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________________________________________________________
 
 
 
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
SEPTEMBER 6, 1994
 
 
 
                       U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                         DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
 
                             I N D E X
 
                    Tuesday, September, 6 1994
 
                           Briefer:  Michael McCurry
 
 
CUBA
   Update on Talks with US in New York .............1-2,9-10
   Report on Cuban Refugees on Grand Cayman ........2
   Countries Pledging Safe Havens/US Discussions
     with Other Countries ..........................3-4,7,11
   Boatpeople Picked Up/Voluntary Repatriation .....4-5,7-10
 
HAITI
   Prospects for UN Military Force for Phase I .....4-8
   --  Countries Participating/Training ............4-7
 
NORTH KOREA
   Foreign Minister's Meetings to Washington .......11
   US Policy toward North/South Korea ..............11-12
 
POPULATION CONFERENCE
   Abortion/Family Planning ........................12
   Vice President's Meeting with Archbishop
     Martino .......................................12
 
RUSSIA
   Report American Diplomats Accused on Espionage ..13
   Joint Peacekeeping Training Exercise with US ....13-14
 
BOSNIA
   Prospects for Lifting Arms Embargo/Russian View .14
 
IRELAND
   Prime Minister's Meeting with Gerry Adams .......14
 
 
 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPC #125

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1994, 12:47 P. M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It is Tuesday, September 6. This is the United States State Department. I'm Mike McCurry, you're the press, and you've got the questions. I may have the answers. Go!

Q Are you saying anything about what's happening in New York, or are you leaving that to David (Johnson)?

MR. McCURRY: I'm leaving that for the most part to the ever able David Johnson, who's been the spokesman for our delegation and, aside from losing his Labor Day weekend to the talks in progress, has been doing a commendable job up there.

He reports to me that a short while ago the Cuban delegation asked to see Deputy Assistant Secretary Skol, our head of delegation, so they will be meeting at 3:00 p.m. today at the head-of-delegation level to review where we are in the discussions.

I believe, as you know from the reporting over the weekend, we have been exchanging ideas in writing with the Cubans on the subject of legal migration. We have shown as much flexibility as possible in trying to reach an agreement that will bridge the differences that do exist in the positions of the two delegations, but we should know more later today about the status of those negotiations.

Q (Inaudible)

MR. McCURRY: I believe this meeting will be at the Cuban Mission at 3:00 p.m.

Q There are two accounts today that say the U.S. changed its position in yesterday's discussion and then other accounts say the position remains the same. Can you reconcile that?

MR. McCURRY: Our position remains the same, but we are showing some flexibility as to the numbers. There are discussions about how many, and you've seen numbers reported that I would not dispute. As I say, we're trying to be flexible, but at the same time we've got concerns that we're pursuing in these negotiations. I'll leave it to those that are closer to the negotiations in New York to elaborate upon that as we go through the day.

Q These numbers -- can you kind of walk us through --

Q More than 20,000?

MR. McCURRY: Twenty thousand has been reported here and there. It's a figure that --

Q What is a minimum and a maximum?

MR. McCURRY: Twenty thousand is a number, I believe, that refers to current U.S. immigration law that restricts overall numbers from any one country to a ceiling of seven percent of the total immigration. So the number in that reference is closer to 27,000, I believe. But I would rather not get into any of the details of what's being negotiated, because I think properly so those who are negotiating in our behalf would like to exchange views with the Cubans before they do so with all of you.

Q But among the numbers you would not dispute would be in excess of 100,000, which was proposed by the Cuban side over the weekend?

MR. McCURRY: I'd leave it to them to confirm or deny whether they've used that particular number in discussions.

Q Are the two recent American steps to curtail remittances and also reduce the number of charter flights entirely off the table?

MR. McCURRY: I am not aware that they have been subject to negotiation in New York. I will check that later on today to make sure that is correct.

Q Do you have any official reaction to -- Grand Cayman announced yesterday that they would be or are beginning the process to repatriate some Cuban refugees that they have on their island, and they had asked the U.S. to take them into Guantanamo or Panama, and that the U.S. refused to do so?

MR. McCURRY: I heard a report on that earlier this morning. Unfortunately, I do not have an answer to that yet. I did see a report to that effect, and we are trying to get some more information on that, but I don't have it as of right now.

Betsy.

Q Will we be taking Cubans to Panama today?

MR. McCURRY: Yes. We are beginning to send Cubans and Haitians to safehaven facilities, as we indicated we would. The new government in Panama, as you know, has agreed to accept up to 10,000 Cubans for a period of six months. That's consistent with the provisions of the Panama Canal Treaty to allow the use of U.S. military facilities for purposes -- in this case the safehaven purpose.

I believe the first group of 100 Cubans is scheduled to arrive in Panama from Guantanamo later today. We also plan to begin moving Haitians to safehaven facilities in Suriname within the next several days, and the Government of Suriname, as you know, has got an agreement to take up to 2,500 Haitians. So there will be movement involving Haitians out of Guantanamo as well.

Obviously, the United States appreciates the assistance of the Governments of Panama and Suriname in this regional humanitarian effort which will continue, as need be, over the course of the coming weeks.

Q Are there other governments that are going to agree to take Haitians?

MR. McCURRY: We have got, as you know, a wide variety of diplomatic discussions underway. We've got signed memoranda of understanding with St. Lucia and Dominica for safehaven facilities of 5,000 and 2,500 Haitians, respectively, and we're also discussing a possible safehaven facility with the Government of Belize.

There have been statements from others. Honduras has indicated that they might be offering a safehaven site. We are having follow-up discussions with them. We do have agreements in principle with Antigua and Grenada for safehaven sites for Haitians, but we don't have signed memoranda yet in those cases; and we've also got the facility on Grand Turk Island which remains available and could be activated as the need arises.

Hopefully, the need will not be great, but there's no guarantee of that. You saw the numbers over the weekend were significantly up. Over the weekend, there were approximately 4,600 Cubans rescued by the Coast Guard. The number is, I believe, somewhat down today. The 10:00 o'clock figure from the Coast Guard was 188 picked up as of 10:00 o'clock today.

We are clearly monitoring that situation very, very carefully and remain very concerned about those who are taking a very difficult and dangerous voyage in craft that are certainly something less than seaworthy.

Q Just to follow on that question, how is it determined which of those refugees from either Haiti or Cuba that are at Guantanamo will be sent to other safehavens?

MR. McCURRY: For the moment, they are asking for volunteers, and I believe the first group of 100 Cubans who have departed Guantanamo are those who have done so voluntarily. But we'll just have to see whether it remains possible to keep it on a voluntary basis.

Mark.

Q What information do you have on violent incidents at Guantanamo in the past couple of days involving either Haitians or Cubans?

MR. McCURRY: I had a discussion with a Pentagon official earlier and asked if they did have anything new on that, and they were not aware of any, although they had been getting some inquiries. So I'll leave it to the Pentagon to try to sort out some of that, because they get direct reports from U.S. military officials at Guantanamo.

Q On Haiti, have you seen the comment by Schrager on U.S. troops are going in soon? Is that just a continuation of what Strobe (Talbott) said?

MR. McCURRY: That's biofeedback from Deutch and Talbott. (Laughter) He is in a sense not reflecting anything different than what the two Deputy Secretaries were suggesting at their briefing for you last week, and obviously what he said was very consistent with --

Q So it's not actually in discussion.

MR. McCURRY: No. What he said is very consistent with exactly what you heard here last week from the two Deputy Secretaries.

Q But one thing that is different is that Schrager said that the training of the CARICOM countries that had -- of the troops that they had given would not have to be completed before any invasion takes place.

MR. McCURRY: I believe the Pentagon may have said exactly that last week, the day after the briefing that Deputy Secretary Deutch gave, but they are much more familiar with what type of training they're going to undertake for those from CARICOM who would be participating at some phase of the multinational force.

Jim.

Q Back on the Cubans, with the ones going to Cuba -- or Panama, do I detect a problem down the road, which is that people at the White House have been saying that these people will be maintained indefinitely. But the Panamanians have said that these safehavens that they are giving are only good for six months. What do you do then?

MR. McCURRY: There is a difference between "indefinite" and "six months," and we clearly would hope that "indefinitely" would mean less than six months. But I don't want to speculate what type of position or steps we would take if we got closer to the six-month expiration date of the understanding that we now have with the Government of Panama.

Q Mike, is there a principals' meeting or, by any other name, of senior foreign policy officials at the White House today to deal with Haiti/Cuba?

MR. McCURRY: By any other name -- meetings. I would assume that there are some discussions and meetings that will be ongoing in the next several days about Haiti particularly, because some of the President's national security advisers, including the Secretary of State, are now back in town after being on leave for the period prior to Labor Day.

I leave it up to the White House to confirm individual specific meetings that take place over their direction, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Q By saying the next several days, are you suggesting that an invasion of --

MR. McCURRY: I'm suggesting only that Haiti is a subject of -- well, Haiti, Cuba, take your pick -- but Haiti in particular is a subject of enough concern that I suspect there will be ongoing policy work by senior officials in our government on that subject over the coming days.

Betsy.

Q Have more CARICOM countries pledged troops?

MR. McCURRY: I have just seen a wire ticker indicating that the Government of Guyana may be doing that, according to a local press account in Georgetown. I checked on that and don't have any independent confirmation of that, but, as Secretary Talbott and Secretary Deutch indicated at the time of their travel to Jamaica last week, there were other countries beyond the four who made specific pledges that were considering participating; and certainly if any of those countries have now decided that they will participate, we would welcome that participation.

Bill.

Q Thank you, Mike. Could you respond to two points in an Associated Press wire here this morning? First, from Cuba's chief delegate, Ricardo Alarcon, said that "The refugee crisis cannot be solved unless the United States agrees to talk about lifting the 32-year-old economic embargo." And then at the head of this wire, the writer says, "After four days of talks, the U.S. and Cuba have made no apparent progress toward a negotiated settlement that would end the flood of refugees." Is this accurate?

MR. McCURRY: On the first point, I believe that the views of the Cuban delegation leader, Mr. Alarcon, have been stated throughout the weekend. He said several similar things. We've made it clear that the purpose of the discussions in New York are related to the immigration issues that we indicated that we would be discussing there.

On the second point, Mr. Johnson, who's been up there as our spokesman for the delegation, has made it clear over the weekend that they're cautioning members of the media against the assumption that there would necessarily be an agreement as a result of these negotiations. And I'm not aware of anything that changes that very studied and appropriate characterization.

Q There's no apparent progress? Is that accurate?

MR. McCURRY: I have not seen any apparent progress. Anyone else seen any apparent progress?

Mark.

Q Can you state confidently that an invasion of Haiti can take place with the refugee crisis involving the Cubans still unresolved?

MR. McCURRY: I don't need to. I believe Secretary Deutch and Secretary Talbott so indicated last week.

Betsy.

Q Can you tell us if training has begun for the CARICOM countries?

MR. McCURRY: Yes, they have. My understanding comes from the Pentagon which has provided some information on that last week, I believe.

Q You said that there were 100 Cubans that had volunteered to go to Panama. Have there been any volunteers among the Haitians to go to Suriname?

MR. McCURRY: I don't know the answer to that. I'll have to find out. They were in the process of moving towards a departure for Suriname but they weren't as far along as they were with the 100 departing for Panama. I'll ask that question and find out. Someone somewhere has just heard that taken question, I'm sure.

Q Mike, on the Panamanian -- Cubans going to Panama, how will they get there? By ship or flying?

MR. McCURRY: I believe they're being flown in. The Pentagon, I think, is in a position to provide more detail on that this afternoon.

Q What's the inducement for them to go?

MR. McCURRY: Not much inducement. They will face similar conditions. The inducement from our end, from my understanding, is it's cheaper to house these migrants in safe haven facilities in both Panama and Suriname than it is at Guantanamo. That information comes from SOUTHCOM.

The conditions in Guantanamo. There's a very large concentration of people and some people may prefer to be in a site that is newly occupied. I don't have any complete reading on the people who have indicated a preference to go to the safehaven site. They will face safe humanitarian conditions. But as a Pentagon official said last week, they surely aren't summer camps.

Q But you don't have any reason to assume that they'll get key status anywhere?

MR. McCURRY: No hope of being processed for entry to the United States in either facility.

Q Last week, Deputy Secretary Talbott mentioned about 225 Cubans in Guantanamo expressed their desire to return to their homes. What happened to them?

MR. McCURRY: That is a subject of the discussions underway in New York, so it's being addressed by our negotiators in New York. We would like to facilitate their return consistent with the understandings we've had in the past with the Cuban Government.

Q Is that 225 figure still the accurate number?

MR. McCURRY: I haven't heard a newer--it was described to me as being somewhere between 200 and 250, but I don't whether the number has changed over the weekend, George. I can double-check that.

Q Any apparent progress on that issue -- of getting the Cubans back to Cuba?

MR. McCURRY: That's one of the several subjects related to migration that's under discussion now in New York. Same answer.

Q Mike, what is it that is propelling this government towards a seeming invasion -- I know you don't like that word -- of Haiti? There doesn't seem to be all that much support among Caribbean countries. The U.N. has spoken out on this. But it doesn't seem to be a very popular notion with the American people.

MR. McCURRY: What is propelling us, as you heard from senior officials in our government last week, is the consistent and flagrant pattern of abuses occurring directed not only against the human rights of individuals in Haiti but against the very institutions of democracy that the Haitian people have indicated they want to use for self-government.

In that respect, the United States is propelled forward by the expressed will of the United Nations through U.N. Security Council Resolution 940 which specifically outlines those steps that the world community is to take in order to restore democracy to Haiti.

Q Just a policy question. The Administration had predicted it would take about a week for the word to get around Cuba to stem this flow. Have you reassessed why they're still coming?

MR. McCURRY: Some of them that have been intercepted in recent days clearly were waiting for the weather to clear and there was a spike in the numbers. You're all aware of that over the past several days. Whether or not that becomes a pattern now is something we're trying to discern.

In some cases, as late as this weekend, individuals who were being rescued by the Coast Guard still were not aware of the U.S. policy, that they had no hope by being rescued and sent to Guantanamo that they would be processed for entry into the United States. Some of them were surprised by that. But there does seen to be, in general, a decline in the number of people who lack that knowledge. There is a likelihood that we will continue to see an exodus of people from Cuba despite the policy.

We are hoping, and doing everything possible, to encourage it to be so, that the numbers will diminish in coming days.

Q If there is an agreement with Cuba on an annual immigration number above 20,000, what will those Cubans currently on Guantanamo or in Panama have to do to qualify? Return to Cuba?

MR. McCURRY: They would have to present themselves to be processed by whatever mean is agreed to. The current means most likely available are to go to the Interests Section in Havana to complete the necessary paperwork.

Q Would that be the only --

MR. McCURRY: It's the only avenue available. They would not get any preferential treatment. They would, in a sense, go into the same line that they could have joined by remaining in Cuba in the first place.

Q I believe you said, "avail themselves of what's agreed upon." Does that mean the U.S. Government contemplated agreeing on processing people somewhere else besides the Interests Section?

MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of. I'm not aware of any locale for processing beyond the currently available means, which is the Interests Section in Havana. But I don't want to interpose myself in the negotiations underway. That may or may not have come up as a subject within the discussion. I'd leave that to those who are able to tell you more about the negotiations when they can properly do so.

Q Could I ask you to take the question of whether that has been raised in the discussions in New York?

MR. McCURRY: I'll take it and throw it to New York. I'll pass it on to David. I'll ask David if he's in a position to respond to that. But I think they've been very measures in what they've discussed as the subject manner of the talks. I don't know if they can take anything that specific, but I'll ask him if he's in a position to ask that, Mark. We'll see if we can get an answer.

Q Will the talks continue despite the apparent lack of progress?

MR. McCURRY: I think we will take it one step at a time, and the next step is the meeting at 3:00 today. We'll see where we are after that.

Betsy.

Q Is the U.S. going to issue an ultimatum before we send U.S. troops into Haiti? Will we warn them one last time?

MR. McCURRY: I'll give the same answer that Deputy Secretary Talbott gave to that last week: No change in the answer. He indicated that might be something that would be considered.

Q On the Cuba question, on the transfer to Panama. Are you asking for volunteers to those who are rescued at sea and are on the ships, or these are people who are already physically at Guantanamo?

MR. McCURRY: These are people physically at Guantanamo. My understanding is, it would be difficult to facilitate a transfer directly from a cutter to Panama, and they most likely will be taken to Guantanamo first, in any instance.

But how they will handle the additional flow to these safehavens is a subject that is still under consideration.

Q Mike, if you don't get enough volunteers, will people be selected?

MR. McCURRY: They will fast approach a point, depending on what the numbers are, that Guantanamo will reach capacity or get close to capacity and they'll have to find some way of filling up those available facilities at the safe havens. It may be necessary to move beyond volunteers.

Betsy.

Q Do you know if there are over 100 people that have volunteered to go and there's simply only room to transport 100? Will there be another flight tomorrow?

MR. McCURRY: I don't know the answer to that. I don't have any further information about how they will begin to fill that facility at Panama. But, clearly, they've only put a hundred there. They've got a capacity up to 10,000. My guess is -- I don't necessarily want to take the question because I think we'll have to see how things go today. If there's an answer available today, we'll do it; but we'll be checking in on the subject throughout the week, I'm sure.

Q Can we talk about Korea?

MR. McCURRY: Korea.

Q Do you have anything specifically on the talks with the South Korean Foreign Minister and then on teeing up the Berlin and Pyongyang talks?

MR. McCURRY: Foreign Minister Han arrived here in the United States, I believe, last night. He had breakfast I think today with Ambassador Gallucci, but he will be here until Thursday.

These are very important and significant discussions as we continue to work to calibrate very closely our presentations in the high level talks with the DPRK with our very close ally, the Republic of Korea.

While Foreign Minister Han is here, in addition to seeing Ambassador Gallucci, he'll also see Secretary Christopher, Secretary of Defense Perry, National Security Advisor Lake, and Deputy Secretary Talbott.

Again, as I say, he will be working in all of these encounters to strengthen and forge a common approach to the North Korean nuclear issue that we will take when the discussions resume September 23.

The expert talks are scheduled, I think, start at the end of the week at some appropriate point. The key negotiations and discussions will be September 23 when Ambassador Gallucci returns to Geneva.

Q The Post said today that there's near panic among some analysts in South Korea about a supposed U.S. tilt toward North Korea. Do you have anything to say about that?

MR. McCURRY: There's no better demonstration of our close alliance with the Republic of Korea than the very important discussions that the Foreign Minister will have in coming days. I do expect you'll hear from both the Foreign Minister and Secretary Christopher tomorrow. We calibrate our discussions with the DPRK very closely, relying on consultations with the Republic of Korea and others. That close coordination will continue, as made clear by the meeting taking place tomorrow.

Mark.

Q What's your latest assessment of who is charge in North Korea?

MR. McCURRY: About as it has been. There doesn't seem to be anything to us that indicates anything other than a succession process underway that points to Kim Jong-Il as the successor to his father.

Q Cairo?

MR. McCURRY: Cairo.

Q Another wire dispatch this morning. The meeting between Al Gore and Archbishop Renato Martino apparently did not resolve the differences over abortion. And the question, are they going to meet again? What do you have for us on Cairo and this particular controversy between the Vatican?

MR. McCURRY: As you can tell from the wire account you've seen, the Vice President has had what was described to me as a very good and cordial meeting earlier today.

We've indicated all along we doubt that it will be impossible to resolve every differences related to the program of action -- the draft program of action under consideration in Cairo -- but we've been very encouraged by the good discussions that have been occurring in Cairo. These have occurred in an atmosphere where we've shown a great deal of respect for the positions of the Vatican and understanding the moral premise of the arguments that have been advanced by Vatican representatives; and in that very respectful atmosphere, we'll continue our dialogue as the conference itself continues.

But there's been a lot more said on that subject today by Under Secretary Wirth and by the Vice President, so watch your dispatches coming in from Cairo.

Q I wouldn't want this to seem related to the dispute with the Vatican, but does the U.S. have any thoughts on the wisdom of the Pope going to Sarajevo?

MR. McCURRY: Obviously, we support all those who travel in the name of peace and who are trying to bring a very tragic and difficult conflict to an end. But the security arrangements which are ultimately the responsibility of the Bosnian Government, with the assistance as can be provided of UNPROFOR and others who are helping on those types of issues, that is really a decision that has to be left to the Vatican and to the Pope himself.

Q New subject?

MR. McCURRY: Yes, sir.

Q Mike, on Saturday the Russian Government's official gazette ran a story accusing three people identified as American diplomats of espionage. If you don't have anything now, I'd like to ask you to take the question. Do you have any comment on this? The names are Kelly Ann Hamilton, Donald Gibson Plants and Jeffrey Giles.

MR. McCURRY: That catches me off guard, so I'll take the question and see if we've got anything on that. I had not heard that report. Again, Norm, for the people who take questions.

Q The names are Kelly Ann Hamilton, Donald Gibson Plants, and Jeffrey Giles.

MR. McCURRY: And the name of the Russian --

Q It's the Russian Gazette is the way it would be in English.

MR. McCURRY: Rossiskaya Gazeta. Okay.

Q Rossiskaya Gazeta.

MR. McCURRY: We'll look for it.

Q Regarding Russia, in the Times this morning a report regarding hardline Russian right-wingers, communists, going down to protest the joint exercises, U.S.-Russian joint exercises. Is everything on track as far as the Russian Government is concerned?

MR. McCURRY: Yes. That's a joint peacekeeping training exercise that's taking place in Totskoye. I believe that it was scheduled from the 5th to the 7th of September, so we're at midway. We do have some reports of individuals picketing in the Tutskoye area, but I'm told that the exercise is proceeding without disruption. This involves personnel from the U.S. Third Infantry Division who are stationed in Germany and taking place with a sort of similar number participating from the Russian 27th Guards Motorized Rifle Division. But the Pentagon, I think, was prepared to say a little more on that.

But as far as any protests occurring, we do believe that the exercise is going on without any major disruption, and we see it as a valuable contribution to the growing defense and security cooperation that is developing between the United States and Russia.

Q Mike, has the Russian Government formally advised the United States, or informally for that matter, that it strongly opposes the lifting of the arms embargo on Bosnian Muslims, and that indeed it would veto such an attempt to do that through the Security Council?

MR. McCURRY: Within the Contact Group, they have shared views on lifting the arms embargo, and the views of the Russian Federation have been made known to us and have been made known to you by Foreign Minister Kozyrev and others. Their views are not dissimilar from those of some of the others members of the Contact Group.

Q Where does that leave the lifting of the arms embargo now, which is supposed to -- isn't there a date certain at which that is supposed to be raised?

MR. McCURRY: At the moment, within the United States Congress, there's consideration of a measure that would require the U.S. Administration to begin an effort by October 15 to lift the arms embargo multilaterally if there was not an agreement to the Contact Group proposal by that date, and then also the possibility of later on in the fall if there was not further progress towards multilateral lifting, that the United States would move unilaterally to lifting the arms embargo.

And as has been made clear during the debate in Congress, that does seem very clearly likely to put the United States at some position of being at odds with the other members of the Contact Group and some of our key allies in Europe. I don't believe there's anything terribly new in all of that.

One last one in the back, and then we'll say goodbye.

Q Do you have any comments on Gerry Adams holding talks with the Irish Prime Minister?

MR. McCURRY: To the degree that these types of discussions flow out of the IRA's historic announcement and they are aimed at peace, we welcome those discussions.

Q Thank you.

MR. McCURRY: Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:18 p.m.)

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