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U.S. Department of State 
95/10/22 Interview on Face the Nation
Office of the Spokesman
 
 
 
                        U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                         Office of the Spokesman 
 
                             INTERVIEW OF 
                 SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
                               WITH 
                     BOB SCHIEFFER - CBS-TV AND 
                   EVAN THOMAS - NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE 
                                ON 
                         CBS-TV "FACE THE NATION" 
 
                         New York City, New York 
                             October 22, 1995 
 
 
MR. ROBERT SCHIEFFER:  Welcome again to the broadcast.  We start this 
morning from our New York studio where Secretary of State Warren 
Christopher is standing by.  Joining in the questioning this morning is 
Evan Thomas, the Washington Bureau Chief of Newsweek Magazine. 
 
Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for joining us.  You are in New York, 
of course, for the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations.  It's a 
memorable event, if for no other reason than the traffic there in New 
York.  I was there last night with 200 world leaders.  It's quite a 
gathering. 
 
Let's start right in and talk a little bit about Bosnia.  You went to 
the Hill this week with Defense Secretary William Perry and made the 
case for putting 25,000 American troops into Bosnia should there be a 
peace agreement there. 
 
You said yourself that the Administration has not yet made the case for 
this.  I guess I would have two questions:  Why haven't you made the 
case?  And what exactly are these troops going to do? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Bob, the fact is that there is not yet a peace 
agreement.  Thanks to President Clinton's leadership we have the best 
opportunity we've had in the four years of this terrible war to reach a 
peace agreement.  Those talks will commence on the 31st of October in 
Dayton, Ohio. 
 
I think the time has now come for us to begin to make the case.  But 
until a peace agreement is reached, of course, we won't have the 
parameters of what a peace settlement would look like.  The 
Implementation Force will be there to implement the agreement, to 
separate the parties.  But I think it's now time to start making the 
case.  We're doing that. 
 
But what I would want to caution about, Bob, is how many tough days 
there are ahead before we reach a peace agreement.  We've got an unusual 
opportunity, but I would say we ought to focus right now on seeing how 
many different kinds of vectors of pressure we can get on the parties in 
order to reach a peace agreement to end that deadly conflict. 
 
MR. SCHIEFFER:  Is what you're saying, sir, is that until the peace 
agreement is reached, you don't know what the troops would do there? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  What the troops would do is to implement the 
peace agreement, to separate the parties, to deal with violations of the 
peace agreement.  But until there actually is a peace agreement, you 
cannot make the final plans. 
 
NATO is a relatively long ways down the road, Bob, in making those 
plans, but until the peace agreement is reached, those plans simply 
can't be finalized. 
 
MR. THOMAS:  Mr. Secretary, what's going to keep us from taking sides in 
this?  How are we going to avoid choosing sides with the Bosnians? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think we need to be as evenhanded as we 
possibly can be.  The implementation force needs to separate the 
parties.  It needs to deal in an evenhanded way with any brush-fire 
violations that might occur.  And I think that the peace agreement 
itself will call for evenhandedness in the implementation of the peace. 
 
MR. SCHIEFFER:  But, Mr. Secretary, I'm still not clear.  You're saying 
that until the peace agreement is made, you can't know exactly what the 
troops are doing, and yet you're going to the Congress and saying, "We'd 
like to send these troops there."  Are they going to be in harm's way?  
Are they going to be called on to defend one side or the other, should 
one side or the other or any of the three combatants attack one another?  
It's still not clear to me exactly what you have in mind. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Bob, the United States will not send its troops 
there along with NATO troops until there is a bona fide peace agreement.  
The parties. I think, are entitled to some help in carrying out the 
first steps in that peace agreement. 
 
What the troops will do is, I think, fairly clear.  There's a well 
articulated NATO plan as to how they would act; what they would do.  I 
just wanted to make the point, "Let's not get the cart before the 
horse."  Let's remember we need to reach the peace agreement first. 
 
The ultimate parameters of the peace agreement might require some fine 
tuning in the plan that NATO has been developing. 
 
MR. THOMAS:  Mr. Secretary, is there such a thing as an acceptable level 
of casualties?  I mean, suppose we do get in there, and we're going to 
go in with a lot of armor, I gather, and heavy force.  How many 
casualties should we tolerate? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We want to avoid casualties if we possibly can.  
That's the way the United States conducts its operations.  This will be 
a risky endeavor.  Any military operation has risks.  There were risks 
in Haiti, and they certainly minimized those to a very, very fortunate 
degree. 
 
It's our military doctrine to go in heavy, to make it clear to the 
parties that they do not want to challenge the United States or NATO. 
 
MR. THOMAS:  But there's almost a feeling in this country that no 
casualties are acceptable?  Is that our position, or are you willing to 
see a dozen, a score?  What's a number that you could use? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  What I would say -- and this is, of course, what 
General Shalikashvili said when we were testifying together last week -- 
we want to keep them down to the lowest possible number of casualties.  
Any military operation has some risks, but we'll do everything we can to 
minimize it. 
 
There's no acceptable level of casualties, but I think you have to 
recognize that any operation of this size and character has some risks 
in it. 
 
MR. SCHIEFFER:  Let's get back to the question I asked just a moment ago 
that let's suppose that the Muslims and Croats decide to attack the 
Serbs; that once these U.S. troops are there, they'll be stronger, and 
they might at some point decide to attack the Serb forces. 
 
Would we then go in on the side of the Serb forces against the Croats 
and Muslims? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The purpose of the implementation force will be 
to carry out the peace agreement, to separate the parties, and to deal 
with any incidents that might threaten the peace. 
 
We wouldn't expect the parties to restart the war.  Frankly, the 
parties, if they sign this peace agreement, will have reached the point 
where they recognize the advantages of peace.  Just look at how 
different things are in Bosnia -- 
 
MR. SCHIEFFER:  May I just interrupt with respect -- if you don't expect 
anything to happen, then why would it be necessary to send troops? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Because the parties have been fighting for four 
years.  The separation of the forces is one good reason, making sure 
there's a buffer zone between the forces, making sure that some rogue 
element does not threaten the peace by taking some action at the present 
time. 
 
It's not a simple "yes/no" situation, Bob.  I think it will be a limited 
mission for a limited period of time, and that's why we think it can be  
accomplished. 
 
MR. SCHIEFFER:  Will part of the mission also be to arm and train the 
Muslim side? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  That's a tough question, Bob, an important 
question.  Let me say this about it.  It's important that neither side 
be so weak as to invite attack from the other.  They each need to have a 
level of protection so they deter the other side. 
 
Senator Lugar and Senator Nunn have suggested we achieve that 
equilibrium -- we achieve that correlation of forces -- by building 
down, and certainly that would the desirable way to do it, rather than 
equipping and training. 
 
But before the implementation force leaves, we think it's important to 
try to achieve, one way or the other, some equilibrium of forces.  
That's an important and difficult question, and we're working with it. 
 
MR. THOMAS:  Mr. Secretary, could we see a situation where you have 
Russian troops on one side with the Serbs and Americans on the other 
with the Bosnians facing each other? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I don't think that's the right way to approach 
it, Evan.  That might create some tensions that would be quite harmful 
in carrying this matter. 
 
I don't see assigning sectors -- one sector to the Russians and the 
other sector to NATO.  That doesn't seem to be the right way to go about 
it, in considerable part because one of the prescriptions that we have 
is that this operation shall be under the command and control of NATO.  
That's a red line for the United States.  We have that because we think 
that it gives reassurance to the American people and the other allies 
that it will be conducted in an effective way.  No dual-keys this time. 
 
MR. SCHIEFFER:  But haven't the Russians -- hasn't Mr. Yeltsin said that 
he will not put his troops under the command of NATO; that they're going 
to have to operate separately? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We're working with that problem.  I think it's 
desirable for Russia to have a dignified, substantial role, but not one 
that would in any way impair the NATO command and control.  We haven't 
resolved that problem yet. 
 
Incidentally, Bob, although that will be discussed between President 
Clinton and President Yeltsin when they meet at Hyde Park on Monday, I 
wouldn't expect an outcome there on that question.  I'm sure what the 
Presidents will be concentrating on is, how can we work together to get 
a peace agreement, to try to bring peace to that land that's needed it 
so badly? 
 
We'll deal with the implementation questions as we move along, as we 
move through this peace agreement. 
 
MR. THOMAS:  Mr. Secretary, in this troubled part of the world, what 
makes us think that we can get out in, say, a year?  What is the 
timetable, and what makes us think we can stick to it? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Our military planners, Evan, think that a year 
is a reasonable period of time. 
 
As the President said the other day, we haven't fixed any precise period 
of time.  We haven't fixed a target date.  We're using a year as the 
approximate date.  It would be a year, of course, from the time the 
peace agreement is reached; then, after the NATO forces have taken a 
final decision to go in.  So I think a year is a solid estimate of the 
amount of time that our military forces would be there.  That's 
basically a military estimate coming from the NATO planners and coming 
from our Pentagon planners. 
 
MR. THOMAS:  What happens if a year has gone by and they're still 
shooting at each other? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We don't expect that to happen, Evan.  I think 
our obligation here is to give the parties an opportunity to achieve 
peace.  We've had a good record of sticking by our timelines.  We did it 
when we put some forces in Rwanda.  We've certainly kept our time 
commitments in Haiti, and we would intend to do so here. 
 
MR. SCHIEFFER:  Mr. Secretary, Bob Dole, the Republican leader of the 
Senate, says the Serbian President should not be given a visa to come to 
this country.  And if you do give him a visa, you ought to at least 
confine it to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, out there where these 
peace talks are going to be held.  What's your position on that? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I certainly don't quite understand how we can 
achieve peace without having in the discussion the person who is going 
to speak for the Serbs. 
 
As you know, President Milosevic of Serbia has been identified by both 
the Bosnian Serbs and the other Serbs to be their spokesman.  You can't 
make peace without having the warring parties here.  I just don't 
understand the position that would not permit him to be in the peace 
talks. 
 
As far as locale is concerned, we would expect him to come here and to 
be at the air force base in Dayton.  That's the purpose of his trip.  
There are no other purposes as far as I know. 
 
I think it's really most unusual to suggest that somehow we exclude the 
person with whom you would have to reach the peace agreement. 
 
MR. SCHIEFFER:  Do I take that to mean that his visa will require him to  
stay in that area?  He won't be allowed to go around the country, for 
example, and make speeches while he's here? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Certainly not the latter.  I just want to focus 
on the fact that the purpose of his trip would be to participate in the 
peace talks.  They're going to take place in the Dayton area, and that's 
what we have in mind. 
 
MR. SCHIEFFER:  Mr. Secretary, I want to thank you very much for joining 
us this morning. 
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