Return to: Index of 1994 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.

                                          BRIEFING:  Michael McCurry

Subject                                                     Page

US FOREIGN ECONOMIC POLICY..................................1-10
Western Europe.............................................2-4,9
Eastern Europe ................................................3
Middle East ...................................................3
Africa ........................................................3
South Asia ....................................................3
East Asia .....................................................3
US Reduces Textile Quotas for China .......................3,5-7
Latin America ...............................................3,7
Promotion of American Business ................................4
Status of MFN for China .....................................4-6
India .........................................................5
US Trade Negotiations with Japan ...........................6-10

Secretary's Press Briefing at White House
  Tomorrow ...................................................10
No Daily Press Briefing ......................................10

Letter from Ambassador Zimmermann to 
  Secretary ...............................................10-11

Talks at Department re:  Nuclear Issues ......................11

US Policy re: Restoring Democracy ............................11
Sanctions Enforcement .....................................12,19
Prospects for Conferences ..............................12,15-16
Humanitarian Aid ..........................................13-16
Fuel Shipment for Humanitarian Enterprises ................13-16
Aristide Remarks re:  Military Strike .....................19-20

Reported Statement by Rep. Frank McCloskey  ..................16
Reported French Request for US Military
  Assistance to Open Tuzla Airport ........................17-18
Update on Fighting ...........................................17
US Discussions with Allies ................................17-18

Bosnia as Agenda Item ........................................17

Repatriation of Two Iranians Arrested 
  for Murder .................................................17

US Sanctions re: M-11 Missiles ...............................21



DPC #4


MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon everybody, and thank you. We had a late start today so that you could tune into the Vice President's remarks. That's the reason for our tardiness today.

I think, going back to the Secretary's testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, you'll know that his top priority, or one of his six identified priorities as Secretary, the economic security issues that he sees underpinning many aspects of our foreign policy, it's a theme that has been running throughout the conduct of our diplomacy in 1993 and will so in 1994. It's also embedded in the upcoming summit with some of the economic issues that will be addressed by the President.

And for that reason the coming of the summit and also the coming of a year in which these economic issues are going to be at front and center in the conduct of our diplomacy, I thought it would be a very good idea today to have an opportunity for you to talk with Under Secretary of State for Economic and Agricultural Affairs, Joan Spero. She has been certainly the mastermind for the Secretary of a large part of the work going on here in the Department to reinvigorate the economic aspects of our foreign policy and has, I think, a lot of very exciting things underway within the programs under her direction.

So, with that, I'll introduce Under Secretary Spero. She'll take questions, and then I'll return to take other matters that you might be interested in as well. Under Secretary Spero.


What I'd like to do briefly is to give you a preview of how we see economics fitting into our foreign policy priorities for 1994; spend a few minutes on that and then take your questions.

To give you a look ahead, I'd like to give a brief look back. When President Clinton made his first foreign policy speech at American University last February, it was a speech on foreign economic policy. That was no accident. The President said he was going to focus like a laser beam on the economy.

One of the central insights of the Clinton Presidency is that the dividing line between domestic policy and foreign policy is breaking down and it is economics that is providing that linkage.

Economics, as the Secretary has said, and as Mike reiterated, is now central to our foreign policy. We, both here at the State Department and in our 275 Foreign Service posts around the world, intend to support the President fully in his efforts to restore the strength of the American economy and build a better future for the American people.

In just the past two months, we've made the so-called triple- play: NAFTA, the APEC Summit, and the Uruguay Round. The President and the Secretary worked very hard to ensure the success because they understood clearly that our economic future requires us to engage in the world, to compete, not retreat, as the President has put it.

In other areas such as Russia and the Middle East, our economic policy is also intended to help establish the foundation for stable and democratic political systems.

So let me take a very quick look region-by-region and outline our foreign economic priorities for 1994.

First, for Western Europe. The President will make three trips across the Atlantic in the first half of this year, culminating in the Economic Summit in Naples in July. His goal will be to revitalize our political and economic relationship with our European partners.

I know that you're paying a lot of attention right now to the NATO expansion issue and to political developments in Russia. But another key task for us, another mission for the President next week, is to revitalize our economic relationship with the Western Europeans.

During his trip on the economic side -- and quite frankly it is almost impossible at this point to separate what is going to be happening on the political, security, and the economic side; they are so interrelated -- the President will discuss the need for speedy implementation of the Uruguay Round Agreement, talk about where we are going in the post-Uruguay Round trade issues, the G-7 jobs conference, and U.S.-European Union economic relations, in general.

He will also discuss the need for the Western economies to support political and economic reform in Eastern Europe, Russia, and the NIS, and to provide greater market access, as the Vice President mentioned in the talk in Milwaukee for those economies.

In Eastern Europe -- second point -- Russia and the Newly Independent States as well, economics will continue to play an important role. Again, you can expect the President to raise these economic issues during his visit.

Our goal continues, to ensure the successful economic transformation of these economies and to help incorporate them into the Western economic system. Economic success is required to provide the kind of political stability, institutionalization of democracy -- that is our goal.

Third, in the Middle East. We will continue to provide economic support to the Israeli-Palestinian Declaration of Principles. We are working closely with the World Bank and other donors to bring improvement to the lives of the Palestinians which we see as essential to the success of the peace process. We are also involved in an Israeli-Jordanian-U.S. dialogue about economic cooperation in the region; and, of course, we're playing a leading role in the economic dimensions of the Madrid process.

In Africa: South Africa provides another example of how economic support is necessary to provide the underpinning for successful political transformation.

In South Asia: We will continue to support the economic reforms that are transforming the Indian economy and providing new opportunities for our companies. We expect a visit to Washington by Prime Minister Rao sometime early this year.

In East Asia: We will carry forward the momentum that the President established in Seattle and continue to expand our economic relationship with this fastest growing, most economically, dynamic region in the world.

It's no secret that we are disappointed with the progress to date in our framework talks with Japan. In fact, I'm heading off for Japan tomorrow morning. You can expect to see an intensification of our efforts leading up to the President's February 11 summit meeting with Prime Minister Hosokawa.

On China: As Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, I am very aware of that country's importance and potential to us. But we are going to continue to impress upon the Chinese that more progress on human rights is required for MFN renewal. Beyond that, we have real problems on textiles, as Mickey Kantor has announced today, on market access and intellectual property protection that the Chinese are going to have to address.

Following this world tour, back to the Western hemisphere. We are looking forward to the first-ever summit of Western hemisphere democracies which the President has called. It will aim to consolidate the political and economic gains that have been made in Latin America and promote greater economic cooperation and trade among the nations of the hemisphere.

And, finally, we are going to keep pushing what we call the America,s Desk, which we launched last October, to try to improve the Department's partnership with American business. We are working here in Washington and in embassies around the world to help American business compete in world markets. The Secretary raises issues of concern to U.S. business on each and every foreign trip that he makes.

I'm happy to say that the Secretary and I have been getting a number of letters from business leaders saying that they are seeing a change for the better. We know that we have a lot of work to do, but I think we're definitely heading in the right direction.

Now, I'd be happy to take your questions.

Q You say that one of the President's goals is to revitalize economic relations with Europe. Does that mean that economic relations with Europe are not good?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: No. I think we have by and large very good economic relations with Europe. But I think the issue is to have a greater focus to the economic dimension to our relationship as well as to the political security relationship. So, for example, when he is in Brussels, he will, of course, be attending the NATO summit, but he will also have a very important summit with Jacques Delors, the President of the European Union -- ex-European Commission Community.

So you will find, increasingly, as we talk to the Europeans, as we talk to the East Europeans, we will be engaging in an economic dialogue as well as a political security dialogue.

Q The Journal of Commerce is reporting this morning that the Administration has decided to permanently renew MFN status for China. Would you dispute that? And also, could you expand a little bit on what you mean by "more progress?"

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: I haven't read the Journal of Commerce, but I can assure you that the issue of MFN status for China is very much on the table and has not been decided. We have made it very clear that that issue -- the President said last June -- will be linked to their progress on human rights. He has given a variety of areas where we will be looking for significant progress.

We are not there yet. The Chinese are not there yet. So we are far from a decision to renew MFN.

Q Would you flesh out a little bit on how the U.S. would support the economic reforms in India? And, two, what do you think of the mediations that we discussed with --

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: Well, we have yet to determine the date of the meeting and yet to determine the agenda. But I can tell you some of the things we have been talking to the Indians about. We have been very supportive of the kinds of economic and financial reforms that have been carried out in India, very supportive of the gradual opening of the Indian market, greater receptivity to foreign investment.

We have been working with the Indians on a number of backlogged cases of investment problems that have grown up over the years, trying to see if we can resolve those case by case where businesses have had difficulties in gaining financial compensation for problems they have had. We seem to be making some progress although we have a ways to go on that.

The whole economic reform that your Finance Minister has -- or the Indian Finance Minister -- has been carrying out is something that the U.S. has encouraged and supported. I know when I met with him at the time of the IMF meetings last year, we were very encouraged. So, generally, it is being supportive of and encouraging the process of domestic economic reform, which is the policy of the Indian Government. It is working with the Indian Government in international trade negotiations, including the GATT and, generally, welcoming the inflow of U.S. investment into India.

Q What can you say about a group of Russian bankers that supposedly is coming to the Washington within the next week or so to talk about privatization? Is that meeting being posted by the State Department?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: I'm afraid I don't know anything about the meeting. Perhaps we could check on it and I gather we can post an answer for you. I'm just not familiar with the trip.

Q On China, apart from MFN, there are reports that the United States has agreed to permit more Chinese textiles to -- or to lower tariffs on some Chinese textiles as well as permitting the sale of some satellite equipment to China. Apart from MFN, are those reports true?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: There was an announcement today by Ambassador Kantor on the textile question. On the textile question, we have been negotiating with the Chinese for some very long time, unsuccessfully, to deal with the so-called transshipment issue in which they are in effect illegally sending textiles to the United States far above the quota that we had negotiated with them.

Those negotiations have gone nowhere and therefore today the U.S. announced that we will be in effect reducing the quota of textile imports from China allowed into the United States. So that announcement was made. I'd be happy to give you more details on that if you want.

Regarding the satellites, I don't have anything to announce right now. There are a number of discussions that have been going on within the U.S. Government regarding the satellite question. There have also been discussions between the United States and China regarding the issue of proliferation, and I think Mike McCurry may have something to tell you a little bit later today on that issue.

Q On the textiles, the amount allowed to be imported, will that be reduced by what the United States estimates the transshipments to be?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: They won't be reduced by that much. We estimate the transshipment -- of course, these numbers are not scientific, but they're not bad numbers. They're certainly order of magnitude. We estimate that they are transshiping over $2 billion worth of goods into the U.S. every year.

We have reduced the quotas by about 25 to 26 percent on average, and that we estimate will reduce the textile imports by about a $1.2 billion. So the flagrant level of Chinese exports transshipments to the U.S. is so high that even that will not capture all of it.

Q Is that the sort of a get-tough policy with China in trade specifically, and do you see it possibly carrying over towards Japan, should there not be more progress in the framework talks and other negotiations?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: Our trade policy with China is not particularly a get-tough policy. It has been a policy of negotiating with the Chinese. We have made serious efforts in the case of textiles to try to reach agreement with them, and they have not been cooperative at all.

We had even most recently invited them to engage in yet another stage of the negotiations. It's not clear yet whether or not they will accept that. We have said we're prepared to go to China; we're prepared to have them come here to see if we can resolve this textile issue.

But we've also made it very clear that the deadline has passed. The bilateral agreement between the U.S. and China on textiles lapsed on December 31, and so we have said we would and we will and have indeed today imposed quotas -- or actually lowered the quotas.

There are a number of outstanding trade issues with the Chinese in which we are in very positive engagement with them on market access and on intellectual property. We would hope that those would also be successful. If they are not successful, then we will have to make a decision about what actions to take.

Regarding a link between the U.S.-China negotiations and the U.S.-Japanese negotiations, I don't see any. Those are stand-alone negotiations. We are intensively meeting virtually every day in some forum or other with the Japanese to try to reach agreement on our framework. We are not making a lot of progress, though.

Q Are you anticipating retaliatory action by the Chinese?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: We'll have to see what the Chinese do.

Q How would you characterize the level of U.S. corporate interest in doing business with Cuba?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: I have to say that I meet with a lot of -- I come from the business community. I spend a lot of time reaching out to the business community in the U.S. Whenever I travel, I meet with the American business community in whatever country, and I have to say I have not heard a lot about the issue of Cuba. I hear a lot about other issues, but I haven't heard about Cuba. So if I'm a barometer, I haven't heard a lot, but that is not a scientific response.

Q Back to the President's trip: Can you tell us whether or not he is taking any new economic promises of help from the United States to any of the countries he is visiting?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: I think you'll just have to wait, and we'll let the President announce whatever he has to do and to say.

Q Could you tell us what the level is or what the country is? Is he taking any new economic promises to any of the countries?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: I don't think I'd want to discuss any of that until he's had a chance to review what his economic program is, both with our allies in Western Europe and with those in Eastern Europe and the ex-Soviet Union.

Q As you've just said the Administration today is taking these tough against China on the textile issue, but you've also indicated that we're not at all pleased with the way the negotiations with Japan and market penetration are going. Is there a likelihood or a possibility that if those talks are not satisfactorily resolved, we will retaliate against Japan in some way, too?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: Let me separate. There are at least two different kinds of discussions that are going on with Japan now. We have the discussions under the so-called Framework agreement, which is what the President and then-Prime Minister Miyazawa agreed last summer in Tokyo.

Those are negotiations in a broad range of issues. Our objective for the February 11 meeting is to have agreements in the areas of government procurement, particularly telecommunications and medical equipment; secondly, insurance; third, autos and auto parts; and then fourth, macroeconomic policy.

Those decisions would not be linked at this point to any kind of retaliation or trade action. That would not be appropriate at this point in time. We're just in the process of trying to decide what we decide to do.

There are other negotiations now or other issues under negotiation with Japan, particularly in the area of semiconductors and of construction. These are, of course, related to the framework in the sense that the framework includes implementation of existing agreements, but they are separate from those negotiations.

There is a January 20 deadline for a decision on the construction issues. Ambassador Kantor last October delayed a final decision under Title VII on construction because the Japanese had come out with a new plan and program for reforming their industry. We have to see the details of that plan to decide whether on January 20 we will move toward any action in semiconductors.

As you may know, there was a longstanding agreement with the Japanese that they would gradually increase their purchase of semiconductors. In fact, the level has not increased this last round. It's gone backwards. So we've asked for emergency discussions with Japan to determine what to do about that. So those are the two immediate issues on the table.

Q You say you're not happy about the lack of progress on the framework negotiations. Can you be a little bit more specific about it? Are some areas more difficult than the others?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: It seems all the areas are difficult. I can't think of an easy one. It seems that in all areas our Japanese interlocutors are being quite rigid, saying that they cannot discuss, as we had agreed in the Framework, quantitative and qualitative indicators. They don't want to talk about measurement, even though we agreed very clearly in our written document that we will discuss these indicators. They are resisting that.

They are totally resisting any serious dialogue in automotive and auto parts issues. So they are very, very tough negotiations, and we don't see a lot of progress.

Q The audiovisual sector was left out of the GATT agreement. Are we letting those tensions drop? Do we plan to negotiate with the Europeans on them, or are we considering retaliation about the European Union's quota system against American films?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: Frankly, we're not at the point of really having developed a policy on that. We've just managed to get what we think was a superb GATT agreement concluded. Admittedly, we didn't get everything. So, Steve, we haven't really gone back and looked what to do about audiovisual, but it is important to note that we kept all of our options open in that agreement. We did not bind ourselves in any way in that agreement. So if we eventually would decide that there was discrimination, we would have all of our options open, and I think that in the end what was really important for us.

Q In these Japanese talks, are you saying that they're being tough negotiators, tough bargainers, or do you detect a lack of sincerity and good will to reach an honest agreement along the framework that was set out?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: I hope that they are being very tough bargainers. I think that the situation right now in Japan is understandably a difficult one. The political leadership is focused on political reform which is very important for them. That process has been a longer one, I think, than Prime Minister Hosokawa expected.

The economy is in difficult shape, but in fact it is our very strong belief -- and I will be saying this next week in a speech I'm making in Japan to their National Press Club -- that in fact just at a time when the Japanese economy is in difficult straits, it needs the kind of structural reform, which is exactly what the framework is all about. It needs to have lower cost imports to improve the competitiveness of Japanese industry. It needs access to those telecommunications networks, to those financial services.

So in fact this is the moment when Japan in effect needs the framework as much as we do.

Q But isn't the Framework Agreement -- or pushing harder on the Framework risk weakening Prime Minister Hosokawa's already fragile coalition?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: I think Prime Minister Hosokawa has to answer that question. We have committed, and his government has committed, and he has said himself that he will follow through on that commitment made, and specifically endorsed it and discussed it with President Clinton, both in September when they met at the U.N. and when they met in Seattle. So he is committed to that.

Q I believe that textile negotiations with India were postponed by a month, I believe. (Inaudible) Any possibility that the U.S. will agree to that?

UNDER SECRETARY SPERO: I think one of the critical issues for India, which came out in the GATT Round, was to what extent India will be willing to open its markets to textile imports from the United States and the other developed countries which are highly competitive.

You cannot ask for increased access for your products into somebody else's market and continue to keep out competitive products in the same sector from the country where you are seeking access. So I think it is a two-way street.

Q Thank you.

MR. McCURRY: And with that, a "thank you," Under Secretary Spero for that.

I'll take any additional questions you might have on other subjects

Q On a housekeeping matter, is there going to be a briefing here tomorrow or is Secretary Christopher's appearance going to be instead of the briefing?

MR. McCURRY: Thanks for reminding me. We will not have a regular briefing here at the Department tomorrow due to the Secretary's participation in the briefing over at the White House.

I'm not certain that we've been given a time yet for that, but as soon as we've got a time from the White House for that briefing, later on we will share it with all of you.

Q Anything on Ambassador Zimmermann? Is he still with the Department?

MR. McCURRY: I think Ambassador Zimmermann has sent a personal letter to the Secretary just a short while ago. I don't have anything for you on the contents of the letter, and I think that they do plan to get together. As you know, the Secretary is leaving -- I think Secretary Christopher will be getting together with Ambassador Zimmermann upon his return from the coming trip to Europe and Russia.

Q Could you say that Ambassador Zimmermann has resigned?

MR. McCURRY: I can't say. I don't know whether it -- I think he's indicated an intention to depart. I don't know whether it's retirement -- I'm just not familiar with the contents of a letter that he addressed personally to the Secretary.

Q Do you know when he intends to depart?


Q I mean you don't know whether his departure has anything to do with his unhappiness over Bosnia policy or any other thing? you're totally --

MR. McCURRY: I don't have anything on the contents of the letter, no.

Q Mike, after these talks -- trilateral talks -- Russia, Ukraine, and the United States -- do you now think it is likely there will be a tripartite summit in Moscow?

MR. McCURRY: I think that's a question still very much up in the air.

Q Do you think those talks produced any progress toward pinning down implementation?


Q What kind of progress?

MR. McCURRY: Forward progress. (Laughter)

Q What kind of forward progress?

MR. McCURRY: I think that there are difficult, tough issues that have been under discussion. I think that they've certainly narrowed the differences between the parties on some of those issues and presented some ideas that they're now sharing, as you know, in each of the respective capitals; and we'll have to wait and see what the progress that they made in these talks might yield.

Q Mike, in his luncheon with the columnists yesterday, President Clinton talked about reassessing the Administration's approach to Haiti; and he seemed to be distancing himself from President Aristide. Can you give us some sense of where this reassessment is going?

MR. McCURRY: Well, I think he was obviously very candid in the session yesterday, and I don't want to say anything -- go beyond the President's own remarks, but maybe it would be good to review. There are some things new on Haiti. We haven't discussed Haiti here for a while, and I'll go through a few things, Steve.

First, you know, making it absolutely clear our overall policy objectives on Haiti:

We are seeking to bring about the return of constitutional government and President Aristide to Haiti through a negotiated resolution of the crisis. That remains fundamentally embedded in our diplomacy, as it is within the Governors Island process -- the Governors Island Accords -- all the meetings of the Four Friends and the demarches that have been presented late last year to the Haitian military authorities and to others.

I'd say, in reviewing where we are, in addition to the diplomatic efforts, the international community has been fully engaged in enforcing worldwide sanctions. Naval vessels from a number of nations, including the United States, have been participating in sanctions enforcement. That effort alone though, clearly, will not achieve the goal of returning democracy and President Aristide to Haiti because the Haiti crisis is political. The Haitians themselves need to concentrate on developing a political settlement to the crisis, and they are the only ones who can take at this point the necessary action to do so.

Now, while our focus is on the diplomatic effort and will continue to be on the diplomatic effort, there are a lot of things that have been swirling in recent days, and I'll say a few things about them.

First, there have been several different proposals for some type of conference that would focus on the political steps necessary to implement the Governors Island Accord. Whether there is one conference, whether there are several conferences in Haiti -- whether they're in Miami or whether they're elsewhere -- we believe it would necessary to invite all of the parties, including the military, to have present all of the Haitian parties who have roles to play in resolving the crisis. Now that does not imply any form of power-sharing with the military, and that's never been an aspect that we have put in our diplomacy. We have said over and over and made it clear that the military must get out of politics altogether.

I think if you go back to the paper that we made available to you that was delivered by the Four Friends on December 22nd to the Haitian military high command, we made clear at that time -- and quoting from that, we said: "If the Haitian military in good faith takes all the necessary actions within its capacities to bring about the fulfillment of the Governors Island agreement, the sanctions should be suspended regardless of the actions of other parties."

That was meaningful language in that communique. I think we believe if that happens -- if they move ahead in that fashion, acting in good faith and living up to their obligations under the Governors Island framework -- if that happens, the opportunities and resources available for Haitian recovery are significant. They can include economic and financial assistance from the international financial institutions that we've talked about here in the past. They could include programs for education, for infrastructure, for judicial reform and the private sector to help Haiti repair its social fabric. We think that would have a very immediate impact on the economy. It would obviously increase morale. Morale is low in Haiti now because of the impact of the sanctions.

The effect of the sanctions, particularly on the needy, has been documented by many news organizations. We are well aware of that. That leads to something else interesting and new.

On January l2, a fuel tanker will arrive in Port-au-Prince to deliver the first shipment of fuel to private voluntary organizations that had been involved in the delivery of food and medicine to the most needy people in Haiti. This fuel is the property of an international organization, the Pan American Health Organization. It is protected under international law. So for those humanitarian purposes under the relevant U.N. embargo sanctions that fuel can proceed because it's for humanitarian purposes.

The U.N. and the OAS have established an emergency fuel facility -- or they will establish a fuel facility -- in response to a request by Prime Minister Malval to establish something in Haiti that can help assist the delivery of humanitarian goods.

There has been a problem with trucks and delivery vehicles -- people who are trying to get food supplies to the food delivery stations throughout Haiti that are set up -- they've been running into difficulties because of the impact of the sanctions. So this is clearly an effort to do something about that.

We would say, by the way, that it is an obligation of the Haitian military not to interfere with this international effort to distribute fuel to humanitarian relief operations.

Now, on the humanitarian side, the reason that fuel is important: We've been feeding, as of the end of the year, approximately 870,000 Haitians per day. We're giving them food through a feeding program that's funded by the United States, the European Union, and others.

There are about 2 million additional Haitians who are receiving basic medical care through a similar program.

Those numbers have been affected by the availability of fuel in recent weeks, so the effort to get a shipment of fuel back will help with the humanitarian efforts underway.

Well, why am I going on at some length about this? Because, you know, the commentary and the conditions within Haiti have been a very real source of concern to us.

But again, to remind you, the failure of the Haitian military to live up to those obligations are the things that triggered those sanctions. The diplomatic effort to bring the Haitian military into this process, into a process that could reinvigorate the Governors Island Accord and thus lead to the restoration of democracy and President Aristide to Haiti, is something that is obviously an important part of the work we're doing diplomatically at this time.

Q So like the fuel tanker -- I'm assuming the Sanctions Committee at the U.N. granted a waiver to go through? Is that --

MR. McCURRY: I think it was done, yes -- I don't know what type of waiver it gets under international law, but it clearly was sanctioned by either the appropriate authorities, I would say. I can check and see who exactly sanctioned it.

By the way, this is a commercial fuel tanker which is on lease to the Shell Oil Company. It had been making routine deliveries in the Caribbean, and the humanitarian organizations that want to come in and purchase the fuel will have to qualify under very strict standards if they're going to go in and buy fuel to use for the vehicles that they are running back and forth.

The United States provided about $700,000 in initial funding for a revolving fund that is allowing the Pan American Health Organization to purchase that fuel and then move it en route. Some of that will be recovered through sales. Obviously, in the most urgent situations, some of that will be donated.


Q Just to follow up. What is to prevent the Haitian military from just stepping in and taking it?

MR. McCURRY: Well, they can't. If they did that that would be a very serious effort to disrupt an ongoing humanitarian effort in their own country attempting to address the humanitarian needs of their own citizens. I think that would have enormous consequences for the Haitian military within Haiti -- and certainly within the world community.

Q You said the lack of fuel had affected the numbers of people who were getting humanitarian aid. Can you quantify that for us? I mean --

MR. McCURRY: Well, I gave you -- the numbers I gave you, 870,000 -- roughly, 870,000 people per day -- who had been receiving meals, that was as of December 30th, so that's very, very recently.

The worry was, as the stockpiles dwindled for those humanitarian vehicles, that we would face in coming weeks a real problem getting the food delivered. But as of December 30th, they had been feeding at that level; and I don't know whether in recent days they have noticed some concern, but I think there was concern that that would affect their ability to deliver necessary humanitarian relief.

Q So it's a future concern. It's not something that's been felt to date, as far as you know?

MR. McCURRY: I think it may have been felt somewhat, but clearly it had not seriously disrupted the ability to get food into the countryside. But the concern that that might be a consequence is something that we had wanted to address.

Is the Administration planning on sending a representative to the Miami conference called for by Aristide, and does it endorse that conference?

MR. McCURRY: Well, as I say, we have indicated that the conferences that will help all the parties -- part of the Governors Island process -- move towards a political settlement can be helpful; and, as I indicated earlier, whether there's one conference, several conferences, if they can help move the process forward we would welcome that now.

I will tell you that there have been discussions between the President, the President's representative in the United States, on the question of that conference. I think that's how the conference is structured, what issues it will address, is something that is currently under study, and maybe I'll have a little more for you in future days on that.

Q So wait a second, are they reassessing, so far as you know, the decision to make it a refugee conference?

MR. McCURRY: I think that's a strong possibility. My understanding is that they are; but to what degree or how they might address the substance of the conference itself, I think I will leave that up to the President and his representatives to address.

Q I just wanted to be clear on this fuel tanker. The tanker is going to dock offshore, you said; right?

MR. McCURRY: I don't have anything on the operational details of the ship's arrival and how it's going to dock.

Q Is the U.S. prepared to respond militarily if the Haitian military acts to seize the vessel, seize the fuel --

MR. McCURRY: I don't want to get into that. That's certainly something that we don't anticipate. It's very clear that this is a humanitarian shipment designed to help the citizens of Haiti, and we don't anticipate any problems with its arrival.

Q (Inaudible)

MR. McCURRY: We don't anticipate any problems with this arrival.


Q Michael, just a clarification on the conference in Miami. Are you saying that the U.S. is asking Aristide not to address the issue of refugees during this conference, the planned conference?

MR. McCURRY: We're saying that the conferences -- going back in the history of this, going back to remember Prime Minister Malval proposing such a conference, it's designed to reinvigorate a political process that will solve the political crisis in Haiti and lead to the return of democracy and the duly-elected President.

The conferences that we are interested in are the conferences that get to the core issues that are blocking the return of democracy and the return of the President.

Q Earlier today, Congressman Frank McCloskey contended that on October 13, the Secretary signed off on language in a letter to him that ethnic cleansing by the Bosnian Serbs constituted acts of genocide and that six days later when Mr. McCloskey called for the Secretary's resignation, Secretary Christopher's authority to send that letter out was rescinded. Can you confirm that? Comment on it?

MR. McCURRY: I have no idea what the Congressman is talking about. I'll check into that, but he often says things that I have no way of understanding.

Q Still on Yugoslavia: Has there been any contact between the French Government and Secretary Christopher on the issue of what the French have been saying over the last couple of days about possibly having the United States help to open the airport at Tuzla and help out those Danish peacekeepers?

MR. McCURRY: There has been considerable contact, as you would expect -- there would have been considerable contact anyway between the United States and our allies in Europe because of the approach of the summit. I think the subject of Bosnia has been a regular part of a lot of that discussion.

We've been monitoring closely the events in Bosnia. Obviously, there has been heavy shelling in Sarajevo today. It's a situation that certainly has grown -- as far as the shelling -- grown worse in recent days than it has been in recent weeks.

France, the United States, and other allies have discussed the situation in the context of what decisions might have to be reached by NATO in the coming summit. NATO forces have been involved in enforcing the embargo, the "no-fly" zone. They're positioned to provide close air support to UNPROFOR if requested by the U.N. Secretary General. Beyond saying that Bosnia will clearly be something that gets addressed at the summit, I don't have anything further other than to say we are obviously going to continue our own humanitarian relief efforts.

Q Did (inaudible) specifically speak to what the French have been saying publicly about this proposal?

MR. McCURRY: I think you need to go back to the French and see what they have been saying publicly.

Q That is what they've been saying publicly.

MR. McCURRY: I think you need to go back to the French and see what they've been saying publicly.

Q Have they been misreported in the press?

MR. McCURRY: I'm not suggesting that. I think you just need to go back to the French and see what they have to say.

Q Does the United States have a reaction to the French decision to repatriate to Iran two Iranians who were arrested for murdering a mujahidin leader in Switzerland?

MR. McCURRY: I was actually looking for another thing. I've got a comment on another case, but not that one. I'll check and see. I think we may have had something in the past couple of days. I don't have it here with me. But if I've got something, Steve, I'll try to post it.

Q Can we go back to the Yugoslav question? Why do you not want to respond to that issue?

MR. McCURRY: Respond to what?

Q The fact that the French are talking to reporters --

MR. McCURRY: Which statement in particular do you want me to respond to?

Q I'm speaking specifically about two things that the French have mentioned, and that is, soliciting U.S. support to help open the airport at Tuzla and help in trying to rescue or facilitate Danish peacekeepers who are trying to get to Srebrenica?

MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware that they have formally broached that subject, but I'll check and see if they have. But you might want to go back to the French and check with them, too.

Q Can I just follow up on that? Has Foreign Minister Juppe been in contact with Secretary Christopher in the last 24 hours?

MR. McCURRY: As I say, it's hard for me to say because the Secretary has had a series of contacts with his counterparts going up to the summit. A lot of that is related to the work of the summit, obviously. I'll have to check and see. I'm not sure I will be able to give you much detail about any diplomatic contacts that they've had. Again, I'm suggesting that you check with the French further.

Q Mike, the Secretary and his aides in Europe a few weeks ago said that one of the things they wanted to do in Bosnia was to help open the airport in Tuzla. Do we still support that initiative? Are there problems with it now? Have we even made any progress on that at all?

MR. McCURRY: We've had under discussion for some time with our allies the question of whether Tuzla airport could be used, particularly because of its importance in the delivery of humanitarian relief. I think, as you know, in Rome we indicated, and we have indicated to our allies, that we're willing to assist in the operation of the airport and in using that for humanitarian relief, if it can, in fact, be open.

We have, obviously, made many diplomatic efforts to get the airport open so that it can be used for the delivery of humanitarian relief supplies.

The question of what the current status is at Tuzla is something that I think is under discussion between the United States and its allies. I just don't have anything for you at this moment on those discussions.

Q Mike, were you meaning to suggest a few minutes ago that NATO might actually do something regarding the August declarations in terms of the strangulation issue or close air support? It would come as a surprise to many of us if that were to happen.

MR. McCURRY: I was just saying that NATO forces have been involved and they're in a position on close air support -- you're referring to the August 9 NATO Communique, which does remain valid, but I wasn't suggesting that that has been activated or that there is an effort underway to activate it.

Q Could I ask you another question on Haiti for a second? Is the U.S. prepared to support a full-scale world and trade embargo of Haiti if the January 15 deadline elapses?

MR. McCURRY: I would have to go back and look -- we've said very precisely in those December 22 documents that we released, I believe the language was that we would be willing to make universal the OAS embargo package, which is, in effect -- I think language to that effect -- and also consider restrictions on commercial air traffic. There was some very specific language in that document. I don't have that with me, but you should go back and look at that. And, yes, on behalf of not only the United States but together with Venezuela, Canada and France, made it clear that we were willing to consider an expansion of those sanctions.

Q I'm sorry, but you're saying you're willing to consider it after the 15th. I'm not sure what the significance of the deadline is. I mean, is it a statement that you will be taking action after the 15th?

MR. McCURRY: They said that by the 15th, they wanted to see progress on those things that were outlined. I'd have to go back -- if you go back and check the wording -- I think they said here are the things that we think are necessary to move ahead; if nothing of that nature has happened by the 15th, then we need to move ahead. I think we also suggested that the OAS/UN Special Envoy Dante Caputo at that point would be in a position where they might need to call some type of international conference to consider further options.

Q Also on Haiti, in his letter to the Secretary, did Ambassador Zimmermann express reservations about the U.S. policy in --

MR. McCURRY: I said several times I don't have anything on the contents of the letter.

Q Does the United States have any reaction to what President Aristide told the Miami Herald, saying that a surgical strike might not be a bad idea?

MR. McCURRY: It wasn't just the Herald. He had a luncheon a couple of days ago with a group of reporters, in which he -- I don't think he said exactly that, but he had somewhat different and more colorful phrasing. I would just simply say that his remarks in that respect were clearly not consistent with the thrust of our own policy and with the thrust of the effort of the international community to seek his return to Haiti.

Q President Clinton wrote a letter to an organization called the (inaudible) American Council, in which he says he's looking forward to working with them to help bring peace to Kashmir. I was wondering if this (inaudible) a more activist U.S. policy (inaudible)?

MR. McCURRY: No, I'm not aware of that letter, but certainly as we indicated the other day, our interest in seeing dialogue that can lead to resolution of the Kashmir issue remains very strong. I think we posted just the other day a sort of result of some of the recent talks, our reaction to that, and I think that stands as where we are. I'm not familiar with the letter, but you might check at the White House further on it.

Q On the same topic, Mike. In that same letter, he also -- President Clinton also indicated that he was troubled by Indian human rights abuse in Kashmir. Would you say that's an accurate --

MR. McCURRY: What the Department has said about that is covered in our annual report. On the letter itself, I'd suggest going to the White House.


Q Do you know anything about whether proliferation issues are going to come up in the discussions with Yeltsin -- the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, that type of thing?

MR. McCURRY: Among the other things that the peripatetic Lynn Davis has been doing in recent days has been meeting with Russians on some of the proliferation aspects of the coming summit. So I do expect that there will be discussion of a number of issues ranging through our proliferation concerns. Yes, I do. I don't have specifics for you at this point. I think we are -- despite our track record on briefing this week, we are trying to save some news for next week.

Q Under Secretary Spero said you might have something to add on China.

MR. McCURRY: I had told her earlier that I did. I don't. What I have got is a promise that we will have some things to say later on today. I think that you are aware, just to recap where we are, the question of the satellite transfers came up, and I think you know, going back to the APEC meetings in Seattle, there was a discussion of that issue at that time. We were indicating very clearly to the Chinese that following our August imposition of sanctions on the M-11-related transfer, we were strongly interested in entering into some type of dialogue with them that could resolve our proliferation concerns. I think we will probably have something further to say on that later this afternoon.

Of course, the question of the satellites themselves is a Commerce-regulated thing, so between the State Department and the Commerce Department, we will sort out who is saying what.

Q Thank you.

MR. McCURRY: Thank you.


To the top of this page