U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING INDEX Friday, April 15, 1994 Briefer: Michael McCurry SUBJECT PAGE IRAQ Accidental Shoot-Down of Two Helicopters ........1-2,7-8 -- Death of FSO Barbara Schell .................1-2 FORMER YUGOSLAVIA Harassment of UN Personnel/Personnel Detained ...2 Diplomatic Efforts to Resolve Conflict ..........2-3 -- Consultations with Serbs by Churkin..........2 -- US Contacts with Churkin/Parties ............2-3 Status of Gorazde ...............................3-4,14-15 US Peace Efforts ................................13-14 Threats to Safe Areas/UN Bombing ................14-15 SINGAPORE Update on Michael Fay ...........................5 MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS Jordan/Efforts to Curb Terrorism ................5-6 Secretary's Contacts with Rabin .................5-6 JORDAN Jordan/Efforts to Curb Terrorism ................5-6 RUSSIA Status of Membership in Partnership for Peace ...6-7 HAITI US Policy to Restore Democracy/Obey Statement ...8 INDIA/PAKISTAN Results of Deputy Secretary's Visit .............9 NORTH KOREA Asst. Secretary Gallucci's Visit to South Korea .9,13 Completion of IAEA Inspections/Sanctions ........9-13 CHINA Asst. Secretary Gallucci's Visit ................13
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 1994, 1:04 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon everybody. It's my sad duty to start with some sad news today.
The Department of State is deeply sadden at the death in action in northern Iraq April 14 of Foreign Service Officer Barbara L. Schell. Ms. Schell was an area specialists serving as the Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commanding General of "Operation Provide Comfort." Her career saw a succession of difficult and sometimes dangerous assignments. She had been cited for her heroism during her service at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran, during its occupation by militants in 1979. She was also cited for her work in helping to address the needs of American citizens evacuating from Iran during that same period.
Those who knew her here at the Department described her as an independent adventuresome person who had very much wanted the job that she was serving in. She had been very excited by the challenge that this job offered. She was known to her friends as someone with a dry sense of humor and a very warm spirit.
Secretary Christopher had actually met Barbara Schell when he was in Alexandria, Egypt, last August. She was serving at the time as Consul General there. The Secretary, along with many others here in the Department, have been in touch with Barbara's family to express their deepest condolences. And, of course, on behalf of the Department I express my condolences to Ms. Schell's family.
Q How old was she?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have her age. She's been a Foreign Service Officer since 1966.
Q Can you spell her last name?
MR. McCURRY: S-C-H-E-L-L.
Q Mike do you think the Press Office might have a bio?
MR. McCURRY: We've got some biographical data on her that we can make available. Her prior posts include, as I mentioned, Alexandria. She had served in Chad, Damascus, Algeria, and in Tehran. She had actually rotated out of Tehran prior to the hostage-taking in November of 1979, but she had been there during a lot of the period prior to that, when at one point the Embassy itself was occupied.
Q Do you have a picture?
MR. McCURRY: I'll check and see.
Q Mike, do you see the Administration lowering its rhetoric? I think it is. But beyond that, is it pulling back in some way on Bosnia, having conducted two air attacks on the premise that some dozen peacekeepers were threatened by Serb shelling. Now, more than 200 are detained or restricted by the Serbs.
There are reports that Gorazde is about to fall. We're saying - - the U.S. is saying, the best way out of this is to settle things. It seems rather lame to --
MR. McCURRY: That's not true. We have said over and over again, and say again today, that any continued assault on Gorazde or threat to U.N. personnel will elicit the predictable response. But this had been and is a day in which diplomacy was to have made some headway, and we will find out -- we're probably finding out now how far diplomacy has gotten today.
Deputy Foreign Minister Churkin has been meeting with the Serbs in Pale. He is now briefing Ambassador Redman on the substance of those talks and what might happen next to achieve a cessation of hostilities and a cease-fire around Gorazde. But the Serbs know and have been told, and should not mistake the determination of UNPROFOR to protect those U.N. peacekeepers who are serving in Gorazde now.
Q But you're taking your lead from the Russians, and the Russians apparently want to go easy on the Serbs and don't want military action. If you're depending on the Russians --
MR. McCURRY: Barry, the Russians want what we want, which is an end to the fighting in Bosnia. They want a cessation of hostilities that can set the groundwork for an overall peace settlement.
Q The Vice President said yesterday that what the Russians want is -- politely, they want the partition of Bosnia and the creation of a Serb republic within Bosnia. That's not your objective, is it?
MR. McCURRY: Ambassador Redman has been in discussions today with President Izetbegovic and Prime Minister Silajdzic. I think that we are well apprised of their views. Certainly, they have told us that they would like to see conditions created that would allow for a discussion about peace. They see no mileage in continuing killing at this point.
Q What do you know now about the situation in Gorazde? The Vice President was saying upstairs earlier that there were advances overnight; the wires are reporting that it's about to fall?
MR. McCURRY: There are mixed reports. There have been some statements from UNPROFOR that we're looking into now. But I'd make very clear once again that the West has responded and will respond to any attempt to threaten those U.N. personnel serving in Gorazde by attempting to take Gorazde by force.
Q Mike, if Gorazde is about to fall, then presumably the conditions and the Serb advance to get in a position to take Gorazde would have had to happen over time, not just within the last half hour.
Has the United States not known about this? Has the U.N. not known about it? Suddenly they quickly push all their troops and materiel within striking distance?
MR. McCURRY: No. The United Nations has been monitoring the Serbs and the Serb positions on the ground constantly, and they've got military observers present who are doing exactly that. Those are the exact people who are threatened, so they have first-hand accounts from the military observers in Gorazde.
Q Did you say at the briefing yesterday that one reason for the air attacks earlier this week is that Gorazde was about to fall?
MR. McCURRY: I said that General Rose's determination when he made the request to protect the UNPROFOR units under attack is that Gorazde might very likely fall; yes.
Q But the United States does not have an independent position that Gorazde should not be allowed to fall; is that right?
MR. McCURRY: We have a position that's consistent with the United Nations position, which is that Gorazde is a U.N. protected safe area.
Q I'm a little puzzled, though. On the one hand you seem to be optimistic because the Serbs are willing to talk. Yet, their whole good faith, if there is any good faith, seemed to be undermined by the fact that they are seeming to be about to take Gorazde?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not there and you're not there, and we don't know what the Serbs are doing in Gorazde right now. We've seen conflicting reports that they might be advancing. There's some information from the United Nations that they may have resumed fighting. We don't know what their objectives are.
But throughout many long weeks, their military posture on the ground, in the belief of many, have been directly related to what they're trying to accomplish in negotiations.
Q Mike, slightly hypothetical. Comes the obvious question: If Gorazde falls now -- it's nightfall or nearabouts -- what can the United Nations or NATO do in such a case if the city is in the hands of the Serbs come dawn?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know the answer to that. I know that there are things they can do to protect the U.N. personnel who were there; and if the city is about to fall, as it was this past weekend, there might very well be a request from General Rose related to the safety of U.N. personnel in Gorazde. I think we just need to wait and see what develops.
Q Have there been contacts with General Rose today? And do you anticipate such a request?
MR. McCURRY: I don't want to speculate on what General Rose might or might not request. There had been, yes, on-going contacts, Barry.
Q Sixty-five thousand civilians. What does the Serb's track record suggest to the State Department might happen to those civilians that the Serbs get their mitts on Gorazde?
MR. McCURRY: It's not a happy record. The precedence are obvious, and they include many episodes that you're familiar with.
Q A different subject. Michael Fay, in Singapore. Does the U.S. find credible the assertion that he was abused when he was in jail, that his confession was coerced? And what, if anything more, is the Administration prepared to do to press the case for clemency?
MR. McCURRY: The President himself has pressed the case for clemency. I think the Department has been in contact with government officials in Singapore.
There's nothing to my knowledge that's changed in the views that we've expressed to the Government of Singapore. I know that there have discussions with his attorneys. On the other matter you raised, I'm not certain what the status of those allegations are.
Q So there's no opinion here as to whether or not those reports are credible or not?
MR. McCURRY: I think we've been discussing with the Government of Singapore the concerns that his lawyers have expressed. I don't have a judgment on those reports.
Q If I could just ask one more, because I gather it's been a subject of some research. Is it true that no Singaporean has ever received this sentence for a similar offense?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know. It would be proper to ask the Government of Singapore that.
Q On the Middle East?
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Prime Minister Rabin has been reported as calling the Secretary to express his outrage that Jordan is permitting Hamas to operate out of their territory. You sort of sloughed the question off yesterday.
But given Rabin's telephone call, could the State Department weigh-in on Jordan's status vis-a-vis Hamas?
MR. McCURRY: We have been in touch with the Government of Jordan about this issue. The Government of Jordan shares our abhorrence for terrorism. The Government of Jordan has a good record of acting to prevent terrorism.
Q Do they protect Hamas? While their abhor terrorism, are they shielding Hamas?
MR. McCURRY: It's our understanding that the Government of Jordan has and will continue to take steps to curb support for terrorism.
Q I'm sorry, Mike. What they're going to do in the future is part of the issue. But have they been harboring Hamas?
MR. McCURRY: I think we've addressed their relationship to Hamas in our most recent report on terrorism.
Q You remember -- maybe that's the answer, to go to the report. But the other day we were asking, if not all -- which -- maybe all of the Arab governments you want Israel to make peace with and give territory to. Which of them support Hamas? I think you said you were going to look into it.
Then came the great furor over Jordan, which probably had the best relationship of any of the Arab countries with Israel except, possibly, for Egypt.
You have a peace process hanging in the balance and the Israelis are getting a little anxious, I suppose.
MR. McCURRY: I will look into that. We were looking into that. I'm not sure if we got an answer yet, but we'll see if we got one.
Q A quick follow-up. A telephone call to the Secretary. Can you confirm that? Can you give a readout at all on that?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have a readout on it. I think they have been in contact. If they were in contact, I wasn't aware that it was today, but I'll double-check that and I'll see if we can at least confirm it or post something on it.
Q And was that the purpose of his call, to express -- as is being reported -- to express his concern about Jordan's situation with Hamas?
MR. McCURRY: I think that they've been in contact on a range of matters in recent days.
Q There's a report out of Brussels that Russia has told the alliance that it's not going to sign up with the Partnership for Peace, at least not at the date it said it would.
Has the United States been told this? And what's your reaction?
MR. McCURRY: I think we've had some contact with Russia about that. We know that they were looking at the question of Partnership for Peace. The door is open to them for membership. Others have taken advantage of this and I think are beginning to forge a working relationship with NATO that will be to the mutual benefit of those who participate. We continue to feel that Russian participation in Partnership for Peace would be both to the mutual benefit of Russia and NATO. But it really would be sort of up to them to decide whether they want to take advantage of that opportunity.
Q Are you disappointed?
Q What did they tell you? Did they say they're not going to --
MR. McCURRY: They've told us the very same thing they've now announced publicly.
Q Can I just follow up on that?
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q Are you disappointed, though, that they've apparently -- the situation with Bosnia has apparently led them to this decision?
MR. McCURRY: I wouldn't say that, nor can I confirm that they've changed their view based on the events in Bosnia. There's one suggestion of that that you see reported from the Minister of Defense.
There was a discussion by President Yeltsin earlier in the week that touched on economic issues. I think the Government of Russia will have to sort out their thinking on that. But, as I say, the door is open for them to participate, and we think it would be beneficial both to the West and to Russia.
Q Did they give you any idea why they're not going to be in Brussels the 21st to sign the document?
MR. McCURRY: We've had a lot of discussion with them, but I don't know that we've had a follow-up discussion with them about their latest thinking.
If I get a report on that from our Embassy, I'll pass it on.
Q Mike, on Iraq, there was a long meeting at the White House this morning to discuss it. Has any new information come out that would explain what happened?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of, no. I think that that covered a lot of subjects in addition to Iraq.
Q Haiti: Quoting one of the papers this morning as saying that Obey's views would be taken seriously because of his stature. Has there been any discussion within the Administration about the possible use of force? And can you explain (a) whether you've ruled it out and/or (b) why the United States, up until now, opposes this action?
MR. McCURRY: Given Congressman Obey's stature, anything that he would say on an important matter like that would certainly deserve a great deal of attention by the Administration, and his views on that subject will be looked at carefully.
I did indicate, though, that the United States continues to believe that in pursuing our objective, which is the return of President Aristide and the return of democracy to Haiti, that diplomacy is the path that we are on and that we are properly on.
But as to what types of things are under review, as the Administration looks at Haiti, I just don't want to speculate on that.
Q Excuse me. Why do you oppose the use of force?
MR. McCURRY: I didn't say I opposed the use of force. I said that what was under review, we're just not going to speculate on at this point.
Q But by making that comment about Obey and saying that the use of force was not ruled out, do you really want to leave the impression that this is a viable option that the United States is considering at this time?
MR. McCURRY: I think I was very clear in saying that at the moment we are pursuing a path of diplomacy. We think diplomacy has the best chance of achieving our objectives which are the return of President Aristide and democracy to Haiti.
Q Can I ask you about on Bosnia? The Ukrainians -- you remember you were telling us yesterday some 500 are due by the end of the month. Is that still on track, considering Gorazde's --
MR. McCURRY: What I was told yesterday, they are still scheduled to be deployed. But things are happening in Bosnia, it goes without saying.
Q Mike, South Asia. When Deputy Secretary Talbott visited India and Pakistan, some of his goals were supposed to have been promotion of nuclear non-proliferation, missile control and regional security. Now that he's back, can you tell us how much of this is achieved?
MR. McCURRY: I heard the Deputy Secretary talking about his trip this morning. I believe he feels he made good progress in his discussions both in Delhi and Islamabad. I think he feels, as to the goals of his trip he advanced them; and I think he's satisfied that they'll be good, continuing discussions with both governments.
Q Korea apparently today dropped its condition of having an exchange of envoys with Pyongyang. I was wondering how this will play into your efforts to try to resolve the impasse over the nuclear program?
MR. McCURRY: As you know, Ambassador Gallucci is over there specifically to talk to some of the governments in the region. He's been in China; had good discussions there. He will then go onto Seoul and really explore their thinking.
We were aware that they were looking at the question of the exchange of envoys. I think the important thing to us has been and will continue to be -- the important thing is to get the IAEA inspectors back into North Korea to complete the inspections that were agreed to in February. And it is very important to implement the North-South denuclearization agreement. Those are going to remain key objectives that we will pursue.
The South has made it very clear that it agrees with those objectives and that North-South dialogue and mutual inspections are necessary to implement the North-South agreement. That is the basis upon which Ambassador Gallucci will be pursuing discussions with the South Koreans, and they are going to be looking very carefully at what they can do to try to bring the Democratic People's Republic of Korea back into a dialogue that can resolve a lot of the questions the international community has on the status of their nuclear program.
Q A follow-up on that. Given the fact that the Koreans have dropped this condition, does that suggest at this point that sooner rather than later the United States and North Korea can go back into senior-level negotiations even before the IAEA goes back into the nuclear sites?
MR. McCURRY: I can't foresee any circumstances under which the United States could pursue a high-level discussion with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea absent a successful completion of the IAEA inspections.
Q You may have noticed the interview with Blix?
MR. McCURRY: Yes.
Q And the story suggests at least two important differences between U.S. objectives and his. You know, according to their account, and I'm not sure it's correct, the U.S. is relaxed about all this and says if the inspectors are allowed in in the next six months, that will be just terrific, whereas he says, "Let's get it done within a month." And then his emphasis on the waste sites, which -- and, of course, you want looked at, too.
But could you get into that a little bit while you're on Korea? Is there some difference in the sense of urgency between the U.S. and the IAEA?
MR. McCURRY: I think the six-month reference is -- I think you're referring to -- Secretary Christopher was asked about some remarks that Secretary Perry made, and I think he was talking about a time frame in which you really begin to learn more and understand more about the current status of the program and where it's headed.
We are not at all at odds with the IAEA on the issue of diversion of material, and should they establish from their own review of the inspections that did occur in March that there has been diversion of material or a break in continuity or something that indicates a change in the status of the program, that would be a very real concern. There would be no basis by which we could continue dialogue at that point, and, of course, we would have to pursue the matter at the Security Council. But I sort of dispute the sense that there's any variance between our views and the views of the IAEA.
Q Mike, this sort of got lost in the shuffle, but the inspection of these two waste sites is what triggered this whole thing.
MR. McCURRY: Well --
Q Generally speaking.
MR. McCURRY: The thing that we're in right now is a question about the completion of much more limited inspections that deal with just the continuity of safeguards necessary to assure that there's been no diversion of material.
Q But can this critical mass that's been started -- diplomatic mass -- be stopped short of the inspection of the two waste sites?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure -- try that question again with a different metaphor. I'm not sure that I like that one.
Q Will you call the dogs off until you get inspections of all seven sites and the two waste sites?
MR. McCURRY: I think those are two separate questions. At the moment we're involved in the issue of completing successfully the inspections necessary to assure the continuity of safeguards -- to assure that there has been no diversion of material since the last IAEA inspections.
That is something that is involved now in the discussion about whether or not there can be a third round of discussions between the DPRK and the United States. In that third round of high-level talks, we could begin to explore issues that are necessary to more fully understand North Korea's nuclear program.
That's, I think, where the issue of the waste sites, other types of aspects of their nuclear program come into play. But I'd like to separate those two questions. There's a lot we need to know about North Korea's nuclear program. We're not asking that we find it all out instantly. We're asking at the moment that the inspections necessary to assure that there's been no diversion of material be completed. That is a step-by-step process. By no means does that resolve the issue for the United States. We need to have a continuing dialogue with them.
But I think in addition to further inspections, the dialogue between the North and the South itself would be important in learning more and understanding better the purpose and the scope of North Korea's nuclear program. I don't want to put these two things in the same box.
Q But the looming threat, spoken or unspoken, of sanctions, economic -- U.N. economic sanctions does not go away until the IAEA gets into the two waste sites. Is that correct?
MR. McCURRY: I think that's correct, yes. I think the notion that the international community will have to pursue this issue and understand more fully what is happening with their program is going to be a feature of our diplomacy. That's not suggesting that we are -- you know exactly what we are pursuing at the moment. I don't want to exaggerate that. We've had a President's Council that the
entire world community has signed on to via the Security Council.
That's where matters stand at this point. It would be less than genuine to suggest that there isn't opposition to the idea of sanctions. I think you're aware of that.
Q Mike, you said a little earlier that you could not foresee any circumstances under which we would continue or resume a high- level dialogue without successful completion of the February inspections. Can you foresee any circumstances under which we would continue a high- level dialogue without an exchange of envoys?
MR. McCURRY: I can't see that far. (Laughter)
Q But what is that? What is the North-South component to the conditions for resuming the --
MR. McCURRY: We're going to be talking to South Korea about that. We'll be talking to the Republic of Korea.
Q You're not adamant about that? I mean, you aren't able to be as adamant about that condition?
MR. McCURRY: I wasn't, no. But there is going to be some discussion about that, and let's see where that goes.
Q You're leaving open the possibility.
Q The bottom line is dialogue can occur (inaudible)
MR. McCURRY: I mean, I'm not leaving open any possibility. You've heard from the Republic of Korea on that subject today, so that's what we're talking about.
Q You want dialogue. You don't care at what level it occurs. Is that correct?
MR. McCURRY: We would like to -- I'm sorry. Say again.
Q You want a North-South dialogue, and you don't care what level it occurs?
MR. McCURRY: No. We want implementation of the North-South denuclearization agreement. Now, there are various ways of how you can achieve that. North Korea itself suggested the idea of an exchange of envoys. There had been in the past other ways of having that dialogue through joint technical and coordinating committees. There have been various proposals on how to pursue that dialogue.
We will be exploring all of these issues with South Korea in very important meetings come up. Ambassador Gallucci is there, and I think you're aware, today Secretary Perry was scheduled to leave for North Korea --
Q North Korea?
MR. McCURRY: I mean, South Korea. Republic of Korea.
Q Can we have a filing break? (Laughter)
MR. McCURRY: Republic of Korea. And he will obviously make that trip in the very near future, and it's a very important set of discussions he'll have there.
Q Any details coming out of Mr. Gallucci's meeting with the Chinese about the Chinese position? Has that shifted or --
MR. McCURRY: Nothing that he hasn't already said and reported to all of you in some of the press comments he made there. I think he indicated that they had a good, full range of discussion on the issues; that there clearly are some things that -- they're not in total agreement on how you would proceed under various scenarios. But they're pursuing with us and exploring how best to address the issue.
Q Mike, just going back to Bosnia for a second, is there in the Department any review -- major review of Bosnia policy going on? I ask the question because diplomacy being the art of either coping with motivations or altering them to a degree, motivations of the Serbs don't seem acceptable nor do they seem alterable at this point.
MR. McCURRY: Nor do they seem consistent.
Q So is there a policy review going on to approach this in a different fashion?
MR. McCURRY: I think it is such an urgent feature of our diplomacy to address the situation not only in Gorazde but elsewhere in Bosnia and requires such high-level attention by the Secretary that it's almost as if you are exploring minute-by-minute the best approaches to use.
We are actively exploring diplomatic possibilities in discussion not only with the Government of Russia but with the Government of France. I think you all are aware that the French have put forward an idea. We've been in contact with the British very regularly -- the Germans, others, about the situation in Bosnia.
Growing out of that dialogue are sort of two consistent things: One, there needs to be a cease-fire and a cessation of hostilities in Bosnia and a determined pursuit of peace through the negotiations that have been underway; but, two, very firm resolve and very clear intentions as it relates to provocations by force of the Serbs.
I think that there have been numerous discussions with the Serbs, and there can't be any doubt on their part of what the intentions of the West are with that respect.
Q Mike, I mean, I just would like to respectfully suggest that, I mean, there obviously is some doubt on their part about Western resolve, and can you just explain -- I mean, Gorazde is a safe area, which you said earlier. Obviously, if the Serbs take it, it will affect the peace process. You guys are just conducting the peace process. Why is there not a more clear statement from the U.N., from NATO, from governments, that Gorazde should not be taken or there will be consequences?
MR. McCURRY: Because that statement has already been made by the United Nations.
Q What are the consequences that you've specified?
MR. McCURRY: The consequences of taking?
Q What will happen if the Serbs take Gorazde?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not going to speculate on something that is far from clear is even going to happen. You're making an assumption based on some stuff that you've seen hot flashes on the wire that something has already happened or is about to happen.
There are very conflicting reports about that. But, among other things, the Serbs have a very strong interest in the relaxation of sanctions. It would be very hard to see how that would happen under circumstances in which U.N. Security Council resolutions protecting safe areas have been willfully violated.
Q I mean, I understand that and maybe Gorazde won't fall, but, I mean, it seems in danger of it, and, you know, you're saying the Serbs clearly understand the consequences, but you can't even say what those consequences will be.
MR. McCURRY: It's more important what the consequences are of attempting to take a safe area, and I think they've already seen what some of those consequences are.
Q Will those consequences continue?
MR. McCURRY: We don't know as we sit here, right?
Q Mike --
MR. McCURRY: But there's no --
Q You need to tell them, don't you, that --
MR. McCURRY: They know exactly what will happen if they attempt to take a safe area that is occupied by U.N. personnel and in the act of taking that they threaten directly the lives of those personnel. They've already seen it happen, and they know it will happen again.
Q I hope you don't consider this an unfriendly question, but as the weekend -- as the week closes down, there's bound to be a talking head on TV some place -- who is it this weekend -- who'd be asked to measure the success of the Administration's two goals in bombing Serb sites. One was to protect U.N. peacekeepers and the other, as I understood it, was to prod them -- to pressure them to enter negotiations.
The week is over. Are those goals any place being met?
MR. McCURRY: The situation in Bosnia remains one that is highly complex, because there are discussions underway that could fruitfully lead to peace. There are also things underway in right now in Gorazde that are very troubling and leading the other direction. And as we preview a weekend -- which is what you've asked me to do -- we don't know how the story ends.
Q I mean --
MR. McCURRY: We know what the elements of the story can be, and I think the Serbs do as well, and they've already seen that this week.
Q Thank you.
MR. McCURRY: You're welcome.
(The briefing concluded at 1:36 p.m.) (###)
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