THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Tokyo, Japan) ______________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release July 8, 1993
PRESS BRIEFING BY COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT DAVID GERGEN
Hotel Okura Tokyo, Japan
11:32 P.M. (L)
MR. GERGEN: For those still awake, I'll give you a -- I just want to give you a brief readout that we promised you on the events of this evening with the President.
The President has just gone to bed, or at least headed off that way, after what he thought was a very good day, but a long day. I think it was well over 18 hours for him. I want to talk to you briefly about the dinner this evening and then about the bilateral meeting he had with Prime Minister Major.
With regard to the dinner, this was a much more freewheeling exchange. The President really enjoyed himself. He had an opportunity early, very early in the dinner to set out an agenda and he asked them to -- and what they had was a searching conversation about reforms, reform and strengthened the United Nations. It was a subject that he has been keenly interested in during his presidency, and so they had a discussion about several issues about -- to evaluate the performance of the United Nations with regard to a number of countries in recent times, and serious questions the President wanted to raise.
And the first of those -- there were about four or five here -- the first was how to fund the peacekeeping at adequate levels and ensure that there's a steady flow of funds for that purpose. The second was how to coordinate and better prepare military forces that can be used in U.N. operations, whether the be peacekeeping or peacemaking. As part of that they discussed the relationship of U.N. forces to NATO.
A third question was the criteria for intervention.
QWhat was that again?
MR. GERGEN: The relationship of the U.N. forces to NATO. That question has arisen, obviously, already. I might mention on this question of forces, there was some discussion of Somalia, the way the forces had been used in Somalia and how they might -- this is really a look ahead as to how the U.N. might be used more effectively. As you know, there are a number of issues surrounding that question that have been -- at the forefront of a lot of public policy discussions in recent years.
The third question was the criteria for intervention. When should the U.N. go in, what should be the circumstances. So there's -- how hard should the circumstances be. There are some very difficult situations like that, obviously, arising around the world.
And the fourth question was the criteria for recognizing new states at the U.N. Now, in the context of this U.N. discussion in which the President called them "searching," they did talk about Bosnia. The President had a chance to talk about some of the positions he has put forth in the past, and he also asked a lot of questions. He wanted to explore their views at this time and where they are.
Now, I don't have a lot to add right now on Bosnia. I'm expecting that there will be something in the political communique which will becoming out tomorrow. I might say that this session was not intended -- this discussion which was freewheeling was not intended as -- in general, the summit is not, not intended to formulate a Bosnia policy. It was, rather, a chance to talk to each other about the current state of affairs and where we go from here.
Now, he went on from there, from that dinner to the meeting with Prime Minister Major. There was a continuation of some of the discussion on Bosnia, but there was a longer discussion about Iraq. The Prime Minister wanted to talk about the continuing threat that Saddam Hussein poses, his continuing defiance of U.N. resolutions and ways that the coalition might usefully address his behavior.
And they finally had a discussion about reform of the G-7 process. They had an informal discussion about that. I think both gentlemen are interested in more give-and-take, more informality. We'll be talking, I think, more about that in the next day or two.
Finally, I would say -- some of you had asked about the President's personal reaction to all of this, and I will tell you again that he ended the day quite tired. He's had a very long day with virtually no breaks. But he said at the end he was genuinely impressed by the quality of people he had a chance to meet here. This is the kind of session that he -- he thrives on this kind of discussion. And he felt he was learning from a number of them, and he just had one comment before he went to bed. He said, you know, if people in countries -- these industrialized countries could see this discussion, the kind of discussion we had tonight they'd feel a lot better about their governments.
So that summarizes basically the discussion. And if I can answer any questions, if you're still awake, I'll try.
QTo what extent is the President setting the agenda for the summit? I mean, it seems like he's the one who is coming in here talking about jobs and you outlined these things that he's talking about at the dinner tonight. How much is he taking charge of the summit? He's the new kid on the block.
MR. GERGEN: Well, I think he's taken a forceful stance toward -- and initiate much of the agenda that's here. But that's not to suggest that other leaders here haven't played a very active role and been very helpful. We've mentioned the Japanese on a couple of occasions in the last 24 hours and how constructive their role they've played -- Prime Minister Miyazawa has played.
But if you look down on the list, I think it's clear that the emphasis upon jobs and the structural unemployment question was something the President has been pushing. Aid to Russia is something that's been on the President's agenda. The President took a very active role in pushing on this -- the agreement that was reached today in the Uruguay Round.
And I think you can see on this discussion about the United Nations, he has a number of issues that he wanted to get on the table. And I think we've said from the beginning that he did not see this summit as necessarily the end point for a lot of things. It was rather the place to begin putting more -- some additional issues on the agenda for the '90s and to begin some of these discussions, even as he tried to bring closure on a couple of issues such as the market access agreement and Russian aid.
QDave, a little further if you can on Bosnia. When you say there was discussion of past position --specifically the President had a different position a year ago. Did he --
MR. GERGEN: No, he talked really more about his position -- his recent position.
MR. GERGEN: Yes, as President.
QCan you put it in some context? Are we talking about kind of a post-mortem on a lost cause? Are we talking about some attempt to do the best we can in a bad situation?
MR. GERGEN: I will tell you the truth. The President is so tired I felt uncomfortable pushing him too hard tonight. He really wanted to go to bed, but I wanted to get some sense of it. But I think we will hear more about this in the context of the communique tomorrow. And I'm also hopeful that Secretary Christopher could be with us or someone could be with us during the day who can discuss the Bosnia -- and I know there are a number of you here who want to discuss this, and I think we owe it to you to have somebody here for it.
QDoes Major want the President to bomb Iraq again? And you can't tell me that only the reform of the U.N. was the only thing they discussed.
MR. GERGEN: I said that within that context Bosnia was on the agenda as well.
QThat's all at the dinner they discussed?
MR. GERGEN: Those were the major items of discussion. There may have been others more minor, but they had fairly long discussions that started with the U.N. and segued into Bosnia. But there may have been other items on the agenda, but this was the critical -- the center of the agenda.
QOn the GATT issue, was it Clinton's determination that something be done at this summit, or did the other leaders arrive with that same impetus?
MR. GERGEN: I can't speak to the other leaders, but there's no question that Chancellor Kohl felt strongly that an agreement was needed here. And we talked about that earlier today. There was no question that Prime Minister Miyazawa very much wanted an agreement here. The President initiated a number of calls last week, as I said earlier, to retort that in. So I think the President took a very reactive lead, and I think if you look at what happened last night, Ambassador Kantor was -- some of the other delegations -- I think, that found themselves staying up even later than we are tonight in those negotiations. He very much wanted to try to reach closure. They were up until around 3:30 a.m. last night, and I think they were back at the discussions around 8:00 a.m. in the morning.
QWhere does this Japan framework stand? Everybody backs off the question and some of the reporters are being briefed at this moment by the deputy who is the negotiator. And I wondered, is he about to announce something?
MR. GERGEN: No, we're not about to announce something on that. I think there has been some tenderness on the part of some on the American side by the characterizations, some of the characterizations that have been placed on the state of the negotiations. For instance, there was an argument made that Japan rebuffed the United States. That was not the sense that we had from the state of the negotiations. But the talks are still underway, and, frankly, I don't think there's anything that's imminent.
QWas anything said about Bosnia tonight at dinner that would indicate that it's going to be vastly different or different in substance than what was outlined to us by Secretary Christopher?
MR. GERGEN: No, I don't think there was -- I didn't -- there's nothing that broke new ground in that sense that I'm aware of.
QWhat degree does the discussion at the dinner affect what goes into the political communique or was that already written and --
MR. GERGEN: Well, there is a draft. There has been a draft. There was a draft, you know, that's been in existence for sometime. And what happens in a situation like this is that people rework the draft as you go. It's a fluid draft, in effect. And I don't think it's finished yet tonight. What ordinarily happens is that the heads of government come back after their dinners, they talk to their sherpas or their other advisers, and they take another look at the communique before morning.
QSo there's definitely some reworking based on the dinner?
MR. GERGEN: I would not -- I think that's maybe too hard. I know there are conversations going on in each delegation. But I would expect we -- the final words -- we'll have -- it's on schedule. I know of know of no controversy at this point surrounding the communique.
QDavid, you said that at the dinner tonight, which seemed to be more of a kind of discussion --
MR. GERGEN: Right.
Q-- did he talk about changing the other meetings to make them more like --
MR. GERGEN: No, but it's clear he likes to give and take. He likes the informality. He would like -- there is some talk here that he hasn't necessarily voiced. There's been talk in some of the other delegations about whether you might move toward less emphasis upon a communique, for example; whether you could simplify the process. I mean, I think almost everybody feels this has gotten to be a vast enterprise. And one needs to measure the results against the effort and could you achieve equal results or even better results from a somewhat different form.
QCan you give us in his words how he describes what he wants to achieve there?
MR. GERGEN: He has not told me in his words exactly what he wants to achieve in the --
QHas he told them?
MR. GERGEN: No, he's just -- he is at this point -- there has been some give and take on it, but I think tomorrow's when they - - or the next day -- is when they really have a chance to talk about it further.
QIs he so tired that it means he won't jog?
MR. GERGEN: No, he likes to jog. Someone told me once, he's at his best when the number of miles he jogs are greater than the number of hours he sleeps.
QIs that right?
MR. GERGEN: So we'll see. Why don't we end it up there. And we will be back tomorrow probably after the morning session. We'll try to do some kind of --
QPolitical communique tomorrow.
MR. GERGEN: Yes, we've got a political communique. So we'll try to set up some sort of briefing at midday.
MR. GERGEN: No, I think the communique comes out a little later. We'll try to set up a briefing --
QIt is supposed to be announced at 11:00 a.m. local time.
QWill the communique be released here simultaneously with over there?
MR. GERGEN: We'll work on that. That's a good point. But we will try to brief fairly promptly after the session.
QTime is pretty critical after 11:00 a.m.
MR. GERGEN: That's a very good point.
QHow sensitive a discussion on Iraq tonight?
MR. GERGEN: That discussion was with Prime Minister Major. That was about a 30-minute meeting and that occupied at least a third of the meeting.
QNot with the other heads?
MR. GERGEN: No, that wasn't a major meeting.
QDavid, because it's so late when that happens, we have to know if they were going to be available here or have to go over there.
MR. GERGEN: That's helpful. I should mention to you, Andrea, Iraq was mentioned in the context of evaluating U.N. performance. But in that context, not in terms of --
MR. GERGEN: Yes, right. Thank you.
END11:45 P.M. (L)