Return to: Index of 1994 Daily Briefings || Electronic Research Collections Index || ERC Homepage

               U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
     The State Department does not guarantee the
authenticity of documents on the Internet.  If for legal
or other reasons you require the original version of a
document in hard copy, please contact the Office of
Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs.
     Note that State Department information is not
copyrighted unless indicated and can be reproduced
without consent.  Citation of source is appreciated.
Permission to reproduce any copyrighted material
(including photos or graphics) must be obtained from the
original source.
August 18, 1994
                  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                    DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
                          I N D E X
                  Thursday, August, 18 1994
                           Briefers:  Melissa Wells
                                      David Shinn
                                      Michael McCurry
   Opening Remarks by Ambassador Wells .....1-3
   Fighting/Ceasefire ......................3
   Refugees/Displaced Persons ..............3-5
   US Effort To Resolve Conflict ...........4-5
   Support for Terrorism ...................5-8
   --  Handover of Carlos the Jackal to
     French ................................5-7
   --  Impact on Relations with US .........6
   Discussions between North and South .....8-9
   US Assistance to Departing Cubans .......9-11,14
   Cuban Adjustment Act ....................10,14
   Cuban-American Community Cooperation
     with USG ..............................12
   US Immigration Policy ...................12,15
   Diplomatic Contacts with US .............13
   US Immigration Policy ...................12-13
   Contact Group's Proposed Agreement ......16
   Impact of Lifting Arms Embargo on
     Humanitarian Assistance ...............16-17
   Smuggled Nuclear Material Found by
     Germany/Others ........................17-18,20-21
   Secretary's Meetings in Brussels ........18-19
   Yeltsin-Kohl Meeting ....................19
   US Efforts to Prevent Nuclear
     Proliferation .........................21
   US-Russian Discussions ..................21-22
   US Discussions with Vatican .............19-20


DPC #120


MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon everybody. I'd like to begin the briefing today with a guest attraction and introduce Ambassador Melissa Wells, who I think has known many of you. She is President Clinton's Special Representative on Sudan. As you know, she was appointed in May by President Clinton to assist regional efforts to end the tragic civil war in Sudan and to work to help facilitate the delivery of very badly needed humanitarian relief.

She has been, I believe, twice and has just returned recently from Nairobi where she worked with participants and negotiators on the latest round of the Sudan peace talks which are being held under the auspices of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development. She has got a short statement. We'll take some questions on the peace process and humanitarian crisis.

I suspect that some of you might have a question or two about "Carlos." Because of that, I've also asked Ambassador David Shinn, who I think is also known to many of you, to be here. David is the Director of the Office of East African Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs and helps support a lot of the work that Ambassador Wells does, but is also someone who is well briefed on bilateral issues that we have with the Government of Sudan and could respond to anything related to terrorism.

So with that, Ambassador Wells, we're delighted to have you here.

AMBASSADOR WELLS: Thank you very much, Mike, for the introduction. Let me get straight to the point. I've made two trips to the region since assuming my duties as the Special Representative of the President on the Sudan. I'll be hitting the road again by the middle of next week.

The main focus of my brief is the peace process and the two components of it. One is a political solution to the long-standing conflict and the other is the humanitarian. I'll explain those two just briefly for you.

As far as both of those is concerned, the U.S. Government is now giving its full backing to what we call the IGADD process -- I-G-A-D-D. This is not blasphemous. I've learned that IGADD back in the Seventeenth Century was a way of avoiding blasphemy.

IGADD consists, in this case, of four members of IGADD -- Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, and Uganda -- who are the mediators. Thus far, the principal burden of the mediation of the talks has rested with the Foreign Ministers of these four countries. But in the ultimate, it is the summit -- the Presidents of these four countries who are running these peace talks.

The talks themselves take place in Nairobi and have been receiving the full cooperation of the Government of Kenya. So we have under these talks the search for a political solution to this long-standing conflict and, at the same time also, talks going on what we call humanitarian access.

"Humanitarian access" means that we are trying to bring about an opening of corridors in the Sudan. Let me tell you that our government -- the U.S. Government -- spends about $2 million a week in terms of emergency assistance going to the Sudan. The U.S. share in the total assistance is just under 50 percent. So other donors are picking up the equivalent amount, or maybe even a little more.

What is very troubling is that a large portion of that $2 million is now being spent on air transport, because we cannot get the relief goods into the Sudan by road. So this is a high priority.

What we're doing here -- again, under the IGADD auspices -- is trying to negotiate some monitoring mechanism for the corridors that have been agreed upon by the parties to the conflict in order to keep them open.

I think I'll leave the rest to you to ask some questions.

Q First of all, can you give us a status report on what the situation is like in the southern part of the country? Is the government continuing to bomb refugee camps and groups of refugees, specifically?

And I guess related to the supplying of aid, the UNHCR has not been allowed to operate there, obviously. They are one of the agencies most able to deal in these circumstances. What prospects are there for UNHCR to get access to these camps and to these people?

AMBASSADOR WELLS: On the first note, yes, the war is going on. People say it's not going on as fiercely as before. However, on July 22, the Government of Sudan announced a unilateral cease-fire. This was followed a few days later by the southern factions announcing a similar unilateral cease-fire.

It got off to a rocky start, but the important thing is that it is still holding, as best we know. This is unilateral on both sides and it's a fragile state of affairs.

When I left Nairobi -- and we have many sources, the non-governmental organizations; we check with the U.N. from their various sources as well. As of last Monday, the cease-fire between the government and the SPLA mainstream was still holding. Unfortunately, there was serious fighting between the factions of the SPLA outside of Torit to a place called Nyala. I'm trying to verify whether that has now calmed down.

UNHCR: Yes, you were saying -- I mean, the UNHCR is running camps in Uganda, in various places. But the UNHCR does not operate inside that country except for refugees from other countries. Explain your question to me?

Q They've not been allowed -- given access within Sudan?

AMBASSADOR WELLS: To whom? To whom?

Q The Government of Sudan has not allowed UNHCR into the country, is my understanding.

AMBASSADOR WELLS: With access to which refugees? Because UNHCR deals with people crossing borders; right?

Q (Inaudible) displaced people also?

AMBASSADOR WELLS: This is an unresolved question in the whole U.N. system that I dealt with 15 years ago, as to who is responsible for the internally displaced. Various agencies get together and try to help out; but their mandate is strictly border-crossing.

Q Also, this is a war that, over a period of years, has created more refugees and killed more people than Rwanda which, of course, has gotten so much attention. One factor has been very difficult, if not impossible, for the press to get into Sudan, in part, because the Sudanese authorities have made a point of making it very difficult. I gather, they've told the relief agencies not to cooperate with the press and have not given visas, for the most part, for press seeking to come in directly.

Have you discussed that issue of outside access?

AMBASSADOR WELLS: Certainly, in terms of press access, not directly. It's on my list of things to do in terms of a better functioning of the NGOs. Both the national and international NGOs in the country, I have discussed it and I intend to bring it up on my next trip to Khartoum.

Because what we have, quite honestly, is a rather unbalanced approach in terms of international emergency relief distributions in Sudan, where in the south we are able to work much more effectively than in the north. The government of Khartoum raised with me, saying, "Much more of your money is going into the south than is going into the north. I have tried to explain, it's not just a question of numbers (inaudible). We have to make sure that those affected receive the emergency supplies, and this is not the case at the moment in the north, but we're working on that.

Q I remember about a year ago when a senior U.S. Ambassador from that region called up some reporters into an office here to ballyhoo a big agreement with the Sudanese Government to open up access routes. I forget the exact details of it. This sounds exactly of what you're trying to do.

My question is, what happened to that agreement, if you can recall -- and I know it was probably before your time -- and is it correct to assume that over this past year the U.S. has been attempting to get the Sudanese Government and the rebels to open up these routes for relief supplies and has made no headway whatsoever?

AMBASSADOR WELLS: I'm not familiar with the specific incident that you're citing, except that I do know that Ambassador Don Peterson, our present Ambassador in Khartoum, made an effort -- and I think it was about a year ago -- in a specific area of the Sudan of what then we called the Hunger Triangle. Unfortunately, this Hunger Triangle was brought about by factional fighting among the southerners.

What we are doing is trying to implement, to put into place, an agreement that was reached last May under IGADD in terms of road corridors, rail, and barge, and trying to bring about -- as I say, this can never work unless there is some type of monitoring mechanism, and that's what we're working on.

Q What is the situation in that Triangle? Is there widespread hunger? Are people facing the possibility of death from hunger or drought?

AMBASSADOR WELLS: The possibility of death by famine is a very real one. The ballpark figure one uses for the tragedy of the Sudan -- and I think it's rightfully called the "forgotten tragedy" -- is that about a 1.5 million have died since the war started up again in '83.

As you know, there was a previous phase to this war that began in '55, and then there was the regional autonomy given to the south and then that was broken and the war started again in '83. By war or by famine, the numbers have been horrendous.

The particular Hunger Triangle now has been more or less brought under control. But unfortunately, while I was in Nairobi, there was another outbreak of fighting in Bahr al-Ghazal again between the faction of United and of mainstream. That's not to say that that's the only problem, but this is a very complicated issue. This is something that those of us on the outside who are trying to bring peace to the country are stressing over and over again to the southern factions, that their split is devastating in terms of what it means to a peace process and the perception on the outside.

Q One of the big problems between the United States and Sudan has been, of course, the characterization of Sudan as a country supporting terrorism. According to your statement, I know you weren't personally involved in the turnover of "Carlos" by Sudanese authorities to the French. But what effect will that have on negotiations with the United States? How do you view the Sudanese position now? And has there been a change, in a positive way, as a result of this move on their part?

AMBASSADOR WELLS: Let me again reiterate for the record that the question of "Carlos" never came up in any of my discussions. Neither did I raise it nor did they.

While my brief is the peace process, the issue of terrorism and the human rights record has come up and I've dealt with it but only in terms of reiterating our government's long-standing policy. This is a major, major obstacle in the betterment of relations between the two countries.

But on that issue, I'd like to ask you address David Shinn. Would you like to say something on it?

AMBASSADOR SHINN: I really would just underscore what Ambassador Wells just indicated, that it really does not have a direct impact one way or the other upon our position in dealing with the Sudanese on the peace process. The "Carlos" issue is one that goes back quite a number of months. It's a welcome step, certainly. We are pleased that the Government of Sudan saw fit to put into the custody of the French "Carlos," but there are a lot of other issues concerning terrorism, vis-a-vis Sudan, that continue to remain. We will continue to push on with the Sudanese to grapple with these problems, in addition to some of the human rights issues.

So the overall question of support for terrorism has not gone away. It's still very much there.

Q Could you deal with it a little more? What is it that Sudan is doing that is objectionable?

AMBASSADOR SHINN: Sudan has for some period of time supported organizations like Abu Nidal that has provided sanctuary for, provided safe houses for, and in a few cases provided training for organizations like Hamas, Abu Nidal, Hizbollah and Palestine Islamic Jihad. That is our concern.

That has been going on for some considerable period of time and as far as we concerned has not stopped as of the present day.

Q What do you peg their motives to on that? Why would Sudan -- what's their reason for doing it?

AMBASSADOR SHINN: I can only guess what their motives might be, and I think it's an ideological kind of thing. They have a government in Sudan today which I would label as a fundamentalist kind of government which is supportive of some of the organizations that, while we label them terrorists, they wouldn't label them as terrorists perhaps. Only the Sudanese could answer that question.

But I think they see these organizations in a very different light than we do, and I think it's related to their support for Islamic fundamentalism.

Q Can you tell us whether or not -- or shed any light on whether or not U.S. intelligence helped in any way with information on "Carlos"?

AMBASSADOR SHINN: No. I'm sorry. I could not get into that.

Q Ambassador Shinn, is there any indication from the "Carlos" expulsion that the Government of Sudan is moving toward divesting themselves of their guests -- of their terrorist guests -- the litany you just mentioned?

And the second part of the question is, what is the relation of the Khartoum Government and the Libyan terrorist state?

AMBASSADOR SHINN: On the question of whether they are divesting themselves of any other terrorists, I think it's far too early to say. The turning over of "Carlos" to the French is only several days old now. We don't have any evidence to suggest that this is the beginning of something bigger to come. We would hope that that would happen, but there's no evidence of that at this point.

As far as relations between Libya and Sudan, we have the impression that relations, frankly, are not particularly warm at the moment. They have run hot and cold. I think the current government in Khartoum is one that has traditionally not had a real warm relationship with the Libyans, for reasons that only that government can explain.

Q Just to go back to your previous statement about their attitude towards fundamentalism, a number of officials over the last year and a half have gone to great lengths to say that they had no bone to pick with fundamentalism, per se.

You seem to be indicating that there is something about fundamentalism itself that troubles this Administration, particularly in Sudan. Is that a North African phenomenon, or is that something throughout North Africa and the Middle East and the Central Asian republics?

AMBASSADOR SHINN: Let me be very clear. I don't mean to imply that we have a problem with fundamentalism per se, but if that particular breed of fundamentalism is supportive of groups that we perceive to be terrorists and have strong evidence to that effect, then we are troubled. But it's not the issue of their being fundamentalists or not being fundamentalists, it's what they do to implement their kind of fundamentalism.

MR. McCURRY: Thank you.

AMBASSADOR WELLS: May I make one more point that I forgot? These last negotiations -- the series of negotiations that took place July 18 through the first few days in August and the new ones that start up September 5 -- what I found very significant -- extremely significant -- is the following.

That for the first time any Government of Sudan, going back to independence, for the first time discussed -- I'm not saying they're negotiating -- but discussed the two underlying problems to this conflict. One is the right of the people of southern Sudan to decide what form of government they wish to live under and what future they have -- discussed it.

And next, which is probably even a more sensitive question, the issue of religion in the state. Even the southerners have admitted this to me. I'm not saying the millennium has arrived, but I found it very healthy that the doors, windows, were all opened, closets were opened. I'm not going to tell you what came out, but it was a good sign.

Q And what is the situation now? What is it -- I know about the north-south conflict.


Q What is the north doing to enforce fundamentalism on Christians in the south? What are they doing? I mean --

AMBASSADOR WELLS: In the south in the government- held areas --

Q Yes. No, I mean, you're willing to talk about it, so --

AMBASSADOR WELLS: They're willing to talk about it, yes, in terms of --

Q Yes, but what are they willing to do so far as, you know, recognizing -- expanding human rights?

AMBASSADOR WELLS: I'm not going into the details, but I'd simply lay out that we're talking about -- or I mean the issues would be a constitution -- what does it say about religion? Are there guarantees to the people who live in the country. And then the key thing -- because when you're talking about Sharia, the Koran, I mean, they don't separate -- I mean, they see the state and society as one.

Now, what are you going to use as legislation? Okay. I haven't got the answers for you, but the fact is that they're talking about it.

Q But you're not saying that they're negotiating creating a pluralistic society?

AMBASSADOR WELLS: We're not negotiating yet. This is the first time -- there are no other governments that have done this.

Q Would you say they're considering the possibility of making their society of pluralistic one?

AMBASSADOR WELLS: I'd like to think that. That's what I'm pushing, and I'll be doing it again when I go to Khartoum.

Q But you wouldn't say that was an accurate statement.


Q That they're considering making their society pluralistic.

AMBASSADOR WELLS: They've made some very interesting comments to me, I mean, outside of the negotiations when I was in Khartoum; and, of course, I keep badgering them -- if they're going to overcome their isolation, they have to give -- there's no way that you can have a united Sudan and not have an accommodation -- a solution on the issue of religion and the state. Q And they realize that.

AMBASSADOR WELLS: I think they realize that.

Q Thank you.

(Ambassador Wells and Ambassador Shinn concluded their briefing at 1:20 p.m., after which Spokesman McCurry began the following briefing)

MR. McCURRY: Ambassador Wells, Ambassador Shinn, thank you. Thank you, both. And we will now move on to other parts of the world.

Q Mike, let's try Cuba. I realize it's an administration-wide problem, that State is a part of this, Justice is at least as big a part. When the Governor is asking, speaking about an emergency and seems to be truly distraught by this wave of immigration, what is it, do you think, that the Administration itself broadly can do to assist him? Will there be any change in -- from a narrow thing, change in processing people, are all Cubans still welcome here, no matter how many arrive? Is there anything you're going to do to intercede with Castro, etc.?

MR. McCURRY: Barry, I think Attorney General Reno this morning laid out very clearly the things that the Administration is pursuing and responded, in a sense, to the notion that an emergency exists. She described the effective measures that are in place now through the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the steps the Coast Guard is taking, and the determination the United States has to see that immigration from Cuba occurs in a legal, safe and orderly fashion.

I don't have a lot to add to what she said, but it clearly is a situation, in light of Governor Chiles' remarks certainly, but because of the events that are happening, it's one that senior policy-makers in the United States will continue to watch carefully.

Q I don't know if Reno touched on this or not, but is there some move afoot to expand processing within Cuba at the Interest Section? They don't use the visas that are already allotted to them.

MR. McCURRY: There are some discussions underway that I would prefer -- in fact, I believe that the White House might be dealing with a little bit later. There have been some discussions at the White House at a fairly high level within the last hour or two, and they might be saying a little bit more on that. I can't shed any light on it right now, but you might want to check in with them a little later on in the day.

Q Did you talk with representatives of those discussions?

MR. McCURRY: Absolutely.

Q Who is representing --

MR. McCURRY: Acting Secretary Tarnoff was there and Special Adviser David Gergen. He participates in things of this nature.

Q Does the Administration have any discretion at all under the Democracy Act which says that Cubans who arrive in this country are automatically given parole or (inaudible).

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

Q Does the Administration have any latitude at all, any flexibility in applying this law? In other words, could the Administration simply delay such a situation so much to make it unattractive for the Cubans to arrive in this country?

MR. McCURRY: The benefits that are available to refugees from Cuba under the Cuban Adjustment Act are pretty clear and pretty concrete in the law written by Congress. They require a granting of legal, permanent residency status over a certain period of time. I think it's just less than one year. And the provisions of that law are fairly well known, as is the long-standing U.S. policy that those who are fleeing communist totalitarian rule in Cuba will have an opportunity to come to the United States to seek refuge. I'm not aware of any change in those policies, nor is any change in those policies contemplated.

Q Has the Cuban Government in any way indicated to us any change in policy on their part on letting people go?

MR. McCURRY: No, they have not. The only discussions we have with them concerning immigration are those that have occurred on and off since 1984, I believe, under an arrangement we have where we discuss some immigration issues. They have not, through that process, indicated any change.

There have been anecdotal things that we have seen over the last several days that indicate there is less of an attempt to interfere with those coming in small craft. That's obvious, as you see reflected in the numbers of people who have been rescued on the high seas, but that may or may not indicate a formal change of policy. It is certainly a change of circumstances, regardless.

Q Indeed, on rickety and unsafe craft, but not otherwise.

MR. McCURRY: That's correct.

Q And so --

MR. McCURRY: Earlier in the week, you'll recall, there was a tanker at Mariel that would have had a capacity to bring 500 or more passengers, allegedly. There did seem to be an attempt by the Cuban Government to stop the passage of that vessel. But clearly given the number of small craft, rubber dinghies, frankly quite sea unworthy craft that the Coast Guard is now seeing in the straits, there does not seem to be the same type of barrier on their exodus.

That is very unfortunate, and it does not speak well of the Cuban Government, because it's a clear indication that that government is willing to let their citizens take enormous risks on the high seas, and there is, we believe, a fair amount of evidence that many of these unfortunate folks will lose their lives on the sea if they attempt to make the voyage in that fashion.


Q Can you draw any parallel between the riots -- the street rioting in Havana and this appear-to-be a new policy on the part of Castro to allow the smaller boats to go?

MR. McCURRY: It's clear that Fidel Castro faces growing pressure as a result of the incapacity of Cuba's political and economic system to produce those things that the citizens of Cuba desire: freedom and opportunity for economic advance and the rights to democracy that are now flourishing elsewhere in the hemisphere. That is causing unrest, and it's causing, clearly, some level of political problems for Fidel Castro.

Whether or not that is a factor he takes into account is something -- because it's a totalitarian system, it's impossible for us to judge.

Q Are we continuing talks with the Cuban- American community down in Miami? Do they continue to support your policy of trying to discourage people to come here, and have you asked them to do anything specifically to send that message to Cuba?

MR. McCURRY: I'm not sure the degree to which -- I haven't had a chance to look at Attorney General Reno's full transcript, but the answer is yes, that we have enjoyed good cooperation from the Cuban-American community. And unlike the 1980 Mariel incident, as you know, one of the differences now in the recent episodes that we've been looking at is, there has not been an attempt on the part of U.S.-flagged vessels to go south to pick up passengers in Cuba.

That's a good thing, because, as we have made very, very clear, any vessels attempting to make that type of voyage for the purpose of bringing people illegally from Cuba would be subject to seizure by the United States, and we intend to be very firm on that policy.

Q Fidel Castro isn't the only one who faces a domestic political problem revolving around this issue. This has sort of enervated some of the criticism coming from Capitol Hill that there's a sort of racist dichotomy to the policy between Haiti and Cuba. What's wrong with that reasoning?

MR. McCURRY: I used to know stuff about politics, but I don't know any of that anymore. But as to the difference in the policies, there are differences in the policies as a result of decisions and legislative acts of Congress. They come about for a simple reason, in a way. In Haiti there is a bona fide democratically elected government, and it makes sense to allow the citizens of Haiti to enjoy the benefits of that government so the work that we are doing diplomatically and through the United Nations is aimed at returning that democratic government -- the legal, rightfully elected government -- to Haiti.

That is absolutely not the case in the case of Cuba. Cuba's a communist dictatorship. Those citizens living there live so under totalitarian rule, and for that reason U.S. policy and U.S. law has long recognized that refugees from Cuba have a different status. They are refugees from communism and from totalitarian dictatorship.

That is not to say that those seeking to leave Haiti do not face enormous hardship. They do, because they face a de facto regime right now which is illegal and which has to leave. But the purposes of our policy in those two cases are different. In the case of Haiti it's to return a government that has been elected democratically. In the case of Cuba, it's to do everything we can through the powers of persuasion and the force of diplomacy to encourage peaceful change in Cuba that will result in a democratic, freely elected government.

Q Can I follow up and just ask whether -- there was some discussion about this yesterday in light of the Aronson article, but is the idea of discussing sanctions -- is that completely dead at this point? Has that been completely ruled out?

MR. McCURRY: Sanctions?

Q Well, the economic embargo on Cuba. Has the idea of discussing that --

MR. McCURRY: As I indicated yesterday, I'm not aware of any policy review taking into account those types of issues.

Q Mike, the proximate cause of the current crisis has been the near collapse of the Cuban economy which has exacerbated the other problems that already existed. In that sense, could it not be possible to define the Cubans coming over as economic refugees and therefore ineligible for --

MR. McCURRY: You might make a philosophic argument, but under law and under the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966, they automatically have a status as political refugees from communism. I think that's quite clear under the statute.

Q Is there any intensified dialogue of any kind between the U.S. Government and the Cuban Interests Section here or the other way around, with the American Interests Section in Havana?

MR. McCURRY: The dialogue that we've had has been on refugee-related issues from time to time. I don't know what the most recent contact of that nature has been through the Interests Section.

Q No more intensity or --

MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of any diplomatic exchanges of that intensity.

Q Mike, as we've seen, sometimes the policies of picking up and rescuing people on the high seas has sort of unintended consequences as to whether they choose to embark and in what.

In the case of Cuba, there seems to be people embarking in the most flimsy sorts of rafts that couldn't possibly make it to the United States on their own. Has there been a change in how soon, outside Cuban waters, these are being picked up by the Coast Guard that might explain why people are changing their behavior?

MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of, and I do believe the Attorney General got the question of where, within the territorial limits, do you intercept and I wouldn't want to attempt to get into that. I'm not knowledgeable enough about it. The Coast Guard might be able to be helpful and I believe the Pentagon had someone from the Coast Guard who is going to be available at their briefing, which is going on now, who might be able to address that question.


Q Mike, is there any remote possibility that this Administration might conclude that the present policy is a relic of the Cold War and, like other Cold War laws which were in fact changed, they might consider changing some aspects of this immigration law toward Cuba?

MR. McCURRY: As I indicated yesterday, quite remote.

Q Doesn't this building sometimes sort of wish the law wasn't around?

MR. McCURRY: The Cuban Adjustment Act? I think people in this building, particularly in light of the hardship faced by those in Haiti, understand and struggle with some of the -- I'd call them dichotomies between those two. It is a subject of discussion here, but it's also an Act of Congress that we in the Executive Branch are duly responsible for enforcing.

Q Different subject?

MR. McCURRY: Shift around. Bill?

Q There was a report from a reliable radio or TV source this morning that the Cuban police were doing nothing to stop people from taking to the rafts, going to the coast and getting in the water. And I would ask on that point, and, secondly, Mike, has there been anything at all to relieve the -- that the Cubans have acceded to or have we asked them to relieve the fear and anxiety of going to our Interests Section?

MR. McCURRY: On the second point first, we certainly expect them to allow those who wish to transact business at our Interests Section to do so peacefully without harassment. Second, on the first part of the question, we're not in a position where we can judge exactly what type of orders are given to either Cuban military or Cuban police authorities as they attempt to deal with those that might be leaving Cuba's shores.

We see some changes, we believe, in just what we see happening in the straits, but we're not entirely sure what orders have been given orders to those who are enforcing them.

Q You cannot confirm that the police are just looking the other way?

MR. McCURRY: We cannot confirm that. We're really not in a position to judge. We're in a position to think that there may be some change, but again it's hard for us to know for certain.

Q There have been some reports in Europe of more unrest and even some thousands of leaflets in some streets in Havana on Thirty First Street. Do you have anything on this?

MR. McCURRY: We do believe we have seen signs because of some of the conduct of the regime, of growing dissatisfaction with the regime and growing dissatisfaction for the conditions in Cuba for which the regime is responsible.

A lot of it is anecdotal. A lot of it is just things that we can pick up through our Interests Section in Havana, but there are news organizations that are providing what we believe are reliable reports about substantial unrest and dissatisfaction with the regime that is denying freedom and democracy to the people of Cuba.

Q Just to get a clear tie off on this, if the conclusion is that this is not going to force any policy reassessment, the idea is ride it out, hope it goes away, or hope that the regime collapses under the pressures that we're seeing now?

MR. McCURRY: The Attorney General made clear today that we are managing the increase in flow of refugees, and that we will pursue the policy that we have pursued for the last 35 years.

Q On Bosnia, Mike.


Q The Secretary lands in Europe for this somber occasion and immediately runs off to the Financial Times and does an interview saying that -- talking very tough about lifting the arms embargo, and decision-making talk.

Do you expect -- first of all, is that --

MR. McCURRY: Just to correct the record on that, he did an interview here. He's in Brussels now. He departed last night. That's not a fair characterization of the Secretary. The Secretary is in Brussels for a memorial service. Did you have a question?

Q Financial Times this morning.

MR. McCURRY: Do you have a question?

Q Yes. The question is, is his decision-making time as close as the Secretary indicated in that interview, or is the Contact Group as much at seeing eye- to-eye to the degree that he indicated?

MR. McCURRY: The Contact Group, as they've deliberated in Geneva through three sessions, has made clear that there are a sequence of things that happen once the Bosnian Serbs reject, as they have rejected, the proposal made by the Contact Group to bring the war to an end. And, as the Secretary indicated in that interview, we are now in the process with the Contact Group of summing up where we are. We also face from Congress, advice from Congress that we move ahead on those measures specified by the Contact Group in a time certain in October and November.

I believe the Secretary, if he had an opportunity informally to just caucus with other foreign ministers from the Contact Group, would suggest to them that we are entering that period now where we have to look at those measures that we have considered unavoidable.


Q Can we go to plutonium again, please?

MR. McCURRY: Sure.

Q Noticing that he said in that interview was that he recognized that the French and the British may well have to pull their troops out of Bosnia if the arms embargo is lifted, and meanwhile UNPROFOR is warning that this would be a catastrophe for the enclaves in Eastern Bosnia and perhaps for Sarajevo as well, especially if, say, the UNPROFOR pulled out of the airport.

What's this Department's view of the tradeoff between the advantages of lifting the arms embargo versus the disadvantage of UNPROFOR pulling out that could result from it?

MR. McCURRY: That it is among the horrible choices that exist in dealing with this conflict; that currently UNPROFOR does a job, albeit under very strained circumstances and with suggestions from UNPROFOR troop- contributing countries that they are about to withdraw under any circumstances, regardless of whether or not the embargo is lifted.

But their ability to work in some of the Eastern enclaves and in other parts of Bosnia surely would be affected if there was a lifting of the arms embargo. That is something we've recognized as something in the last Geneva ministerial meeting, and the Contact Group Ministers urged NATO to plan for and account for if we move towards an inevitable lifting of the arms embargo; and it is very likely that lifting the arms embargo would be a formula for the type of conflict and fighting in Bosnia that would make the humanitarian work of UNPROFOR very difficult to fulfill.

It is in any circumstance, bad news for the people of Bosnia who have suffered more than their share of bad news for several years.


Q Plutonium. Can you still say with certainty that none of the plutonium that has been taken in these various incidents in Geneva and in -- I'm sorry -- in Germany and in Turkey were not from Russian nuclear weapons facilities?

MR. McCURRY: We haven't said that at all. They are of uncertain origin, and they remain to us, based on the information we have, of uncertain origin. You're saying we have not said that they certainly were not from Russia.

Q (Multiple comments)

MR. McCURRY: (Inaudible)

Q Russian nuclear weapons facilities.

Q (Multiple comments)

MR. McCURRY: Yes. Based on the information we have, there is nothing that we see that suggests they come from nuclear weapons installations, as we indicated yesterday.

Q Do you have any information about the material that was seized in St. Petersburg over the last few days?

MR. McCURRY: In St. Petersburg.

Q Russia.

MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of -- I'm not familiar with what you're asking me about.

Q Are you familiar with the reports, as I'm sure you must be, because they were yesterday, that there had been some evidence picked up in Berlin pointing to Pakistan as a possible place where this would be going. The Pakistan government, I understand, has officially denied it.

MR. McCURRY: We have seen the reports of that and have had contacts with the Germans about it. I don't have anything further on their involvement. We are going to learn more about that.

Q Who is Christopher talking to about this problem in Brussels?

MR. McCURRY: He'll see a collection of people who are gathered for Manfred Woerner's service. If I'm not mistaken -- the Secretary is over there and I'm here, so it's a little difficult to know exactly what type of contact he'll have with them. I don't believe he was planning to see most of his European counterparts until sometime tomorrow because they're arriving at different times during the course of today.

His intent was to just go back and point out the importance of following up on the declaration made in Naples by the heads of state at the G-7 and then G-7- plus-one sessions in Naples, and begin the work that I think the heads of state expected. He was going to do the work, following up on that communique and organizing a more concerted effort on the part of the international community to address some of the --

Q Is the destination -- or the would-be destination --

MR. McCURRY: I ran out of gas on that question. What was the last part of that question? (Laughter)

Q Who is Christopher seeing in Brussels on this issue?

MR. McCURRY: He's seeing some of his other European colleagues. I'm not absolutely sure who all is going to be there. I know that he saw Deputy Secretary Balanzino this morning. I believe Foreign Minister Juppe will be there, Foreign Secretary Hurd; I think Foreign Minister Kinkel is there. There are a number of other NATO Foreign Ministers who are there. He planned in an informal way to get them aside at various points and suggest that this is an issue that the United States attaches great importance to and hopes it remains very firmly on the agenda that they will pursue in some of the collective work we're doing on the issue of nuclear smuggling.

Q Mike, the German National Security Advisor, or somebody from his department, is going to be in Moscow, as you know --

MR. McCURRY: Herr Schmidbauer.

Q -- beginning next week. Is the United States planning to send any kind of a special representative or negotiator or advisor, or whatever, to participate in those talks?

MR. McCURRY: No. That would not be appropriate. This a bilateral discussion that Chancellor Kohl has requested with President Yeltsin and Chancellor Kohl's security advisor Mr. Schmidbauer will be in Moscow for what we understand will be a bilateral discussion.

We clearly have got a very strong interest in this subject. We have been having our own separate discussions with the Russian Federation and have been in contact with the Germans as they seek to understand the seizures that they have made of this material. But we will follow up, obviously, after this meeting and be in contact to learn more about the results of --

Q You all sending any higher-level American official?

MR. McCURRY: I don't believe so. We'll probably make our contact through Embassy Moscow, it's my understanding.


Q On the Vatican?

MR. McCURRY: The Vatican.

Q Does the Administration have any particular comments one way or the other about the Vatican's lobbying efforts in Tehran and Tripoli leading up to this population conference in the statement of --

MR. McCURRY: Nothing in particular, no. We've had our own very good and productive and we feel constructive dialogue with the Vatican on the population issue. We'll continue to work with them as the work leading up to the Cairo Conference occurs.

There have been numerous meetings that Under Secretary Wirth, who is our chief person working on the Cairo Conference. There's been numerous meetings that he's had with Vatican officials. We frankly prefer them to be in dialogue with us than in dialogue with those that we doubt will be all that helpful in producing a successful conference in Cairo.

Again, as we've told you often, remember, there are over 184 countries already who have worked together to fashion a document that is now 90 percent complete and represents a very substantial policy statement that the conference in Cairo will surely adopt on the issue of population, representing one of the first times in recent memory that the world community has reached a consensus on this.

We certainly hope that type of constructive dialogue can continue. We would like our discussions with the Vatican to be a part of all of the work that is going on in preparation for the conference.

Q Just a follow-up. The larger question of the Vatican, sort of put-it-in-your-face on your policy of containment with Libya and Iran, does that seem -- it's apparently a very narrow issue in their approach. Although Iran said it could certainly wait for broader -- Don't you have any -- you're always talking about isolating them --

MR. McCURRY: We have been aware of these contacts and we will raise them with the Vatican and learn more about those contacts.

Q (Inaudible)

Q Presumably, the German case of smuggling the nuclear material, I think at this point, you should check the possibility that North Korea smuggled the nuclear materials from Russia because it was reported in the past several times. Do you have any plan to check or confirm the report of content? And will you have any plans to discuss the problem when you have the high-level US and North Korean talks on the 23rd of September?

MR. McCURRY: As we indicated yesterday, at greater length than most of you wished to tolerate --

Q (Inaudible).

MR. McCURRY: I'll do a replay. We do plan, and will continue to have, very close cooperation between the United States and Russia as we combat the problem of nuclear smuggling. That would include understanding more about any incidents that we become aware of involving smuggling or those who are attempting to buy such material.

I'm not aware myself of any incident that has involved alleged smuggling involving people -- personnel, citizens -- from the DPRK. The point of our dialogue with the Government of Russia is to work to do everything we can to effectively account for and control and manage fissile material.

On the last part of your question, I'm not aware that this is a part of the discussions in the high-level talks that we are having with the DPRK.


Q Thank you, Mike. On that subject and then another, but first, is the United States and is the international community responding to the alarm that the Germans have given in this matter, especially to preclude movement of fissile materials from points of origin or points of storage to terrorist states?

Do we have a prevent/defense in effect on this. That would be my first question?


Q Yes?

MR. McCURRY: We do. We are treating it with urgency and we're doing everything we can to prevent the proliferation of the material and to defend against any instances of smuggling that might occur, just as we went through yesterday.

Q Just as an adjunct. Are we talking to the Russians about the possibility that they might be in error -- that the Germans might have the analysis correct -- and try to help encourage them to get their stuff under control before it leaves their territory?

MR. McCURRY: We went at great length into that yesterday. The answer is yes, we are. We're not challenging their assertions that, to date, that they don't believe the material came from their channel because we don't have information that can substantiate the fact that we believe that the material did come from a Russian source.

We are seeking to learn more about it. We think it's important the information that the Germans have, and we are encouraging the Russians to work closely with the Germans in analyzing the data available from these samples.

Q What I mean is simply in the meantime, while the analyses are being made, to go to the Russians and caution them, saying to them -- just in the event that there might be something?

MR. McCURRY: Yes. I understand what --

Q You understand what I'm saying?

MR. McCURRY: Absolutely. Even prior to these most recent incidents, we certainly have gone to the Russians, worked with them closely, and said we need to work together and do anything we can to plug any leaks that do exist in your methods of material, control, and accounting.

Q What has been their response?

MR. McCURRY: As I said yesterday, they work very closely with us. We are encouraged by that level of cooperation.

Q Thank you.

(Press briefing concluded at 1:51 p.m.)


To the top of this page