931019 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.
Tuesday, October 19, 1993

                                 BRIEFER:  Michael McCurry

Subject                                         Page

Secretary's 10/20 Address to Nat'l Foreign Policy
  Conference for Senior Business Executives ....1-2
Cancellation of Daily Briefings October 20-27 ..1,2

Sanctions/Naval Blockade:
 -- Countries Contributing Ships ...............2
 -- Purpose of Sanctions/Interdiction ..........2,4-5
 -- US vs. UN vs. OAS Sanctions ................3-4
 -- US Discussions with Other Countries ........7
 -- Frozen Assets ..............................8
 -- Possible Tightening of Sanctions ...........12
 -- Contact with the Dominican Republic re
    Contraband .................................12
Implementation of Governor's Island Accord:
 -- Departure of Cedras ........................2-3
 -- UN/US Discussions with Military Leaders/
    Aristide (Changes/Amnesty/Etc.) ............3,4,5
 -- Timetable ..................................3
 -- Adjustment to Accords ......................3-4
US Immigration Policy/"Operation Able Manner"/
  In-Country Processing ........................5-7
Prospects for New Flood of Boat People .........7

Dumping of Nuclear Waste .......................9

Possible Visit by Secretary General ............9
Ambassador Oakley's Discussions in Region ......9-10
Discussions with Parties re US Military Deploy-
  ments/Training Flights .......................10
Commission to Determine Responsibility for
  Deaths of Pakistani Troops ...................10-11

Letter from Secretary to Serb President ........11

Foreign Minister's Meeting at Department .......11-12


                         DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                         DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

                                                      DPC #142

                TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1993, 12:48 P.M.

         MR. McCURRY:  Good afternoon, everybody.  

          I think, as many of you know, the Secretary is addressing the 
National Foreign Policy Conference for Senior Business Executives 
tomorrow morning prior to his departure on a trip.  That's a fascinating 
session of a number of business leaders from around the country who will 
be here to hear about the impact of our foreign policy on their market 
opportunities and business opportunities abroad and how we can work more 
cooperatively with them in promoting our economic interests as we 
conduct American diplomacy.  I think it will be an interesting day-long 
conference tomorrow, and the Secretary is kicking things off with those 
remarks at 9:l0.  He will take questions.  And then following that event 
he will be leaving, as I said, for his trip.

          Since we're not in town for the next week, there will be no 
regular press briefing at the Department tomorrow -- and, in fact, no 
briefing then until October 28, although our Press Officers will be 
available with answers to your questions during that period.  And, of 
course, we will be reachable as we are on our journey as well.

          So with those housekeeping matters, any questions you might 

          Q    On that, will you make some effort to bring a tape of the 
Q&A with you on the plane so that either a transcript or a tape could be 
made available since --

          MR. McCURRY:  We will.  That's a good point, Ralph.  I'll see 
if I can bring at least a tape recording so you've got anything that 
comes up, since some of you will already be out at Andrews in the 

          Q    Another housekeeping question?  Some of my colleagues who 
are not going on the trip have asked if you would reconsider the idea of 
not holding a briefing for a week here.  They point out that it's 
difficult to get answers to questions until late in the afternoon and 
that often guidances are not done until late in the afternoon because 
there's no pressure of a noon briefing.

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.  We'll see.

          Q    I wonder if you'd reconsider that and give it some more 
thought, please?

          MR. McCURRY:  We will.  We'll reconsider that and think about 
how we take steps during the week to make sure you can get prompt 
answers to questions.  I'm not sure that we'll be able to conduct a 
briefing, but at least we'll be able to take steps to make sure you can 
get answers as you need them.

          Q    Could you bring us up to date on Haiti:  (a) on the 
status of the embargo; and (b) whether you think that Aristide's cabinet 
should be negotiable, whether the regime now in power should have a say 
in the formation of a new cabinet?

          MR. McCURRY:  Well, let me do the update first and then get to 
the status of things.

          There are U.S. and Canadian ships that are now off the Haitian 
coast.  Argentina, France, and the Netherlands have also agreed to send 
ships.  And I understand, just prior to coming out here, the United 
Kingdom also plans to send a vessel.

          The sanctions did go into effect last night.  As of a short 
while ago, there had been no interdictions reported.  

          My understanding is the Pentagon is going to go through some 
of the operational details of their deployment in connection with the 
sanctions enforcement at their briefing today.

          Now, on the political questions and the political issues, 
again these sanctions are designed to bring pressure to bear on the 
parties themselves to see that the Governors Island Accords are followed 
through with.  That is exactly the purpose of the sanctions themselves.  
And those Accords were the result of lengthy negotiations in which the 
parties discussed the political future of Haiti and made certain 
commitments that now must be honored.  That remains our position.

          Q    Is some sort of negotiation going on leading to perhaps 
the departure of Cedras and his allies?

          MR. McCURRY:  Well, the departure of Cedras and other changes 
are certainly those things that are addressed in the Governors Island 
Accord.  There continue to be discussions back and forth, but I again 
would stress that the Governors Island Accord is the document that 
represents commitments made by those parties and those commitments do 
need to be honored.

          Q    As a practical matter, Mike, some of the commitments in 
the Governors Island Accord have been overtaken by events.  They 
couldn't be honored, even if everybody involved wanted to honor them.  
Is there some discussion -- the discussion that you say is under way 
back and forth now -- over revising the Governors Island Accord 
timetable and perhaps some of the substance of it?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think the thing that has changed clearly is 
the timetable -- the commitments as to what people would do, what's 
necessary for the promulgation of a democratic government, and the 
commitments that are made by the parties as they look ahead.  They will 
still be very much the same issues that the parties will have to deal 
with.  I think there is obviously some question of timing now because 
the October 30 deadline looms, and I think that's all part of what the 
dialogue can address.

          But, again, the fundamentals remain very much the same:  the 
return of President Aristide, the commitments made by the military and 
the police officials who have indicated they would participate and 
cooperate with the restoration of democracy and live up to their 
commitments, and then the framework for the promulgation of a government 
as it's outlined.

          Q    Mike, what George and I are trying to get at is:  In the 
process of -- to use your word -- discussing the changes, the timetable 
changes that are necessary forced by events, are you also discussing 
changes in any of the substance of the Governors Island Accord -- that 
is, would there be some changes in how the cabinet is decided, how the 
change of presidencies goes about, and so on?

          MR. McCURRY:  Well, I think that the current conditions there 
-- I mean, the current structure for the transformation and the 
restoration of democracy is something that clearly is going to be of 
concern to the parties themselves; and they can address any adjustments 
that they feel are necessary in the Governors Island Accord.  But that 
is the framework that is on the books and negotiated now that represents 
the best hope for the return and restoration of democracy.

          Q    Who's engaged in the negotiations?  Who's representing 
who, at what level?

          MR. McCURRY:  Well, I think Ambassador Pezzullo has been there 
recently and then returned here to Washington this past weekend.  I 
think they remain in close contact with Special Envoy Dante Caputo, who 
remains there, I believe, under the auspices of the United Nations' 
continuing dialogue.

          Q    With Cedras?

          MR. McCURRY:  They are in discussion with Cedras and obviously 
with Prime Minister Malval and others as well.

          Q    Well, Mike, in fact, that leads to the question I had in 
mind.  Could you go into a little bit the relationship between the U.S. 
actions -- some of which are unilateral -- and what is really a U.N. 
operation?  Or is it?  It gets a little complicated.  The U.S. has its 
own sanctions, and --

          MR. McCURRY:  I had the --

          Q    Well, we're trying to keep the U.N. at a distance.

          MR. McCURRY:  No, I don't believe that is at all accurate.  
These are U.N.-imposed sanctions that relate to petroleum, petroleum 
products, certain weapons and materiel covered under Resolution 837.  
There is, in addition to that, an OAS embargo that is somewhat more 
extensive, adopted by the OAS days ago.  On top of that, there are 
additional unilateral actions that the United States has announced -- 
that the President announced -- that relate to freezing of certain 
assets, certain other restrictions on travel.

          All of these billed together work in tandem with each other to 
create the kind of pressure on the parties that we think will convince 
them that they've got to return to the Governors Island Accords to see 
their effective implementation.

          Q    But if Americans ever go ashore, if that ever becomes 
possible, they still go ashore under a U.N. -- to fulfill a U.N. 

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not going to speculate about people going 


          Q    I have two things.  Are American representatives down 
there talking to Cedras or any of those people and, in turn, Aristide 
and his people about what Cedras wants -- that is, a general amnesty 
from parliament?  Is that one of the demands that could be met -- one of 
his demands that could be met -- and that we're discussing?

          MR. McCURRY:  Well, general amnesty was declared by President 
Aristide.  General Cedras now raises the point that he would like to see 
parliament ratify that.

          All of these issues have been under discussion, I understand, 
at least between the U.N. Special Envoy and the parties.  I'm not 
certain when our last contact was with General Cedras.  Obviously we 
remain in close contact with Prime Minister Malval, both through our 
diplomatic representatives there and through Ambassador Pezzullo.

          Q    Could you check on that?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know whether it's being negotiated.

          Q    Mike, the other thing I would like to know:  I understood 
that the embargo, in its earlier incarnation, was effective -- so 
effective that it led to the Governors Island Accords.  Can you tell me 
the reason for the ships that are there?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm sorry, say again?

          Q    Why the need for ships, when the first embargo without 
ships was successful?

          MR. McCURRY:  Well, there were no incidents in which the 
enforcement of the earlier sanctions required an interdiction.  That 
doesn't necessarily mean there wouldn't be a necessity for interdictions 
as you look ahead and with the imposition of these sanctions.  And 
that's the point.

          Q    Were there violations with the earlier embargo?

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm not aware of any.  I understand that there 
were few attempts, if any, to actually violate the terms of the embargo.  
But certainly an effective sanctions- enforcement mechanism requires the 
deployment of these vessels that are now off Haiti to carry out the 

          Q    But, Mike, aren't these U.S. ships there to enforce the 
U.N. sanctions?  Isn't that really what's going on?

          MR. McCURRY:  They are there participating in a fairly broad 
sanctions-enforcement regime that includes not only the U.N. sanctions 
but also, as I mentioned, the OAS sanctions.  Now other nation states 
are meeting their own obligations under U.N. Security Council Resolution 
837 as they define their obligations, as they deploy their own vessels 
in the region.

          Q    But this is a U.S. role that -- what -- was worked out 
cooperatively with other U.N. members?

          MR. McCURRY:  Worked out cooperatively; and, of course, given 
the deployment of other vessels from other navies in these waters, there 
will be close coordination as they look to any effort to interdict ships 
in the days ahead.

          Q    What are the standing orders now of the American ships, 
anyway, of what happens when and if some boat people come by?

          MR. McCURRY:  If and when?

          Q    Some boat people come by?

          MR. McCURRY:  The action then switches from U.S. naval vessels 
to U.S. Coast Guard vessels because it's the Coast Guard, through 
"Operation Able Manner," which has been in the region and enforcing the 
President's policies as they relate to immigration.

          The U.S. Coast Guard will continue to interdict any attempted 
migrants or any boats containing those who are attempting to migrate.  
There's a sizable task force of ships and aircraft in the international 
waters off Haiti.  They will be working, actually, in close cooperation 
with the naval vessels, even as the naval vessels operate within the 
territorial waters of Haiti.

          Again, the purpose of "Operation Able Manner" and the efforts 
by the Coast Guard is to ensure the safety of Haitian migrants who may 
risk their own lives by attempting to leave Haiti in unsafe, under-
equipped and overloaded boats.

          Q    Can I just follow that up?  In the past I understood that 
when they were picked up, routinely they were taken back to Port-au-
Prince.  Now, with violence becoming more general, does this then follow 
that they have a better-founded fear of persecution and therefore have a 
better excuse for not being taken back?

          MR. McCURRY:  No.  I think, as the President indicated, our 
policies, as they relate to immigration, will not change.  The 
interdiction and repatriation as it is currently structured under 
"Operation Able Manner" will continue.

          I will say that, unlike the period in 1992 when there were 
large numbers of people attempting to migrate, since January 15 of this 
year I think there have been just over 1,000 individuals who have 
attempted to leave Haiti by boat and who have been interdicted on the 
open seas and then repatriated.

          I think, as some of you know, we have put a great stress on 
our in-country processing facilities and our attempt to deal with these 
cases within Haiti.  What we say is, if there is a legitimate concern 
about political issues resulting in a request for asylum or a request 
for refugee status, the proper way to address those concerns is to set 
up procedures within Haiti so that those cases can be processed.  It is 
very important to say that that effort continues; the Port-au-Prince 
facility that processes cases continues to receive applications of 
around 70 a day.  They will continue that effort to analyze individual 
cases as applications are made.  Of course, this is something we work 
closely with the INS on.

          Q    Although that is the policy, are you in fact continuing 
to repatriate people?  And are you continuing to return people who are 
already in this country when you find that there is reason to return 
them to Haiti?

          MR. McCURRY:  My understanding is that there has been no 
change in the policy.  The President has defined that we process these 
cases, of course, in Haiti where possible.  Those cases that were 
already here in the United States, when it was found that repatriation 
was the outcome of the case, we will proceed to repatriate.

          Q    You said that the Coast Guard will be working very 
closely with the naval operation.  You've got a new -- some might 
describe it more hostile -- situation in the waters off the coast of 
Haiti now than you had only two days ago.  Will Coast Guard ships 
require an escort back to Port-au-Prince if they're carrying repatriated 

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't know the answer to that.  I don't want 
to speculate on the answer to that.  But I will say, obviously, because 
those vessels are in these waters, they will cooperate very closely.  
There will be close cooperation between the Coast Guard and the U.S. 

          Q    Michael, the Secretary of State and the President have 
both said that one of the national interests of the United States 
involved here is making sure that there isn't a new exodus of refugees 
from Haiti.  Have you seen, in the last couple of days, any indication 
of boat-building activity or anything that would lead you to believe 
that that is in fact about to happen?

          MR. McCURRY:  We have seen no recent increase in the number of 
applicants.  As I say, we are receiving about 70 a day at the port of --

          Q    Not applicants.  People ready to just take to the seas.

          MR. McCURRY:  I am told that they have not; they're obviously 
monitoring this carefully.  There are some limits in what I can describe 
for you, but I can they have not detected any rapid increase in the type 
of activity that would suggest there would be a large out-migration any 
time soon.

          Again, I want to stress that we continue to believe that the 
processing program that we provide provides a safer alternative for 
Haitians who are wishing to seek refugee status.  It's far preferable 
that they work through that process than to risk their lives in a very 
long and dangerous sea voyage which could take an enormous toll of 

          Q    Can I come back for a second to the discussion of the 
sanctions?  A few minutes ago you talked about other nation states 
meeting their obligations in connection with the embargo, and so on.  
Are other nation states joining the United States in the assets portion, 
the unilateral U.S. assets portion, of the sanctions?

          MR. McCURRY:  It was our intent to seek cooperation from other 
countries as they administer the program of assets freeze, for the 
obvious reason that it then is much more likely that the effect of that 
sanction is more widely felt on the parties that it's aimed at.

          I think there has been some cooperation indicated from some 
countries.  I can't detail that for you because I don't have that here.  
But we have been working with other countries to help them understand 
the scope of our action and the individuals on whom it is targeted.

          Q    And can you address the question that we've talked about 
for some time already, but now you've moved forward in the sense that 
you've had these talks with the other nations, and so on.  Can you 
address the question of whether assets which had been blocked for some 
time and then were unblocked by the United States, allowing kind of an 
opportunity for people to move them around and now the sanctions 
reimposed, are there any assets left over which the United States has 
actually been able to exercise any control, or is the assets freeze in 
effect a symbolic gesture, trying to get the other nations to actually 
freeze them?

          MR. McCURRY:  As you know, this program just came into effect 
as a result of the President's announcement yesterday.  We do feel that 
in a large number of cases, since these are clearly sanctions that are 
targeted on individuals, in a large number of cases, our assets freeze 
will prove to be an effective mechanism to bring pressure.  It will be a 
far more effective mechanism if we gain the cooperation of other 
countries, especially in some other cases where what you're suggesting 
with your question may in fact be the outcome of certain financial 
portfolios or assets.

          But I would stress it is not entirely symbolic.  We think that 
we do have the means to use this unilateral imposition of an assets 
freeze to bring pressure to bear on individuals who can help change the 
course of history in Haiti.

          Q    Did you ever provide an estimate of what the original 
assets freeze actually froze, and what --

          MR. McCURRY:  We did not because the scope of the original -- 
when we talked about this, I think last week, we didn't want to indicate 
at that time what we saw to be the scope of the assets freeze that we 
had offered.

          I understand that they did at the White House offer up some 
information on that yesterday.  I don't know how elaborate it was, but 
I'll go back and see if we can get some additional information on that.

          Q    A couple more on this thing.  When you say "in a large 
number of cases," it's more than symbolic.  I thought the number of 
cases involved in general was fairly small, the number of people 

          MR. McCURRY:  It's my understanding that the effect of these 
assets as they are developed and as they unfold will be much broader 
than those that were suggested at the time we imposed similar sanctions 

          Q    Maybe this is for the next briefing, but has the U.S. 
said anything to the Russians about the radioactive dumping off Japan?  
Or will the Secretary say it?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think you know I responded to that yesterday.

          Q    Oh, I didn't know.

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes, I did.  We discussed the issue yesterday.  
I'm not certain -- we maybe will have someone in a moment who can help 
us with the second part of the question, whether we've raised that.  It 
certainly is something that we have monitored.  We have looked at the 
general issue as it relates to obligations under the London Convention 
of 1972.  But I'll hold the question back for someone who may be able to 
help you a little more directly.

          Q    Can we go to Somalia for a second?

          MR. McCURRY:  Yes.

          Q    The United States has been attempting to get Boutros-
Ghali not to go to Mogadishu.  Have you been successful in that?

          MR. McCURRY:   I don't think he has gone, but I don't have any 
update on his travel schedule.

          Q    Is he still planning to go?

          MR. McCURRY:  Not that I'm aware of.

          Q    Where is Bob Oakley, and what is he doing, and what 
progress has he made in trying to contact all the parties?

          MR. McCURRY:  Ambassador Oakley returned to Washington over 
the weekend after a successful round of visits with the Ethiopians, the 
Eritreans, discussions with others.  I think he feels confident that he 
has made some progress on several issues, one dealing directly with the 
parties in Somalia as they seek to create institutions and structures 
that will help them curb violence and begin to seek a national 

          Then on other questions, an important question: how to 
establish some independent effort or an independent commission that 
would be based in the region that would seek to get very concrete 
judgments on who was responsible for the attack June 5 that led to the 
death of 24 Pakistani peacekeepers, as required by the U.N.

          Q    Did Oakley discuss at all in his very successful talks 
the question of deployment of U.S. Rangers with any of the people that 
he met with?

          MR. McCURRY:  Not that I'm aware of.  I think he was talking 
to them about -- his discussions centered on the political dialogue, the 
political track.  I'm sure he probably talked about security 
arrangements in Mogadishu.

          But you're driving, at with your question:  Was there any 
deal?  That's a question that's been dealt with by the White House 
already today, and you know there is not.

          Q    I don't remember asking about that, but my question was 
whether the U.S. has discussed with the parties on the ground the 
deployment of U.S. forces in Somalia.  And your answer was --

          MR. McCURRY:  I'm reasonably sure that in conversations 
they've talked about military deployments in Mogadishu.  I don't know if 
they've talked about operational units within a U.S. deployment.

          Q    So in the same way that they discuss issues such as 
Boutros-Ghali's travels or organizing commissions or conferences to deal 
with the attack on the Pakistanis, would they also discuss things such 
as the U.S. use of training flights and training attacks over Mogadishu, 
and that sort of thing?

          MR. McCURRY:  I don't have any way of knowing whether they 
talked to that level of detail.  Those were certainly, I would say, not 
the thrust of the conversations.

          Q    Would you take the question whether the United States 
representative in Somalia discussed with the only other people that 
we're talking with in Somalia and with those in the region, whether he's 
discussed deployments of U.S. forces?

          MR. McCURRY:  Whether he has discussed deployments?  I will 
take it.  

          Q    You may choose to say there's no deal, but if they 
discussed it I think we ought to know that they discussed it.

          MR. McCURRY:  All right.  I'll see if I can get an answer, 

          Q    The U.S. seems to be putting a lot of emphasis on this 
independent commission now.  Has the U.S. made a commitment to the 
United Nations that if this independent commission -- whoever this 
independent commission finds is responsible for the death of the 
Pakistanis, the U.S. will go after that person?  Or is the U.S. 
commitment to going after whoever is responsible finished?  I mean, have 
you only suspended that commitment, or are you finished with it?  You're 
not going to help them find whoever is responsible?

          MR. McCURRY:  Which question of those are you asking?  What's 
the question?

          Q    I was trying to ask it as clearly as possible.  Let me 
rephrase it.  The U.S. now says that it no longer is looking for Mohamed 
Aideed or whoever is responsible for killing the Pakistanis and has 
instead put a lot of emphasis on forming an independent commission to 
determine guilt.

          MR. McCURRY:  To help hold those who are accountable, 

          Q    Okay.  So will the U.S. be prepared, when that commission 
reveals its findings, to go after whoever it fingers?

          MR. McCURRY:  I think the question is:  What attempts will be 
made to prosecute those who may be judged to be responsible?  And I 
think that's a question that the United Nations is going to have to 
address.  As it stands currently, the Security Council has a resolution 
that's clear about bringing those to justice who are responsible for the 
June 5 attack; and again it's probably within the province of the United 
Nations to address, if they in fact establish an independent commission, 
(1) what the role of the United Nations in that commission is [and] (2) 
what processes would arise from the work of the commission to prosecute 
those who are responsible.

          I think as a general proposition, the United States feels very 
strongly, given the loss of life of our own peacekeepers in Somalia, 
that those responsible for these events do need to be brought to 

          I'd like to, if it's all right with everyone here, with our 
indulgence maybe end a little early today so we can bring some of our 
special guests on for a background session.  Any other questions?

          Q    All right.  But if there's anything in response to that 
last warning on Bosnia, could you provide it for us on paper, if you 
will, if you can?

          MR. McCURRY:  Anything new on Bosnia?

          Q    Well, you had a clear warning yesterday.  I wondered if 
it had any impact.

          MR. McCURRY:  It was delivered to Milosevic; and message 
conveyed, message received and message understood, I am told.

          Q    And just one more item:  The Secretary is meeting with 
the Foreign Minister of Georgia today.  Is there a message that the 
United States -- a particular message the U.S. is delivering or 
expecting to receive at this point?  Do you have any --

          MR. McCURRY:  I think the Deputy Secretary will be having that 
meeting today, and I think the purpose is to get a much clearer 
understanding of what is happening on the ground in Georgia, what the 
views are of President Shevardnadze as he looks at the recent fighting 
and the strife that continues there and is likely to continue in the 
days ahead.

          Q    Is there discussion of additional aid?  I know some aid 
has gone in the last week or so.

          MR. McCURRY:  I'll have to check on that, Ralph.

          Q    Back on Haiti for a moment, please, before you finish.  
Is the United States considering discussing, drafting a new resolution 
which would even further tighten sanctions on Haiti at the U.N.?

          MR. McCURRY:  Not that I am aware of, Bud, but I'll check and 
see if there -- they were talking about resolutions on enforcement and 
perhaps an additional effort to address enforcement.  But I can check on 
that and see if there's anything on that.

          Q    Same general subject:  The Dominican Republic has been a 
source of a lot of contraband ever since the beginning.  Is anything 
being done to tighten up that border?

          MR. McCURRY:  That is something of concern that we will 
discuss, I think, with the Dominican Republic and something that I think 
that they have addressed on their own as well.  But I can check and see 
further on this.

          Q    Thank you.

          (The briefing concluded at 1:15 p.m.)


To the top of this page