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U.S. Department of State 
95/10/19 Interview on CNN-TV "Larry King Live"
Office of the Spokesman 
 
 
 
                         U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                          Office of the Spokesman 
 
                               INTERVIEW OF 
                   SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
                                   ON 
                          CNN-TV "LARRY KING LIVE" 
 
                   (Hosted by Senator Christopher Dodd) 
 
                         Thursday, October 19, 1995 
 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  Good evening.  Should U.S. troops participate in a 
NATO peacekeeping mission in Bosnia?  The White House says yes.  
President Clinton expressed confidence today that his plan to send 
20,000 U.S. troops, as part of a NATO peacekeeping force, will be 
approved by Congress. 
 
     (Pre-recorded statement by President Clinton:  "I believe, in the 
end, the Congress will support this operation.") 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  Our first guest says it's worth the risk.  Secretary 
of State Warren Christopher joins us here in Washington. 
 
     Good evening, Mr. Secretary, and thank you for joining us. 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good evening, Chris. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  First of all, I want to tell you, I have my spies.  
My spies tell me that this evening your favorite show on television is 
"Seinfeld," and you're giving up "Seinfeld" to be here with me tonight. 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  He's going to have one less viewer tonight, 
but I'm glad to be here with you. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  We appreciate it.  We'll have someone tape it for 
you, I guess. 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  It's a good show, isn't it? 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  It is a good show.  Let me get to Bosnia.  You 
testified this week, I think, before four Committees of Congress, 
including my Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, along with 
Secretary Perry and General Shalikashvili, the Chairman of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff. 
 
     The question, first of all, I think we probably ought to look at is 
the issue of how the cease-fire is working.  We have been at this for 
some 42 months.  How do things stand right now, this evening? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The cease-fire that was entered into on the 
5th of October is taking hold and is working quite well.  My 
information, Chris, is that it's holding about 95 percent of the country 
and is improving, so that's a good sign although there are some 
imperfections. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  Are the forces roughly equivalent?  Have we reached 
some sort of status of equivalency here? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Yes, I think there is an equilibrium of 
forces which caused the parties to be willing to enter into a cease-
fire.  But the important thing about this cease-fire, Chris, is that 
it's accompanied by a peace process.  The parties have agreed that they 
will now negotiate for a peace settlement.  I think that gives the 
cease-fire a much stronger chance of holding. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  We haven't reached any kind of a peace agreement.  
That's what we're talking about, working on.  Tell us about that -- 
where, when, how is that going to work, who will participate, who will 
be the principals? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  That's very interesting.  I'll take a 
minute or two to tell your viewers about that, Chris. 
 
     The three principals who will be attending will be the President of 
Serbia, Dr. Milosevic; the President of Bosnia-Herzegovina, who is Mr. 
Izetbegovic; and the President of Croatia, who is Mr. Tudjman.  They 
will be coming here to the United States. 
 
     We've taken some considerable care to work out the plans for them 
to negotiate here.  We call this Proximity Peace Talks. 
 
     We looked at the various sites that we could have chosen in the 
United States and we finally chose an air force base near Dayton, Ohio, 
called the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  It has a very fine 
conference center.  And also very important, it has separate living 
facilities so we can put each of the Presidents and their parties in a 
different living facility. 
 
     What our team will be doing -- and I'll be going out to open the 
negotiations -- but what our team will be doing is to move back and 
forth between the delegations and to try to bring them into focus on the 
various tough issues they'll be facing, issues like the composition of 
the Map -- that is, who will have what territory; such things as the 
constitutional principles. 
 
     But, Chris, this is the best chance we've had for peace in the two 
and a half years that I've been in office, and we're going to do 
everything we can to see if we can achieve it. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  When are those suppose to start? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  They start at the end of this month; on the 
31st of October. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  If the cease-fire were to break down -- seriously 
break down between now and then, and I know you're not anticipating 
that, but if it were to occur -- is it clear that then these peace talks 
would not go forward? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Not necessarily.  I think we would try to 
keep them going, try to talk to the parties and persuade them to put the 
cease-fire back into effect.  We're determined to see if we can't work 
out a peace settlement.  As I say, we've got an unusually good chance to 
do it. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  Certainly, we've come a long way from just last 
July, when it looked like there would be no possibility at all of 
getting to a cease-fire or a peace accord.  We've achieved that much. 
 
     The big question that everyone seems to be asking is, of course, 
this question of the participation of U.S. armed forces. 
 
     If we achieve a peace agreement here, the obvious question one 
would ask is, "If you achieve that, why do you need to be sending armed 
forces into this area at all??  If you've achieved the peace, it seems 
to me there's no reason for that.  Why do we need to do that? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Chris, these parties have been warring for 
four years now.  There are great tensions between the two of them.  I 
think just sitting down and agreeing to peace may not be enough.  We 
need to have some supervision, some way for them to separate forces, 
some way to take action if one or two rogue elements would happen to try 
to violate the peace that they agreed to. 
 
     So I think it's very important for the international community to 
pitch in and help them carry out the peace that they've achieved. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  Let me ask you the obvious question that I know I 
get as an elected official.  What's our interest here?  Why not let 
Europe take care of this?  Let me just tell you what I hear at home.  
They say, "Listen, the Europeans, this is their backyard.  We're asked 
to solve every problem in the world all over the place.  Shouldn't we 
let them take care of this?  Why does the United States always have to 
be sending its forces into places like this?  Why not let somebody else 
take care of the problem." 
 
     Why is it critical at this juncture that the United States be 
sending ground forces in this situation? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Chris, I hear that question, too.  You can 
be sure that I regard it as a very solemn responsibility to recommend to 
the President that we put American forces in danger's way. 
 
     But the reasons here are very good ones, very strong ones.  Most 
Americans will remember that twice before in this century we had to send 
our troops to Europe because of an outbreak of war there.  In the last 
conflict -- that is, World War II -- we lost more than 250,000 
Americans.  We don't want to have that happen again. 
 
     But we have very strong and vital interests in Europe -- economic, 
political, military.  This conflict that's going on now in the former 
Yugoslavia -- that is, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- is the worst conflict in 
Europe since World War II.  We don't want it to spread.  We've got a 
chance to achieve peace now, but we'll only achieve peace if we're 
willing to have American troops, under NATO command, go in and help keep 
the peace.  But it will be a very limited mission and for a limited 
period of time. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  Let me quickly run down those with you.  NATO 
command:  Is that a U.S. officer that will be commanding NATO forces? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  It happens that a U.S. officer is NATO 
commander, so-called SACEUR -- now General George Joulwan.  He's 
somebody who came up the ranks in our own services and is an American. 
 
     The commander on the scene will be Commander Leighton Smith, a Navy 
Admiral. 
 
     As it happens, NATO forces here will be commanded by United States 
officers.  Perhaps the most important thing, the thing that your viewers 
will be most interested in, is that there will be no dual-key here.  We 
won't be taking orders from the United Nations.  This will be a NATO 
command and control structure, from top to bottom. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  It's NATO, not U.N.? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Correct. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  And the duration is roughly a year?  Is that what 
we're talking about? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Correct.. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  All right.  We'll be back in a moment with Secretary 
of State Warren Christopher.  I'm Chris Dodd, sitting in for Larry King.  
Don't go away.  Particularly if you live in Connecticut, don't go away. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  We're back with Secretary of State Warren 
Christopher and your phone calls.  Mr. Secretary, thank you again for 
being on the program. 
 
     We were talking about the specifics of the U.S. forces, should they 
end up in Bosnia.  It's NATO forces under U.S. command, as it works out 
here.  How much money are we talking about here?  What will the American 
taxpayer be asked to foot the bill for, if this goes forward? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Secretary Perry and General Shalikashvili, 
who testified with me this week, estimated that the 12 months would 
probably cost us about $1.5 billion.  That can only be an estimate 
because we don't yet have a peace agreement. 
 
     One of the points I'd like to make, Chris, is that we need to focus 
now on the peace agreement.  It's very important we don't do anything in 
the course of this current discussion to pre-empt the possibility of 
getting the peace agreement.  That would really be putting the cart 
before the horse. 
 
     Let's focus on getting the peace agreement.  Let's begin to discuss 
the implementation.  But until we get an agreement, we won't know 
exactly what's required. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  I probably should have asked you this earlier.  This 
is a multinational force we're talking about?  This is not going to fall 
solely on our shoulders here, is it? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  No.  The NATO estimates are that it will 
take about 60,000 troops to do this well and to do it right.  The United 
States is likely to put about one-third of that, about 20,000 troops. 
 
     General Shalikashvili has said that he would like to go in heavy at 
the beginning and perhaps be able to withdraw some.  I think "heavy" has 
two connotations here.  First, he would like to put in enough so he can 
really get the job done.  They will be well armed.  They will be able to 
protect themselves so that if they are challenged, they can take very 
effective action. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  Let me ask you, because one of the questions that 
has been raised is that, if for some reason we didn't do this, we 
decided to back out of this -- let's assume that the cease-fire holds, 
the peace agreement is reached and then the assumption is that we go 
forward with these forces on the ground to help keep this peace -- and 
we decided, for whatever reason, either by an act of Congress or other 
reasons not to go forward, what are the implications, in your opinion, 
to NATO and to the European Alliance? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  In the first place, Chris, there won't be 
any peace agreement unless the United States is willing to help 
implement it. 
 
     The parties have made that clear to us, particularly the Bosnian 
Government, that looks to us to help protect them in this situation.  
So, first, there won't be a peace agreement unless the United States is 
involved.  But beyond that, it's clear to me that NATO would not be 
prepared to try to do this job without United States involvement on the 
ground. 
 
     We're leader of NATO.  We're the hard core of NATO.  We give it its 
strength and vigor.  I think without United States participation, NATO 
wouldn't be involved.  If NATO tried to do the job without the United 
States, I think it would really mean that NATO would be imperiled.  
Since we are the centerpiece of NATO, if we were unwilling to go along 
to this job, I think it would be very hard to predict what NATO's future 
would be. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  That's an important question.  I don't know whether 
it was you I heard say this to someone else, that this is the single 
largest crisis that we have faced since the end of the Cold War; really, 
a defining issue as to whether or not this most important alliance -- as 
I've said, it's the most important alliance; others may disagree with 
that -- would be placed in jeopardy.  Is that your opinion? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Yes, this is the most important, successful 
military alliance in history.  But this would be the biggest job they 
have undertaken.  It's just not conceivable for them to undertake this 
kind of a job without the United States being front and center. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  Let me ask you one other question.  We've heard 
reports this evening that Foreign Minister Kozyrev believes he may be 
out; he may be back in.  No one seems to know for sure.  Maybe I ought 
to ask you that question.  Do you know whether or not he's going to stay 
on as Foreign Minister in Russia? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I probably shouldn't try to get into 
speculation about Russian political issues.  Let me simply say this:  
Andrei Kozyrev has been a very effective Foreign Minister for Russia.  
He's been the only Foreign Minister, I believe, that President Yeltsin 
has had.  He's come through a long and difficult period, and I think 
that he's been very effective in his dealings with me. 
 
     I don't want to speculate.  The news today was that he will 
continue in office, and indeed I'm planning to meet him in New York on 
Saturday night when, as we usually do, we'll work together to try to 
prepare the meeting on Monday between President Yeltsin and President 
Clinton. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  There are news reports this evening that talked 
about Boris Yeltsin, sort of moving away from the West, I think is what 
I heard one commentator talk about. 
 
     Tell me whether or not that -- is there any truth to that, number 
one?  And, number two, what about Russian participation in this 
peacekeeping mission?  There's been expressed interest on the part of 
the Russians to be a part of all of this.  Do we want them to be a part 
of this?  If so, why, and, if not, why not? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Chris, I don't see Russia moving away from 
the West at the present time.  They've been deeply involved in this 
whole peace process.  They're a member of what we call the Contact Group 
-- five nations that have been pushing the peace process forward. 
 
     Their Deputy Foreign Minister has been working with Assistant 
Secretary Holbrooke on a day-to-day basis.  I think they had breakfast 
together this morning.  So they're fully involved in this endeavor.  
That is, on the peace side of this endeavor. 
 
     The question is whether they will be involved in some way in the 
peace implementation program, if we come to that.  I think it's 
desirable that they be involved.  I hope we can find a proper and 
dignified role for them. 
 
     But what we will not be prepared to let happen is in any way to 
derogate against the fact that we'll be under NATO command and will be 
under the authority of the NATO officials. 
 
     I think that we need to find the kind of role for Russia that does 
not interfere in any way with there being a single NATO command and 
control structure.  There may be important non-combat roles for them to 
carry out.  I was meeting with the President on this subject yesterday, 
and we were analyzing the various roles that might have to be taken or 
played in this situation, if we are fortunate enough to reach a peace 
agreement. 
 
     There are very many non-combat roles or civilian roles, so I hope 
we can work something out, because we've come this far together.  That 
is, we've worked closely together with Russia.  I think it's valuable if 
we can find a way to work together as we go forward. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  I've taken a lot of my time with my questions, but 
we've got a caller from Henderson, Nevada.  Go ahead. 
 
     QUESTION:  Yes.  Secretary of State, what is the difference of 
sending troops to Bosnia or to Vietnam? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Vietnam was a totally different situation.  
I'm glad you've asked that question.  The President has said about 
Bosnia for some time that we would not send troops to Bosnia as 
combatants -- in a combat situation.  We would send them only if there 
was a peace agreement to help the parties carry out the peace agreement. 
 
     When we went in to Vietnam, we were on the side of one of the 
parties, and we were basically in a hot war.  So this is a dramatically 
different situation. 
 
     What we're trying to do here is send these troops in so we don't 
have to face a broader war.  What we'll do if we're successful here is 
to avoid this war from spreading, to confine it to the area, and then 
after a year, to leave and hopefully the parties will be able to go 
forward in this situation, having stabilized their own situation. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  We wouldn't go in here if there's not a peace 
accord. 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We would not go in here unless there's a 
peace accord -- not at all. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  Let me come quickly to Congress.  I've got some 
colleagues of mine who are going to be appearing after you, and they're 
going to want to talk about this whole role of Congress. 
 
     President Bush came to Congress, and he asked for the authorization 
to send the troops into the Gulf war -- to commence that effort.  Are 
you going to do the same here?  Are you going to come to Congress and 
ask for that kind of authority? 
 
     SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We certainly are going to be in very close 
touch with Congress, work with Congress.  We would welcome and really 
encourage Congress to participate in this.  Obviously, Chris, we can't 
do this without the assistance of Congress.  Congress holds the purse 
strings, and I think as we move through this situation, we'll find a way 
to get Congress fully participated in this situation. 
 
     It's early right now.  We don't yet have a peace agreement.  As I 
say, let's try in this period not to do anything, not to polarize the 
situation in some way that will interfere with our reaching the goal of 
a peace agreement, which I think all of us in our sober moments know is 
a very tough goal but a very important one. 
 
     SENATOR DODD:  It's a very complicated subject.  We've covered a 
lot of ground in a short amount of time, but I'm sure we could spend a 
good whole hour on this, just this conversation.  But, Secretary of 
State Christopher, I want to thank you for bringing us up to date on 
Bosnia and other issues concerning our world. 
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