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Tuesday, October 5, 1993

                                BRIEFER:  Michael McCurry

Subject                                        Page

Foreign Minister's Meeting with Secretary ......1-5
Meeting of US and Syrian Delegations ...........1

Syrian FM's Meeting with Secretary .............1-5
Status of Bilateral Talks/Date of Next Round ...3-5
Rabin-Arafat Talks in Cairo ....................4,9

Reports of Attempted Coup ......................5

US Loan Guarantees/Off-Set ......................5-9

Secretary's Discussions on Hill Today ..........10
Conditions for US Military Withdrawal ..........10-16
American Captives/US Call for Release ..........11-12,16-17
Possible Meeting Between UN Secretary General
  and Ambassador Albright/Others ...............13
UN Request for Additional Troops ...............13-14
US National Interests ..........................15,17
Secretary's Meeting at White House Today .......17-18
US Diplomatic Activities .......................14-16

Secretary's Discussions on Hill Today ..........10
Civil Strife/Security of Nuclear Weapons .......20
Assurances of Free and Fair Election Process ...20-22
Yeltsin's Reform Efforts/Pace ..................20-22

Nuclear Test/Impact on Testing by Others .......18-20
--  US Contacts with Allies ....................18
US Diplomatic Relations ........................20


                           DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                           DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                  DPC #135

                   TUESDAY, OCTOBER 5, 1993, 12:40 P.M.

         MR. McCURRY:  Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  I don't 
have any prepared comments today or statements, so I'll go to your 

         Q    You want to give us a rundown on the meeting with the 
Syrian Foreign Minister?

         MR. McCURRY:  The meeting actually just concluded a short while 
ago.  The Secretary and Syrian Foreign Minister Shara met for about an 
hour and a half privately, one-on-one, so they spent a good deal of time 

         While they were meeting, both delegations -- our peace team and 
some of the Syrian representatives -- met separately, and I understand 
they will continue to discuss some bilateral issues later at a working 
lunch that they're having.  But, clearly, they discussed a wide range of 
issues.  The Secretary described it as focusing on all aspects of our 
bilateral relations.  They clearly talked about the peace process, the 
importance of a comprehensive peace, as you heard the Secretary suggest 
in the remarks he made prior to the meeting.

         We reaffirmed our commitment to a comprehensive settlement 
based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.  We stressed -- the 
Secretary stressed -- that we hoped that all the parties will make 
progress in the negotiations that lie ahead.

         The rest of the details of the meetings, of course, we will 
probably keep private.  But from the meetings and the seriousness with 
which the Foreign Minister and the Secretary met, it's quite clear that 
the United States continues to play the role of full partner and 
intermediary that we see as the way of helping to advance the prospects 
of a comprehensive peace in the region that build on the success of the 
PLO-Israeli discussions.

         Q    Mike, when the Syrian Foreign Minister left the building, 
he spoke to reporters in Arabic and he said quite categorically that 
Syria would not return to the next round of  peace talks, simply to buy 
time or kill time, unless Israel could be proved to be serious.

         Did he give the Secretary any indication that Syria was 
seriously considering not returning to the next round of peace talks?

         MR. McCURRY:  No.  I think the discussion, to the contrary, was 
much more focused on the importance of moving ahead in a serious, 
substantive way.  Obviously, we would also take the position that we 
don't want any of the discussion at this point to be just marking time.  
We do see the importance of pressing ahead to build on the momentum of 
the PLO-Israeli agreement; and, indeed, you're seeing many examples of 
this process of building momentum and continuing to make progress toward 
the goal of a lasting peace in the region.


         Q    Did he tell this to Christopher, as he suggested he did?

         MR. McCURRY:  Because the meeting just concluded, I haven't had 
a complete readout from the Secretary, but that portion that I did hear 
I didn't hear anything that would indicate there would be some problem 
in advancing the Israel-Syria track.

         Q    Did you hear anything from him that indicated that they 
were concerned that Israel may be only making progress on one track, 
i.e., the Palestinian track?  Shara also said to the Arab journalists, 
apparently, that when the peace conference was convened under the Madrid 
rules, the Israelis were to move forward on all four tracks or with four 
Arab partners, and couldn't just go ahead on one, and Syria was not 
prepared to sort of stand back while the Israeli-Palestinian track moved 
ahead and Syria was left behind.

         MR. McCURRY:  I think you've heard the Secretary say, and, 
indeed, I just said, that we do attach great importance to a 
comprehensive settlement in the region, and that that's, indeed, 
precisely what the Secretary has been working on in this session and 
what he will continue to work on as he fulfills his role in the process.

         Q    This is a shift, though, Mike, because before there was a 
position that said that whichever track moved forward, they could all 
move forward independent of each other.  Now, the Syrians are saying, 
hang on a second, they can't.

         MR. McCURRY:  I haven't seen the complete transcript of what 
the Minister said in Arabic, so I'm reluctant to comment on what he 
said.  I don't think anyone has ever refused to acknowledge that these 
tracks are interconnected and  related.  We've said that very often 
here, and I think perhaps that's the point he was driving at.  I just 
simply don't know.  I haven't seen the full text of his remarks.


         Q    Mike, you said that Christopher and Shara discussed all 
aspects of our bilateral relations.  I may well have missed something 
here, but I wasn't aware that the United States had very many aspects of 
a bilateral relationship with Syria.  Could you --

         MR. McCURRY:  We have a number --

         Q    I'm not being facetious.  Could you tell us what issues 
were discussed?  Was it the Jews in Syria, for example?  What else?

         MR. McCURRY:  From time to time, when we have met at a high 
level with the Syrians, you know many of the issues that we have raised 
-- we've discussed terrorism, we've discussed human rights, we've 
discussed the situation involving Syrian Jews.  There have been other 
aspects as well.

         Q    Was drugs an issue?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't have a complete list of what they 
discussed, but I think that given the duration of the meeting, I think 
the Secretary probed on a number of aspects of our relationship and, 
indeed, anything that was not specifically addressed in that meeting 
would be addressed by the two delegations that are having their working 

         So the idea was to try to address a comprehensive agenda.

         Q    Now, the Secretary left us, at least before the meeting, 
with a pretty clear one word answer on whether there was a change in 
Syria's position on the list of terrorism-sponsoring states.  Was 
anything said or done in the meeting that you would want to lead us to 
believe that, well, maybe the Secretary's answer doesn't represent the 
results of the meeting?

         MR. McCURRY:  No.  The Secretary, I think, gave you a very 
accurate characterization of that subject.

         Q    The Palestinians said last Friday, at the donors 
conference, that they expected negotiations with the Israelis to resume 
October 15.  Is that the next date for the round of peace talks as well 
and --

         MR. McCURRY:  Saul, I'm sorry.  Say that again?

         Q    The Palestinians said that they would be meeting  here 
with the Israelis on October 15 to begin -- as part of the next round of 
talks -- to begin to discuss the implementation of the Palestinian-
Israeli accord.  Is that the date for the next round of talks, do you 

         MR. McCURRY:  Oh.  I'm not certain that a date has been set.  I 
think you've all seen the statement by President Mubarak this morning in 
Cairo that he will host a meeting between Chairman Arafat and Prime 
Minister Rabin.  So there are many things that will occur in between now 
and then.

         There will be follow-up work to be done by the delegations, as 
both parties have indicated here in Washington.  I'm not aware that we 
have set a date for the resumption of those talks.

         Q    Which talks?

         MR. McCURRY:  Under the joint-sponsored -- the Palestinian-
Israeli discussions that have been convening here in Washington.  They 
will continue to convene and address issues related to implementation of 
the Declaration of Principles.

         Q    How about the next round of the 4-track peace talks?

         Q    That's what I was asking -- whether that is part of the 
next round, or whether you've got a next round yet?

         MR. McCURRY:  To my knowledge we have not set a date for 
resumption of the next round.

         Q    Mike, was there any decision made, in this meeting, about 
the future of U.S.-Syrian dialogue?  For example, was there any 
committees or anything set up to discuss specific issues on a regular 
basis, or anything of that sort?

         MR. McCURRY:  Not that I'm aware of, no, Ralph.

         Q    And was there any further discussion of the issue raised 
in the photo-op about a meeting between Asad and Clinton?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't think they had a follow-up on that point.  
They talked about how they could continue to advance the process, some 
of the next steps that will be necessary to move the process forward, 
but I don't believe that that involved a meeting between the two 

         Q    Michael, was Lebanon one of the topics addressed by the 
two Ministers?

         MR. McCURRY:  When I mentioned some of the topics they covered, 
Lebanon was, indeed, one of the topics; the current situation in and 
around the security zone was a subject of discussion, yes.

         Q    Just to nail it down, the Secretary did not extend a 
formal invitation to the Syrian Government for the next round this 

         MR. McCURRY:  No, no.  He did not.  They talked about what are 
the next steps that will be necessary to keep the process moving 
forward, but I'm not aware of any formal invitation extended for a 
round, no.

         Q    If I may follow on that.  Did they get anywhere in terms 
of deciding whether or not a trip by the Secretary out there is 
imminent, right, or desirable?

         MR. McCURRY:  Their discussion on that point in the meeting was 
almost identical to the discussion the Secretary had with all of you, 
that he's ready, willing, and prepared to play a role at the point at 
which the parties themselves think that would help move the process 
forward, but we ain't there yet.

         Q    Michael, to follow up on Lebanon, was the Taif Agreement 
and the implementation of the Taif Agreement by the Syrian army in 
Lebanon discussed?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't have detail on their discussion.  The 
subject was discussed, but I don't have a readout on what positions they 
took, nor, I doubt, would I be able to share with you that kind of 
detail.  But they did discuss the situation.

         Q    What about the weapons flow through Damascus to Lebanon -- 
was that part of the discussion on Lebanon?

         MR. McCURRY:  The general security issues in the region and how 
parties could be helpful was a subject of discussion.

         Q    Also on the Middle East:  There have been rumors and 
reports about an attempted coup, or at least an attempt on the life of 
Saddam Husayn.  Does the U.S. Government know about any such recent 

         MR. McCURRY:  Several weeks ago, I looked into an account that 
apparently appeared in an Arabic language news organization.  From time 
to time, there are reports like this that are later found out not to 
have much merit.  On this one, I couldn't find anyone in the United 
States Government who felt that it had a great deal of merit.

         Q    Michael, on another Middle East subject, the U.S. 
Government -- the President, I guess -- has decided that the Israelis 
will be offset $437 million for construction in the occupied territories 
from their $2 billion.  That's a huge leap over last year, which was $90 

         My question is:  What went into coming to that figure?  Did you 
include construction in East Jerusalem?  And are we to understand from 
it being $437 million that there's been some sort of explosion of 
building in the territories?

         MR. McCURRY:  What the President did was to look literally at 
the requirements under Section 226(d) of the Foreign Assistance Act, as 
amended, that relates to the loan guarantees.  It specifies the 
determination that the President must make as he examines the objectives 
being fulfilled as part of the loan guarantee agreement.

         I'd say that the President acted consistent with the 
requirements set forth in the law.

         Q    But, Michael, wait a minute.  That doesn't even come close 
to answering my question.  It's a 5-fold increase.  Does that mean that 
they're building all over the territories, or that you included East 
Jerusalem, or what?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not going to get into the details of how they 
made the calculation.  I think the number reflects the information 
provided to us by the Israeli Government and by our own independent 
analysis.  But I'm just not going to get into the calculation itself.

         Q    Michael, just to follow up on that one more time.  Why on 
earth should that information be secret from the American public?  Why 
would you not tell us how you came up with that figure?  Is there a 
national security interest here?  Why should people not know?

         MR. McCURRY:  Because I can't do the calculation for you here.  
I don't have the information.

         Q    Could you take the question and get -- somebody did the 
calculation.  They came up with the figure.

         MR. McCURRY:  I can see what I can find out further about how 
they made the calculation.

         Q    On the issue of who provided the information, you said 
that it was based on information provided by the Israelis and by U.S. 

         MR. McCURRY:  By our own independent analysis.

         Q    Right.  Did Israel agree with that figure?  Is that a 
mutually agreed figure?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think that they were well apprised of this 
determination in advance, but the best thing would be to ask them for 
their reaction.

         Q    So it was not mutually agreed?  You told them what the 
figure was going to be?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think we've discussed it with them.  I think 
they were well aware of what the offset, under the loan guarantee 
agreement, was going to be.  I just don't want to characterize their 
reaction to that.

         Q    Whose monitoring for the U.S. Government on the ground the 
status of the settlements and the new construction, the new building?  
Are there any American personnel on the ground to monitor there -- in 
the occupied territories?

         MR. McCURRY:  Do we have Americans on the ground who monitor 
settlement activity in the occupied territories?  I know we do do that 
type of work through our Embassy and through our consul, but I don't 
know if we've got people who are specifically tasked to that function.

         Q    How does the U.S. Government square this huge investment 
in expansion or building new settlements with the Rabin government's 
statement that they are cutting back or stopping settlement building?

         MR. McCURRY:  The period covered under this agreement dates 
back to the prior government.

         Q    So you think most of it was done during the Shamir 

         MR. McCURRY:  I will double-check that.  That is my 
understanding, but I'll double-check that.

         Q    There was an agreement.  That was covered.  There was a 
specific agreement -- that is, a certain amount of building up to a 
certain time was to be exempted.  This was done by Jim Baker.  
Basically, you're coming from January 1 -- 

         MR. McCURRY:  This does not constitute a new policy by this 
Administration.  It reflects the implementation of an existing statute 
with the requirements that have been laid out in advance.

         Q    What I'm getting at is, as I believe the understanding 
was, that construction begun -- I forget, before a certain date -- was 
either docked last year or was exempted.  But this is supposed to be new 
construction as of -- I'm not sure what your cut-off date is.

         MR. McCURRY:  It includes Israeli Government non-security 
related expenditures in areas not under Israeli control prior to June 5, 

         Q    Does that mean East Jerusalem?

         Q    Do you know whether that includes Jerusalem?

         MR. McCURRY:  I can attempt to get an answer to that question.

         Q    Well, it shouldn't have, because this is a legal 
requirement --

         MR. McCURRY:  As I indicated at the outset, the President is 
acting consistent with the requirements of the law.

         Q    Mary's point is a well-taken one.  What is the secrecy 
about this?

         MR. McCURRY:  I can only provide you the information I have.


         Q    What's the period covered, though, by the $400-odd 

         MR. McCURRY:  Fiscal Year 1994.

         Q    No.

         MR. McCURRY:  No, no, I'm sorry.

         Q    No.  What period is the construction that took place that 
they are being offset for?

         MR. McCURRY:  From when to when?

         Q    Yes.

         MR. McCURRY:  That, I will have to check.

         Q    Can you take the question?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'll take the question -- the period itself.  
I'll do my best to get a detailed explanation.

         Q    Have members of Congress been given what you've described 
as the calculation or the breakdown of this?

         MR. McCURRY:  There's been a great deal of very close 
consultations with Congress on the subject.

         Q    But have they been given the breakdown as to what it is 
that prompted this?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't know how that calculation was determined.  
I don't know whether that's been discussed with Congress or not.  I know 
the issue itself has been the subject of a great deal of consultation.

         Warren, did you have another one?


         Q    Have we exhausted this subject?  New subject?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm exhausted on this.

         Q    Could we just stay on the region just for a minute?  On 
the Rabin-Arafat meeting, reportedly, they're meeting because, among 
other things, the Palestinians have not set up the committees that they 
have to set up to help implement this accord.  Is the U.S. growing 
concerned that the Israelis and the Palestinians aren't moving quickly 
enough to get this accord implemented?  And are you doing anything to 
help them?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't know that I would express concern.  I 
think all along we have indicated that it is very important to set up 
these structures that will be capable of implementing the declaration 
itself and moving ahead in the process.  We've stressed that, in fact, 
from the very day the agreement was signed here in Washington on 
September 13.  So that has been a source of ongoing concern to us.  We 
have raised it.  We have offered to be available to assist the parties 
as they structure the institutions and the arrangements necessary to 
carry out the declaration.

         In fact, there has been a lot of work on that by the U.S. peace 
team itself.  So the answer is, yes, we have been trying to help on 

         Q    Mike, is Dennis getting ready to head out to the region?

         MR. McCURRY:  That would be Ambassador Ross?

         Q    Yes.

         MR. McCURRY:  I am not aware of Ambassador Ross announcing any 

         Q    I didn't ask you if he had announced it, there, Mike.

         MR. McCURRY:  Was that an artful dodge?

         Q    Are you announcing the trip?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not announcing any trip by Ambassador Ross.

         Q    Are you denying a trip?

         MR. McCURRY:  Am I denying a trip?

         Q    You can't do that?

         MR. McCURRY:  I can't deny a trip that's not scheduled.

         Q    New subject -- Somalia?

         MR. McCURRY:  Somalia.  Any more on the Middle East?

         Q    Is the Secretary going to the Hill this afternoon to 
listen or to brief?

         Q    A listening mode?

         Q    Wrong Administration.

         MR. McCURRY:  I think the Secretary will be, as we have been on 
Somalia and many issues, both listening and discussing the U.S. 
participation in the UNOSOM mission in Somalia.  My understanding is 
that they will also be spending a fair amount of time on Russia as well.

         Q    Yesterday, in one of his interviews -- perhaps in both of 
them -- he said that United States troops should not leave until 
Mogadishu was secure.  Can you shed any light today on how that might be 

         MR. McCURRY:  I think many of you saw some of the television 
interviews he gave last night.  He suggested that at the moment, given 
the attack of October 3-4, during the search and seizure operation, it 
was not a prudent moment to be talking about withdrawal.  He's very much 
of the mind that at the moment our servicemen stationed in Somalia need 
the support of the United States and its senior officials.

         Q    What would constitute a prudent moment to withdraw?  What 
now has to be accomplished for that to happen?

         MR. McCURRY:  As it has been defined in the U.N. resolution 
from the beginning, the safety and security of those providing 
humanitarian relief and the ability of Somalis to get on with 
establishing those institutions that will help them take responsibility 
for their own affairs has been something that's been a goal and an 
objective of the U.N. mission from the outset.

         I think at the moment the clearest concern is about safety and 
security in south Mogadishu; particularly, safety and security for the 
U.S. personnel that are stationed there as part of the U.N. mission.

         Q    So the U.S. won't withdraw until there is safety and 
security for U.N. forces in Mogadishu?

         MR. McCURRY:  Look, you all have seen the wire accounts.  There 
will be discussions about this subject today at a very high level in the 
United States Government.  I'm just not prepared to advance the 
discussion beyond where we are at the moment, beyond the things that the 
Secretary told you last  night, that you've heard him say just earlier 
today and last night during some of the interviews that he had.

         Q    So it's in flux?

         MR. McCURRY:  It's my understanding from the White House that 
there is interest in reviewing that policy, yes.

         Q    There's been a request for a filing break.

         MR. McCURRY:  There's been a request for a filing break.  
Filing break is granted.

         Q    Would it be fair to say that at the very least U.S. troops 
are going to stay in Somalia until the one helicopter pilot -- that 
situation is resolved?  And, secondarily, what does this Administration 
have to say to Aideed and his forces who hold that poor man?

         MR. McCURRY:  Let me do the second first.  As the Secretary 
did, as the President did, we call for the immediate release of any U.S. 
personnel held captive.  We fully expect those who are holding any U.S. 
individuals to treat them in a humane manner and to afford them proper 
medical attention and visits by the International Red Cross Committee.

         The President and the Secretary yesterday I think also stressed 
that the United States will respond forcefully to any mistreatment of 
these individuals.  I think the President made that clear.

         Q    Has the U.S. been in touch with the ICRC, Michael?  Have 
you made any progress on these demands?  Has anybody seen these men?

         Q    Could you answer the first part of the question, please?

         MR. McCURRY:  First question.  The first part was?

         Q    Is it safe to assume that at the very least U.S. troops 
will stay in Mogadishu until this situation is --

         MR. McCURRY:  As the Secretary said, in response to questions 
on that subject, our immediate concern is the safety and security of the 
U.S. personnel now in Somalia and in Mogadishu, in particular.  The 
additional reinforcements related to that -- they were definitely 
related to our effort to secure the situation for the U.S. troops that 
are stationed there.

         Q    When this one man -- the situation with this one man, this 
one pilot, is resolved, will U.S. troops stay in Somalia?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not going to set some type of deadline, but 
the United States clearly is not going to leave a situation in which a 
United States' individual is being held captive.  We'll do everything 
possible to pursue that individual's case.

         Q    Michael, but to answer my question -- and also you just 
keep talking about an individual, is it now -- I mean, there were 
earlier reports of six, even as many as eight, possibly being held.  Are 
you now confirming there's only one being held?

         MR. McCURRY:  No, I'm not discussing numbers.  Just for reasons 
related to the safety and security of those who may be missing, I'm not 
going to get into a discussion on that.

         Q    But could you answer my question about, have you been in 
touch with the ICRC?

         MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

         Q    Have they made any progress?  Are you getting any --

         MR. McCURRY:  Through the United Nations, through the U.N. 
Mission itself, we have been pursuing our concerns.  I think you've seen 
some statements from the U.N. officials in Somalia that they are also 
attempting to pursue the case of those who are missing.

         Q    And any luck in ICRC personnel seeing those held captive?

         MR. McCURRY:  We feel that's obviously very important.  I'm not 
aware that they have been granted any visits by those who are holding 
captive -- I mean, we're not in a position to confirm that General 
Aideed's clan or elements of the clan are, indeed, holding our missing 
captive.  But, if they are, I think the very clear message from the 
United States is we expect them to be treated humanely, and we expect 
international observers to be able to inquire as to their condition.

         Q    (Inaudible) -- that the United States forces have to stay 
there to protect U.S. personnel.  Are you talking about just U.S. 
military personnel, or are you talking about U.S. civilian personnel who 
are involved in nation-building?

         MR. McCURRY:  I mean, we're concerned about the presence of 
U.S. personnel, broadly defined.  The largest contingent of U.S. 
personnel in Somalia, of course, is the  military units associated with 
the UNOSOM mission.  There's a small civilian presence now, but we 
remain equally concerned about their safety and security.

         Q    But do you intend to remain in force there to protect that 
civilian personnel?

         MR. McCURRY:  For the moment, absolutely.

         Q    Just for the moment, but not --

         MR. McCURRY:  You heard me earlier on a question.  I can't 
advance a discussion of policy at the moment.

         Q    What is it that you said was being reviewed?  What is 
"that" that is being reviewed -- the question of timing of U.S. 
withdrawal from Somalia, which many officials have said publicly the 
U.S. is drawing down.  Even the Secretary has said that.

         MR. McCURRY:  The White House has confirmed a meeting is taking 
place at some point this afternoon.  I don't have the agenda for the 

         Q    Is this also the subject of the meeting this evening with 
the Secretary General, Ambassador Albright and Peter Tarnoff?

         MR. McCURRY:  I know that there had been some discussion of a 
meeting between the Ambassador and the Secretary General and perhaps 
Under Secretary Tarnoff, but I'm not certain that that meeting is taking 
place.  I'd suggest that you inquire up at the U.N. about that.

         Q    Michael, on this question of meetings, I just want to ask 
you about a couple of news reports and see what your reaction is to 
that, looking backward instead of forward, since you don't want to move 
policy forward.

         There have been press reports that no one person in the 
Administration has been in charge of Somalia policy -- policy in 
Somalia, and I wanted to ask you if that is true, or if you could name 
any one person who is clearly in charge of the policy.

         And, second --

         MR. McCURRY:  That's called a "no-brainer" question.  The 
President of the United States.  Next.

         Q    Okay.  So the second question is:  You talk about 
protecting troops, but there have also been press reports that, in fact, 
additional troops and equipment were requested several  weeks ago, and 
that for political reasons it was decided not to grant those troops and 
equipment because no one wanted to outrage Congress any more than it was 
already outraged.  So weren't those troops put at risk?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not familiar with that account.  I am aware 
that there have been news reports that the Secretary General had 
requested additional units.  I think that's something that had been 
under discussion at the United Nations. But this specific story you're 
referring to, I'm not aware of the details of it.


         Q    For the past couple of weeks, the Administration has gone 
from the military to the political, back to the military, back to the 
political, and generally shown the world --

         MR. McCURRY:  That's not an accurate assessment.  We've got --

         Q    Well, maybe it's not an accurate assessment, but --

         MR. McCURRY:  There is a military presence as part of UNOSOM 
that is there, and simultaneously, we believe very importantly 
associated with that, has been an effort to build political institutions 
in Somalia that will allow the Somali people to take responsibility for 
their own affairs.  Those things have been proceeding simultaneously and 
with a great deal of work on the part of senior policy-makers in the 

         Q    The question I was trying to get to is that we've had a 
lot of people in Congress -- the President himself -- have sort of 
demonstrated questions about the continued U.S. presence.

         Hasn't that, in itself, encouraged people to kill a few more 
Americans to thus drive us out?  Hasn't that sort of policy or at least 
the question of constantly reviewing whether we shall stay there or not 
in a Chapter 7 operation we voted for -- doesn't that make the U.S. 
targets as a matter of fact?

         MR. McCURRY:  You're asking me to speculate on the motives of 
those who are attempting to thwart a U.N. peacekeeping mission.  Their 
motives are in some respects impossible to fathom, because it is their 
own people whose lives and whose safety have been enhanced by the 
presence of that U.N. mission.  I frankly wish I was in a position to 
ask some of those responsible for this violence what on earth they're 
thinking, but I can't answer the question.

         Q    Perhaps they're trying to drive the United States out, 
because, as the United Nations has said, if the United Nations gets out, 
the whole thing unravels.

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not in a position to evaluate their motives.

         Q    Mike, what are the -- we've been through this before, but 
I'll ask it again --

         MR. McCURRY:  Is this your trick question?

         Q    No, not a trick question.  It's a question asking for 
facts.  What are the vital strategic interests of the United States in 

         MR. McCURRY:  The Secretary addressed that question, or very 
similar to it, a short while ago.  We have, and we have discussed here 
many times, many interests at stake in Somalia.  We have humanitarian 
interests that reflect our values as the United States of America.  We 
have the importance of being associated with and working with a mission 
sponsored by the United Nations.  

         You are asking a very specific question about vital strategic 
interests, and those are customarily defined as being related directly 
to the safety and security of the American people.  At the moment, those 
interests are associated with the lives of the brave U.S. servicemen who 
are serving as part of the U.N. mission in Somalia.


         Q    Michael, I was wondering, can you continue to pursue this 
political track that you've been talking about, as long as U.S. soldiers 
are being held, presumably by Aideed's forces?  How do you intend to 
pursue that political trend?

         MR. McCURRY:  Within Somalia, there are several things that 
have been going on.  First of all, the district councils that we have 
been working to help establish through the United Nations -- progress 
continues on that.  There are about three dozen local councils that have 
been established.  Those are the building blocks for future progress in 
this mission.  In fact, those are the entities to which you can transfer 
authority as the United States and the United Nations prepares to exit 

         Ambassador Albright and others at the United Nations have been 
having a series of meetings.  The Secretary, as you know, met with 
Boutros-Ghali directly to talk about steps that the United Nations 
itself should take to rebuild institutions.  I think the United Nations 
is sponsoring a donors conference on Somalia in Paris, October 22, and 
the United Nations is also  attempting to organize a humanitarian aid 
conference in Ethiopia some time in early November.

         All of these steps, I think, are related to the same question:  
How do you begin to establish those types of institutions that will 
guarantee the security and safety of the Somali people, and also improve 
the humanitarian situation and ultimately prevent that country from 
slipping right back into the chaos, the anarchy and the deprivation that 
led to our involvement in the first place and led to the continued 
United Nations involvement?

         Q    Just the flip side of Mary's question, can the United 
States pursue the military track so long as those Americans are held 
hostage in Somalia?

         MR. McCURRY:  The military track is related to the security 
situation in south Mogadishu, and in some sense -- you know, in that 
confined part of Mogadishu, it becomes improbable, if not impossible, to 
build those types of institutions when one clan is determined to disrupt 
exactly that type of work.

         Q    But the question is that there is concern that in trying 
to capture Aideed now you are jeopardizing the lives of this flyer and 
others who may be held captive.

         MR. McCURRY:  I think there has always been concern about how 
your military efforts impact the humanitarian effort.  We see that 
everywhere around the world in which there is similar type of activity.  
We see it in Bosnia and, of course, we see it in Somalia, too.

         Q    The French say they are not needed any more in Somalia.  
They intend to pull out in December.  Are you trying to -- are you 
asking them to change their mind in view of what's happened in 

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of what the French have said.

         Q    They're pulling out in December.  

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't know what kinds of units they're pulling 
out.  I mean, we've indicated that we intend to draw down the QRF as 
soon as we can, too, so I'm not certain what their statement refers to.

         Q    To go back to Jack's question, are you saying that other 
than humanitarian concerns of the Administration, the strategic interest 
in Somalia is now protecting its own people?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm saying we have a very clear, direct interest 
in the safety and security of our people in Mogadishu.

         Q    So he didn't list any other -- that was the only other 
thing --

         Q    But if we didn't have people there, then we wouldn't have 
any vital strategic interests there, right?

         MR. McCURRY:  We would have interests there.

         Q    You would have humanitarian interests.

         MR. McCURRY:  We would have interests.

         Q    But the reason that the United States deploys troops 
overseas in combat situations is because of vital strategic interests, 
and right now the only vital strategic interest the U.S. has is the 
troops which we have deployed there.  That's sort of a Catch 22, isn't 

         MR. McCURRY:  There's a question?

         Q    What are our vital strategic interests beyond our troops 

         MR. McCURRY:  I answered that question.


         Q    You say we're not going to leave a situation in which a 
U.S. individual is being held captive.  That's an open-ended --

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm indicating that we're not -- clearly, I'm not 
describing the long-term duration of a mission in Somalia with that 
answer.  I'm just saying that we're not going to leave someone in the 
hands of captors and do nothing about it.

         Q    To follow that up, Mike, of all the people in the U.S. 
Government expert in dealing with hostage situations, I guess the 
Secretary is number one.  Can you tell us how he has been preparing for 
this meeting this afternoon at the White House?

         MR. McCURRY:  In the same way he prepares for most meetings of 
that nature:  meticulously.

         Q    Can you tell us specifically who he's met with and --

         MR. McCURRY:  He's spent a considerable amount of time with the 
materials, with the facts, with the intelligence and with the people who 
are working on the Somalia policy.

         Q    I was just trying to find out whether we also in addition 
to national interests, don't we have treaty obligations?  I mean, one of 
the obligations we have is the 1945 treaty, which established the United 
Nations and Chapter 7.  We have certain obligations if we happen to vote 
in the Security Council for such an operation.  Don't we -- isn't that 
part of the --

         MR. McCURRY:  One of the things I cited in answer to Jack's 
question is, of course, our commitments and our obligations under the 
U.N. Charter as part of a U.N. mission.


         Q    This China nuclear test -- now that China's actually gone 
off and detonated the blast, have you been under any pressure from the 
British to -- I know the President announced today that he was putting 
in motion the possibility of testing -- but have the British been 
pushing you to do it, and what's your latest sort of assessment of the 
French and where they stand?

         MR. McCURRY:  Our assessment of the French?  Was that the last 
part of that?

         Q    Yes, last part.

         MR. McCURRY:  With both the British and French, we have been 
consulting closely with them on this question.  I don't think "pressure" 
is the word I would use to characterize it.  I think we've had good, 
close relations with them on this issue.  They understand our policy as 
it was articulated by the President, and we'll remain in very close 
contact with them.

         We hope France, which is a somewhat different case -- we hope 
France will, as will the other nuclear states -- we hope that they will 
decide to continue to observe the moratorium, despite the Chinese tests.  
I think you heard the Secretary earlier say that we would hope that 
China would refrain from additional testing, too.  All of this, with the 
hope of creating an environment in which the Comprehensive Test Ban 
itself could be negotiated by 1996.

         Q    But how can the United States ask these other nuclear 
powers to resist testing when the United States is putting in motion the 
possibility that it may test again?

         MR. McCURRY:  We have put in place the planning that would be 
necessary if there is not an adherence to a moratorium or if a 
widespread pattern of testing resumes.  The President made it quite 
clear that among the criteria we would look at in making any decision on 
future U.S. tests would be the overall environment for negotiating a 
test ban -- how many countries  were observing the moratorium, and 
whether nations, nuclear states, were refraining from testing.  

         So I don't think there is a -- I don't see an inconsistency 
there.  It's just that his policy is clearly plan and be ready if it 
becomes necessary, but encourage simultaneously other countries to 
refrain from testing.

         Q    But can I just follow up?  But at least at the moment this 
one Chinese test is not enough to force the United States to test.

         MR. McCURRY:  That's very clearly stated in the White House 
statement today.

         Q    Was there something in your intelligence, watching this 
test, to convince you that this was a one-time test and not a part of a 

         MR. McCURRY:  I can't answer that.


         Q    Mike, there's considerable sentiment on the Hill that says 
that the proper U.S. response should not be to resume testing, but 
instead to take some sort of economic sanctions against China.  What's 
the Administration's view on that?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think that you heard the Secretary earlier.  He 
said that he did not see that this test by the Chinese would interfere 
with the ability to negotiate a Comprehensive Test Ban itself.  I'm not 
aware of any discussions involving economic sanctions in connection with 
this test, but --

         Q    I mean internal.

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of any internal discussions 
regarding economic sanctions related to this single test.

         Q    Michael, how does it affect the plans to restore high-
level meetings between the U.S. and China?  Does it give you even more 
reason to have high-level contacts with the Chinese or does it make you 
re-think the plans for those contacts?

         MR. McCURRY:  We had already agreed, following the meeting 
between the Secretary and the Foreign Minister in New York last week, 
that there would be a discussion on human rights issues when Assistant 
Secretary Shattuck visits China.  There will be some additional meetings 
and exchanges as well.

         I don't know that this test makes us any more or less inclined 
to pursue that dialogue.  Those meetings relate to a  broad range of 
factors in our bilateral relations with China, and I think they go well 
beyond the question of addressing the proliferation concerns we have as 
they relate to testing.

         Q    Also on nuclear issues, during the recent crisis in 
Russia, does the United States have any information that any nuclear 
weapons were potentially threatened or that the CIS command and control 
structure was under any threat?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think to the contrary.  I don't know whether 
Strobe Talbott mentioned this in his briefing --

         Q    No.

         MR. McCURRY:  -- but I know it has been discussed.  That was a 
very real source of concern to us, and assurances were sought and given 
about the command and control structure and the status of Russian 
nuclear forces.

         Q    And you say there was no threat?

         MR. McCURRY:  We were not aware of any change in the status of 
their nuclear weaponry.

         Q    Since we're on Russia, if I may --

         Q    Can we stay with China for just a second?

         MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

         Q    You know, you've had problems with the Chinese over 
immigration, over M-11 missiles, but still continuing over trade, human 
rights abuses, family policy, and now this.  How would you assess the 
state of U.S.-China relations at the moment?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't have any characterization different than 
the one the Secretary gave at the time of his meeting with the Foreign 
Minister last week, that we have been in some rough waters.  I think 
both nations understand the consequences and the risks associated with 
having a deteriorating relationship, and I think for that reason, among 
others, they are attempting now to address some of these issues and put 
together a process that will allow some of the impediments in our 
relationship to be addressed candidly and openly.

         Q    In Russia, Yeltsin has, as you know, closed certain 
newspapers, banned certain parties, and yet he is now embarking on 
trying to hold democratic free and fair elections.

         Is there any concern in the United States that the elections 
might not be free and fair if some of these bans and censorship 
continue, or is it the American understanding that  these things would 
be lifted once the state of emergency is lifted?

         MR. McCURRY:  President Yeltsin has both publicly and privately 
assured us that the December elections will be free and fair.  We fully 
expect all segments of the Russian population to have access to the 
electoral process.  The situation in Moscow has resulted in President 
Yeltsin imposing curfews restricting some media from publishing 
inflammatory appeals to violence, but we would expect and do expect that 
during and after the election campaign itself, full freedom of the press 
and freedom of the assembly would be granted to political parties and to 

         At the moment, we have every indication from the Yeltsin 
Government that that will be the case, but we will continue to monitor 
the situation.

         Q    Mike, also on Russia, there has been a lot of criticism 
after this latest explosion, most lately, I think, from Senator Dole, 
regarding the support for the shock therapy policy which Dole himself 
and others also have said caused or laid the basis for the explosion.

         Is there any consideration on the part of the United States to 
shift gears in this respect in order to give Yeltsin a possibility for 
implementing a policy which will gain popular support and perhaps avoid 
similar explosions in the future?

         MR. McCURRY:  We don't concur in the analysis, to begin with, 
and I guess I'd say that President Yeltsin's actions and his 
determination to address this crisis were prompted exactly by his desire 
to see that economic reforms and political liberalization proceed.

         He has acted in a way that enhances the prospects of economic 
reform, and now being able to take hold and take root and reforms being 
carried out, as he would like to see them, and that's certainly a goal 
that we share, because a lot of our interests in pursuing both aid to 
Russia and support for their modernization has been related to our 
desire to see economic reforms take hold that will allow a market 
economy, a democratic market economy, to blossom.

         So I think the pace of reform is something that he, in a sense, 
Yeltsin addressed directly by taking some of the actions he's taken 
recently.  But we don't concur with the analysis that that somehow 
provoked this crisis or was the key factor in this crisis.  I think 
those of you who follow the events closely in Russia know that there are 
many, many factors -- political and otherwise -- that led to the crisis 
of the last several days.

         Q    Is the pace of reform up to him?  There seems to be some 
ambiguity on the part of the United States that says  the pace of reform 
is up to him, but, if he wants to get money well spent by the 
International Monetary Fund and World Bank, then he's going to have to 
step up the pace of reform.

         And hiring or re-hiring Gaidar, who was seen as somewhat as 
somebody who was pushing reforms too hard, seems to me an indication 
that he is stepping up the pace of reform and it may have led to some of 
this explosion.

         Is the pace of reform up to him, up to him and his Parliament, 
or is it being generated by the IMF and the World Bank and the United 

         MR. McCURRY:  Obviously, ultimately, the process of internal 
reform, whether it's political reform or economic reform, will be up to 
the Russian people and the Russian leadership.  There are incentives 
that are built into these assistance programs that do encourage reform.  
But the pace of reform, we have experience -- as you look across Eastern 
Europe and the changes that have occurred in those economies -- we have 
experience with what works and what does not work, and in every case 
it's something that you have to really balance -- the pace of reform 
with the needs of satisfying a public that would like to see the real 
benefits of reform.

         And I think those are determinations that are best made by the 
political leadership of a democracy, of course, but that's clearly what 
President Yeltsin will be facing as he takes his case to the people for 
both the election of a new Duma, a new Parliament, and then ultimately 
for his own re-election next year.

         Q    But we're reminded that Khasbulatov and Rutskoi were great 
reformers themselves, but they're quarreling with other things -- over 
the pace of reform.

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't think in any way, shape or form the 
political crisis of recent days in Moscow would be described as a debate 
amongst economists or a debate over the pace of economic reform.  There 
clearly was a great deal more than that at stake.

         Q    Mike, there obviously was a lot deal more involved, but 
the possibility of mobilizing people in support of one alternative or 
the other possibility -- or the other alternative is dependent upon how 
they see it affecting their own economic life conditions.  And I think 
that's a factor that's hard to avoid in analyzing this explosion.

         MR. McCURRY:  As we know very well here, it's often about the 
economy, isn't it?

         Q    Thank you.

         MR. McCURRY:  You're welcome.

         (The briefing concluded at 1:28 p.m.)


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