this visit?  
What has he accomplished by coming here, except mispronunciation of his 
name?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think he came here for several reasons.  He 
came here, clearly and foremost, to make a presentation to the U.N. 
Security Council.  I think it was then our view and his view that it 
would be good if he could come here and meet with some of the officials 
he met with yesterday -- the President and the Secretary -- to review 
the status of the Geneva negotiations and where things might go next.

          This is a desperately difficult problem.  Understanding his 
point of view as they go into the negotiations, what the potential is 
for reaching some type of settlement, what then the United States could 
do to help implement such an agreement, is a very important and useful 
conversation.

          I think the President had, with President Izetbegovic 
yesterday, a very productive conversation that President Izetbegovic 
himself thanked President Clinton for at some great length, and I think 
was very satisfied with the tone of the conversation and with the 
assistance that the United States has been rendering to Bosnia in the 
course of this difficult negotiation.

          Q    Well, at first, we had the image yesterday of the U.S. 
Representative to the U.N. running up and down the hallways of the U.N. 
chastising the French and British for their stony silence when this man 
makes this appeal.  Then, we had you speaking of the need to get relief 
through; again, warning that the NATO Council could meet on short notice 
and all.  You go over to the White House, it's a different 
Administration.  It's an Administration that called for one thing -- for 
flexibility from him, as well -- I don't know what he's supposed to 
flexible about.  Flexibility on all sides.  That wasn't Mr. 
Christopher's line last week.  Is it a lost cause that you've just given 
up on?  You see no conflict?

          MR. McCURRY:  I have to say I am totally mystified by your 
question.

          Q    All right, please read the transcript, if you could -- if 
you have it -- of last night's White House briefing and you'll see, 
"there's limits to what the outside world can do, we need flexibility on 
all sides."  It was just absolutely go-chase-yourself -- the Bosnian 
President.

          MR. McCURRY:  I discussed with I believe one of the 
participants in that briefing -- I had a good conversation with late 
last night -- and have a much different understanding of the message 
conveyed at that briefing.  I'm sorry if --

          Q    Who had a much different impression?  There were two 
briefers.

          MR. McCURRY:  Apparently, you've had difficulty understanding 
what they were trying to suggest.

          Q    I think a lot of us -- well, the same briefer said 
there's nothing special about asking Congress to approve sending troops 
overseas; it's always been done, which sort of rules out Vietnam, 
Panama, Grenada, and other such events.

          I don't know where I was yesterday, but I sure wasn't at the 
State Department where things were a little clearer.

          MR. McCURRY:  I am so grateful that you consider the briefings 
that occur here --

          Q    Much better.

          MR. McCURRY:  -- so much clearer than those that you receive 
elsewhere.

          Q    Does this mean that this Administration now supports the 
War Powers Act and agrees that Congress has a role before you send 
troops into a potential hostile situation?

          MR. McCURRY:  The President and others suggested at the White 
House yesterday that on this difficult problem of Bosnia we're going to 
consult with Congress.  Why is that a surprise or of interest here?

          A    Because they didn't on Vietnam, Panama, and Grenada.  The 
U.S. Government -- your government or mine -- sent U.S. troops racing 
out there to get killed and to intervene in foreign wars without 
Congress having a say, except the little tricky bit about 
appropriations.  There wasn't Congressional approval.  And now we're 
being told, this is just routine.

          MR. McCURRY:  I think consulting with Congress about Bosnia 
and the next steps in Bosnia is something that the Administration has 
indicated regularly --

          Q    The President said more that "consulting."

          Q    Seriously, Mike, the two previous Administrations have 
absolutely refused to have anything to do with the War Powers Act, which 
requires them to consult with Congress before they send troops into a 
hostile situation.  Are you saying that  it will be the policy of this 
Administration to recognize the War Powers Act and, thus, to consult 
with Congress?

          MR. McCURRY:  Absolutely not.

          Q    It will not (inaudible) --

          Q    I would like some clarification -- 

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not saying that.

          Q    Is it the State Department's view that before 
peacekeeping -- before American forces are sent in for peacekeeping -- 
that the United States -- that the President needs Congressional 
agreement?  Because that's what the briefer at the White House seemed to 
think last night.

          Specifically, the President himself said that he's going to 
get Congressional agreement and support.

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't recall that the President said anything 
about War Powers last night.  I think he indicated he was --

          Q    I'm not interjecting that.  I'm simply asking, as a 
matter of course, as the President has not sought Congressional 
agreement to go into Somalia, and, as a matter of fact, you're resisting 
a Congressional effort to get troops out of Somalia.

          President Bush did not ask for Congressional agreement before 
sending troops into Somalia.  And now the President is saying that 
before he sends any forces in as peacekeepers, he's got to get 
Congressional approval.  Is that so?

          MR. McCURRY:  For a precise clarification of what may or may 
not have been said at the White House by whoever briefed last night, I 
would refer you to the White House.  I want to put that question to them 
because apparently there were some things said at the briefing last 
night that I just can't speak to here.  I think I would refer to them.

          Second, on the question of War Powers, I don't want to say 
anything further on that question other than to say, as you all know 
here, that as a matter of history and as a matter of policy, that is an 
issue upon which the Executive Branch of government has very firm and 
strong views.  I don't want to recount that now in the context of a 
discussion of Bosnia.

          What I will tell you on Bosnia is that the President suggested 
last night that he's going to consult with Congress about what we need 
to do if we are going to participate in part of the implementation of a 
political settlement there.  That's as far as I think I need to address 
the matter.

          Q    Apparently, there was a contradiction just yesterday 
between the White House briefer and you.

          MR. McCURRY:  A contradiction?  No!

          Q    I just want to find out what the truth is.  The President 
promised to participate in any peacekeeping operation to enforce a peace 
agreement.

          You said from the podium yesterday that you presume he means 
ground troops.  The briefer said the President has not said any such 
thing and to make no such presumption.

          Now, most people are saying -- and Izetbegovic suggested -- 
that only ground troops, that American presence on the ground, would, or 
NATO presence on the ground, would help keep that peace.  Can you 
clarify?  Do we mean ground troops when we talk about participation?

          MR. McCURRY:  When we have talked about participating in a 
viable, enforceable agreement negotiated by the parties in good faith, 
we have talked about the U.S. participation possibly including ground 
troops.  It was not the duty of the White House briefer, or the State 
Department briefer, yesterday to go beyond that commitment which does 
stand and which was discussed directly with President Izetbegovic 
yesterday -- possibly including ground troops.

          Q    That's all you told him -- possibly -- we didn't promise 
ground troops?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think I said presumably.  I think there has 
been some presumption and, indeed, there has been some planning on the 
question of using U.S. ground troops; but the commitment that exists 
currently is possibly using groups troops.  It was not the job of Dee 
Dee [Myers] or my job to move beyond that point yesterday.

          Q    Could you add anything to why -- you know, why the 
President put emphasis on having whoever goes there under NATO, and he 
specifically said not the U.N. command?  Is there something there?

          MR. McCURRY:  There are several reasons.  Multilateral 
peacekeeping is hard.  There is no question about that.  The 
multilateral peacekeeping is what NATO has been about all these many 
years.  The type of integrated command structure, the integrated 
operations and procedures that have been developed historically through 
NATO and the ability to handle different nations working in a command 
structure is something that's very, very valuable.  And it's something 
that, particularly in a problem that lies in the heart of Europe, could 
be effectively employed.

          I think it's our view that NATO, as it has proven with "no-
fly" zone enforcement, and the command and control structures for "no-
fly," is in a good position to help carry out some of the missions that 
may or may not be attached to implementing a peace agreement in Bosnia.

          Q    Does this have anything to do with trying to keep at a 
minimum the number of forces -- wrong word -- the number of hands that 
would be involved in the operation?  As you realize, doing something 
which you guys haven't done yet about a NATO military response, you have 
to have the U.N. Secretary General approve the first strike, at least.  
Is that factored into this?  You want to keep it neater and more 
streamlined?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think that it grows out of a desire to employ 
those things that historically have proven to work effectively.  I think 
there is now, even in Bosnia, some work that's been done under the 
sponsorship of the United Nations with an involvement by NATO where 
these roles have been sorted out effectively.  I think the desire is to 
build on that experience historically with NATO, and then specifically 
in the case of Bosnia.

          Q    Mike, correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe starting in 
February, in a number of carefully prepared statements here by the 
Secretary, the United States has pledged to help implement a peace 
agreement in Bosnia without ever mentioning getting Congressional 
approval beforehand.  Can you tell us why this policy has suddenly been 
changed?

          MR. McCURRY:  In May and elsewhere there was extensive, 
exhaustive consulting with Congress on the options that exist.  You all 
remember members of Congress spending long hours in the early spring 
over at the White House.  I think all along there has been a commitment 
to having the understanding of Congress as we reach these decisions.

          Q    Mike, to put it in sort of plain and undiplomatic 
language, there is about what the President said yesterday the air of an 
attempt to weasel out of a commitment.  Is that what this Administration 
is doing?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.

          Q    Do you have anything about the situation at the Security 
Council where behind-the-scenes politicking seems to have stalled the 
selection of a prosecutor in the War Crimes Tribunal?  It seems to raise 
real questions about whether that process is a serious one and whether 
it has any credibility and whether it's being watered down.

          MR. McCURRY:  It has been of concern to us.  It's something, 
through Ambassador Albright there, we have been pressing.

          My understanding is that they were getting ready to actually 
have an election for judges that will occur --

          Q    That's not the issue.  The issue is really a prosecutor 
who will set the tone and the effectiveness of this whole thing.

          MR. McCURRY:  There have been significant disagreements within 
the United Nations on that subject that we have been addressing and that 
others have been addressing.

          Q    Let me suggest that this seems to be a behind-closed-
doors replay of the issue of going there to have the arms embargo 
lifted; that we have a candidate that we contend we prefer -- Professor 
Bassiouni from Chicago.  He is the preferred candidate of the Secretary 
General.  He's supported by the non-aligned movement.  And apparently 
when the U.S., when it had the chair -- when Madeleine Albright had the 
chair, (inaudible) members, two or three threatened a veto and the U.S., 
basically, backed off and has been left to cast around for an 
alternative, someone who is less aggressive, presumably, to satisfy the 
Europeans.  That raises the question about whether this whole thing is a 
charade.

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know.  Why does that raise that 
question?

          Q    Because you're unable to get the approval of someone who 
has been very involved in cataloguing and documenting war crimes.  The 
Europeans will not go along with that, apparently, and so the U.S. has 
backed off on its own candidate and dropped its own candidate and is 
left with, at the moment, nobody on the table for this job.

          MR. McCURRY:  The United States is actively consulting with 
other members of the Council to identify an acceptable candidate who 
will be fully qualified and who will actively prosecute cases brought 
before the Tribunal.

          That doesn't imply anything about the ineffectiveness of the 
Tribunal itself or the lack of determination to proceed with the 
activities of the Tribunal.

          Q    If you can't get someone who is clearly an aggressive 
prosecutor approved by the Europeans, that suggests this process is not 
very credible and it is very political.

          MR. McCURRY:  That's your interpretation.  There may be 
someone there who can be mutually acceptable who can vigorously 
prosecute these crimes as that person would be expected to do.

          Q    How soon do you expect there would be a --

          MR. McCURRY:  We have been working within the Security Council 
to make sure that that is quite soon.  And, as I say, we have been 
pressing the issue aggressively.  In fact, the Secretary himself 
personally has felt that this is an important matter and is taking steps 
directly to help press the matter.

          Q    What has he done?

          MR. McCURRY:  I can't describe to you everything he's done.  
He's pushed the issue both within the United States and I think he's 
also raised this with others.

          Q    Can you shed some light on a Bosnia question, which is a 
bureaucratic dispute over one part of the bureaucracy wanting to get the 
troop of "Hair," the operatic production, out of Sarajevo, and one part 
of the government arguing you should only be evacuating people who are 
wounded and who desperately need to go; the other part saying it's a 
great cultural thing to get them out.  Where does that stand?

          MR. McCURRY:  You got it pretty well right.

          Q    AP got it right.

          Q    Is there a resolution of this dispute?

          MR. McCURRY:  No, there's not a resolution at the moment.  
I'll describe for you what I know and where matters stands at the 
moment.  There are transport planes that are taking supplies into 
Sarajevo, as you know, that then return to their bases empty, for all 
practical purposes, that might be able to accommodate some individuals 
and certain special circumstances who would leave Sarajevo for things 
like studying in the United States or participating in theatrical 
productions or whatever.

          How you handle those cases -- how you make sure that you're, 
one, complying with the U.N. guidelines and then, two, how do you this 
in a way that is fair.  If one group gets to come, why not another 
group?  How do you establish some way of handling those types of issues 
is something that, frankly, it dangled around for a while, it's not been 
taken up at a very high level within the government, and I expect 
they're going to resolve it very, very shortly.

          Q    Mike, could you confirm the Washington Times report this 
morning that a senior U.S. nuclear official went to South Korea 
concerning North Korean matter, please?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to or not, but I 
think I can confirm that Bob Gallucci is going to South Korea and I 
think plan to have discussions there.

          Q    He's going to South Korea?

          Q    He is going?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think he is going or may be on the way there.  
His intent was to have meetings with the South Koreans and to discuss 
with the South Koreans developments -- a wide variety of issues, but 
also including discussions with North Korea.

          Q    What is his schedule there, please?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'll try to find out more about it.  I'm not 
sure when he left and when he's meeting there, but we'll find out more.

          Q    The second talk, Geneva talk, between the United State 
and North Korea, the statement said that within two months you are going 
to have a third round of U.S.-North Korean talks.  Two months is nearly 
consumed by one week or so.  So do you have a clear deadline for that 
kind of two months?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not sure there's a clear deadline.  I 
believe that a third round of high-level talks between North Korea and 
the United States were dependent on significant progress being made in 
talks that the DPRK would have with the International Atomic Energy 
Authority and a resumption of the North-South dialogue.  I don't believe 
that those conditions have been satisfied in our mind, and I don't 
believe there are currently any plans to have a third round of 
discussions.

          Q    So there's no definite deadline?  In the second talk, the 
statement said that within two months you're going to have a third round 
of talks.  So that is not definitely a deadline for the third round?

          MR. McCURRY:  The agreement was within that period that 
dialogue would occur if the necessary conditions had been met and if 
progress was made, as I say, on the North-South talks and on the talks 
that North Korea would then have with the IAEA.  That has not happened 
to our satisfaction.  Therefore, the talks have not been held.

          Q    So, Mike, do you regard this as a serious setback, that 
those things haven't happened and you're not having a third round of 
talks?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think it is of some concern to us that those 
things have not happened, and I believe that's, among other things, 
that's certainly what Assistant Secretary Gallucci will explore while 
he's in the region.

          Q    Will he meet with the North Koreans while he's there?  Is 
there any talk --

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of any plans for him to do that, 
no.

          Q    By chance, do you have any word on the resumption of the 
Bosnian peace -- or maybe partition -- talks in New York, Geneva?  The 
President spoke possibly of next week.

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't.  I should have checked.  I'm not saying 
that's not within the realm of the possible.  I just forgot to check and 
see where they go next.

          Q    I thought if the U.S. hosted -- you know, that word might 
come here first.

          MR. McCURRY:  Not that I'm aware of.  I think they would stay 
in Geneva.

          Q    Thank you.

          (Press briefing concluded at 1:48 p.m.)

(###)

To the top of this page