931015 Daily Press Briefing  Return to: Index of 1993 Daily Briefings || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

Note: This Electronic Research Collection (ERC) is an archive site. For the most current information, please visit the US State Department homepage.
Friday, October 15, 1993

                           BRIEFER:  Michael McCurry

Subject                                     Page
President To Make Statement Today ..............1
US Contacts/Arrival of Ambassador Swing ........1
US Discussions with Government re:  Security ...1-3
--  US Training of Security for Aristide .......2
US Travel Warning to Americans .................2
Implementation of Governor's Island Accord .....3
--  Cedras Fails to Resign .....................3-5
--  Immigration to US ..........................3
--  Impact on Francois .........................4-5
US Interests ...................................5

US Concern re: Trade with Iran .................6

Nobel Peace Prize for President/Nelson Mandela .6-7

IAEA Nuclear Facilities Monitoring .............7-9
Prospects for Sanctions ........................7-8
US Contacts ....................................8-9

Secretary's Trip to Europe .....................9-12
--  Hungary/Russia .............................9-12

Secretary's Reported Remarks re:  US Troops ....10

Civil Liberties/Freedom of Press ...............10-11

Prospects of Membership for East European
  Countries/US Review ..........................11-12


                           DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                           DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                 DPC #140

                  FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15, 1993, 12:58 P. M.

         MR. McCURRY:  Good afternoon, everyone.  In light of the 
President's statements forthcoming shortly on Haiti, I, of course, won't 
have a lot to say on that subject.  I know that is one that is of great 
interest to you, but the President will be addressing that, I 
understand, shortly at the White House; and in fact shortly enough that, 
in your interests, I will try to keep things very brief today if you 
will be brief.  So this briefing will be brief.

         Q    Is there any aspect of the Haiti problem that you can shed 
some light on?

         MR. McCURRY:  No, the most  -- I can tell you a couple of 
things.  I think you know that Ambassador Pezzullo remains in Haiti.  He 
went there yesterday.  He's continuing his consultations with Prime 
Minister Malval, U.N. personnel in Port-au-Prince, our Embassy officers, 
and others.

         Q    Cedras?

         MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of whether or not he's had any 
contact with Cedras.

         Ambassador Swing, I think as you know, will arrive there today 
and take up residence as our new Ambassador.  Beyond that, I really 
don't have much I think at this point that's useful for me to add, 
pending further from the President.

         Q    Aristide's lawyer today called for -- said Aristide was 
calling for a beefed-up U.S. Marine presence at the Embassy there, and 
that the United States allow his cabinet members to be at the Embassy 
and be protected.  Any thought being given to that?

         MR. McCURRY:  The most I want to say on that is that we have 
had some discussions relating to security with government officials in 
Haiti.  As we would in the case of our own national leadership, we 
really don't discuss security  arrangements because that's something the 
less said about, the better.  

         But I will say we have had some discussions with Prime Minister 
Malval's government about that; not with President Aristide, as far as I 
know, but I think you all are aware that I have said in the past that we 
are cooperating in some security arrangements, training bodyguards for 
President Aristide, and some other things like that.  So you are aware 
that it's an issue that we take very seriously, as you heard the 
President say yesterday, and we have had some dialogue with him on that.

         Q    Do we think that there is danger not only to them but to 
Americans and U.N. and OAS personnel?

         MR. McCURRY:  We do feel that there are some risks, and we 
addressed those, I think as you know, in a travel warning that we did 
issue last night that suggested that U.S. citizens should be warned 
against non-essential travel to Haiti because of the current political 
unrest there.

         We suggested that the potential exists throughout the country 
for random violence, sporadic disturbances and criminal acts.  The 
police and judiciary are unable to provide adequate levels of security 
and due process, and we suggested that tourists and American citizens 
resident in Haiti register with the Embassy, if they have not already 
done so.

         That suggests a degree of concern that would certainly apply to 
the U.N. observers who are there as well as U.S. personnel who are 
stationed in Haiti.

         Q    Mike, you mentioned that we've been cooperating -- 
training bodyguards for Aristide.  Have we been training bodyguards for 
any of the people in Haiti now, or is this just prospective training?

         MR. McCURRY:  The only training that I am aware of is the 
training that we have been doing prospectively for President Aristide 
upon his return.

         Q    Do you about how many there were?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think -- in my recollection there were 60.  
They are being trained in three separate classes.  I think it was three 
separate classes that were lasting two weeks, with the anticipation, 
obviously, of being on location with the return of President Aristide.  
So clearly that's something that has to remain somewhat up in the air at 
this point.

         Q    So as far as you know, we haven't been affording cabinet 
members any protection so far?  I mean, this request from Mike Barnes 
comes at time when we -- so far we haven't been doing anything --

         MR. McCURRY:  I am not aware that the United States has been 
actively involved in providing security currently.

         Q    Do you have any observations about the fact that this is 
October 15, the date by which the military high command was supposed to 
step down?

         MR. McCURRY:  As you know, General Cedras had made a commitment 
to retire by today, October 15.  I think his failure to do so does 
represent a violation of the personal commitment that he gave at the 
time of the Governor's Island Accord negotiations.  We continue to 
believe those accords, obviously, are in the best interests of the 
people of Haiti and will help resolve that crisis.  And the failure to 
abide by one of the terms of the commitments under that accord is, of 
course, a source of great concern, as are many things that the President 
will surely address later today.

         How about way in the back here.

         Q    Do you have some detail about what Christopher meant when 
he said there might be an immigration problem if democracy wasn't 
restored to Haiti?

         MR. McCURRY:  I won't go into any great detail.  I think that 
what we suggested is a concern -- what he has said, in other places, is 
that a deterioration of the political environment could very well 
contribute to the economic deterioration within Haiti itself, and thus 
prompt many people to feel that they are in a position to have to leave 
the country.

         One of the benefits of the Governor's Island Accord itself is 
that it opened up resources from the international community that would 
directly benefit the people of Haiti.  Absent that type of assistance, 
that type of help, the economic conditions surely would deteriorate.  
That does raise the possibility of an exodus, and that was one of the 
things identified by the Secretary as one of the key interests that the 
United States has in a resolution of the crisis in Haiti.

         Q    Will there be a change in the interdiction policy if 
Aristide isn't returned by the end of the month?

         MR. McCURRY:  That's not a question I want to address right 


         Q    Mike, are there plans of -- you talk about danger to U.N. 
and OAS personnel -- are there plans to pull that personnel out?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't want to address that question.  That's 
something I'll leave to the White House.

         Q    What is the status -- the legal status vis-a-vis the 
Governor's Island Accord of Francois?  He was not there.  His brother 
was there and made a commitment.  Does the commitment include him, and, 
if so, how?

         MR. McCURRY:  Saul, my understanding is that he is affected by 
the Governor's Island Accord in the following way:  Under the accord, 
the President of Haiti is given authority to name a new chief of police, 
and the police itself is separated from the military and established as 
a separate civilian institution.

         I don't believe that he is specifically named, nor is he a 
signatory to the Governor's Island Accord, but it has certainly been 
widely understood that he also has a commitment under the Governor's 
Island process to give up his current role in the police force, or at 
least to allow for the President to appoint a new civilian chief of 

         Q    Mike, according to that interpretation, is it our 
understanding then that he could leave the police force or be reassigned 
but remain in Haiti and still meet his obligations?

         MR. McCURRY:  That's obviously something that's a subject of 
ongoing discussion in Haiti, and I would just prefer not to address it 
here.  I mean, his status, his participation in the military beyond the 
conclusion of the Governor's Island process is something that has been a 
subject of direct exchanges between the U.N. envoy and the Haitian 
authorities.  I really wouldn't want to comment on where they are on 

         Q    Mike, you should have seen this coming.  There were signs 
all along the way -- the murder of Izmery and other violations by Cedras 
and Francois.  Mike Barnes today said that during the Governor's Island 
negotiations, the Government of Haiti pressed that Cedras and Francois 
be made to leave the country at the beginning of the process rather than 
at the end of the process, and also that at certain points along the way 
-- for example, after Izmery's murder -- that the sanctions should be 
placed on.

         Do you feel that a mistake was made in not insisting that these 
men leave early or not putting on sanctions before now?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think I already faced similar questions earlier 
in the week.  What I did was reference back to the negotiations that led 
to the Governor's Island Accord itself.  Yes, there were positions 
staked out by all the parties who participated in that negotiation.  
Yes, they preferred separate courses of action.

         What resulted was an agreement that the parties themselves 
signed and said that they would implement.  All of the things that you 
mention, in one way or another, were a  subject of the negotiated 
agreement, negotiated under the auspices of the OAS and the U.N.

         Now, the commitments they made, sure, there might have been 
better ways for both parties to approach their status in this 
negotiation.  But that's not the accord that we ended up with; that's 
not the accord that was in the process of being implemented.

         Q    Yes, but the accords themselves also allowed for the 
reimposition of sanctions if there was evidence that one of the parties 
-- that Cedras and the de facto --

         MR. McCURRY:  Well, the --

         Q    If I could finish -- weren't living up to the accords, and 
the murder of Izmery is a clear example that they were not living up to 
the accords.

         MR. McCURRY:  I mean, that provision in the accord was 
specifically negotiated because one party wanted to make sure that 
sanctions would be lifted if there was progress being made towards 
implementation of the accords.  

         Look, extensive second-guessing on this at this point is not 
going to be useful.

         Q    Is there any room for negotiation at all on Cedras and 
Francois leaving today?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't want to comment on that, absent a real 
detailed understanding of what's going on in Port-au-Prince at the 
moment.  I don't have that.

         Q    Mike, in general sense, what do you think is the American 
national interest toward Haiti, and also are you going to -- you are 
dealing with the Haitian problem just for the humanitarian issue or 
national interests?  It's viewed as a humanitarian issue in dealing with 
that matter.

         MR. McCURRY:  I think this is a question that the Secretary 
addressed most eloquently last week.  I'd really refer you back to him.  
He cited several things specifically:  the closeness of Haiti to the 
United States; the prospects of an exodus -- as we were discussing just 
a little while earlier -- of people, given a deteriorating situation 
within Haiti itself that would present problems for the United States; 
and then our strong interest in humanitarian issues and our strong 
interest in enlarging the community of democracies, not only in our 
hemisphere but around the world.  Those are among the interests that 
have been cited.

         Q    So could you interpret the Secretary's statement as 
necessary or vital or pretty strong -- something like that?

         MR. McCURRY:  They are interests.  I characterize them as 
interests of the United States.  I believe that's the phrasing the 
Secretary used.

         Q    Do you have any comments on a story which ran yesterday on 
German cooperation with Iran and providing them with various bits and 
pieces of --

         MR. McCURRY:  I know some of you did see that story.  I'd start 
by saying that the United States and Germany certainly share objectives 
in our policy towards Iran.  It's a matter that the Secretary has 
discussed with the European Community and others, I think as you know.  
He discussed it recently in his meeting with Foreign Minister Kinkel.

         It's clear that we both deeply object to Iran's support for 
terrorism, efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, efforts to 
block the Middle East peace process through violence and its abysmal 
human rights record, but the United States Government is concerned about 
differences in the U.S. and German approaches to bringing about a change 
in Iranian behavior.

         We're concerned that the German dialogue with Iran, combined 
with extensive trading ties and favorable financial treatment may 
encourage Iran to think that it can improve relations with the West 
without changing its behavior.

         We have specifically asked the German for more information 
regarding the recent visit to Bonn of the Iranian Minister for 
Intelligence and Security.  I think consistent with the close 
relationship between our countries, we continue to discuss at various 
levels tactical differences with the Germans that we have on this issue 
in order to better meet our shared objectives and better work more 
cooperatively with them on a problem that I think you know the Secretary 
ranks as one of the most significant on his agenda.

         Q    So does the United States have specific things that the 
Secretary raised with Kinkel, specific incidents of things flowing to 
Iran that the U.S. regards as highly questionable?  And what was the 
German response?

         MR. McCURRY:  Our concern did prompt a review of certain 
issues, as we understand them, and I think the Secretary did exchange 
some information with the Germans that we thought would be useful in 
making our case, that there is a pattern of behavior here by Iran that 
that should be most troubling to the world community.

         Q    Any comment on Mandela and de Klerk getting the Nobel 
Peace Prize?

         MR. McCURRY:  I've got a wonderful statement that I would be 
happy to issue in the name of Mike McCurry, but my understanding is that 
the President will be issuing a statement  at some point today that 
certainly congratulate the two recipients.  It will certainly note the 
importance that the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize sends symbolically 
and attaching great importance to the transformation taking place in 
South Africa.  I'm sure that the President's words will be far more 
eloquent than mine.

         Q    Has the United States and South Korea given North Korea a 
two-week deadline to act?

         MR. McCURRY:  The short answer is, not a two-week deadline, but 
let me go through a little bit of the issues involved, because I think 
you know we're at a fairly critical point.

         We've made clear to North Korea that our negotiations with them 
are based on the understanding that the continuity of the international 
safeguards, maintained by the International Atomic Energy Agency, must 
be maintained.

         We understand that North Korea has had some discussions with 
the IAEA, but they've denied inspectors the access that they need to 
ensure that there has been continuity of the safeguards at the declared 
nuclear facilities that the IAEA is concerned about.

         The IAEA has said that if it does not have access to those 
facilities within a reasonable period -- and a reasonable period is 
defined -- I wouldn't suggest that it's defined as anything longer than 
a couple of weeks -- there will be a loss of important safeguards 

         I think you know that we have stressed with them from the 
outset that their agreement to cooperate with these safeguards and to 
cooperate with the IAEA to permit the necessary inspections that will 
help continue the continuity of the safeguards themselves, that would be 
essential to our continued dialogue.  We've also stated that the next 
round of talks between the United States and North Korea must follow 
discussions between North Korea and South Korea.  There's not a specific 
deadline that has been set.  But it's clear that if the continuity of 
safeguards themselves are broken, that's then a point at which we have 
to refer the matter back to the United Nations Security Council for 
further discussions and for direct action.

         Q    So although you've said in the past that sanctions were a 
possibility, are you now prepared to move on those sanctions?  Have you 
started discussions on some sort of specific sanctions resolution?

         MR. McCURRY:  The issue has been under discussion for some time 
within the United Nations.  The prospect of sanctions, of what action 
the world community would take if there was a lapse in the continuity of 
standards under the  IAEA, has been something that has been discussed.  
I don't want to suggest we're prepared to move forward at this moment, 
but it's certainly something that is of growing concern to the United 
States and to others within the United Nations.

         Q    Mike, you said a moment ago that if inspections don't go 
forward in a couple of weeks some safeguard information will be lost.  
What do you mean?

         MR. McCURRY:  Most of you know how the IAEA monitors these 
facilities.  You know that from time to time they have to periodically 
review or change film in camera, or do that sort of thing.  They're 
approaching a period at which I think they will address best 
specifically what their concern is.  But they're approaching a point at 
which they really do need to take certain steps to assure that there has 
been a continuity of safeguards.

         Q    So film has run out of the camera; is that correct?

         MR. McCURRY:  That's the way I would describe it, as a layman, 
but I'm not sure that I technically know all --

         Q    I've heard that from others.

         Q    If you cannot find any serious development on the North 
Korean side after a couple of weeks, you are going to initiate to take 
the matter to the United Nations Security Council, or just you will 
follow the IAEA decision?

         MR. McCURRY:  What I said is at the point at which the IAEA 
determines that their continuity of safeguards has been broken, that's 
the point at which we would feel compelled to -- we would feel at that 
point that we cannot continue our dialogue with the DPRK and the issue 
would have to be returned to the Security Council for further review.

         Q    Mike, just to put it very simply, if the IAEA can't get 
back into these facilities and do things like put in new film in the 
cameras, then it's time to go to the U.N. and discuss specific 

         MR. McCURRY:  You're missing only step in there, which is the 
IAEA is the one that determines, based on its own technical standards, 
whether there's been a lapse in the continuity of safeguards.  If they 
make that determination, then we would feel compelled at that point to 
refer the matter to the United Nations.

         Q    Mike, just on Carol's question, did we and the South 
Koreans communicate this to the North Koreans or did the IAEA 
communicate this directly to them?

         MR. McCURRY:  As I said, I think there have been discussions 
between North Korea and the IAEA.  But as you know from what we've said 
from time to time, there has been diplomatic dialogue through the 
channels that we have discussed in the past.  So our views have been 
communicated both to South Korea and to North Korea.

         Q    Mike, just a question of timing.  Is "a couple of weeks" a 
couple of weeks from today, a couple of weeks from tomorrow, a couple of 
weeks from --

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't know that there is a specific deadline.  
The phrase that is given to me is "reasonable period."  But my 
understanding is -- since the way they monitor this does involve 
changing film in cameras -- that we're talking about -- it's described 
as a couple of weeks.

         Q    When was your last contact with North Korea to discuss 
that nuclear matter?  And could you tell me some content of the contact, 

         MR. McCURRY:  I'll have to check, and I probably can't tell you 
much content.  I'll check for you and post our last contact, depending 
on which channel was actually used.

         Q    Change of subject?

         Q    No, no, wait.  The IAEA record is not unblemished in terms 
of uncovering nuclear facilities, and Iraq is Exhibit A of that.  I just 
wonder whether you have some sort evaluation of the IAEA's capacity to 
find out what's going on in North Korea?

         MR. McCURRY:  I don't have something.  I've never heard anyone 
express dissatisfaction with the IAEA's ability to monitor this 
particular case.  I'll check and see if we have an assessment of how we 
view their effort to assure compliance with their safeguards as it 
relates to North Korea.  I'm not aware of any assessment or any fault 
that anyone has raised with that, but I'll certainly check on that.

         Q    Do you have anything on the Secretary's upcoming visit to 
Hungary?  Why did he pick Budapest before his visit to Moscow?  What is 
his political message, perhaps?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think -- several things -- one, as you know, 
the Secretary will be going there and it's important that he begins his 
trip to the region with a stop in Budapest.

         The Eastern European region is very important to us in many 
ways.  Hungary is certainly an important country in that region, both as 
a frontline state and as a member of the Visograd Group itself.

         As we look at Eastern Europe, we see so many things happening 
there related to the economic and political transformation taking place 
in the emerging democracies that we view that really as an important 
focal point for our own efforts.  We very often, I think, in the United 
States, tend to concentrate on the problems in Russia and elsewhere and 
we neglect the important transformation taking place in Eastern Europe.

         I think the Secretary is underscoring with this stop not only 
his interest in a very close working relationship with Hungary, but he's 
attaching importance symbolically to the transformation taking place 
elsewhere in Eastern Europe as well.


         Q    Can you say anything about a little item in the Wall 
Street Journal today which says that Christopher at one point asked the 
British Foreign Secretary whether the United States could avoid putting 
troops into Bosnia?

         MR. McCURRY:  I can't.  I'm at a loss on that.  I asked the 
people who were at that session.  We're assuming that this relates to 
the recent fairly lengthy conversations they had at Dumbarton House.  
I've asked those who were there if they recall any such conversations, 
and they don't.

         I do know that the Secretary and the Foreign Secretary met 
privately for some time, but I haven't had a chance to ask the Secretary 
if he had that dialogue with Douglas Hurd.

         I would say, again, to you all there hasn't been any change in 
the discussion we've had about the importance of a political settlement 
in Bosnia, and the steps that we would take to evaluate that political 
settlement as we considered participating in an effort to implement that 


         Q    On Russia:  What's your observations of Yeltsin's latest 
efforts to change the face of life there, namely, shutting down some 
newspapers permanently and firing editors of others?  Is this consistent 
with your perception of democracy?

         MR. McCURRY:  I think you're all aware of what he did.  He 
closed several papers and asked them to change their names, in some 
cases to change editors.  We continue to monitor the situation in Russia 
with regard to the elections in November and the guarantee of civil 
liberties that is important to the United States.  Not only does the 
United States favor free and fair elections but, in addition, freedom of 
the press is an essential element of democracy.  The United States would 
be deeply concerned about an infringement of these and other civil 
liberties in Russia as it would be elsewhere in the world.

         Q    But do you see this action as infringing on civil 

         MR. McCURRY:  We feel concerned about an infringement upon 
freedom of the press.  We know the situation and the environment in 
which these decisions are being made.

         What we can say is that certainly during the period of the 
election itself, as we approach December, access by candidates and by 
individuals to freely express their opinion within a free and working 
press is something that is vital to the democratic environment for the 
elections themselves.

         Q    Mike, have we communicated that concern?  When Yeltsin 
originally, the day after the fighting in Moscow, shut down some papers 
and censored some articles, Ambassador Talbott said that the 
Administration communicated its concerns about that, and Yeltsin 
subsequently lifted the censorship ban.  Have we communicated this 
concern again?  And do we feel that Yeltsin has gone back on the 
assurances that he gave us at that time?

         MR. McCURRY:  We are in close contact with the Russians on so 
many issues that are important to both of us.  I don't know for a fact 
that we have contacted them since the decision just yesterday to change 
the status of some of these news organizations.

         I will say it will certainly be a subject that will be 
addressed during Secretary Christopher's visit to Moscow.

         Q    Will Mr. Christopher negotiate with Mr. Kozyrev about the 
eventual admission to NATO of Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland -- 
or about the Security Council and about the letter of the Russian 
President to the NATO leaders?

         MR. McCURRY:  I can't say that we will be negotiating with 
Foreign Minister Kozyrev on that subject.  I will say that the question 
of NATO expansion is one that is currently under review within the 
United States Government as one that we are in very close contact with 
other members of the North Atlantic Council about.

         We understand that the involvement of other Central and Eastern 
European countries, in discussions about security in Europe, is 
something that is important.  These are discussions that will be 
furthered at the NATO Ministerial meetings in December and also the NATO 
Summit in January.  But I think at the moment I would describe the U.S. 
posture, as it relates to NATO, on expansion as being something that is 
under very careful review.

         Q    Mike, will Secretary Christopher be discussing -- in 
Moscow -- be discussing preparations for President Clinton's trip to 

         MR. McCURRY:  Will he be --

         Q    Is that still on the table, the summit?

         MR. McCURRY:  It's been the President's commitment to have a 
return summit in Moscow.  That has been discussed by the Secretary from 
time to time.  I don't know that they plan to do any detailed planning.  
My guess is the subject could likely come up.  It's not a principal 
focus of the trip itself.  There are other issues that they'll be 
working on.

         Q    Thank you.

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


To the top of this page