U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN DAILY PRESS BRIEFING SEPTEMBER 19, 1994 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING I N D E X Monday, September, 19 1994 Briefer: Michael McCurry DEPARTMENT Observance of Customer Service Day ............1 Activities of Ambassador Gallucci .............11 HAITI Reason for Russian Support for Invasion .......1-2 Entry of Multinational Force/Agreement ........2-3,6-8 -- Humanitarian/Economic Assistance ..........2-3 -- View of Aristide ..........................6-7,4-5 Pledge of Aristide Not to Seek Reelection .....5 CNN News Analysis .............................6 Refugees/Departure of US-Approved Refugees ....8-9 Role of Diplomacy/Force ...................... 9-10 CUBA Senator McGovern's Discussions with Castro ....11 CHINA US Discussions re: Missile Technology Exports .....................................11
DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 1994, 12:53 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. McCURRY: Hello. This is the daily briefing of the U. S. State Department. Always a pleasure to have a briefing here when we have just had a major press conference by the President of the United States, because it means that there is precious little that I need to say. And, as you will find on the subject of Haiti, I will defer mostly to what you have heard from the President just a short while ago.
One housekeeping announcement at the beginning. Throughout the Federal Government tomorrow, tomorrow will be Customer Service Day where, as part of our national performance review and the work going on throughout government to reinvent government under the fine leadership of Vice President Gore, we are looking at ways to improve the services we deliver to the American people, to the people who pay our freight, the U.S. taxpayers.
So, there are many things going on around the government. In our department, the State Department, we are having an event to mark the occasion at the Washington Passport Agency at 1111 19th Street. That will be at noon tomorrow, where you find Under Secretary for Management Richard M. Moose distributing passports at the agency's "Will Call" window. He will be greeting customers and unveiling the Passport Agency's customer service standards.
So, anyone planning to go anywhere any time soon in this room, now is a good time to go over and try to get your passport, because my guess is you will probably get fairly good service tomorrow and each and every day in the days ahead as we endeavor to improve our service to the American taxpayer.
And with that, we will now go to your questions.
Q Mike, among the many commentators who have made remarks about the Haiti story, Henry Kissinger, last night, suggested that the way in which the United States got Russian approval in the Security Council for the resolution which made this possible was to imply or even directly suggest to the Russians that they would have a free hand in operating in their own backyard, too.
Would you like to respond to that?
MR. McCURRY: That's his analysis. I must say, of all the millions of words of analysis that were available on television last night, those particular words I did not see.
This has been a subject that had been debated in some academic circles, so Dr. Kissinger is familiar with those arguments about so-called spheres of influence, peacekeeping. That is not the way this has worked. Remember that this was -- the action underway with the insertion of the multinational force in Haiti is pursuant to adoption of U.N. Security Council resolutions, and as Dr. Kissinger no doubt knows, some of the activities, whether it is Chichenya or other places that he might be referring to, some of that is done with U.N. and sometimes CSCE monitoring applied, it's, you know, certainly not roughly parallel.
There is a great deal differences between them, but there was a full discussion and debate about the subject of Haiti within the Security Council, and the Russian Government's views were very clearly expressed, and I am not aware that they corroborate Dr. Kissinger's thesis.
Q You are unaware of any tacit agreement or any other kind of agreement with the Russians that we have given them kind of carte blanche for their own backyard.
MR. McCURRY: I am unaware of any such agreement and neither do I believe that one exists.
Q Mike, can you give us some kind of timetable for the aid part of this invasion package? Will food be released immediately, and the gas that is there?
MR. McCURRY: Well, a large part of those decisions will be based on conditions on the ground as we watch events unfold in the coming days.
There has been, as you know, an extensive humanitarian effort under way already with nearly a million people a day in Haiti, depending upon the type of food and nourishment provided with U.S. assistance through a variety of non-governmental organizations and U.N. organizations that are present on the ground.
That work we hope will continue, will now be made easier, if there is in fact a cooperative environment that develops between the work of the multinational force and the Haitian military leaders. That should help expedite the delivery of humanitarian goods. And as far as economic assistance, which is envisioned as part of the planning of aspects of -- not the military operation, but some of the follow-on planning that we have had in place for economic assistance. That should come as the conditions improve on the ground, and as we see the type of political environment that is available for us to make that kind of work occur.
As a practical matter, it would be hard to see how large portions of the agreements for things like multilateral lending, and some of the things I think you have heard AID officials describe, it would be hard to envision that happening prior to the departure of the military leaders and the return of the legitimately elected government, for the simple reason that those agreements have to be reached with the duly constituted government.
But those are all questions that I think will be sorted out in the weeks ahead.
Q Mike, specifically to that question, I had a call from Mr. Gray's office saying reports that the embargo was lifted as of the signing of this agreement were incorrect, that the U.N. resolutions call for the embargo only to be lifted when Aristide returns.
What is the State Department's understanding of this? Is one right and the other wrong?
MR. McCURRY: It is very important to note the text of the agreement that was signed between Jonassaint and President Carter indicates that the economic embargo and the economic sanctions will be lifted without delay in accordance with relative U.N. resolutions, and the needs of the Haitian people will be met as quickly as possible.
Now there are several things going on there. There are within existing U.N. resolutions, provisions that describe how and when sanctions can be eased and lifted, and there obviously is a very urgent need of the Haitian people, which is what the agreed statement reflects.
We would hope that as the U.N. addresses this question -- there will be, it is my understanding, a resolution tabled very shortly that does call for the lifting of sanctions, but action on that resolution will depend on what happens in that critical compliance with existing U.N. resolutions.
Now it might be possible, as I think some of you heard Secretary Christopher suggest earlier today, that we could find a way to ease some of the sanctions to help speed the delivery of humanitarian goods. Humanitarian goods are exempted currently under existing U.N. resolutions, but you have to go through the U.N. Sanctions Committee to get waivers in order to provide that.
There might be a way that we can help speed some of the delivery of economic aid and it will be necessary, of course, to provide material to the multinational force, including petroleum supplies. This is one thing covered by the embargo itself.
So all of those questions will now be looked at very carefully, I believe, at the United Nations, and Ambassador Albright is already in discussions about how they can address that particular provision of the agreement itself.
Q To clarify that, are those provisions that you refer to in U.N. resolutions directly tied to Aristide's return?
MR. McCURRY: They are quite specific. If you go back to -- there are two relevant resolutions. One is U.N. Security Council Resolution 917, which goes through some of the specific items in the Governor's Island process as it was initially envisioned, and then those items are re-codified in Resolution 940. So I would go back and look at those. That's what the United Nations will be looking at as it determines what type of progress there has been in this relationship, defined in the agreement reached yesterday, that would be sufficient for an easing or a lifting of sanctions.
But, again, to stress, as the agreement very clearly says, any easing of the embargo or economic sanctions will be done in accordance with the relevant U.N. resolutions.
Q Will the assets that were frozen on the military leaders and the most wealthy Haitians remain in effect until Aristide returns?
MR. McCURRY: They remain in effect today; and I believe any change in that is something that would have to be examined by the Treasury Department in consultation with other relevant agencies. That is something we'll just have to revisit in the days ahead.
At the moment, they remain in effect. Those unilateral U.S. sanctions, including the assets freeze remain in effect.
Q Mike, with regard to Mr. Aristide and his return to power in Haiti, I understand he has set a deadline for elections. Has he given the United States or the United Nations a pledge as to when these elections would be held? Is he firmly committed to this?
MR. McCURRY: President Aristide -- because of the flow of the news -- gave a very under-noticed speech Friday at the White House. I think it's very important to go back and look at that. It was a very statesmanlike and important address that covered in some great detail his own plans for the future.
He said, as you will recall, that one test of the vibrancy of a democracy is not the first election -- the one that elected him -- but the second election. He made it quite clear that the second election would be one in which his successor would be chosen when he departs office. Those elections will be held late next year with the inauguration of a new President anticipated in early 1996. That was a very important, very historic statement made by President Aristide and one which I think creates an environment in which we hope the transition of power taking place, with the events beginning today, will be successful.
Q Has he promised this government that he will do -- is that a promise to this government?
MR. McCURRY: He made a promise to the world when he stood in front of the world community on Friday at the White House and made those remarks. But he did, as President Clinton indicated in his televised address last Thursday night, he also made that specific commitment to President Clinton and to the United States Government.
Q This may have been covered at the White House, but I couldn't listen to all of that.
When does the --
MR. McCURRY: You just had burnout on -- (Laughter) Too much --
Q I was on the phone. I was doing a little reporting, Michael.
MR. McCURRY: We had a great time. Tom Donilon and I were at the White House -- I'll tell a story. Are you allowed to tell stories at a briefing? I guess it's okay.
Tom Donilon and I were sitting around bored watching television yesterday at one point. We had a call from over at the White House and several of our friends over there indicated that they were having pizza. And if we were just killing time waiting for something to happen, we might as well go over there and have pizza. So we went over there.
Unfortunately, we walked into the front gate of the White House and walked in to see our friends, and walked by Wolf Blitzer and waived as we went in. By the time we were in eating our pizza, he announced breathlessly to the waiting world that there must be some significant development because Assistant Secretary Donilon and the Department Spokesman from the State Department had just wandered in. (Laughter)
Sorry, Wolf, it was pepperoni. (Laughter)
Whenever anyone else makes all the news, that's what the Daily Briefing is reduced to; right? (Laughter)
Q The police monitors that will go in as part of the international force, when will the international force people start moving in?
MR. McCURRY: That's an operational detail. Now that Operation Uphold Democracy is underway, I think I will defer to the theatre commander who will be beginning briefings through the information bureau that's established down in Haiti. That is really a question that the commander on the ground can best judge.
It has been the operational plan for some time to have the contingents of the multinational element participating soon, but I would really have to leave that up to the military commanders to address.
Q Mike, the President actually seemed to duck the question of what Aristide's reaction was to this new agreement. But certainly a lot of his supporters have been very outspokenly opposed to it or critical of it. Has the State Department actually received any indication or any official reaction from President Aristide?
MR. McCURRY: We have very good, close contact with President Aristide, and that relationship is obviously very important to us as we anticipate President Aristide's return.
Special Advisor Gray, among others, has been in contact with them. I believe the National Security Advisor has also had close contact with President Aristide.
I would prefer to leave any comment about the developments to President Aristide or to his representatives. I note some of the same comments, Barrie, that you note. There is understandably some skepticism because of agreements that have been reached in the past and then broken.
We are operating now, consistent with President Aristide's view, that it is time for national reconciliation, and we're certainly operating now in an environment in which there is a significant multinational force on its way and being inserted into Haiti that will help make sure that the future and the restoration of democracy is one that is exactly as we've indicated publicly in the past.
Q Have there been specific discussions about the date or approximate date of his return with him?
MR. McCURRY: There have been those discussions in the past. How they fit with the timetable that's envisioned in the agreement that was reached yesterday is a matter that will be revisited. The important thing is, it has not changed dramatically, since President Aristide all along envisioned his return within a short period of time following the insertion of the multinational force. The distance between when he would have gone back and no-later-than October 15th is not a great one.
Q Is it implicitly or even explicitly written that he would not be physically on the ground there prior to the stepping-down of Cedras?
MR. McCURRY: It's hard to imagine that -- I'm not aware of any way in which that could happen. I think it has been his intent all along to return upon the removal from power of the military leaders. That is, again, something that certainly will develop as we go through the days ahead.
Q Could you speak to the issue of who will hold the power, the authority, especially in Port-au-Prince? How there is to be a transition, or what is this agreement now?
MR. McCURRY: I can't do any better than the comment I believe I just heard General Powell make at the White House a short while ago, that, in effect, -- with the meetings that are now going on between the commander of the multinational force, General Shelton and General Cedras -- that transition is starting as of today, as they begin to cooperate in the insertion of the multinational force that will lead the way to the return of President Aristide and to making good on the commitments that were made by the two leaders last night.
So there is, in a sense, a new environment there that is created by some of the things happening on the ground.
Q I take it, then, by the 15th of October that the authority will then reside in the multinational force -- the commander?
MR. McCURRY: The authority will reside in the duly elected government with the return of President Aristide which is seen to happen no later than October 15; but as you know, consistent with the agreement reached last night, keys on an action, an anticipated action, by the parliament of Haiti.
Q What's the status of the number of Haitians who have been granted visas who hadn't yet been sent out of the country? And where in the battle plan were they supposed to take off now that there's no economic repression --
MR. McCURRY: One of the many advantages of having the multinational force there and now having an agreed process for the return of President Aristide, is that a number of people who were seeking refugee status might in fact want to revisit that issue.
It is possible to see that they can remain in their homes, remain in a Haiti that will be, again, democratic and remain in a Haiti that is committed to rebuilding the economy and creating economic prosperity for all of Haiti's citizens. That might change some of the individual decisions that people would make.
That is something that we will be examining closely as we go through the next several weeks. It's also one of the reasons why, in the planning for both the military mission -- again, you'll recall I described the military mission with specific, precise goals, but there are also political and economic plans that are related to some of the military plans. But among those are some interagency discussions and the provision of some personnel within Haiti who can handle immigration-related issues from the Department of Justice.
Q My question went to the people who had already had been granted the visas on the basis of something now that is in transition and theoretically is going away. Do they still have the right to come to the United States?
MR. McCURRY: My understanding is that their status as "approved refugees" does not change because the environment has changed. They have been approved for travel status here. They are, as they are called "travel ready."
We had begun a process that was beginning to result in some of those people coming to the United States via the Dominican Republic. At the moment, we've got -- at the strong urging of the United States Government -- people hunkered down and in place while we go through what is still a very dangerous, risky period over the next several days. We will evaluate questions like, "When can we move those travel-ready refugees again," as we see the situation settle down in coming days.
Betsy and then Steve.
Q Is it too early to think about asking people at Guantanamo if they want to return?
MR. McCURRY: It's too early at this point, yes. We are in the middle of the first hours of a very delicate insertion of multinational forces into an environment that has been changed as a result of this agreement, but in an environment which is still very challenging and not entirely risk free. There are still young Americans in harms way as they begin to work in Haiti. We need to be very cautious about any actions involving refugees or American citizens while the military commanders go about doing their work and reporting back to their Commander-in-Chief.
Q Has this been completely bloodless so far, without loss of life or injury?
MR. McCURRY: Bill, I'm going to defer to those who will brief from the Defense Department. I think the principal briefings will be coming from Haiti, from military commanders who are better prepared to answer those types of questions.
Q Mike, an obvious comes to mind. If it appears impolite, I apologize for that. In two recent, major confrontations with countries outside of the United States -- specifically, North Korea and Haiti -- the United States, in the first, case was on the verge of trying to impose sanctions. In this case, there was an invasion on its way as a deal was struck. In both cases, an outside agent, a third party, stood in to find some way out of a seemingly insoluble problem. What does that say --
MR. McCURRY: Not coincidentally, the same --
Q The same party. What does that say about the conduct of foreign policy? Does it say anything to you or not?
MR. McCURRY: I believe Secretary Christopher made the observation last night that in the post-Cold War era, which we are now in, diplomacy without the use of force is preferable, but sometimes the use of force in pursuit of diplomacy is necessary. And we had yesterday a very classic case, as the Secretary described it, of force and diplomacy coming together to achieve the desired result.
That is sometimes true of the effect of persuasive sanctions, such as economic sanctions. In this case, it was the imminent threat of military action that provided an opening for new diplomatic initiatives.
In the period we are in, the conduct of diplomacy will very often be some combination of these types of levers and pressure, but it is in the context of a world that is much more peaceful and in which the, you know, manifest danger of superpower adversarial confrontation has been diminished.
I don't know if that was the answer that you were looking for, but it is the best one I could think of.
Anything else? Bill.
Q Other subjects?
MR. McCURRY: Other subjects.
Q Do you have any comment on a report out of Israel this morning that there is some secret negotiations going on between Israel and Syria?
MR. McCURRY: I believe the comment came from a housing minister, and he should probably stick to housing issues.
Yes, sir. Bill.
Q Cuba. The question I asked you on Friday about George McGovern's trip and talks with Fidel? Do you have any more -- ?
MR. McCURRY: I looked into that, Bill, after your question. I also had the opportunity to hear former Senator McGovern in a radio interview. It sounds like he had a very interesting conversation with Fidel Castro. He has indicated his desire to share some of that information with the State Department, and we remain eager to hear a briefing about the results of his conversation.
Try one last one, in the back.
Q Is Ambassador Gallucci back at the State Department? Do you have a read-out on his trip?
MR. McCURRY: Yes, he has got to be back because I sat with him on Saturday and talked to him, so the answer is yes, he is back. I thought for an instant, now is he back or not. Yes, he is back. The question is, has he gone again, because, as you know, he is departing very shortly for Geneva for the resumption of the high level talks.
I believe he is here. He has probably got some meetings here in the Department, and he has been seeing the Secretary and reviewing a variety of things very closely with the Secretary in advance of his departure for Geneva and the resumption of the high level talks later this week.
MR. McCURRY: I believe around mid-week, but I would have to check.
Q Peter Tarnoff and his discussions with the PRC and specifically to the issue of, has there been progress or any more evidence on this matter of missile sales, S-lls to Pakistan?
MR. McCURRY: It was a matter discussed, included in the discussions that Under Secretary Tarnoff held, and agreed that it was a matter that was of concern, and would continue to be addressed in the forthcoming bilateral dialogue we will have with the People's Republic, including the upcoming visit by Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen.
Q Has this government had any further evidence and confirmation of S-ll transfers to Pakistan?
MR. McCURRY: Not that I'm aware of, and certainly nothing that triggers immediately the question of Category l sanctions under the MTCR guidelines.
Thank you, someone said.
(The briefing concluded at l:l9 p.m.)
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