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Friday, September 10, 1993

                             BRIEFER:  Michael McCurry

Subject                                           Page

Applications for Press Credentials for APEC
  Conference, November 17-19, Available ........1,8
Background Briefing on Middle East Peace Process1

US to Contribute $2 Million to Provide Financial
  Assistance to the Provisional National Gov't .1

Invitations/Preparations for WH Signing Ceremony 1-2,4-5 
--Secretary's Call to Russian Foreign Minister .1,4 
--US Delivers Invitation in Tunis to PLO .......2,11
--Resumption of US-PLO Dialogue ................2-3 
--Level of Contact of US-PLO Dialogue ..........3-4 
--Secretary's Call to Former Secretary Baker ...5
--Assessment of US Legislation Restrictions
     re: PLO ...................................5-6

Prospects for Lifting Sanctions/Gramm Amendment 6

Non-Binding Senate Resolution re: US Policy ....6-7
U.S. Interests/Goals in Somalia ................7-9
Attack on Peacekeepers/Civilian Casualties .....7,9,10
Aideed Role/Influence/Prospects for Dialogue ...9-11

Senator Dole's Letter re: Personnel Files ......11

Gallucci's Visit/Meetings September 10-11 ......11


                       DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                       DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #127

              FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 1993, 1:09 P.M.

          MR. McCURRY:  Good afternoon, everybody.  I have two 
announcements.  The first is a housekeeping matter.

          We will post further information on this in the Press Office, 
but it is to alert you that we are now going to open a process for 
applying for credentials to the upcoming APEC conference in Seattle in 
November; and we've got some information available about how both the 
U.S. and the foreign press can apply for credentials for that gathering 
in Seattle.  You'll see that all posted accordingly in the Press Office.

          The second is an announcement.  The United States is pleased 
to announce that it will contribute $2 million in response to the U.N. 
Secretary General's July 9 appeal for voluntary contributions to provide 
financial assistance to the Provisional National Government of Cambodia.  

          The success of the recent elections in Cambodia marks the 
beginning of that country's transition from conflict to peace and 
democracy.  The U.S. contribution is intended to help ensure that the 
remarkable progress toward peace that has been made in Cambodia is not 
interrupted and that the United Nations endeavors are brought to a 
successful conclusion.

          The United States looks upon this contribution as an 
investment and a vote of confidence in Cambodia's future.  We applaud 
the contributions already made by other countries and urge those who 
have not done so to make similar pledges.

          And with that announcement, I'll take any questions that you 
might have.  One other housekeeping item which might affect your 
questioning.  I plan to be here as long as you absolutely want, to 
answer questions and then make a certain Administration official, who's 
been described as "rumpled" and who knows a lot about the Middle East 
peace process, available ON BACKGROUND at the conclusion of the briefing 
to do some Middle East questions.

          So with that, why don't we go ahead?

          Q    Has the Secretary been on the phone or talking to any of 
the folks?

          MR. McCURRY:  I would in general describe a significant amount 
of activity underway, both at the White House and here at the 
Department, in preparation for Monday's signing ceremony.  As you can 
all imagine, there is just a world of very complicated details to work 
out for an event of that size and that importance.  We don't have a lot 
of specific information we can share with you at this point about who's 
being invited, who we expect to come, and a lot of the other details 
because frankly they're in the process of being worked on.  We want to 
make sure that when we've got information available, it's the reliable 
information that you can start making plans on; and, as we get more 
information, we will let you know.

          I will tell you that the Secretary did call Foreign Minister 
Kozyrev this morning and had a good conversation with him to invite him.  
My understanding is that the President will be placing quite a few calls 
today, inviting individual people.  I'm sure the White House will be 
able to give you more detail on that.  At various levels in the 
Department we've been in contact with foreign governments to make sure 
that they are aware of the signing ceremony and that they know that 
they're invited; and, I think as some of you know, the United States did 
deliver an invitation in Tunis a short while ago to invite a delegation 
from the Palestinian Liberation Organization.  Beyond that, though, I 
don't have a lot of details.

          Q    Without indicating names on the invitation?  It just 
said, "Come, send who you wish"?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think it was an invitation to them to know 
that their delegation would be invited.  Frankly, who will come to 
represent the PLO at this point is not clear.

          Q    Was this before or after President Clinton resumed the 

          MR. McCURRY:  This was after the President announced that we 
were resuming a dialogue.  And, yes, they presumably did say "hello" to 
each other, so presumably they did have something that amounted to a 
dialogue; but to pre-empt the obvious question, I think that the 
Secretary himself will be coordinating the Department's overall approach 
to the PLO as they begin a more formal dialogue, which I expect will 
begin very shortly.

          Q    It would be fair to say that the U.S.-PLO dialogue was 
opened by a diplomatic courier in Tunis?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think if you are looking for -- historically, 
I think that would be accurate.  I think extending an invitation or 
delivering an invitation to the PLO  would mark the first.  Then again, 
obviously, it's at a more logistical level; but there will be additional 
contacts in the days ahead.

          Q    Mike, are there any contacts contemplated -- with the PLO 
contemplated here in Washington, now that they are --

          MR. McCURRY:  I certainly would not consider that surprising 
since there are some representatives of the PLO who are here in 
Washington now.  Again, I would say that the Secretary himself will be 
coordinating a number of these details, and we'll see things like that, 
I assume, develop over the next several days.

          Q    Is anybody in this Department yet in contact with any of 
the PLO people here as far as you know?

          MR. McCURRY:  Not that I'm aware of.  I'll leave that to the 
Administration official, because I think he's aware; but I just checked 
with him a very short while ago, and my impression at that point was 
that there had not been anything.

          Q    In June 1990, the PLO office in Washington changed its 
name to something else and continued functioning.  Can we assume that it 
will now change its name back to the PLO office in Washington?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know the answer to that.  I think those 
are among many details.  One of the purposes of re-establishing a 
dialogue will, of course, be to address procedural and diplomatic 
questions like that; and there are many questions like that we frankly 
don't have answers to at this point.

          Q    Would it be ungracious to ask if there's going to be some 
sort of a monitoring operation of PLO activities, as there was the last 
time they renounced terrorism?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't want to characterize your question in 
any way whatsoever, but I think that the commitments that were made --

          Q    But it's a legitimate question.  Are you going to keep 
tabs on their behavior?

          MR. McCURRY:  The commitments that were made are important 
commitments, and, of course, the United States expects those commitments 
will be fulfilled.


          Q    At what level will the contacts with the PLO be 
conducted?  You said the Secretary's coordinating that.  Would he get 

          MR. McCURRY:  To be quite honest with you, my assumption is 
that there is some planning now that has to occur for this event on 
Monday and that the initial contacts might be in connection with 
planning the participation by the PLO delegation in the signing ceremony 
on Monday; so that would imply a level that would -- I wouldn't want to 
say a low level, but certainly people who can help carry out logistical 
planning for the ceremony that will occur.

          Q    As a policy matter, has it been decided at what level 
this dialogue is going to be conducted?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  The Secretary will be deciding that and 
constructing the approaches that will be made to the PLO as the dialogue 
begins to take shape.

          Q    Mike, since President Clinton is hosting on Monday and 
Russia is a co-sponsor, has the President invited Boris Yeltsin?

          MR. McCURRY:  Not that I'm aware of.  I indicated that the 
Secretary had invited Foreign Minister Kozyrev to come and wanted to 
extend that invitation personally, and we're certainly hoping that the 
Foreign Minister will be here.  I'm not aware of any plans to have the 
President here.

          Q    Did he say if Kozyrev said yes?  I assume he did.

          MR. McCURRY:  I forgot to ask.  I know that the Secretary told 
me that he had talked, and I neglected to ask did he say he would be 

          Q    There's no luncheon.  Nabil Shaath said there will be no 
lunch served.  (Laughter)

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't believe that's accurate.  I think there 
is going to be a lunch.

          Q    He suggested that maybe somebody ought to decide who's 
coming, because Hillary is preparing a good lunch --

          MR. McCURRY:  No.

          Q    I'm just kidding.  There's not a luncheon.

          MR. McCURRY:  Actually, I took that as a serious question, 
because I do think there's -- seriously, I think there are some among 
the many plans that are being thought about are having a luncheon here, 
as a matter of fact; and, of course, there may be a dinner later in the 

          I know you'll be intensely interested in all the plannings and 
arrangements, and as we have all of that important information 
available, we will make it available to you.

          Q    Can you say yet whether the Foreign Ministers, or at 
least the Foreign Ministers of the other Arab nations will be invited?

          MR. McCURRY:  I cannot.  I think that there are Foreign 
Ministers from other Arab nations who I expect will be present; but I 
can't answer as to the ones that you are most directly interested in 
probably, and those who are participating in the peace process itself.  
I don't know the answer to that.  I'll defer that to our senior 
Administration official.

          Q    You said the President is making some calls.  Is that 
because calls will be made to -- at the level of heads of state or heads 
of government?

          MR. McCURRY:  I really will leave that over at the White 
House.  My understanding is, among others, that there are some former 
Presidents of the United States that he will be contacting; but I will 
leave that to the White House to describe.

          Q    Has Baker been contacted?

          MR. McCURRY:  I know that the Secretary and former Secretary 
Baker spoke over the weekend.  I don't know that the invitation has been 
extended to him, but certainly the plans are to see that he is.  
Certainly, there are plans underway to make sure that he's invited.

          Q    Will the Administration propose to Congress that the 
legal obstacles to formal recognition of the PLO be dropped -- repealed?

          MR. McCURRY:  As many of you know, there was a sizable 
contingent of members of Congress at the White House for a briefing by 
the President this morning.  I don't have a full readout on their 
conversations, but I do know that the next steps that will follow after 
the announcement today are things that will be done in close 
consultation with Congress.  I don't know that any decision has been 
made to take a specific step yet, but again I'll defer that to our 
briefer this afternoon to see if he's got some additional understanding 
of that.

          Q    Mike, we've been trying all morning to find somebody in 
this building -- Legal Affairs, NEA, anywhere -- up on the Hill, over at 
the White House, who knows what specifically needs -- what legislation 
relates to the PLO.  There's no one in -- the Legal Office here says 
they don't know.  You probably don't have it there, but if you could 
take  the question, just tick off what are the things -- the legislation 
that relates to the PLO.  Not what will be repealed, but what there is 
that --

          MR. McCURRY:  Actually, I looked into that question myself 
because I knew that would be of some interest, and I know that they are 
reviewing exactly the legislative requirements; but I am told at this 
point that some of the legislative restrictions do involve travel of PLO 
officials, opening PLO offices, contributing to international 
organizations that have programs which benefit the PLO.  Beyond that, we 
are making a full assessment of what legislative restrictions do exist 
that have been enacted by Congress, and we will find out more about it.

          Q    Mike, since we're going to have this other guy, maybe we 
could change the subject.  The South African Ambassador this morning 
said that he has been led to believe that the Administration is going to 
lift the -- or make a declaration that would void the Gramm Amendment to 
the Bretton Woods agreement.  Is he correct?

          MR. McCURRY:  We covered a little bit of that the other day.  
I think I indicated in response to the question the other day that we 
were awaiting the definitive call at that point from the ANC itself for 
the lifting of sanctions which would then allow us to explore the impact 
of the Gramm Amendment.  I'll go back and check the answer that we gave 
the other day, but I think we indicated that we would in fact be 
exploring that question once we receive the official request from the 
ANC that the international community lift sanctions.

          Q    And is he correct in saying that it won't require any 
action by Congress but simply a certification or a declaration by the 

          MR. McCURRY:  That was my understanding, but that's something 
that we'll look at carefully and make sure that's absolutely correct; 
but that was the understanding we had the other day.

          Q    Can we turn briefly to Somalia and the deteriorating 
situation there.  Is there concern here in Washington that perhaps 
things are getting out of hand, and that the views of some of the 
Senators expressed over the last several days may, in fact, be turning 
out to be true?

          MR. McCURRY:  We certainly are aware of the vote last night in 
the Senate.  Of course, it was non-binding, it was a Sense-of-Congress 
resolution; but it does reflect concern that members of Congress have.

          Ultimately, we believe very much that Congress and the 
American people support the basic goal of our policy in Somalia  which, 
again, is to ensure that Somalia does not return to the anarchy which 
claimed more than 300,000 lives and which put at risk millions of lives.  
That is the purpose of the mission that is underway now, and I think 
that is well understood.  The concerns that have been voiced by members 
of Congress and by others are legitimate concerns that must be addressed 
as well; and I think, as you know from Secretary Aspin's speech the 
other day, those are concerns that have been addressed directly by the 

          Q    What are America's strategic interests -- vital strategic 
interests in Somalia?

          MR. McCURRY:  The interests that are at stake in Somalia are 
those that have been defined by the United Nations as it has developed a 
program or an effort under UNOSOM, under Chapter VII of the United 
Nations Charter.  We are a participant in that effort, and our interests 
are connected to the will of the international community as reflected in 
the United Nations Security Council resolutions that have been approved 
on the matter.

          Q    So what are America's vital strategic interests?  You 
haven't answered that.  What you said is we have a share of interest in 
a Chapter VII operation in Somalia, but those are not America's vital 
strategic interests?

          MR. McCURRY:  No, they are not.  I am going to punt on the 
question, to be candid about it.  I'll want to think about that 
question.  I'll want to talk about that question with the Secretary of 
State and make sure that I have an answer that reflects exactly what 
senior officials in the Administration would want to have said on that.

          Q    Mike, does the Administration have an accurate civilian 
casualty count on the attack yesterday?

          MR. McCURRY:  We have got information that has been relayed to 
us by UNOSOM.  I think that you have also seen the UNOSOM figures.  We 
are also developing our own report.  We don't have that report complete 

          I can relay to you the information that we have seen from 
UNOSOM, but we are taking steps to get our own information separately 
from the UNOSOM accounts so that we understand exactly the nature of the 
incident that occurred at about 3:30 yesterday.

          Q    Doesn't it seem odd to you that after the United States 
forces have been there and have been reinforced -- and today I guess we 
have 5,600 troops there -- that a Spokesman of the State Department 
can't just reel off what our vital strategic interests are in Somalia?

          MR. McCURRY:  I can tell you a lot about our interests.  Our 
interests are in saving lives, first and foremost.  That's the reason 
why the United States committed substantial presence of troops there to 
save lives.  We had a humanitarian purpose which has been largely 
fulfilled.  The famine has ended.  The crop has been restored, and the 
people are being fed now.  There's some hope that, in terms of 
humanitarian conditions, there could be a return to normalcy.  That is 
an important humanitarian interest to the United States to advance that 
kind of effort, not only in Somalia but in other places around the 

          In the case of the UNOSOM mission and the military action 
which is underway now, that is designed to end the anarchy which puts at 
risk exactly that humanitarian effort.  Again, that is consistent with 
our own interests.  I don't want to define "vital strategic national 
interests," because that is a very, very precise formulation, as you 
know, Jack, and that's something that I don't think we just casually do 
here at the podium.  That's something we would want to prepare a very 
precise answer to.

          Q    It may well be that, as some people in the Administration 
have acknowledged, the U.S. does not have vital strategic interests in 
Somalia.  It has humanitarian interests and it has broad political 
interests, but it has no vital strategic interests.  Is that not a 

          MR. McCURRY:  When I've heard senior officials of this 
Administration describe "vital strategic interests of the United States" 
in the past, it has generally involved the safety of U.S. citizens, our 
domestic borders, the threat of nuclear war, the kinds of things that we 
think of when we think of vital strategic interests.  That's why I'm not 
casually going to answer a question like that without thinking about it 
a great deal.  I think you can understand that.  I hope you understand 

          Q    In connection with your announcement on the APEC 
credentials, do you have information about who are invited and who are 
coming for the leadership conference?

          MR. McCURRY:  I was going to try to duck that.  It's a good 
question, I know.  To be very candid about it, we felt we needed to 
alert you to the arrangements that are being made to credential press 
there in advance of us really being able to describe to you with the 
precision we would like exactly who will be coming, who has been 
invited, and who we expect to attend.  We expect to have that 
information very shortly.  It involves some questions that need to be 
worked out diplomatically, and they haven't all been worked out yet.

          Q    Michael, to go back to Somalia.  You just said that the 
American people understand perfectly what the U.S. is  doing in Somalia, 
but it seems that the Somali people are not understanding very clearly 
what the U.N. is doing there.  How do you explain that the U.N. can be 
confronted by a huge mob of children and women apparently and then it 
results in incidents which are extremely bloody?

          MR. McCURRY:  Because I think it is clear that Aideed has 
influence over -- Aideed and his faction have some influence over parts 
of the population in southern Mogadishu.  That is not necessarily 
reflective of the opinion that exists broadly throughout Somalia.  
That's why we have encouraged people to look at that very carefully to 
ensure that they understand the improvements that have taken place in 
the countryside and to get out in the countryside and talk to citizens, 
to those who are working with citizens -- the NGOs and others -- who 
really are keen on having people understand in the world that there has 
been significant improvement in their conditions.

          We're dealing with, as you know, a faction that has the 
ability to disrupt civil authority in a part of Mogadishu.  You are all 
very aware of the concern that we have, that the international community 
has, and you now see dramatic evidence of their ability to disrupt and 
thwart a peacekeeping mission.

          It is regrettable that women and children are amongst those 
who are included in demonstrations who then become part of these 
actions.  It is regrettable, if not abhorrent, that there would be 
people who would take advantage of the presence of women and children to 
conduct attacks against U.N. peacekeepers.

          Q    A couple of weeks ago you said that Aideed put himself 
out of any type of political settlement and he was not someone that you 
can engage a dialogue with.  In view of what you just said, that he's 
still carrying a lot influence, especially in Mogadishu, do you think it 
is about time to try a new approach to Aideed instead of searching for 

          MR. McCURRY:  There's been nothing about his behavior to date 
in Mogadishu that indicates he is someone who wants reasonably to enter 
into a dialogue about bringing peace and relief to people who 
desperately need it.

          Q    Do you feel progress is being made in dealing with Aideed 
in a military fashion, and how long is the U.S. prepared indefinitely to 
continue on this urban guerrilla warfare?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'll leave it to the Pentagon to describe how 
they're dealing with him militarily.  They're in a much better position 
to assess what their own view is of his movements and activities within 
Mogadishu.  It is clear he continues to pose a great threat to the 
UNOSOM mission and  that, for very good reasons, the world community is 
determined they need to deal with him very directly.

          Q    Mike, how would you respond to people who say that 
willful killing of women and children and other non-combatants by 
soldiers is a violation of the -- is a war crimes violation of the 
Geneva Convention?

          MR. McCURRY:  In the absence of very specific information 
about what happened in the incident yesterday in Mogadishu, that's a 
hypothetical question that you can't really answer satisfactorily.  We 
have sketchy information.  We have some reports from UNOSOM, and we are 
seeking ourselves because of our own very real concern to make sure that 
we understand exactly what the facts are in that incident; but there 
have been confirmed instances in the past of elements of Aideed's clan 
using women and children to shield their own military activity against 
U.N. peacekeepers.

          Q    Why don't you command the UNOSOM forces to use tear gas 
or water guns to disburse the crowd?  The UNOSOM spokesman yesterday 
said the reason why they shot with the helicopter was to prevent the 
approaching huge crowd -- huge angry crowd.  So for the purpose of 
preventing the approach of the huge angry crowd, you can use tear gas or 
water gun to save the children and innocent life.

          MR. McCURRY:  As I've told you, we are gathering more facts on 
this incident itself.  It would not be my place here, absent our own 
full report on this situation, to second guess those who were on the 
ground during this action, so I don't think I should address that 

          Q    Mike, does the U.S. Government completely foreclose 
speaking with Aideed -- coming together in some way?

          MR. McCURRY:  We don't foreclose speaking to him once he's 
behind bars.  (Laughter)  As I said before, we don't have any reason at 
this point to suspect that a dialogue with him would prove to be 
fruitful.  He has not demonstrated any willingness to cooperate in a 
humanitarian effort in his own country designed to save the lives of his 
citizens in his own country.

          Q    Michael, but it's clear that Aideed is a political 
reality that must be taken into account and that not talking to him is 
apparently as much dangerous than talking to him.

          MR. McCURRY:  I would reiterate what I said before.  There are 
several things that he himself could do to demonstrate that it would be 
useful to have some type of dialogue with him, none of which he has 
done.  The most important of those is to tell elements of his clan to 
cease and desist the violence that is killing those who have been sent 
in the name of peace by the United Nations to help restore peace and 
civil authority to his land.

          Q    Could we move --  I'm sorry, but maybe we could go to 
briefing two.

          MR. McCURRY:  I'd be more than happy to.

          Q    Just one real quickie.  Would it be possible to get the 
exact time that the invitation was delivered to PLO headquarters and the 
name of the person who delivered it?

          MR. McCURRY:  We will.  I've seen some of that information 
moving out of Tunis on the wires already, but I'll be glad to check 

          Q    Another subject?

          MR. McCURRY:  One last one.

          Q    Has the Secretary received a letter from Senator Bob Dole 
about the State Department files issue, and has he responded to the 

          MR. McCURRY:  He has received the letter.  I believe it was 
received sometime yesterday.  The Secretary has not responded to the 
letter because the letter poses four questions and asks for the 
Secretary to answer those questions.  The Secretary, frankly, cannot 
answer those questions because he does not know the answer to all those 
questions.  It's for that reason, precisely, that the Department has 
referred the matter to the Inspector General; and the Inspection General 
will assist the Secretary in understanding the situation so that answers 
can be provided to Senator Dole and to Senator McConnell.  Senator Dole, 
by the way, signed the letter as the Republican Leader of the Senate, 
and we will respond accordingly.

          Q    The Secretary has not responded even to tell Senator Dole 
that he doesn't know the answers to those questions but is trying to 
find them out?

          MR. McCURRY:  That, I don't know.  Normally, a letter that 
comes from high-ranking members of Congress -- any member of Congress 
gets very prompt treatment by our Legislative Affairs staff.  I'll check 
and see.  They frequently, when a letter like this comes, will telephone 
in advance the fact that a response is forthcoming and if they're 
working on a response.  That's normal procedure.  So we may have very 
well been in contact with the offices of the two Senators; but, again, I 
would stress to you that they're posing questions to the Secretary that 
the Secretary just simply cannot answer.

          Q    Do you have something to say about Bob Gallucci's visit 
to South Korea?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't other than what we said last night, that 
he will meet with South Korean officials in Seoul September 10 and 11.  
They will discuss a variety of matters of mutual concern, including 
bilateral and multilateral efforts to resolve the North Korea nuclear 

          (Press briefing concluded at 1:35 p.m.) 

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