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U.S. Department of State
96/01/18 Q&A Session after Speech at Harvard University
Office of the Spokesman 
                          U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                          Office of the Spokesman 
For Immediate Release                                January 18, 1996 
                        QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION 
                            FOLLOWING ADDRESS BY 
                                   AT THE 
                               HARVARD UNIVERSITY 
                            CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 
                            Thursday, January 18, 1996 
QUESTION:  (Michael Llewyveld, Journal of Commerce)  A growing number of 
U.S. foreign policy analysts feel that our policy with respect to Iran 
has grown too tough.  And with respect to Russia, it's not tough enough. 
In the case of Iran, we have not been joined in our unilateral embargo 
of Iran by the EU.  They have objected particularly to secondary boycott 
sanctions which the Administration now supports against foreign 
companies that deal with Iran. 
In the case of Russia, people feel that we have not set limits for 
Russian behavior and we have not made clear to them that our support for 
loans by the IMF should be contingent on what we consider to be good 
Could you address those two areas of foreign policy? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Joe, I guess you should have added one more 
condition, that there be one question at a time. (Laughter)  I'm glad to 
try to address both parts. 
We see Iran as being in a special category.  Iran's worldwide 
sponsorship of terrorism, its open defiance and opposition to the Middle 
East process, its efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction require 
a different approach and different treatment from the rest of the world. 
So President Clinton has basically ended U.S. economic relationships 
with Iran.  We feel that the other nations of  
the world should not be providing the sinews and resources that enable 
Iran to conduct terror operations around the world. 
There was a slight misstatement in what you said.  We have not, in terms 
of the secondary boycott, we have supported a position against 
investment by other countries in Iran, and that's as far as our present 
position goes.  But I don't blink from the idea that we are strongly 
opposed to Iran.  We think their government is misleading their people 
and hurting other countries in the region and around the world. 
We're going to stay with that policy.  We look to persuade our allies to 
join us.  We see some signs that our policies are having an effect.  
But, in any event, on some occasions the United States simply has to dig 
in its heels, take a strong position, and that's what we're doing and 
we're going to continue to do with Iran until they change their 
Second, with respect to Russia.  We have very great stakes with Russia.  
Russia is a powerful nation.  We have accomplished a number of things in 
coordination with them, particularly in limiting the nuclear arsenals of 
both countries.  We have worked with them on Bosnia and the Middle East. 
So we've got a big stake with Russia, a need to stay engaged with 
Russia.  We're going to be sending signals to them that we want to stay 
engaged.  But at the same time, I think they must understand that if 
they're to be welcomed into Western institutions, if they're to have the 
support of institutions like the IMF, they need to stay on the path of 
reform.  I think that would be echoed by the leaders of those 
international institutions from which they're expecting support. 
We're anxious that they continue on the path to reform.  That will be 
evaluated not only by us but by others as we move down this path.  We 
want to retain an engagement; we want to stay positive; we want to 
continue to work with them on the world's problems.  It requires an 
effort on their part to continue on the path of reform. 
MR. NYE:  May I add that it would better if we could have questions from 
students and members of the community since journalists have a chance to 
ask questions of the Secretary all the time anyway. 
QUESTION:  The Honorable Mr. Christopher, I think we all understand that 
there is no humanitarian issue in the Golan, no Arab government, or the 
British Government never tried to invent a Golani-Arab national identity 
the way the Palestinian-Arab national identity was disseminated. 
So, in a decade, when authors try to understand just what brought 
American policymakers to believe that Israel must relinquish control of 
the Golan in order to achieve peace in our time, how would you guess 
they will explain it? 
To be succinct, Mr. Christopher, what irks you about Jews and Yitzhak 
Rabin on the Memorial Heights? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Passing that alleged slip of the tongue 
(Laughter), the interest that Israel has in achieving peace with Syria 
is to avoid the last remaining strategic threat to Israel.  But perhaps 
even more important is to close the circle of peace. 
There is an opportunity in the Middle East now for Israel, if the terms 
are right, to reach a peace agreement with Syria and then with Lebanon 
and, thus, to enable the Middle East to broaden the circle of peace. 
What is in Israel's long-term interest is to end the Arab-Israeli 
conflict.  The key to that, as I said in my remarks, is to reach an 
agreement with Syria.  If and when that happens, I believe that there 
will be a widening of the normalization and that Israel will be in a 
situation of much greater security. 
The United States is deeply committed to Israel's security.  We will 
continue to pursue that policy of assisting the parties in achieving 
peace in that area. 
The leaders of Israel at the present time believe that it's in their 
interest to try to achieve peace in the region.  We will do so in view 
of our long-standing commitment to Israel's security and in view of our 
conviction that if we can once and for all bring that area beyond the 
cycle of violence between the Arabs and Israelis, it will be a better 
life for all the people. 
I've spent so much time there I can't resist saying there has been 
tremendous progress in the area.  The region is so different than it was 
three years ago.  People are moving back and forth between Jordan and 
Israel.  Israel no longer has that sense of deep isolation that it has 
felt at an earlier time. 
We must move beyond where we are now to close the circle of peace. 
QUESTION:  I'm a former student; a '79 graduate of the Kennedy School.  
I have a two-part question. 
MR. NYE:  Let's just do one.  One at a time. 
QUESTION:  They are interlinked.  (Laughter)  You said that Congress is 
trying to slash your budget which is actually one percent of the total 
national budget. 
A half percent of the budget is being used for USAID, which is doing an 
excellent job in many parts of the world to reduce poverty. 
As for INS support last year, in 1993, 316 million foreigners visited 
the USA.  Many foreign countries charge on an average $20.00 like 
Australia, New Zealand, Fiji -- $20.00 embarkation fee to whoever visits 
their country.  Are you thinking of charging $20.00 for 316 million 
foreigners, that's raising $6.2 million a year?  Are you thinking about 
this?  This is my part one.  (Laughter) 
The second part to my question is, as you know, in many countries there 
has been the sale of women and children, the trafficking of women and 
children, the abuse of human rights.  Those countries cannot afford 
money to help the victims. 
Are you in a position to make a negotiation or a dialogue and give them 
some seed money for those countries like South Asia nations to have a 
fund to help the victims and to stop the abuse of human rights. 
Thank you. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I must say I don't see the close linkage between 
those two questions.  (Laughter/applause) 
On the first part of your question, the State Department does have a 
program of charging for passports and charging a little bit more if you 
want one overnight.  We do have a program under which visas are charged 
for on a modest basis. 
This income is very important to the maintenance of the State 
Department.  It's one of the few things we're able to count on in this 
period.  I would not like, without some further thought, a sort of head-
tax on people entering the country.  Because all those who enter the 
country benefit our economy in very important ways and none of us want 
to discourage that kind of tourism in the United States. 
On the second question, let me just say that our human rights policy, 
which I spoke of in my remarks and to which I am personally so deeply 
committed and have been throughout my government service, is totally in 
opposition to that kind of treatment by countries.  We think countries 
on their own motion ought to end that kind of uncivilized practice that 
you describe. 
QUESTION:  (Danny Grossman)  Sir, I'm a citizen of Israel studying at 
the Kennedy School.  As such, I express my appreciation for the role 
that your government has played and for your personal commitment to 
achieving peace in our region. 
However, I wonder if you might, sir, please elaborate on what your 
interests, meaning the United States interests, is in an Israeli-Syrian 
peace; and how you would define the role to be played by an American 
peacekeeping mission on the Golan which Secretary Perry recently spoke 
of?  And how would you ensure that such a commitment, or any commitment 
of this sort, would remain intact given the democratic nature of the 
United States which is responsive to changes in Administrations, public 
opinion, and, finally, government approval? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The Middle East has been a source of great 
concern and interest to the United States ever since the creation of 
Israel and, indeed, ever since World War II. 
As I look back over the various books written, the memoirs of my 
predecessors, as I look back over the books written by Presidents, it's 
clear the Middle East has been a dominant theme in American foreign 
We are committed to that region, and I must say as you look back, only 
when American is actively involved have we made progress in the Middle 
East.  So the United States is committed for the deepest, both political 
and economic, reasons to peace in the Middle East.   
We spent an enormous amount of foreign aid in that region, and not 
improperly so, but it is an indication of America's interest that we 
have been so deeply engaged.  I believe it is for that reason the United 
States wants to assist the parties in, as I say, closing the circle of 
peace by aiding them and reaching an agreement between Syria and the 
United States. 
With respect to a United States' force on the Golan Heights, let me 
emphasize that the parties have not reached that point in negotiation.  
There has been no explicit discussion of the kind of international force 
that there might be. 
The United States has said for a long time -- and this goes back to the 
prior administration -- if the parties request it, if it would 
facilitate the peace, the United States would be prepared to consider 
joining an international force or being part of a force that would be a 
peacekeeping force. 
As you probably all know in this well enlightened audience, there's been 
an international force ever since the agreement between Egypt and Israel 
-- a force in the Sinai.  They've never lost a single person.  The 
expenses are reimbursed by the parties, so it's not been an enormous 
burden on the United States, but we provide a great service. 
The analogy is there, and I think the United States would be prepared to 
consider that.  On whether or not we can sustain that commitment, we 
have a good record of keeping our commitments of that kind.  Of all the 
places in the world where there seems to be strong bipartisan support -- 
and I commend the bipartisan support, as I did in my remarks -- the 
Middle East is certainly high on that list.  Thank you. 
QUESTION:  Good afternoon, Senator -- (laughter) -- Secretary 
Christopher.  My name is -- 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  That's the kind of slip of the tongue I don't 
mind.  (Laughter) 
QUESTION:  (Alex Rodriguez) Perhaps some day then.  (Laughter)  I'm a 
first-year student at the Kennedy School of Government from Arizona.  
I'd like to ask you a question with regard to the situation in Bosnia. 
As an officer in the United States Army, I'm just wondering what some of 
the contingencies are in case the Dayton plan goes awry.  Hopefully, God 
willing, you can come back here next year and tell us indeed that plan 
is sticking together and peace is holding. 
However, what are the contingencies currently in effect?  If you could 
please elaborate on that point. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  First, it's a perfectly good question.  We don't 
expect the United States forces to fail.  One of the things that it's my 
good fortune to do is occasionally visit our troops around the world.  I 
must say you would all be proud of them.  They're enormously well 
trained, and their morale is exceedingly high.  The rest of the world is 
really in awe of the quality of United States troops.  I've visited them 
in Kuwait.  I've visited them in Haiti.  I'll be visiting them soon, I 
believe, in Bosnia. 
So we don't expect them to fail.  They were not trained to fail.  We 
expect that United States forces will carry out their role in Bosnia, 
which is to separate the forces and provide an opportunity for the 
civilian tasks to go forward.  Not to do the civilian tasks, but provide 
the environment for that. 
I talked to General Shalikashvili about it as recently as yesterday 
morning at breakfast, and he feels confident that we're going to be able 
to perform our tasks there.  Surely you'll read things in the papers 
about this provision not being fully complied with or that not being 
fully complied with.  But so far the compliance level looks high.  I 
would expect the separation of forces to take place, and I think the 
more they see of American troops, the less likely they are to want to 
take them on. 
I suppose it's possible to imagine a contingency where war would break 
out there again if the parties conclude that they don't want to keep the 
Dayton agreement.  There's little that we can probably do at the end.  
Of course, we can deal with sporadic violence.  We can deal with rogue 
But if the parties themselves decided they wanted to go back to war, 
which I do not expect, then, of course, it would have to be another NATO 
decision as to what might be done about that.  But let me say that my 
own experience with the parties and after many, many long hours and days 
in negotiations in Dayton, I think the parties have come to the point 
where they're war weary.  The war fatigue is enormous.  I think as the 
leaders get out among their people, they're going to see even more war 
fatigue than their leaders themselves have. 
MR. NYE:  This will have to be our last question if we'll keep the 
QUESTION:  Good afternoon, Mr. Secretary.  My name is Carlton Larson.  
I'm a junior in Harvard College.  I bring your greetings from 
southwestern North Dakota.  My home town of Dickinson is about 80 miles 
from your home town. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  That's wonderful.  That's terrific.  (Laughter) 
QUESTION:  And we wish you would come back and visit us.  We know that 
Bosnia and Israel are much exciting destinations, but perhaps -- 
(laughter) -- perhaps you could fit it in. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  You know, I hope to go to Medora some time this 
QUESTION:  That would be great. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Medora is in the Bad Lands in southwestern North 
QUESTION:  My question relates to a point the previous gentleman brought 
up, and that is the support for USAID, which I think was a critical 
element of foreign policy and which I didn't hear anything about in your 
speech.  I was curious as to just how strong a priority support for that 
program is from the State Department and how critical you view that in 
terms of achieving our other overall foreign policy objectives. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I tried to cover so many things in my speech 
that there's only a phrase there, but I do lament that Congress has not 
supported our international programs abroad, and probably USAID is our 
most important of them.  It's a very high priority for us. 
We do need to fuel those programs.  We get so much value for relatively 
modest programs.  We gain so much in terms of influence, but we also 
gain in terms of long-term prosperity of those countries who become very 
good customers of the United States.  There's just example after 
Take South Korea, which was an aid recipient at an earlier time -- now 
there's more trade with South Korea in a single year than our entire aid 
program over 15 or 20 years.  So it's a very good investment for the 
United States.  I hope we can persuade the Congress of that.  It will be 
a high priority.  Clearly, we're in a very difficult time. 
But let me say this:  My prediction is that whoever is the next 
President -- and I expect that President Clinton will be the next 
President as well as the current one -- (applause) -- I believe whoever 
is the next President will want to go to the Congress and say, "Look, we 
can't do foreign policy on the cheap.  We can't lead on the cheap, and 
we need to have larger funds so we can carry out our foreign policy in 
the interests of the United States." 
Thanks very much. 
(Sustained applause) 
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