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. ________________________________________________________ U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING September 13, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Tuesday, September, 13 1994 Briefers: John Shattuck Michael McCurry HAITI Release of US Human Rights Report ...........1,8,12-13 Opening Statement by Asst. Secretary Shattuck ..................................2-5 Human Rights Abuses/US Concern ..............5-8 Secretary's Consultation with Congress ......11-12 Safety of Americans .........................13 Departure of US-Approved Refugees ...........15-16 ANNOUNCEMENT Secretaries Christopher/Brown to Speak at Business Roundtable at Department Tomorrow .9 NORTH KOREA Expert Discussions with US/Light-Water Reactors ...................................9-10,21 TERRORISM US Crime Bill Provides New Curbs on Terrorism ..................................10 CANADA US Diplomatic Relations ......................10 Foreign Minister's Visit to Washington .......11 Prime Minister's Contacts with President Clinton ....................................21-22 CUBA Government Efforts to Bar Departure of Rafts .16 Discussions on Immigration to US/ Repatriation ...............................16-19 Accounting for Family Members Picked Up by US ...................................17-18 Transfers from Guantanamo to Panama ..........20
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 1994, 12:40 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Good afternoon everybody.
I'd like to begin the briefing today with Assistant Secretary John Shattuck. I think some of you are aware of how we report annually on human rights conditions around the world. We issue our Country Reports-- volumes -- covering calendar year reports on human rights conditions, usually every late winter, I guess. We did it in February this year -- did the report for l993.
But from time to time, when there is an urgent human rights problem that we are reviewing that impacts on U.S. policy-making, we do interim reports; and we've got another one today we'd like to share with you on Haiti. This is the third interim report that we have prepared on human rights conditions in Haiti this year. There were two prior reports -- one in April, and one in July
I'd say that the significance of this report is underscored by the fact that in July, as you know, the de facto regime in Haiti expelled those international monitors who have been connected with the International Civilian Mission -- the ICM -- which is a joint effort of both the United Nations and the OAS. With the expulsion of those international monitors, it became even more urgent to do the best reporting possible on human rights conditions in Haiti; and I'd like to credit our Embassy in Port-au-Prince and Ambassador Swing. He's had many of the officers in our Embassy in Port-au-Prince actually going out into the countryside to verify, as best we can, those reports of human rights abuses that do reach the United States Government.
This material has now been pulled together by Assistant Secretary Shattuck, and he's got a report which we've shared with you; and I'd like Assistant Secretary Shattuck to walk you through some of the very egregious examples of human rights abuses that we're seeing in Haiti and which, in fact, have worsened in recent months.
Assistant Secretary Shattuck.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Thank you very much. I'm joining you here today to present a report on the state of human rights in Haiti.
Haiti is in the grip of a repression and terror, as the report reflects, that is marked by a level of violence comparable to what existed during the notorious regime of "Papa Doc" Duvalier. This rule of terror has grown worse in recent months under the illegal Cedras regime and has made Haiti among the worst human rights violators in the world today.
By early this year, more than 3,000 Haitians had been murdered by the regime; and that number has since increased by several hundred more, by most accounts. The people of Haiti have been subjected to assassinations, executions, beatings, mutilations, raids, rapes, and other violent abuses and intimidation directed at innocent men, women and children -- including, reportedly, the most vulnerable members of society, such as orphans.
Three hundred thousand Haitians -- approximately 5 percent of the population -- have been driven into hiding, reportedly, by this pervasive climate of fear.
Because the human rights conditions in Haiti have deteriorated significantly, the report we are releasing today cannot document every act of violence and repression. For every reported example of abuse, there are no doubt others that go unreported.
This repression and terror is often targeted at supporters of President Aristide, yet it is random as well. This suits the purpose of the regime, which is to convince all Haitians -- even children, apparently -- that they are at the mercy of the regime and unable to oppose it.
In short, the aim is to replace the rule of law with its opposite: the rule of fear.
Let me review some of the highlights of the report. Some of these facts are known to you already and others are probably not.
On August 28th, a priest and colleague of President Aristide -- Reverend Jean Marie Vincent -- was shot to death in a hail of fire from unidentified gunmen as he drove up to the gates of his order's compound in the Turgeau region of Port-au-Prince.
Also, within the last month, former Senator Reynold Charles was seriously wounded but escaped death when shot by unidentified gunmen. Gunmen attacked the home of Senator Clarck Parent and his sister, the Mayor or Petionville, but fled when the blind Senator fired his pistol into the air.
These assassinations and attempted assassinations continue the regime's practice of systematically exterminating Haitian leaders who dare to work for democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
As you know, in September of last year, prominent pro-Aristide activist Antoine Izmery was killed while attending a church service; and on October 14th of last year, the Minister of Justice -- Guy Malary -- was murdered in downtown Port-au-Prince.
The most vulnerable and ordinary citizens are also routinely attacked. In one incident in the report, a fire set by the military at night in Port-au-Prince destroyed 200 houses and killed 65 people. In another incident, the military beat up residents of a southern town, killing an elderly man and then attacked his funeral. Last week, unconfirmed press reports indicate that Haitian orphans -- many of whose parents were victims of the de facto regime, apparently -- have been killed by the regime, apparently in retaliation against Aristide, who was active in caring for orphans of Port- au-Prince in his days as a parish priest.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has drawn special attention to the use of rape as a tool of terror against politically active women or the families of politically active men. These included a l3-year-old girl, a l6-year-old girl, and a woman who hemorrhaged to death after being raped by soldiers.
In the first five months of l994, before their expulsion from Haiti by the military, the U.N.-OAS Inter- national Civilian Mission documented 66 cases of politically motivated rape by military and paramilitary forces.
Let me just briefly run through a few very recent examples of the deterioration -- serious deterioration of human rights in Haiti today.
On June l4th, military and armed civilians raided a church office in Laborde, arresting and severely beating the Director of the College of Notre Dame and his parents.
On June 24th, an explosion in the house of a local representative of a labor organization killed two young girls.
On June 30th, the bodies of five men appeared on the streets of Port-au-Prince. All had been shot with their hands tied behind backs.
On August l8th, the army arrested 40 people in the southern peninsula town of Cavaillon for lowering the Haitian flag.
The Embassy in Port-au-Prince has reported deaths in custody this month and recent arrests and beatings of Haitians caught listening to Voice of America broadcasts.
In the coastal town of Aquin, a large number of people were thrown in prison and all were subject to harassment by the authorities. A local nun told our Embassy officers of the torture victims she had treated.
In a particularly disturbing incident described in the report during July and August, a military commander in the Les Cayes region -- Norelus Mendelus -- brutalized the civilian population, among other atrocities reported by the Embassy. In the course of a brutal beating, Commander Mendelus cut off a victim's ear and forced him to eat it, then carved his initials in the victim's flesh. This behavior was tolerated by the military authorities until a priest and a seminarian, who were among the victims of Mendelus indiscriminate bearings, turned out to be relatives of a higher-ranking officer. Mendelus apparently received a minor reprimand before being reassigned.
In the town of Grecssiers, several bodies of murder victims were found just last month in a very shallow grave, with body parts sticking out -- a gruesome example of intimidation.
On the morning of August lst, the police beat Haitians who were waiting in line for the opening of the U.S. Refugee Processing Center in Port-au-Prince.
And many other examples of these kinds are documented in the report.
Ever since the regime reneged on the terms of the Governors Island Agreement nearly a year ago, it has blocked discussion of settlement of these issues. And earlier this month, of course, it refused to meet with a special representative of the U.N. Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
It was in response to the escalating human rights violations, as well as the intransigence of the regime and the exhaustion of diplomatic channels, that the U.N. Security Council on July 3lst approved Resolution 940, which authorizes the expulsion of the de facto regime by all means necessary.
From this authorization, the U.S. has worked towards forming an international coalition of forces to implement the resolution.
I'd be happy to take any questions that you may have.
Q Mr. Shattuck?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Yes.
Q The report that was issued in February as part of the State Department Human Rights Report for all the countries in the world was seen by some human rights groups to be soft on Haiti.
Now this report is very tough on Haiti. Is this solely to justify or to back up or to gain support for an invasion, and if so, we'd like to know what really is the truth? What is the true situation? Is it soft or is it hard? What's going on?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Well, the Human Rights Report reporting of the Embassy and the United States Government in general over a number of years has been very clear and very firm on the subject of the deterioration of human rights in Haiti.
What we have seen in recent months, however, which all agree to, is the very serious deterioration that has occurred since our last Human Rights Report appeared. And in large part because of the expulsion of the U.N. monitors and the fact that there are no other major sources of information about the situation in Haiti, except the reporting that we are able to do from the Embassy, we felt that it was essential to put out this report at this time and to stress the great, the serious deterioration.
As far as the second part of your question is concerned, let me be very clear. The President, the Secretary of State, and others have made very clear that the deterioration of human rights in Haiti is of serious concern to the United States. This is a matter in our own back yard. It has a serious impact on Haitians, on Americans, and the forcible overthrow of the democratically elected government of Haiti was a matter of concern and has been for some time.
So I think the centrality of our human rights concerns has been very clear.
Q Can I follow up with just one? As the date of the impending invasion draws near, people in Haiti have become very frightened, because they fear that there is going to be a blood bath of Aristide supporters and that the human rights violations are going to get much worse. Is there anything that you can do now for Haitians to prepare them for these last two weeks to help them to survive, or is there any leverage at all that you can use to protect people now in Haiti before the invasion?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Well, I think, among other things that are being made very clear, as it has been for many months now, that any attacks, continued attacks on Haitians are in the same vein of the human rights violations that we are reporting on here. They are serious violations of Haitian law, of international law, and certainly the prospect of a return to a rule of law in Haiti is something that is very central to the government's message.
Q Mr. Shattuck, among the perpetrators you list is this organization known as Shrap. It, however, operates in this country and in Canada, but mainly in this country, raising funds, spreading propaganda, and even intimidating members of the Haitian community in Canada and the United States.
Why is that allowed?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Well, of course, as you know, we have our own rule of law and our own Constitution in our country, and to the extent that individuals are engaged in activities that are protected by our Constitution, it is allowed. I'm not going to speak to any particular ways in which an organization operating in Haiti may be or may not be raising money in the United States. But certainly we have to bear in mind our own basic constitutional guarantees.
Q In other words, you are saying that there is nothing that the United States Government can do under the law to stop an organization which you consider to be a major violator of human rights in Haiti?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Well, I think the whole function of the U.S. effort, working with the international community, mobilizing support for the U.N. Resolution 940, I think is an indication of what it is we are doing with respect to this whole issue. Steve.
Q Mr. Shattuck, many human rights groups have said the chief instigator of the human rights violations is Michel Francois. Yet I do not see his name mentioned in this report. Do we hold him at all responsible for what is going on?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Well, this report talks about the acts of the regime and those who are acting on its behalf. It does not identify in any particular way individuals nor is it intended to at this point. It is to show what is happening on the ground in Haiti with respect to human rights conditions.
Q Mr. Ambassador, with regard to this deteriorating situation, this increase in junta terrorism, how are American citizens in Haiti -- about the safety of our American citizens -- is it being adversely affected? I have read reports that American citizens were being shielded by the government so as not to antagonize us? And, secondly, are there other foreign nationals? And, finally, what about the American citizens in the cross fire of an invasion. Can you tell us anything about plans to protect or withdraw U.S. citizens?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Well, I'm going to leave that primarily to others to describe, but I can tell you that the safety of American citizens is a matter of paramount concern to us.
Q Sir, the litany of rights abuses that you have here has occurred and intensified even as the warnings from the Administration have intensified. Obviously the people carrying these abuses out haven't seemed too concerned. What do they have to look forward to once American troops and other troops arrive?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Well, the goal of the United States and all other nations in this tragic situation is the restoration of the rule of law in Haiti, and to bring about the return of the democratically elected government, to bring about an appropriate level of security within Haiti, and to bring about an end to these kinds of serious human rights abuses, and I think that is the ultimate result that we seek.
Q If some of these abuses -- just to follow up - - are being carried out by members of the security forces or the various paramilitary forces, and the goal is to rebuild Haiti's police and military, using existing manpower, isn't it likely that a lot of these people will stay on under the new system?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Well, certainly we are looking very closely at any new or reconstituted police force to ensure that those who have been identified or who are suspected of having been engaged in major human rights violations would not be part of any such force.
MR. McCURRY: Do two quick ones -- Carol and one more.
Q While you are talking about other countries' human rights records, how about the new report on the United States record? Where is it?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Well, it is in the reading room of the State Department and has been there since yesterday morning. This is a report that, frankly, we didn't expect would get really all that much attention, although we are very proud of it and very pleased with it.
I think it's a report that reflects the strong condition of our own human rights, as well as the fact that we are a work in progress. I think you can get copies through our Press Office -- Mike McCurry. The full report is 250 pages long. It is in the process of being fully printed and will be very widely distributed and available in about two weeks. But it has been publicly available since it first attracted any attention.
Q Mr. Shattuck, is there concern that if the United States were to fix a public deadline that the repression and violence in Haiti would intensify?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: I don't think I am going to comment on a question as specific as that. Thank you.
Q Is there anything more known about the murderers of Father Vincent? Is there anything to tie that murder directly to the regime?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Well, certainly the circumstances strongly suggest that, but I'm not going to provide any additional evidence beyond that which is in the report at this stage.
Q A known gunman is all we know?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Well, it would appear that under the circumstances, the gunman was connected to the general apparatus that is described in the report.
Q Thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK: Thank you.
MR. MC CURRY: Thank you, Assistant Secretary Shattuck. A couple of announcements.
I'll just make you aware of some things then I want to come back, Jim, to the question you asked.
First, tomorrow, Secretary Christopher and Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown are going to address a business roundtable here at the Department entitled "Plugging In: Export Growth on the Information Super-Highway." I know that sounds way too risque for the State Department -- way too, probably, high tech for the State Department, too.
It's a very good program. There are a variety of things going on now in preparation for the upcoming conference in Columbus. This is just another one. It will be open to press coverage. We'll feature Under Secretary Spero, Assistant Secretary Tarullo. There will be speakers from the Commerce Department, including Kent Hughes who is the Deputy Secretary; Lloyd Fitz-Pegado, who is the Director General of the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service; and Douglas Browning, Assistant Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service.
The program will begin at 1:30 in the Loy Henderson, and we've got some information in the Press Office, if you're not already accredited, so that you can attend to cover what should be a very interesting session.
Second, I want to make sure, because it happened late last night, that you're aware that there was a very brief statement that came out from the two delegations in Pyongyang from the United States and the North Korean delegation holding expert-level discussions. Just noting that they had met in accordance with the agreed statement at the conclusion of the last session of high-level talks in Geneva.
Both sides discussed detailed technical matters related to the exchange and establishment of liaison offices in the context of an overall agreement. The discussion was reported to be serious and cooperative. Both sides agreed to report the outcome of the discussions to their respective governments.
This is information being exchanged in preparation for the resumption of the negotiations themselves on September 23.
The last thing: We have got a long statement which will be available in the Press Office, but it touches on a point you asked about, Jim. The Crime Bill, as you know, was signed by the President today at the White House. There are several provisions in it that we've highlighted in a Departmental statement that relate to some of the things that the bill includes related to counter-terrorism.
Among them is a provision on the so-called "material support provision" that makes it a Federal offense to provide material support such as funding and equipment for specific terrorist acts; primarily, those that are covered by international treaties. It does not relate to fund-raising activities on behalf of organizations that might support terrorism, but it's a specific prohibition against advancing specific acts of terrorism.
It also, among other things, the bill extends the statute of limitations for terrorist crimes, from five to eight years, and implements a variety of other provisions of international law that have now been taken up by the United States Congress.
It also strengthens the program that we've talked about from time to time here -- the counter-terrorism rewards program that helps us encourage those with information about terrorist activities to come forward and provide information. So we've got a lot of additional information on that available at the Press Office after the briefing.
Q The Berlin session still continues?
MR. McCURRY: They will meet again today, I believe, for their third day of discussions today. We don't have a report yet from them.
Q I'm wondering how you did or will react to the Quebec election that did put in power a separatist government? And will it change something in the relations between the two countries?
MR. McCURRY: It would not change any of our existing relations with the Government of Canada, as you would expect. I would reiterate the long-standing U.S. position, that we enjoy excellent relations with a strong and united Canada. Canada's political future, naturally, is for Canadians themselves to decide. At this point, it would be inappropriate to speculate on any hypothetical issues that might arise if there was a move towards separation because that's not a question that arises at this point.
Q Canadian Foreign Minister Andre Ouellet is expected in town for the swearing-in of the new Secretary General of the OAS. Will he be meeting the Secretary? And will the question of Quebec and Haiti be matters for discussion?
MR. McCURRY: We have had on-going discussions on the matter of Haiti with the Government of Canada, I suspect as you know. The subject of Quebec was touched upon, I believe, in a phone call that the President had with Prime Minister Chretien late last week, if not over the weekend.
I imagine that there will be follow-up discussion on that. We have such a broad-ranging dialogue and such a long agenda that we would explore with the Government of Canada, I can't pinpoint exactly what will be on it.
I don't know at this point whether the Secretary plans to see Foreign Minister Quellet. I would imagine so, but let me get a precise answer to that and post a schedule as soon as we can.
Mark and then George. Mark.
Q Back on Haiti. Can you tell us about the Secretary's consultations with people on the Hill?
MR. McCURRY: That they have been occurring and that he considers them to be a very productive way to exchange information with members of Congress. He's been making some calls himself. Others in the United States Government have been talking to individual members. Each of these discussions, I think, is a good opportunity for members of Congress to raise their concerns and for us to raise some of our concerns as a participant in the United Nations and as a nation responsible for carrying out the mandate of U.N. Security Council Resolution 940.
So I would describe them as good, productive conversations in which views can be exchanged both on the part of the members of Congress and the Secretary. Those are similar to other calls that have been underway. But I obviously won't get into any specific discussions.
Q A follow-up. Are any large meetings or committee meetings scheduled, or is this all being done in small groups individually and over the phone?
MR. McCURRY: I believe most of the Secretary's discussions have been by telephone, but I would direct you to others within the government who would know more about any briefing schedules. I'm not aware of any meetings like that.
Of course, I believe, if I'm not mistaken, that Congress goes out of session tomorrow around mid-day because of the High Holy Days.
Q Anymore troop commitments from other countries?
MR. McCURRY: I did not check on that. We are working on some and we'll announce them as we can. I'm not aware of any that we have -- I'm not aware of any that we can discuss today, having been announced by foreign governments.
We are intent on making sure that other governments who want to participate in the U.N. force have the opportunity to discuss that with their own citizens before we talk about it here. We will do so as more develops.
Q In response to yesterday's ABC poll showing, I think, 73 percent of Americans opposed to an invasion of Haiti, would it be helpful at this point for the President to get out and make a statement on that? How soon would you expect to see that?
MR. McCURRY: I would not render advice to the President on that. He will know best how to build that case. As you can see from what we did today, we consider it very important to bring information to the American public so that they know certain things.
I'm not certain that many Americans knew of the graphic type of human rights abuses just described by Assistant Secretary Shattuck. I think as more of that information is available to Americans, I think they will think they will think through exactly what our responsibilities are as a participating member of the United Nations that has obligations under U.N. resolutions and as a nation that pursues the interests -- our own national interests -- as they have been discussed by the President and the Secretary of State.
Q But exactly to that point, how does the American public know that you're not exaggerating the Haiti situation merely to strengthen your case for some sort of invasion?
I would just point out that in the run-up to the Gulf War, the Administration did the same thing.
MR. McCURRY: Because there were very brave embassy officers who went out to get the kind of information that's been shared here by Assistant Secretary Shattuck. We would not provide that information unless we had verified it. We have lots of information that has come to us from time to time and has come to us in the past which we can't reliably authenticate. So we share the information that is factual and truthful as the American people have a right to expect.
Q Do you have the quote from President Bush cited by the Secretary yesterday which supposedly said that Haiti was an important national security issue?
MR. McCURRY: I've read those. I don't have them with me, George, but they are available because they are public documents printed by the State Department. They make very clear the position of President Bush and Secretary of State Baker that the type of violence and the overthrow of the lawfully elected regime in Haiti would not stand. We will refer you to that. We can get those and make them available.
Q It's one thing to say that, it's another thing to call for an invasion which I don't think President Bush ever did.
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware the degree to which they did invasion-planning during the regime of President Clinton's predecessor. You might want to look into that.
Q Mike, back to my question that was left unanswered. Are American citizens increasingly being harassed or terrorized in Haiti?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of reports of specific threats directed against American citizens. Given the nature of the regime, it's certainly something that we will monitor very carefully.
Q And, second, to follow up. When will we know of plans concerning the protection of American citizens in invasion situation?
MR. McCURRY: Right now. Because I can tell you, as the President has said, the safety and security of American citizens in Haiti is a very important interest of the United States Government and one that we will certainly do everything necessary to protect and secure.
Q Do we have any indication that Haiti is intending to use our people as hostages or shields in any way?
MR. McCURRY: I don't have any specific information of that nature.
Q Are there arrangements for charter flights in the event that those Americans now in Haiti decide to leave before an invasion?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not aware of any planning like that. I'd have to check into that.
Q Could you?
MR. McCURRY: If I check into it and find that I can provide any information along those lines, I will. I suspect I probably won't be able to.
Carol. A couple more, Betsy?
Q In light of this continued talk about invasion and sending of aircraft carriers and those sorts of things, has there been any indication that the regime is willing to leave and they're seeking help in getting out of there?
MR. McCURRY: The same answer that the Secretary of State gave yesterday: Nothing yet.
Q Mike, is there anything new on a special emissary or a last minute ultimatum, either delivered by emissary or from here?
MR. McCURRY: No, nothing new. I think you heard, if I'm not mistaken, Deputy Secretary Talbott took that question last week. He said we are interested in making absolutely sure that Cedras knows that if there is a willingness to come forward, there is a willingness to make the necessary arrangements. And how to make sure he has that message in no uncertain terms is something we'll continue to look at.
The Secretary of State said that here publicly yesterday, so I can't believe that they've missed that point. But whatever the President deems necessary to effectively make that case, he will pursue.
Q But at least at this point, no decision has been made on that?
MR. McCURRY: I don't believe there's been any decision to dispatch any emissary.
Q Mr. Shattuck said that the human rights abuses are a violation of international law. Does that mean that the United States would in some way try to prosecute outside of Haiti people who commit crimes right now?
MR. McCURRY: The United States would prosecute people who violate U.S. law. Questions like that have been under the province of discussions within the United Nations on prosecuting crimes and injustices and, specifically, in the case of war crimes the types of things that have been investigated in the case of Bosnia which will now be brought to justice and which are being explored in the case of Rwanda through the U.N. Special Rapporteur who is investigating the nature of the crimes in Rwanda.
I'm not aware that there has been impaneled any process to explore violations of international law in Haiti, but that is a matter that the United Nations is seized with and would properly address at the proper point.
Q Will the United States bring this up at the United Nations?
MR. McCURRY: I'll have to check and see. We would certainly be willing to, given the nature of the abuses, but I'll see if there are any plans to do so in any upcoming session.
Q Is the United States supporting any particular candidate for a successor to Woerner at NATO?
MR. McCURRY: That's not a subject I'm prepared to get into now. There have been a lot of private discussions within the North Atlantic Council on the question of a succession. At the time that I can properly, I will make some of those discussions transparent.
Q Can I go backwards before we get too far away from Haiti? Are there any updated numbers you can give us on the movement of the 900 hundred or so, and the other almost 900 Haitians who were being bused across the Dominican border last week?
MR. McCURRY: Yes. There were 113 approved refugees who crossed the border into the Dominican Republic yesterday, and they were flown to the United States.
We indicated, I believe, last week that we hoped that this would become a regular if not weekly occurrence. That brings up to 303, by the way, the number of the approved refugees who have now left Haiti for the United States.
We're doing this under the auspices of the International Organization for Migration -- the IOM -- as you know. That leaves about 865 approved refugees who are travel-ready and then some 980 that are in final stages of processing applications for refugee status.
Q Do you have anything on Cuban compliance with the agreement signed last Friday?
MR. McCURRY: It's a little early for us to make a complete assessment, but there are reports that indicate there's very little rafter activity on the beaches now. The Cuban Government, according to news reports, has established checkpoints set up along roads leading to the beaches which is designed to discourage those who would seek to illegally migrate to the United States. There's also reports of increased police presence on the beaches.
I believe it was noon today that the Cuban Government has set as a final deadline for rafts and other vessels to be removed from the beaches. So these are all signs that the Cuban Government is serious about the commitments it made to the government of the United States and the accord that was signed on Friday.
The Cuban Government specified they would take effective and humane measures to prevent unsafe departures. We welcome these signs that the Government of Cuba is honoring this commitment.
We expect them to continue to honor the commitment they made in the document that was signed Friday.
Q In the statement that was made in New York, it said that there would have to be modalities worked out for getting the people in that we had agreed to take. How long do you expect it to take before those --
MR. McCURRY: I am told it will be done in the days ahead and no one will specify the number of days. There are things that have to happen among them that are increasing some of the personnel in the Interests Section in Cuba so that we can process the volume that we expect.
We are discouraging Cubans, in the meantime, from rushing our Interests Section in Havana. We don't have in place all of the procedures, but they are working on them very directly. Certainly, the Justice Department is through the Immigration and Naturalization Service. They are cooperating obviously with us through the Interests Section in Havana.
Q Mike, do you a number on the Cubans who have indicated an interest in returning home?
MR. McCURRY: No. No new number. Same report.
Q Has the United States and Cuba worked out details for Cuba to take back some of these people -- all of these people?
MR. McCURRY: I don't know that they have worked out the details yet to do that. One of the things both sides agreed to on Friday is that they would establish those procedures and then meet within another 45 days to review the implementation of the accord. There will be on-going discussions informally as we move to implement the measures that were agreed to by both governments Friday.
Q Is there no new number because there is no real screening, no polling of these people yet?
MR. McCURRY: I just don't have any new number. I don't know if there is any screening. I'll have to ask the folks who are in contact with INS to see if they've made any additional attempt now to go back and canvas them.
I think they are making information about the accord that was reached in New York available to those who are at Guantanamo so that they now understand there is a process underway, agreed to by both governments, that should enhance safe, legal, and orderly migration.
Q Mike, our people in Havana are hearing many complaints from people who are trying to find out if their relatives have actually made Guantanamo.
A couple of questions. Is there a procedure that has been set up now so that people can find out -- people in Cuba can find out who is in Guantanamo? And are we by any chance doing that rather slowly, or is that being expedited, or where does it stand?
MR. McCURRY: Barrie, not that I'm aware of. My understanding is that -- I've heard it described it more of people who are in Miami and south Florida who are inquiring about relatives, of whether they may be at Guantanamo. I know there are lists, as they are developed at Guantanamo, that are then faxed to organizations we work with in the community in south Florida who then post them and try to make that information available to Cuban American citizens and others in south Florida.
I don't honestly know whether the same thing is happening going back to Havana through the Interests Section. I can check on that, but I've heard it described as trying to update the community on those who are at Guantanamo so people can, in fact, find out if their loved ones are at Guantanamo.
Obviously, there would be a great deal of concern in any family because of the very high risk involved for many of these Cuban citizens when they went into the Florida straits on these less than seaworthy craft.
Q You don't know if there is actually a procedure to advise people in Havana?
MR. McCURRY: I'll have to find out whether there is some type of procedure by which we're letting folks know whether their relatives made it to Guantanamo in Havana. I just don't know the answer to that.
Q (Inaudible) are reading this?
MR. McCURRY: That, Jim, is correct. There have been a variety of independent radio stations in south Florida that have actually been reading the lists as they are faxed to community leaders in south Florida and I believe to state officials. I think we do some of this through the government, through the community; the relocation service, too -- the CRS.
Q Mike, on this point -- and then back to another about the Interests Section -- has the Cuban Government themselves requested to know who is in Guantanamo and have they been asked by their citizens to verify the safety of their arrival?
MR. McCURRY: I do not know whether they have made that request. I do know that under the prior procedure we had for exchanging people who are in Guantanamo to allow them back to Cuba, we did exchange those names directly through our Interest Section when that type of transfer occurred. So that would be the procedure by which we would then make a list available to the Cuban Government.
Q And about the Interests Section, and the police, is the atmosphere -- is the action of the Cuban police around the Interests Section one of allowing free access without repressive measures? Is the Interests Section really open without repression now?
MR. McCURRY: Well, the Interests Section is open. We have heard some reports of very long lines outside the Interests Section, and we, on our own, are encouraging people to understand that we are developing the procedures by which we can accommodate this substantial increase in legal migration, but I don't have any report on any conduct of law enforcement officials around the Interests Section. If we get anything on that, we'll try to share it in the days ahead.
Obviously we expect them to protect U.S. diplomats who are conducting routine consular activities and diplomatic activities at the Interests Section.
Yes, Mark, and then Carol.
Q Mike, is it your understanding that Cubans who return to Cuba proper from Guantanamo to apply for asylum, in Havana would be subject to prosecution for illegally leaving the island?
MR. McCURRY: It is not clear to us what disposition they would have. We are not sure what local law applies in the case of those who return, nor the degree to which that local law would be enforced, if it would be enforced by the Cuban Government.
Q Has that been discussed during the talks in New York?
MR. McCURRY: What was discussed was the fact that any return, voluntary return, of those from Guantanamo to Cuba would be done in a way in which there would be no reprisals taken against those who are returned. And that is consistent with our understanding. I don't know the degree to which reprisals was actually defined. I can find out more in the context of the discussion how much they got into that, but clearly we would not -- you know, the stress has been throughout this entire negotiation with the government in Cuba. It has been on taking those humane steps necessary to encourage legal migration, and we would expect the conduct of the Cuban Government in implementing that agreement to be consistent with that stipulation.
Q If I could change the subject to your Taiwan policy review which was so perfectly calibrated that everybody hates it equally. (Laughter.) There has been a double carom effect involving the Asia games in which the Taiwanese said that they were going to send an official. The Chinese said that they would withdraw from the games if that happened. Now the Japanese apparently approved a no-politicians rule, which sounds great to me.
MR. McCURRY: No politicians may participate in the games?
Q None of them may visit. Anyway, have you seen that? Do you have any reaction? Do you think that the United States policy review has had any impact on this whole series of events?
MR. McCURRY: I'm not at all certain that our own review has had an impact although we have shared the results of that policy review both with Taiwan and with Beijing.
I'm scrambling real quickly to read a press conference that Under Secretary Tarnoff gave in Beijing, I believe earlier today, just to see whether that subject came up, and I don't believe that it did. But I'm not aware that either Taiwan or Beijing raised our own policy review in the context of discussions about the status of the games. And it would be speculative to say whether or not that has had an impact on the thinking of the government of Japan, I think.
Q Back on Cuba, is the United States Government still sending Cuban refugees from Guantanamo to Panama?
MR. McCURRY: It has not -- we still intend to do that. I don't believe there have been any transfers of that nature in the last couple of days. But part of the reason, I believe, has been bad weather that has been in the region. You have to transport these people by aircraft, and they probably are hunkered down while some of the bad weather moves through.
Q Since Guantanamo is not near capacity right now, what is the advantage of continuing to transfer people to Panama?
MR. McCURRY: Just to -- you have different types of facilities there. It's a little easier to manage such a large volume of people, and it is cheaper, among other reasons.
Q Could you say anything more about Tarnoff's plans to visit Ankara and Athens?
MR. McCURRY: I can. We posted a statement on it yesterday, I believe.
Q I think he said he wanted to talk about the Balkans and I just wondered specifically what the issue was.
MR. McCURRY: I could only guess. The subjects that have been a routine part of that dialogue have been both the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Greek embargo, and then also the status of the UNPROFOR participation in enforcing U. N. Security Council resolutions as they relate to the former Yugoslavia, in which both Turkey and Greece have taken strong interest.
Q Yes. A new subject on Korea. This is Chon Su Lee of the Korean Broadcasting System.
It was reported that the U.S.-North Korean Berlin talks have made progress on light water reactors for North Korea, and the North Korean (inaudible) reported or suggested that the U. S. and North Korea are (inaudible) to start in the (inaudible) light water reactors for North Korea. What is your assessment on this report?
MR. McCURRY: Well, the report does not sound accurate to me because the delegations discussing these matters in Berlin were not in a position to make progress on the provision of light-water reactor technology. They were only in a position to exchange information at the expert level, which they knew could be provided to those who will be doing negotiating on behalf of the United States in Geneva beginning September 23rd. So it sounds as if it was an optimistic report that expands the role that these representatives have in Berlin.
Now, they've had very technical discussions on that subject, and I suspect someone might say, "Well, they've had useful technical discussions on light-water reactor technology." That, in some sense, may contribute towards what we hope will be a successful resolution of some of the outstanding nuclear issues under discussion with the DPRK; but I would stress that it's only Ambassador Gallucci, on behalf of the United States, who's in a position to negotiate these matters. The next meeting, as you know, is scheduled for September 23rd.
Q I gather that Ambassador Gallucci is now in Tokyo. Do you have any information on his itinerary?
MR. McCURRY: I don't. I should have gotten the full itinerary. I do know, we said yesterday, that he would be scheduled in Seoul, beginning tomorrow; but I'll see if we can't get a complete itinerary.
Q I'd like to come back to the subject of the phone conversation between President Clinton and Prime Minister Chae-sok. When exactly was this? Was it initiated by the President or the Prime Minister, and what subjects were covered?
MR. McCURRY: The guidance I had from the White House just indicated that they spoke on September l0th; and we had posed the question, I believe, whether they talked about Quebec. We're told that they discussed a variety of subjects, including Quebec, briefly.
I'm sorry that's the only readout I have on that, but I can check over at the White House and see if they have any more. You might want to do so as well.
Q Thank you.
MR. McCURRY: You're welcome.
The briefing concluded at 1:35 p.m.)
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