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Monday, October 4, 1993

                               BRIEFER:  Michael McCurry

Subject                                        Page

Briefing by Ambassador Strobe Talbott re: 
 Parliamentary Crisis in Russia ................1-9
Request for Medical Supplies/Assistance ........21

Search and Seizure Operation Yesterday .........10,12
--  US Casualties/Possible Missing Servicemen ..10,13
US Policy re:  Humanitarian Relief .............10-11,12,20-21
US Policy re:  Arrest of Aideed Aide ...........10,20 
US Diplomatic Efforts ..........................11,13

IAEA Resolution of Concern re:  Safeguards
  Agreements ...................................14
US Diplomatic Contacts .........................14,15,16 
Meeting at University of California/Possible US
 Representation ................................14  

Foreign Minister's Meeting with Secretary
  Tomorrow .....................................16

Secretary's Meeting with First Deputy Prime
  Minister Phan Van Khai re: POWs/MIAs .........16-17,21-22
--  Request for Press Coverage .................18-19
US Investigations of POWs/MIAs/Progress ........17,18

US Aid to Earthquake Victims ...................19-20

                         DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                         DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #134

                 MONDAY, OCTOBER 4, 1993, 12:33 P. M.

         MR. McCURRY:  Good afternoon everybody.  I know your
primary area of interest today is Russia.  Because of that, I've got
with me Ambassador-at-Large and Special Advisor to the Secretary for
the New Independent States, Strobe Talbott.  Ambassador Talbott has
been very much at the center of things over the last 24 hours, and I
thought it would be useful to all of you if he could start the
briefing today and take the questions that you might have on Russia.

         At the conclusion of his time -- he's on a little bit of a
short leash this afternoon, but as soon as he's done we can go back
to any other areas that you might want to cover.  So I'll turn it
over to Strobe to begin.

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  Good afternoon.  I thought probably
the best place to begin was just to say that Secretary Christopher
has within the past hour talked on the telephone with Ambassador
Pickering in Moscow.  Secretary Christopher wanted, among other
things, to thank Ambassador Pickering and his staff for the
extraordinary job they've done under very arduous circumstances in
the last couple of days and also, of course, to get the latest
update on the situation there.

         We have, of course, stayed very closely in touch with our
embassy and with the Russian Government throughout this period of
crisis.  We can confirm -- that is, our Embassy in Moscow has been
able to confirm, on the basis of its own contacts with the Russian
Government, that the Government forces are now back in control of
the Russian White House, the Parliament Building.  We've also been
told independently that Messrs. Rutskoi and Khasbulatov are in

         The United States is obviously very relieved that this
situation has come to an end.  At the same time, while the immediate
crisis appears to have been resolved in favor of the government
forces, there is still a lot of raggedness around the edges of this
situation.  There is still sporadic gunfire around the city,
particularly in the area immediately around the Parliament Building
which, of course, is also the neighborhood where the United States
Embassy is located.  That will continue to be a source of some
concern as long as it continues; but we have confidence that the
Russian Government 
authorities will continue to consolidate their restoration of
civil order while at the same time recognizing that a certain
amount of mopping up is probably going to have to go on for some

         As President Clinton indicated in his own public
statement yesterday, throughout this episode, tragic as it was,
the United States firmly supported President Yeltsin, his reform
government and reformers throughout Russia.  There has never
been any question that the opposition forces provoked and led
yesterday's riots and violence.

         We also were struck throughout the day yesterday, into
the night and into this morning, by the attempt on the part of
the Russian Government authorities to contain this situation as
quickly and as efficiently as possible and to use only that
degree of force that was absolutely necessary in order to end
the outburst of violence that had occurred.  It was clear to us,
both from what we saw and also from what we heard from Russian
Government officials throughout the night, that this operation
was strategically planned and tactically executed in order to
contain the situation.

         We obviously deeply regret the loss of life that has
occurred and the bloodshed during the past 24 hours.  This is a
tragic moment in Russian history.  We hope and trust that it's a
tragic moment that has now come to an end.  We hope very much
that the violence will end entirely and order will be restored.

         It is also our understanding that five Americans have
been wounded in the course of the trouble.  Our Embassy is doing
everything possible to ensure the safety of the entire American
community in Moscow.

         It's the strong feeling of President Clinton and
Secretary Christopher and the rest of the Administration that
the thing now is to focus on what we hope, and we're sure that
President Yeltsin also hopes, will next occur, and that is not
only a restoration of order but a reaffirmation of the Russian's
Government commitment to get on with the process of
democratization and to resolve the political differences that
clearly exist in that country and in that society in democratic
and free elections which, as you know, are scheduled for the
11th of December.

         We also very much hope that this election process will
be a period that will contribute to healing our international
reconciliation.  It's been our feeling from the very outset of
this most recent episode, going back to the 21st of September,
that the Russian people must decide their future.  That's
precisely what President Yeltsin has proposed, and that's why we
continue to support him.

         I'll be glad to try to take you questions.

         Q    Strobe.

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  Yes, Barry.

         Q    As you look ahead, is there something or some
things the U.S. would suggest that Yeltsin do now to avoid
further opposition or, more to the point, to enhance the success
of his campaign?  Should he play things differently in some way
as you look back that might be helpful to him and, of course,
obviously, you support him, and so helpful to this
Administration as well?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  Barry, we have not at any point
been in the position of offering advice to President Yeltsin on
how to manage the extraordinarily complex political life of his
country.  First of all, we don't feel that that would be
appropriate; and, second, we don't feel that he needs our
advice.  I think he has demonstrated leadership and skill
throughout.  I think in my opening comments I expressed a
general hope which, as I also indicated, we believe he shares
that this episode, tragic as it was, will pass as quickly as
possible into history and that what happens next will be in a
spirit not only of democratization but also of national

         Q    Strobe, what is the status as far as the U.S. is
concerned of Rutskoi and Khasbulatov?  You said they were in
custody.  In whose custody?  Will they be treated -- as far as
U.S. information is concerned, how should they be treated as far
as the U.S. concerned?  And, also, can you fill us in more on
the details of the Americans and perhaps others who have been
non-involved but in some way injured in this incident?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  We do not know -- I do not know --
exactly where Rutskoi and Khasbulatov are.  We got confirmation
from our Embassy that they were in custody only moments before I
came down here.  We would both hope and expect that they will be
treated in a way that conforms with international legal norms.

         As for -- you were asking about the Americans who have
been wounded; is that right?

         Q    The Americans, and if you have information about
other nationalities who were wounded in this thing?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  It's been apparent to all of us
who have been watching this on television that the Russian
medical establishment has been working, as it were, overtime in
order to deal with this crisis.  The Russian Foreign Ministry,
in briefing a number of foreign ambassadors -- I think it was in
the early hours of this morning -- indicated that Russia would
be very grateful for additional medical equipment and assistance
to cope with this.  Our government is already looking at that
request, as I am sure other governments are as well.

         As I think all of you know, an American Marine guard at
the Embassy did take a bullet; but we're very relieved to hear
that thanks to prompt and expert care, he is out of danger and
is in a stable condition, I believe still in a Moscow hospital. 
Is that right?  (TO STAFF)  I don't have anything on the others
who were wounded.

         As for the American community more generally,
Ambassador Pickering and his colleagues did suggest that
Americans in Moscow stay in their homes or, if they had to go
out, stay away from large crowds yesterday; and we did ask that
Americans reconsider travel to Russia during this, we hope,
quite limited period of some turmoil.

         Q    Strobe, if it's not advice that we should be
giving Yeltsin, what is it that we should be doing in Russia now
to help alleviate the situation?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  What the United States Government
believes it should be doing and is doing is proceeding apace
with the multi-faceted program of partnership and cooperation
with Russian reform that has been building up steam over the
past several months.

         For example, one of the results of the
Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission on Economic and Technological
Cooperation that was held here in Washington several weeks ago
was the creation of several sub-commissions on very specific
issues.  Two of those sub-commissions have been in Moscow during
this period of trouble; but they went about their work and met
with their Russian counterparts, accomplished a lot.  I'm
referring to Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary's delegation.  She,
I believe, left last evening; and Dan Goldin, the Director of
NASA, with whom I have spoken myself a couple of times on the
phone today, is in Moscow conducting very good negotiations with
Dr. Koptev, the head of the Russian Space Program.

         Our overall guiding principle continues to be, as it
was on September 21, business as usual, plus.

         Q    If I may follow up.  These things do not get to
some of the suffering of the people, like the lack of medical
supplies even if this didn't happen.  I'm wondering, where are
the people-to-people programs that were announced by the
President in --

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  The program that President Clinton
and President Yeltsin announced at the beginning April of
support for Russian reform contained a very significant
component of humanitarian assistance, and that included
emergency food and medical supplies.  We are now at the point of
having obligated about 95 percent of the $1.6 billion program
that was announced in Vancouver.  We will obviously be very
receptive to suggestions from the Russian side on ways we might
either accelerate or target in some way that emergency medical
assistance to help them deal with this situation.

         Q    At what point -- 90 percent of that $1.9 billion

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  One point six.

         Q    One point six billion is --

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  Ninety-five percent has been

         Q    Not sent?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  Some of it has been sent; but the
way this works, first, you have to decide exactly how you're
going to spend it which means, among other things, making sure
that you have partners on the Russian side that you are
confident will spend the money in the right way.

         We are going to proceed also this Fall with a very
ambitious diplomatic calendar that's going to involve a good
deal of high-level travel between the two countries.  That will
almost certainly include a visit to Russia and perhaps a couple
of the other New Independent States of the former Soviet Union
on the part of Secretary Christopher later this month.

         Q    Strobe, can you give us your view of things
happening outside of Moscow during the 48 hours that this has
been unravelling?  You have seen, I gather, very little of the
kinds of things that the forces in the White House had been
looking for, hoping for, that there would be work stoppages,
large measures of support.  What have you seen throughout the
rest of Russia?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  Well, John, I think you've
accurately characterized it.  We have seen very little, and we
have obviously been using our own eyes to look as well as
relying on reports from there that would confirm some of the
extravagant claims that were made by the Rutskoi-Khasbulatov
forces about widespread support around the country.

         I think that the events today confirm what has been an
underlying premise based, we think, on good information and good
analysis from the outset of this crisis, and that is that Boris
Yeltsin had the key institutions of Russian political life on
his side and we also believe that he has a significant majority
of the Russian people on his side.  But, of course, he is going
to be putting that last proposition to the test next year when
he stands for election.

         Q    As you look down the road, are you considering at
all modifying your pressure and the West pressure, in general,
on Yeltsin for quick economic reform?  Do you think that Western
pressure for accelerated economic reform has in any way helped
to undermine him and create this problem?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  I really can't accept the premise,
or at least one word in the premise, of your question, which is
"pressure."  We have never seen ourselves as applying pressure
to the Russian Government in the economic area or in any other.

         We have tried, and I think have succeeded, in giving
some meaning to the words "cooperation and partnership" in our
dialogue with the Russian Government on the issue of economic
reform.  We have stressed what we feel is a self-evident fact,
-- and that is, for international financial support, whether it
comes from the private sector or whether it comes in the form of
bilateral assistance or whether it comes from the international
financial institutions, that money will not be well spent and it
will not serve the cause of improving the lot of the Russian
people unless there are fundamental economic reforms in place
and underway.  Under Secretary of Treasury Sommers and other
experts who have visited Moscow in the recent period have come
back heartened that the Yeltsin-Chernomyrdin government
understands that.

         Q    Can you tell us whether you know any of the
details of the terms of surrender, how it was negotiated, who
negotiated it?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  I'm sorry, Mike, I just don't.

         Q    Was there anything to the Rutskoi statement to
some Western reporters that he had sought the protection of
Western diplomats?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  We were as puzzled by that as I'm
sure many of you were, and we have absolutely no idea what he
was talking about.

         Q    Do you think that the well-publicized but rather
leisurely pace of the Western aid programs may have contributed
to the underlying state of mind and unfulfilled expectations
that contributed to this crisis in the first place?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  I don't think the pace has been in
the least leisurely.  I mentioned earlier that the Vancouver
package that Presidents Yeltsin and Clinton announced in April
is already 95 percent obligated.  Tom Simons, our Assistance
Coordinator, or Brian Atwood or one of his colleagues at AID can
give you the exact figures here; but my understanding is that
that is many times faster than traditional foreign assistance
programs have been obligated in the past.

         With regard to the multilateral effort -- that is, the
macro-economic stabilization support being given to the Russian
economy by the international financial institutions at the
instigation of the G-7 earlier this year, once again there was
an unprecedented emphasis on making sure that the conditions --
and there are conditions -- are realistic, that they fit the
real world of Russian politics and that money moves fairly 
quickly.  For example, the G-7 established something called the
systemic transformation facility, which has already put $1.5
billion into the Russian economy to help them in that cause.  So
I think we're moving as fast as possible.

         Tom Simons likes to say that we always have to make
sure we have the right balance between quick and smart. 
Obviously, you don't want to be so quick that you're wasting the
money, and I think we've gotten that balance about right and so
do our principal partners in the Russian Government.

         Q    Do you anticipate giving the Russians a bigger
portion of the foreign assistance pie next year, in FY-95?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  Bigger than what?

         Q    Than this year?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  We're only a few days away from
our reform assistance program for this year being passed and
made the law of the land.  I would not want to say anything that
prejudged what requests we will have for Fiscal '95; but I would
say this, that it has been a premise, which we have emphasized
in our constant consultations with the Congress, that 1993 was
an extraordinary year.  It was an extraordinary year for Russia
and it was an extraordinary year for U.S.-Russian relations. 
One of the things that made it extraordinary, of course, is that
Boris Yeltsin -- the leader,  the personification of Russian
reform -- was in a very serious struggle with anti-reformist
forces.  That's one reason that we presumed on the generosity
and tolerance and understanding and strategic vision of the
American people in Congress to come up with a great deal of
money for Russia.

         Next year we will certainly want to sustain this
overall policy and program because, as many of us have said all
along, we're in this thing for the very long haul.  We know this
is a matter of years and, indeed, decades; but I would not by
any means predict that we would come back with the same level of

         Also, we want to do as much as we possibly can for the
other 11 New Independent States of the former Soviet Union
because we consider support for reform in those countries to be
very important as well.  Thank you for your patience.  I'm

         Q    Strobe, could you tell us something about the
level and nature of U.S. contacts with the Yeltsin Government
yesterday and the period leading up to it?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  The last few days, basically?

         Q    Yes.

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  Yes.  I'm sure you'll understand
that I'm not going to name a great many names, but I'd be happy
to name a few.  Our two principal points of contact and
communication with the Yeltsin Government have been through the
two Ambassadors; that is, Tom Pickering in Moscow and Vladimir
Lukin here.

         At Secretary Christopher's request, I stayed in close
touch with Ambassador Lukin, passed several message back and
forth through him and his colleagues.  Also, at Secretary
Christopher's request, I did have a long and very substantive
conversation with Foreign Minister Kozyrev before he got on a
plane last night to fly back to Moscow.

         As for Tom Pickering, he and his colleagues in Moscow
have remained in extremely close contact with senior officials
of the Yeltsin Government, and so we feel that we had everything
that we needed as regards both reassurance and also

         Q    Strobe, could you give us an idea as to what the
embassy's estimate of the casualties are in the last 24 hours? 
And if it's as high as the 500, which I understand Volkogonov
has suggested, does that create any political problems for this

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  Barrie, I've asked to join me here
today John Purnell from the Office of Independent States and
Commonwealth Affairs who is the captain of our task force for
the Russian crisis, and I'll check with him, and Jim Collins,
our DCM from Moscow, is also here; but I don't think we have any
numbers of our own.

         STAFF:  (Inaudible)  They aren't going to make
estimates.  They just don't have the basis to do it.

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  As far as we're concerned -- and I
think as far as Boris Yeltsin is concerned -- one human being
killed is too much.  In several respects, we felt that it was
quite clear and consoling in an otherwise extremely disturbing
situation that the Yeltsin Government was doing as much as it
could to avoid the shedding of blood.

         For example, this whole thing got out of control
yesterday in large measure because the Ministry of Interior
troops and the militiamen, who were responsible for preserving
order around the White House, simply were undermanned,
underarmed, and had no instructions to shoot.  So as it were,
the Russian people paid a price, primarily for the recklessness
and willingness to shed blood on the part of the people in the
Parliament Building.

         Then, yesterday afternoon -- those of you who watched
the television will recall -- when CNN was carrying broadcast
from Russian television, as it became apparent what the decision
was, namely, to move in and retake the two sites -- 
the Parliament Building and the television station -- the
announcer on Russian television repeated over and over again
what was going to happen.  We felt that was clearly a warning to
get innocents out of the way and also to persuade anybody who
was sitting on the fence, as it were, to fall onto the right
side of the fence so that it would be only the hard core who
would be left when they actually had to move in.

         Then, today, as it were, the denouement of this whole
drama.  I was in contact with a fairly high-up official of the
Russian Government, in the wee hours of this morning, who told
me that basically the Yeltsin Government had two options.  They
had a quick-and-dirty option, which would have meant basically
going in like gangbusters and a great deal more people would
have ended up dead, or they could try to do it piecemeal and do
it one floor at a time, one room at a time, and try to see how
many people they could get to come out peacefully and alive.  So
that, as far as we are concerned, while we await obviously a
final count on the casualties, is exceedingly important.

         I think I'm about to get yanked.

         Q    What was your reaction to that when he described
his two options?  What did you then say to him?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  I said "thank you for explaining
your two options."  Yes, sir.

         Q    Does this Administration share Mr. Yeltsin's
opinion that negotiations with his opponents is foregone and no
time for them now?

         AMBASSADOR TALBOTT:  I'm not going to try to parse
everything that President Yeltsin has said.  I think it has been
quite clear, if you put alongside what he said publicly
yesterday and what he has said to President Clinton, going back
to their conversation on the 21st of September, that he is
committed to having an open political process and free and fair

         As he also made clear yesterday, certain individuals
have put themselves in a rather different category from being
merely political opponents, and they will no doubt be dealt with
by the Russian authorities in that new category that they put
themselves in yesterday.

         Thanks very much.

         MR. McCURRY:  Thanks to Ambassador Talbott for that
briefing, and now if you've got anything on the rest world, I'm

         Q    Can we talk for a moment about Somalia and the
deteriorating situation there?  First of all, what is your
latest on the casualties, and what do you know about sending
more troops?

         MR. McCURRY:  I have heard scattered and mixed reports
on casualties.  I have seen some news accounts about additional
troops because of that.  I understand that the Pentagon is
putting together a much better accounting of the facts, and I'd
like to refer to them questions that deal with the incident
yesterday, the search-and-seizure operation that went on
yesterday.  I think they are accumulating more information and
better information over there.

         Q    Do you still feel that this is a worthwhile
objective on the part of the United States, even though American
hostages have now apparently been taken, even though ten more
Americans were killed overnight?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't want to confirm any of your
information.  I think the Pentagon will be in the best position
to provide that.  I will say that we remain firmly committed to
the fulfillment of UNOSOM II's humanitarian mission.  That is a
mission that has saved lives.  Upon the death of nearly 300,000
people and the prospects of many more being killed, the United
States entered the picture in Somalia to help save innocent
lives.  That is the purpose of that mission, and it's the
disruption of security in the area of South Mogadishu that has
interfered with that mission.  It remains the United States'
objective to prevent Somalia from reverting to the chaos and the
starvation that prompted our involvement in the very first

         Q    But, Mike, the U. N. requirement -- a direct
follow-up there -- the U. N. requirement for the arrest and
detention of Mohamed Farah Aideed is not -- it's hard, I think,
for anybody to characterize that as a humanitarian mission.

         You are limiting -- you say you are supporting yourself
-- the U. S. is supporting the humanitarian mission.  Does the
U. S. continue to support wholeheartedly the U. N. directive to
get Aideed, the kind of mission that leads to the sort of
activity that took place last night?

         MR. McCURRY:  Well, I think the United Nations in the
Security Council resolution authorized the apprehension of
Aideed, but that was not the focus of the work outlined in the
resolution.  The focus of the work in the resolution was to
maintain the type of security in the area of South Mogadishu
that would allow the humanitarian effort to proceed.  

         I think that a by-product of that was the authorization
the United Nations gave those participating in UNOSOM to
apprehend Aideed.

         Now it has been a source of very great concern to us
that this one individual clan leader does remain in a position
to disrupt the security of the UNOSOM mission itself and of the
humanitarian relief efforts in that part of South Mogadishu in
which he is predominant; but again the focus of that mission has
to be on maintaining the type of civil order that will 
allow the restoration of the humanitarian work and the ability
of the Somali people to take responsibility for their own
affairs by establishing the right types of civil institutions
that can carry on the work of self-government.

         Q    Yes, but from what I heard from American officials
last week that they were sort of going to down-play, as it were,
not forget about but down-play the idea of going after Aideed
and concentrate instead on the political solution, even if it
meant ignoring or circumventing or isolating Aideed.

         MR. McCURRY:  Well, those are not contradictory pieces
of information.  I think the continuing focus on a political
track -- which is to help the Somali people have those
institutions necessary for restoring law and order and to carry
out their own functions of self-government -- remains a very
critical part of the overall effort of UNOSOM.  Why is it
critical?  Because it relates directly to the ability of the
world community to turn back over to the Somali people the
responsibility they have for governing their own affairs.

         Now that track has been a focus of a substantial degree
of work on the part of the United States.  I think, as you all
know, the Secretary of State was actively engaged in working on
that issue during his meetings in New York last week at the time
of the United Nations General Assembly and in meetings with high
officials at the United Nations itself.  The focus of the work
has to be both simultaneously to secure the situation in South
Mogadishu and then also to ensure that the types of institutions
are available that will help the Somali people govern

         Q    Mike, are you not concerned that the United States
is going to get bogged down in an affair that goes well beyond
the mission outlines that were originally announced?

         MR. McCURRY:  Well, bogging down -- that's a phrase
that we tend to use in connection with military operations.  I
will leave that to the Pentagon.  They are in the best position
to describe how they are handling their current efforts there.

         I can tell you that we are not bogged down when it
comes to the diplomatic effort to help address the security
concerns of those who would like to see a return to normal life
in South Mogadishu and in working with the United Nations to
pursue that political track.

         That's a very active area of diplomacy that we hope
will be a fruitful area of diplomacy, because it will allow
ultimately the Somali people to take over responsibility for
their own affairs.

         Q    Two related questions.  The first is, was this
military mission that was taken in the last 24 hours, was that
taken by the U.S. at the U.S.'s behest or at the U.N.'s behest?

         MR. McCURRY:  The U.S. troops participating in that
mission were operating in conjunction with UNOSOM, as they have
been during their deployment.

         Q    So it was a UNOSOM command structure that directed

         MR. McCURRY:  Well, command structure is something I
would rather leave to the Pentagon to address.  It was under the
authority of UNOSOM, which is, of course, under the authority of
the United Nations itself.

         Q    Since our QRF is not under -- do not have blue
helmets, are not under the command formally but cooperates with
them, does the U. S. have to decide before major missions like
this whether it will participate?  And in this case, do you
know, did the U. S. make a decision that it would take part in

         MR. McCURRY:  Well, again, that's a question, I think,
where you are referring to a specific incident that I would like
the Pentagon to address in greater detail.  As a general
practice, we have very closely coordinated with the military
planners involved in the UNOSOM mission itself.

         Q    As you know, some in Congress suggest that we are
sub-contracting our foreign policy decisions out, something that
the President, I guess, in his U. N. speech said we weren't
doing; but it is a question of whether the U. N. commanders are
making these decisions and the U. S. is being dragged along, or
whether we are going along very eagerly and willingly.

         MR. McCURRY:  Well, I think the Secretary, the
President and others have been very clear about our
unwillingness to sub-contract out important decisions of foreign
policy, and that includes important decisions involving the
lives of U. S. service men and service women abroad.

         You are asking about a specific incident, and again I
would say that the Pentagon is in the best position to address
the decision-making as it related to the search-and-seizure
operation that ran yesterday.

         Q    Mike, just coming back to your -- you remain
committed to the -- firmly committed -- to the UNOSOM
humanitarian mission.  You chose not to use those words when
referring to the military operation.  Does the U. S. -- I want
to give you a clear opportunity not to use them -- does the U.S.
remain firmly committed to the kind of military operation that
was conducted last night?

         MR. McCURRY:  Well, we continue to believe that a
military presence in Somalia is necessary to maintain the type
of security that will prevent Somalia from slipping back into
the anarchy and chaos which prompted our involvement in the very
first place.

         Q    A U. S. military presence?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think, as you have heard senior
administration officials yesterday and in recent days say, it's
a commitment that we have to be there, to be a part of this
effort as the transition occurs back to Somalia and under the
auspices of the United Nations as it operates under UNOSOM. 
That presence is certainly something that will not change in the
immediate future.

         Q    I don't think any of us followed up on the
question of hostages, Mike.  Are there U.S. hostages currently
in Somalia?  If so, what diplomatic steps is the United States
taking to end that hostage situation?

         MR. McCURRY:  We are in very close contact with the
Pentagon, which is assembling the best available information.  I
understand that they do have more to say about service personnel
that may at the moment be missing and unaccounted for, whose
status is listed as whereabouts unknown; but I would really
prefer, since they have got the best available information,
prefer to leave it to them to describe to you the numbers that I
am sure you are interested in.

         Q    Is the U.S. asking the U.N. to do anything to
recover those hostages?

         MR. McCURRY:  Well, we will be in -- as you can very
well imagine given that situation, if that is indeed the
situation that we face, we will be in very close coordination
with the United Nations at a very high level on the status of
any personnel that are missing.

         Q    Mike, you indicated that the United States is not
bogged down when it comes to diplomatic efforts.  It seems
difficult to separate what has transpired in the last 24 to 48
hours from the diplomatic effort, if in fact there are hostages,
if in fact there are many more casualties and the fighting is
much more intense, with reports of American bodies being dragged
around the streets.  How does that not qualify as getting bogged
down in this mess in South Mogadishu?

         MR. McCURRY:  Again, you are asking questions that have
got information imbedded in the questions that I am not
necessarily confirming.  What I am telling you is that there is
a very active effort underway to address the political
conditions that are necessary for the Somali people to take
responsibility for their own affairs; and we think that on that
score we are making progress.

         Now a lot of the rest of your question is interpretive.

         Q    Mike, how will these events impact on any future
U. S. commitments for peace-keeping roles, using U.S. forces?

         MR. McCURRY:  It's hard for me to answer that.  I'm not
aware of any immediate impact.

         Q    Mike?

         MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

         Q    What about the status of U. S. policy on possible
sanctions against North Korea?  There was an IAEA declaration
that North Korea was in violation of its treaty obligations over
inspections of its nuclear sites.

         MR. McCURRY:  That's right.  The IAEA's general
conference passed a resolution expressing its concern that North
Korea has failed to accept the ad hoc and routine inspections
that are required by its safeguards agreement as it relates to
nuclear installations.  That resolution was cosponsored by the
United States and by 42 other countries and passed by a vote of
72 in favor, 2 opposed.

         The United States remains quite concerned about North
Korea's failure to agree to these IAEA inspections.  Along with
other concerned governments, we remain committed to working with
North Korea toward a solution which promotes peace and security
on the Korean Peninsula and which strengthens the international
non-proliferation regime.

         Q    Are there any plans for talks then -- further
talks with representatives of Pyongyang?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't have anything for you on that.

         Q    There's a dialogue going on -- just to follow up
on this very subject -- there's some kind of a security meeting
being sponsored by the University of California at San Diego
this week at which North Korean representatives are expected to
attend.  Do you know who's going to be representing the State

         MR. McCURRY:  No, I don't.  I saw some things on that
and saw a proposal that the United States be represented, but I
don't know the outcome of that.  I'm not sure whether or not we
are participating, but I can check further and see if we are
sending a delegation to that meeting.  We were certainly aware
of it, and we're considering a request to participate.

         Q    Is there another meeting between the United States
and North Korea taking place in Beijing either today or

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of any meeting taking place
in Beijing today or tomorrow.

         Q    How about New York?

         MR. McCURRY:  How about other places?

         Q    How about other places like New York or Geneva?  I
don't want to be boxed in by specifying a location.

         MR. McCURRY:  Right.  I'm walking a very careful line
in not describing any diplomatic contacts that may or may not
have been held in recent days involving North Korea.  I'm just
not in a position to provide any detail on any contacts.

         Q    In view of the fact that you have previously
announced meetings, both before and after they've occurred, is
there a change in the policy toward North Korea now about --

         MR. McCURRY:  No.  I believe in the case, for example,
at the political coordinator's level, which is the meetings that
occur in Beijing, I believe we've had 34 meetings now, and to my
knowledge not each and every such meeting has been announced,
nor am I suggesting that there has been recently a meeting of
that nature.  But I just can't describe for you the nature of
the diplomatic contact going on.  It remains to be a problem of
very urgent concern to the United States clearly.

         Q    But there is some contact?  Are you confirming
some contact somewhere in the world on this issue?

         MR. McCURRY:  Some may have read into what I just said
in a very tortured way that interpretation.  So be it.

         Q    And it would be okay to do that, right?  It would
be accurate to do that.

         MR. McCURRY:  It wouldn't be inaccurate to say we have
not been pursuing this problem.


         Q    Could I approach it from another way?  About
mid-September --

         MR. McCURRY:  Not clear?

         Q    Triple negative.  Try to figure that one out.

         MR. McCURRY:  Okay.

         Q    Mid-September --

         MR. McCURRY:  I've said enough on the subject.

         Q    Gallucci said to the North Koreans back in
mid-September that they had not fulfilled certain requirements
for the dialogue to continue.  What has changed since then?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not certain that anything has
changed.  He referred to the progress that we wanted to see in
certain areas in order for a third round of talks to be held.  
To my knowledge, we have not seen the progress that we would
like to see at this point, and therefore there has been no third
round of talks scheduled.

         The question earlier went to the issue of whether or
not there has been diplomatic contact.

         Q    There may not have been a round, but there may
have been some contact.

         MR. McCURRY:  There may have been some discussion of
this issue, I guess some might interpret.

         Q    Another subject.  Can you tell me whether the
visit of Shara, Foreign Minister Shara is still on for tomorrow,
and what his schedule is or what the schedule is?

         MR. McCURRY:  I am not certain of what time they are
meeting tomorrow.  He does plan to visit with the Syrian Foreign
Minister tomorrow.  I believe it's in the morning, but we'll
certainly be getting you more schedule information as it's
available.  Again, the purpose of the meeting, as you heard the
Secretary describe it, is to assess progress toward the
comprehensive Middle East peace, specifically progress in the
Syrian-Israeli track.

         Q    One other meeting now.  Can you tell us why the
Secretary is seeing the senior Vietnamese official this
afternoon?  Did I miss something?  What's the purpose?

         MR. McCURRY:  Secretary Christopher is going to be
meeting with Vietnam's First Deputy Prime Minister, Phan Van
Khai, this afternoon.  The purpose of the meeting is for the
Secretary to emphasize President Clinton's strong commitment to
the POW/MIA issue; to urge Vietnam to take further steps to help
us achieve our goals with the fullest possible accounting for
POW/MIAs from the Vietnam war era.

         Those of you who have followed this, know that there
have been some specific things that we have been looking for
that are related to further steps that we see important in
developing as our contact with Vietnam occurs on this issue, and
they were set out by the President in July.

         They included obtaining additional remains; the
resolution of several cases that are in discrepancy; a
trilateral investigation with the Lao about certain cases that
remain unsolved; and then access to POW/MIA related documents
that we have some interest in.  To my knowledge, that will be
the focus of their meeting today.

         Q    There will be no discussion of the issue of
business -- economic relations with Vietnam or diplomatic
relations with Vietnam?

         MR. McCURRY:  It's my understanding that what is
foremost on the agenda -- I don't want to rule out the
possibility they may talk about others issues -- but foremost on
the agenda is certainly the most urgent question we face in
dealing with Vietnam, which is the POW/MIA issue.

         Q    Do you have an evaluation of the Vietnamese
cooperation since the President laid out those conditions in

         MR. McCURRY:  I guess the way to describe what we feel
has been some concrete progress on the issue is to say, as you
know, that the President has taken two steps fairly recently to
recognize that progress.

         First, in July we lifted our objection to Vietnam's
access to lending from international financial institutions. 
And then in September, a month ago, at the time the President
renewed the embargo, assessed the embargo generally, he looked
toward adjusting the terms of the embargo so that U.S. firms
could participate in development projects in Vietnam that are
funded by the IFFIs themselves.

         Now, those two steps, I think, reflected what we
considered to be progress that we're making as we continue this
dialogue with Vietnam on the POW/MIA issue.

         Q    But you can't itemize the progress.  I just
wanted, if you can, to itemize --

         MR. McCURRY:  Itemize the progress.  In the case on
remains, which is an important issue, since the beginning of the
year we have repatriated 44 sets of remains from Vietnam in an
effort to account for missing servicemen.  There will be an
additional discussion this week of some cases of repatriation
that we are asking for.

         Second, on discrepancy cases, a special team of U.S.
experts is investigating a high priority, last-known-alive
cases.  The investigations that have been conducted so far have
enabled the Defense Department to determine the fate of 116
individuals.  There are 80 cases that remain to be investigated
and are being investigated.

         On the issue of cooperation with Vietnam and Laos, we
have agreed to conduct field investigations of POW/MIA cases
along the border, and the first such investigation is to be
conducted jointly with U.S. experts, and that will begin in

         I'll say parenthetically here -- it's not here in the
prepared answer -- but we also received indications when the
Secretary met with the Cambodian First Prime Minister and Second
Prime Minister last week, that Cambodia would continue its close
cooperation with us on those same types of issues.

         On the question of archives, on August 30, Vietnam
provided us access to wartime aircraft shoot-down records which
may be related to 14 individuals that are heretofore unaccounted
for.  Then on September 1, we gained access to what may prove to
be the largest compilation of documents that have ever been
received from the Vietnamese.  It was a 46-page document on
shoot-downs of approximately 2,500 aircraft, and that again
could help us resolve a lot of the cases that are currently

         That, I think, pretty much covers where we are
currently in working through a lot of these issues with Vietnam.
 Obviously, I don't expect the Secretary to go at that great a
detail into his discussions today, but I do think that he will
certainly press the importance of all of these issues and the
importance of moving ahead as they resolve some of these cases
that are still outstanding.

         Q    Mike, in those talks, do you expect the Secretary
to take up the allegations involving Commerce Secretary Ron
Brown and the alleged bribe by Vietnam to enlist his help in
ending the U.S. trade embargo?

         MR. McCURRY:  No.

         Q    He won't take it up?

         MR. McCURRY:  No.

         Q    What's his view of those allegations?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm sorry?

         Q    Of those allegations.

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't know that we have been in a
position to follow those allegations closely enough to raise
them.  I think that's something that should be checked at the
Justice Department,* I understand.

         Q    Well, but wait a minute, the contacts with Vietnam
are -- as far as I know -- are being conducted through the State
Department.  Perhaps there are other contacts you could tell us
about.  Through the contacts with Vietnam, is the United States
Government making any effort to either prove the validity or
disprove the allegations about that case?

         MR. McCURRY:  This is not a State Department matter. 
This is a Justice Department* matter.

         Q    Why are reporters being kept out of that photo op
this afternoon?

         MR. McCURRY:  We're having a cameras-only photo
opportunity, as we frequently do.
Correction:  Commerce Department.
         Q    On that same subject, the Secretary had spoken as
being at the head of the America Desk --

         Q    Why?

         MR. McCURRY:  What?  Well, we frequently have, as is
the case with a country that we don't have -- we're not having a
full bilateral meeting with, we frequently just have a photo
session informally in the Secretary's office.

         Q    Arafat was up there on September 13.

         Q    Yes.  There also are cases --

         MR. McCURRY:  We had a cameras -- it was supposed to be
a cameras-only photo opportunity, but we were benevolent in
allowing certain questions to be asked.

         Q    For whatever it's worth, I think a number of us
would like to request that since the Secretary has made a big
public deal about being on the America Desk and advocating U.S.
business interests around the world, including he specifically
indicated Vietnam, that the State Department ought to allow full
press coverage of his meeting with the Vietnamese official.

         MR. McCURRY:  I've covered for you in some considerable
detail what we anticipate to be the focus of that meeting.  I'll
take your request --

         Q    With all due respect, you're not the Secretary of

         MR. McCURRY:  I'll take your request under

         Q    One last question on this subject.  You made, a
couple minutes ago, a reference to 44 sets of remains having
been returned this year.  Would you take the question as to
whether these remains have been confirmed as American

         MR. McCURRY:  I'll take that question.

         Q    Mike, any update on the U.S. assistance to the
earthquake victims in India beyond what USAID has done over the

         MR. McCURRY:  No.  I understand that USAID did have
some good detail out.

         Q    Nothing beyond that?

         MR. McCURRY:  Nothing beyond that.  We have heard from
the Indian Government that it is grateful for the assistance
that we are providing.  We continue to encourage private 
individuals in the United States to make cash contributions
through the private voluntary organizations that you can see
listed in your local newspaper.  

         I will cover, just in case you have not already gotten
it from AID, for those who may be interested, we have committed
$3 million to relief efforts. Two U.S. C-5 aircraft arrived at
Bombay Sunday evening loaded with tents, plastic sheeting, for
approximately 20,000 victims, plastic water jugs and medical
supplies.  A convoy was quickly loaded and is on its way now to
the disaster site and should arrive by midnight local time.

         We are continuing our assessments of what other
assistance may be required, and I think, as you know, from a
statement that the White House put out over the weekend, the
President has appointed Ambassador Ray Flynn as his personal
representative in charge of the relief effort.  Ambassador Flynn
has been briefed by senior Indian officials and will travel to
the disaster site some time tomorrow, I understand.


         Q    Two questions on Somalia.  One, following up on
Saul's question, I guess rather simply, given the sentiments
last week expressed by senior U.S. officials, is the search for
Aideed on or off, or is it still a good idea to go hunting for
him in South Mogadishu?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think we covered that at length

         Q    Well, I didn't really hear an answer that was
"yes" or "no," or --

         MR. McCURRY:  I talked a lot about U.S. participation
in the effort to apprehend Aideed as it relates to the U.N.
Security Council resolution.

         Q    The second question was, there's still been a lot
of congressional criticism and there's obviously going to be
even more after today.  Is there some sense of what went wrong
-- maybe the hand-off to the U.N.?  Is there a reassessment?  Is
there a question of what went wrong in this operation in its
original goal?

         MR. McCURRY:  I have often heard -- from Ambassador
Albright and others -- describe the lessons that they are
learning from this mission.  But I really don't know of any
specific thing that they would point to.  I think that, as they
have indicated in the past, they are learning from this mission,
and they're clearly seeking ways to improve the effectiveness of
the mission which, as you know, may involve further efforts by
U.N. people to travel directly to Mogadishu to assess the
effectiveness of the UNOSOM mission itself.

         Q    In your view, did anything go wrong in Somalia?

         MR. McCURRY:  Did anything go --

         Q    Has anything gone wrong as far as the mission is

         MR. McCURRY:  What's gone wrong is a warlord continues
to thwart the ability of the world community to deliver
humanitarian relief and to help the Somali people build the
institutions necessary for self-government.  That's gone very
wrong, and that is the responsibility of a clan leader that has
been -- whose arrest an apprehension has been ordered by the
United Nations.

         Q    One more on Russia.  I realize it may be too late
for this, but perhaps you know the answer.  Something you said
on India made me think of it again.  Talbott mentioned that the
U.S. was taking under consideration a request for medical
equipment or medical supplies or assistance of some sort to the
government, and then he talked later about the aid program that
had been underway since Vancouver.

         Is the U.S. considering some other kind of assistance
request, or is it basically a case of directing the assistance
that has already been put in the pipeline?

         MR. McCURRY:  He was referring to a request for medical
assistance that had been made, I think just related to the
events surrounding the White House itself.  That was not a
question of the overall flow of assistance that's going in.

         I think, as you will recall -- and we've said often --
of the bulk of the aid that the United States is offering
through many of the different facilities within the Russian aid
package are aimed for outside of Moscow.  First of all, to areas
that really are trying to accelerate the pace of economic
liberalization and political modernization.  So a lot of this
goes outside of Moscow itself.

         And, secondly, it's focused on non-government entities,
so this would be something that we'd be actually working with
local grass roots efforts at.

         Q    Do you have any indication or any idea you can
give us now as to what kind of assistance Yeltsin's people are
asking for in this matter, and what kind of assistance the
United States is considering in connection with this episode?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'll check further.  I think that the
initial request that I overheard was related to blood plasma. 
They were concerned about just the availability of blood
supplies within Moscow.  But I'll check and see if there's
anything in addition to that that has been requested.

         Q    Mike, one last question on the Secretary's meeting
with Phan Van Khai.  Does this mark the first time that a
Secretary of State has met a Vietnamese leader since the end of
the war?

         MR. McCURRY:  No, I don't think so.  I think it's the
first time -- he's probably the most senior Vietnamese official
who's visited the United States since the war.  I think, as you
all know, he's in New York to attend the UNGA.  But in October,
1992, Acting Secretary Eagleburger met here at the Department
with the Foreign Minister of Vietnam.  The Foreign Minister was
also in the United States at the same time for the U.N. General
Assembly meetings.

         Former Secretary Baker, I think, met with Vietnam's
Foreign Minister in 1991 on the margins of an international
conference on Cambodia in Paris.  And then in 1990, Secretary
Baker met again with the Foreign Minister.

         Q    I think we have pictures of Christopher meeting
with the Foreign Minister in Singapore, don't we?

         MR. McCURRY:  With the Foreign Minister?

         Q    With the Foreign Minister.

         MR. McCURRY:  I can't remember.  I think it was
scheduled, but because he cut that trip short, I'm not sure
whether he actually made that meeting or not.  But, in any
event, as Deputy Prime Minister he would be the most senior
Vietnamese official to visit the United States since the war.

         Q    Mike, another subject.

         MR. McCURRY:  I think we're almost done.  One last

         Q    Regarding last Friday's conference here, are there
any points of contention between the United States and any of
the other participants that remain outstanding?

         MR. McCURRY:  No.

         Q    Thank you.

         (The briefing concluded at 1:33 p.m.)


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