THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY DEE DEE MYERS
The Briefing Room
3:12 P.M. EST
MS. MYERS: First, an announcement -- it's a little lengthy, I apologize, but I think you'll be interested in the content. The President's planned trip to Europe and the former Soviet Union in January will affirm the importance of Europe to the U.S. political and economic and security interests. It will also provide an opportunity for the President to articulate his vision of the transatlantic relations and to further the process of enlarging the community of market democracies while replacing Cold War divisions with a more integrated and unified Europe.
The President will open his trip in Brussels on January 9th with a major address on U.S.-European relations. He will then attend the NATO summit on January 10th and 11th, followed by meetings with the leadership of the European Union. The President will help to reshape NATO's relationship with the new democracies in Europe's east and reaffirm the importance of the U.S.-E.U cooperation on political and economic matters. The President will next visit Prague on January 11th and 12th, where he has proposed to meet with leaders of the Visegrad countries Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The United States appreciates the willingness of the Czech government and President Havel to host this regional meeting. The meeting in Prague will underscore U.S. support for the security of the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe for their transformation to fully functioning market economies and for their cooperation with one another as they deepen their partnership with the United States, Western Europe and western organizations.
The President has accepted an invitation from President Boris Yeltsin to make a state visit to Russia from January 12th to 15th. The summit will further strengthen the new democratic partnership established between the United States and Russia during the Vancouver meetings in April of 1993. In addition to discussions with President Yeltsin on economic security and regional issues, the President plans meetings with a variety of Russian reform leaders to obtain a firsthand understanding of progress toward economic and political reform in Russia.
Following his visit to Moscow, the President will travel to Minsk on January 15th at the invitation of Belarussian President Shushkevich. By ratifying the START I and nuclear nonproliferation treaties, Belarus has demonstrated its commitment to a non-nuclear future. During his visit to Minsk, the two presidents will discuss ways in which the United States and Belarus can expand their bilateral relationship in support of the democratic and economic reform process in Belarus.
The scope of the President's travel and the developing schedule of meetings and events underscores the importance of the transatlantic partnership in the post-Cold War era. In this regard, and reflecting the deep American conscienceness of the history, interest and sacrifices the United States shares with the states of Europe, the President has accepted invitations to visit Great Britain, France and Italy in conjunction with his attendance at World War II commemoration events in June of 1994. In conjunction with his attendance at the G-7 Summit in Naples, scheduled for July of 1994, the President has also accepted with pleasure an invitation to visit Germany.
Q That's Great Britain, France, where, and Germany?
MS. MYERS: Great Britain, France and Italy.
Q In June?
MS. MYERS: This is June, in conjunction with the World War II commemoration.
Q And then July he goes --
MS. MYERS: And then July is Naples for G-7, followed by a visit to Germany.
Q The June trip is the hot trip, right? The hot ticket? (Laughter.)
MS. MYERS: USA Today has endorsed the June trip as the hot ticket.
Q Who are the Russian reform leaders that he is going to be meeting?
MS. MYERS: We're putting together those meetings as time progresses, so we'll have more on it as we get it. But just for an overview and to put out the dates so the trip has been officially announced for the networks, consider it done.
Q Just to get this straight, the June trip is Britain, France, Italy; the July trip is Italy, Germany?
MS. MYERS: Correct.
Q Two separate to Italy in two successive months?
MS. MYERS: Correct.
Q What happens after January 15th? You kind of left us in Minsk.
Q Yeah, do we ever come home? (Laughter.)
MS. MYERS: That's right. He's scheduled to go from Minsk back to Washington.
Q What date? Is that a day trip?
MS. MYERS: Whatever that -- it's a day trip to Minsk. It's the 16th.
Q Wait a minute, it's a day trip to Minsk that we leave on the 15th or we leave on the 16th?
MS. MYERS: We're back here on, I believe it's the 16th. I'm not sure. That's Saturday the 16th, I believe, I don't have my calendar in front of me.
Q The Normandy landing, isn't that what it is? Or is that --
MS. MYERS: That's the June -- the June trip is built around the commemoration of the Normandy landing.
Q Right. And he goes to three countries there, or just France?
MS. MYERS: Great Britain, France and Italy.
MS. MYERS: Great Britain, France and Italy. So, let's recap. January: Brussels, Prague, Moscow, Minsk.
Q Maybe you should put those cards up.
MS. MYERS: Yeah, I should have brought my visual aids. Okay, then we have June which is Great Britain, France and Italy. And then we have July which is Italy, Germany.
Q California -- (Laughter.)
MS. MYERS: No, that's what we say for February, March, April, and May. He goes to California.
Q Has the President met with, or does he plan to meet with Secretary Aspin, and possibly General Shalikashvili on the subject of Korea and preparation in the Korean peninsula?
MS. MYERS: He has met periodically, as you know, with his advisors. There's no specific scheduled meetings on North Korea. However, it's something that he continues to work on and spend quite bit of his personal time on in recent weeks.
Q What has he done lately?
MS. MYERS: He's spent a lot of time talking with a variety of his advisors. There's been no specific meetings as was referred to in a newspaper account today. But certainly he's spent a great deal of time talking with people over it and reviewing the situation and will continue to do so.
Q Can you describe, Dee Dee, the offer that's on the table to the North Koreans from the U.S., Japan and China?
MS. MYERS: As you know, last week, after talking with Japan in Seattle and the South Koreans in Seattle and again here, talking to President Kim, we discussed with North Korea several things, a more comprehensive approach -- they know what we expect from them which is essentially that they abide by their nuclear obligations, and the agreement they reached with the South Koreans for a nuclear-free peninsula. I believe that took effect in January of 1992. They know that that's what our expectations are.
Q And what have the three offered North Korea in return?
MS. MYERS: Well, I think we'd like to have an on-going dialogue with them, look at a number of things. But the first thing that they have to do is honor their obligations.
Q Have they responded to the meeting last week?
MS. MYERS: There's been no formal response. There's been some informal communication, and we expect to have response from them shortly.
Q Why? Have they had any indication of that?
MS. MYERS: Yes, informal communication suggests that we expect some time soon to have a more formal response from them.
MS. MYERS: Not today.
Q Is Malval going to meet with Gore today?
MS. MYERS: I don't believe that that's been scheduled. He's here and he met with Aristide today. I believe he's meeting with some State Department officials. I think the State Department said today that he's meeting with Peter Tarnoff and perhaps some other people at the State Department. I don't believe he has plans to meet with the Vice President at this point, but we'll leave that open.
Q Is he going to meet anyone at the White House?
MS. MYERS: Nothing scheduled at this point, we'll see what happens. He's here today and tomorrow.
Q House Republican leaders have written to the President cheesed off because of a memorandum from the National Health Care Campaign, from a Heather Booth to partisans of the President's health plan urging that they attend a scheduled weekend town meetings, Republican town meetings on health care wearing banners and waving health care campaign signs, large numbers of supporters to try to demonstrate support of the President's plan. They say they're dismayed that this is an attempt to inject partisan politics into an issue which has been relatively free of it, and have written to the President asking him to call off the dogs, so to speak. What's the President's reaction to that?
MS. MYERS: I don't know whether he's seen the communique, the letter yet. But basically, we've worked very hard to make health care a bipartisan issue. We've worked with, as you know, Republican members of the Senate and of the House; have tried to build bipartisan support for the President's plan; we've repeated over and over again that we expect to work with both Republican and Democratic members of Congress as this plan is debated over the course of the next year.
Q Was this memo in that spirit?
MS. MYERS: Well, the memo was -- I haven't seen it. I guess it came out of -- thank you. It came out of the DNC, but I think that people at the -- if these are open health care forums, certainly I would expect that people would encourage people with different points of view to come and to debate the issue. We have said throughout, and the President has certainly said throughout, that health care is not a partisan issue. On the contrary, it's something that Republicans and Democrats need to work together on. But there are people out there who support the President's plan who have worked hard on it, who think it's the best approach. And I would imagine that some of them may show up at forums to express that opinion.
Q Is a memo that urges button-wearing, sign-waving people to pack town meetings consistent with that? I mean, that's -- you seem to be talking about some spontaneous show of support. This plainly is not that. Is this the White House -- does the White House approve of this?
MS. MYERS: This isn't a White House initiative. Again, I haven't seen -- this is not something that was produced by the White House. I think the President's position on this is clear. He wants a bipartisan debate about this issue. And he expects bipartisan support for his plan.
In the meantime, I think there will be fairly vigorous debate out in the country, and I think people from both sides of the issue are going to show up at health care forums sponsored by Republicans and Democrats. We encourage that kind of debate. But again, the President has said -- and I'll repeat again -- that this is not something that was coordinated by the White House. It's not something that we have control over. And the President's message is he wants this to be bipartisan, and to focus on the issue and not on partisan politics.
Q I know but he --
MS. MYERS: The President hasn't seen this.
Q But do you think he would approve of this -- calls it Democratic dirty tricks.
MS. MYERS: Again, the President's position on this is that it should be bipartisan. And certainly the President never approves of dirty tricks.
Q Dee Dee, are you saying that this is something the White House has no control over --
MS. MYERS: The White House does not control the DNC, that's correct.
Q The President chose the DNC, he'd certainly do this if they asked him to, don't you think?
MS. MYERS: Again, the President, to my knowledge, has not seen this. It's not something that was originated here in the White House. It's not something that was approved here in the White House. And the President's position is that this ought to be bipartisan. But that doesn't -- that doesn't -- I would just emphasize that that wouldn't eliminate or foreclose the option that people would show up at open town hall forums across the country, both Republicans and Democrats, people with very strong points of view, and debate this issue. I don't think the President would support anybody trying to sabotage an event. That's certainly not what the White House is trying to accomplish. But I think we are looking for vigorous debate and would encourage that.
Q Has Mickey Kantor contacted the President yet today on how the talks went on GATT?
MS. MYERS: I don't think the President's talked directly to him. I know he's talked to other people here. As you know, we put out a statement, which you may have seen -- did everybody see that? I'll read it.
Statement from the President: I'm delighted that as a result of discussions following up on our meeting in Seattle, Canadian Prime Minister -- oh, I'm sorry, you said GATT and I'm thinking NAFTA. GATT. All these trade agreements with these countries.
Mickey, he's so busy. By the way, everybody should have that on NAFTA, which is good news. (Laughter.)
On GATT, Mickey actually did speak to people here at the White House with equally good news. He's on his way back here from Brussels. The discussions went well. Secretary Espey was there as well. They made good progress, particularly on agricultural issues. Certainly there are still -- there's still a lot of work to be done. But I think people are optimistic. I would emphasize that the President's position is he wants a good GATT agreement, not any GATT agreement. But I think there's reason to be optimistic today. Mickey will be back in Brussels on Monday.
Q What was the subject of the NSC meeting today? And what was Shalikashvili doing there?
MS. MYERS: I think they're discussing a number of things, including North Korea.
Q Was this a full NSC meeting?
MS. MYERS: It's a principles meeting. It's a principles meeting, not a full NSC meeting.
Q Was the President there?
MS. MYERS: I don't believe -- the President is not there. I don't believe -- I think it's still going on.
Q Was it Korea?
MS. MYERS: Certainly that's something that's being discussed. I'm sure it's the principal topic.
Q Could you describe for us his mood, feeling about North Korea? Is he getting -- running out of patience? Is he getting annoyed, frustrated, maintaining a certain level of --
MS. MYERS: He's concerned, as he has been for sometime. He said today that when he was in South Korea back in July, we went up to the DMZ, up to the Bridge of No Return. He said then that that was sort of a sign that he was concerned about it going back that far. It's something he's spent a lot of his own personal time on. And I think is very concerned. It is a serious situation. He wants the North Koreans to know that we take this very seriously and we fully expect them to live up to their nuclear obligations and to abide by the treaty that they signed in 1992.
Q What are these informal contacts, are they through diplomatic channels and capitals and so forth?
MS. MYERS: Yes.
Q With North Korea?
MS. MYERS: It's informal, so it may be coming from a number of different places. But our diplomats have reason to believe that they will have more to say about it soon. We expect a response fairly soon.
Q Are they direct contacts, Dee Dee?
MS. MYERS: They're informal, so they may be direct and indirect. But they're not formal.
Q So in a hallway someplace, or -- ?
MS. MYERS: I think it could include a lot of things, and I can't be any more specific than that.
Q Have they given you any reason for hope that they'll be receptive to this overture?
MS. MYERS: I think we'll see. We remain hopeful that they will. But certainly don't take that for granted.
Q Is the White House aware of any secret talks between North Korea and South Korea?
MS. MYERS: I'd have to take that. Not that I know of, but I certainly will take that and see if I can say anything more about it. I doubt it.
Q Dee Dee, the levels of violence have really escalated in the Gaza Strip, and there's talk now of delaying the December 13th limitations.
MS. MYERS: Obviously we would urge all parties in Gaza and the rest of the region to show restraint. We believe that the process will go forward, that implementing the agreement is the best way to stop the violence. And we think the parties are still committed to implementing the agreement. We would urge them to go forward with that.
Q Is the Evans-Novak column, is it on target, saying the President could go to Geneva to meet Asad?
MS. MYERS: As you know, the President has talked to President Asad a number of times. We'll continue to work with them. President Clinton believes that progress on all tracks is important. But in terms of a specific meeting, I don't have anything for you on that.
Q You were announcing the trip to Minsk, in that statement you spoke of American approval of their no-nuclear posture, and immediately thereafter launched into -- raised the possibility of expanded relations between the United States and Belarus. Is that a message to Ukraine?
MS. MYERS: Well, the President spoke with President Kravchuk earlier this week and I think spoke directly to that; reminded him that we expect Ukraine to live up to its nuclear obligations. The President showed his concern over the Parliament's amendments to the NPT; was pleased when President Kravchuk said that he would resubmit the treaty with the Lisbon Protocol in March with the new Parliament. So we're going to continue to work with them and expect them to live up to those obligations.
Q In Somalia, Aideed was flown on U.S. aircraft to the peace talks today and protected by U.S. security. That's quite a turn of events. Can you explain why we were so helpful with this guy that we used to hunt?
MS. MYERS: Well, as you know, we've urged all the parties, all the factions in Somalia to come together and to work toward peace and economic development. As you know, General Aideed made it clear he would not work with the U.N. And so we undertook that as a way to further both U.N. and U.S. objectives in Somalia.
Q Flying him and protecting him with our security forces -- that seems to be sending a pretty strong signal that you're either supportive of him or you're supportive of him getting in.
MS. MYERS: Well, we're supportive of all of the different parties participating in the process. And we believe that General Aideed and others should participate in the process. We've said that. And again, Aideed's made it clear he won't work with the U.N. I would also point out, though, that the Commission, U.N. Commission to determine who is responsible for the deaths of the Pakistani peacekeepers and others is in effect. And we expect that process to go forward as well.
Q I thought we already decided that Aideed was --
MS. MYERS: We made it clear that we were going to work with an independent commission under the auspices of the U.N. to take a look at that and make an independent determination.
Q He said he would not cooperate with this commission. What do you make of that?
MS. MYERS: The commission's going forward. We hope he'll -- regardless. We'd like him to participate in the Somali dialogue, which is happening now in Addis, or will be happening whenever tomorrow is Addis.
Q Has some deal been made with him -- I mean, that he should get a ride on U.S. aircraft?
MS. MYERS: No deal has been made, but this furthers --
Q and be protected by Americans?
MS. MYERS: It is our belief that Aideed participating in those conversations furthers both the U.S. and the U.N. objectives in Somalia.
Q After his forces killed 18 -- 15 Americans?
MS. MYERS: There is an independent Commission that is looking at that, so --
Q We don't doubt that, do we, having voted to arrest the guy?
MS. MYERS: The arrest warrant is no longer effective. But the commission is looking at it. Again, I mean, we believe that the Somalis have to look at this problem, the Africans have to solve it, and we support getting that dialogue and that process moving.
Q Dee Dee, I may have missed this, but when did this arrest warrant become no longer effective?
MS. MYERS: I think when the commission took over, I don't have the date. We can certainly get that for you.
Q He was blamed for the deaths of these U.S. soldiers in the President's report to Congress in October. He was officially blamed for these deaths. There is no doubt in your mind of the person who is responsible for it.
MS. MYERS: Our position is at this point that there is an independent commission that's going to review that. We support that process. In the meantime, we believe that a dialogue among all the various parties in Somalia is the best way to meet our objectives there.
Q So you mean the President's report to Congress was wrong or jumped the gun?
MS. MYERS: There is an independent commission. We've agreed to work with in that process and that's where it stands.
Q Is Oakley still there?
MS. MYERS: Oakley is still there, and I believe he's a Addis.
Q Did the general solicit a ride to Addis or did we offer it first?
MS. MYERS: I don't know exactly how it came about. You can check with the State Department, and we can look into it. I'm not sure what the process was.
Q Dee Dee, is it right to look at this more as that you were just trying to facilitate getting him to these talks in hopes of whatever would come out of it rather than sending a signal that we're now friends with Aideed?
MS. MYERS: Oh, absolutely. I mean, our goal here is that we want to create a dialogue that will facilitate political reconciliation in Somalia in anticipation of American withdrawal at the end of March. So, we are moving forward toward that process, and I think the donor conference went fairly well and we're glad that General Aideed will be participating in this phase. But, our objective is a dialogue that will further political reconciliation in that country, and we don't take sides in this process.
Q The meeting the President had with the congressional leaders on the space program, the space collaboration with Russia -- one of the key players, George Brown, happened to be in Russia at the time. He's been highly critical of this collaboration. Was that a happy coincidence that he happened not to be here, and how do you think he will react when he comes back?
MS. MYERS: I would imagine -- I'll double check -- I'll have to take that. But I would imagine that had he been here he may have been invited and was unable to attend because he was out of the country. Certainly, he is somebody who has played a major role in the space program in this country and someone whose advice the President would certainly respect and seek.
Q You were saying that Malval will be here tomorrow also?
MS. MYERS: Malval is in the United States tomorrow.
Q You are not discarding the possibility of a meeting between Malval and White House people.
MS. MYERS: No, it's not scheduled but I couldn't rule it out.
Q Is there any comment on the report that CBO plans to score most of the health care bill off budget?
MS. MYERS: We think that that's accurate. There are certain items where -- that it's appropriate to score on budget. For example, the subsidies to small businesses and the cigarette tax, but we believe that premium payments by businesses and individuals to the health care cooperatives is not something that should be scored as a federal expenditure, because it's not. It's a private payment to perhaps a state-run organization and that should not be -- it will be noted but it will not be scored. Which is what we be-- that's been our position all along.
Q Nor is the tax, right?
MS. MYERS: The tax is scored.
Q But you won't score the required premiums that the government is requiring by law to be paid.
MS. MYERS: But they're private -- we don't change the way that those payments are made. Right now, private individuals and businesses make payments to non-federal organizations to pay for health insurance. That will continue. These are not taxes that are run through the federal government.
Q I know, but they do that on their own right now. They are not required to by law -- payments required by law by the government are sort of a definition of taxes.
MS. MYERS: But they're not. They're individual payments to the health alliances. They're not to the federal government. The health alliances will be largely state run; they will not be federally run. They're not collected by the federal government. And therefore, we don't believe they should be scored as taxes.
Q Can we back up on Korea for a second -- whether or not there is a specific set meeting already on the schedule. Has the President indicated that he wants to meet with his top military advisers to go over the new contingency plans that they've developed? And is it incorrect to take that as an indication that your indications from the North Koreans are not positive?
MS. MYERS: No, I wouldn't connect those two things. I think certainly at some point and probably periodically throughout this process the President will meet with senior advisers on North Korea. There's nothing scheduled as of this point, but I certainly wouldn't rule it out in the future. I don't expect it this week.
Q Is it correct or incorrect if he wants to meet with Shalikashvili and others to go over the contingency planning?
MS. MYERS: I think he'll meet -- he expects the contingency planning is happening. He's been sort of checking up on the process. That is a responsible thing to do. But, there's nothing scheduled specifically for him to meet with General Shali or anybody else on the specific options. At some point I think he may choose to do that. But, I -- go ahead.
Q Did he ask for new contingency plans or is that something the Pentagon developed on their own?
MS. MYERS: No, I mean it's part of an incremental process. I mean I wouldn't look for a specific time when the President asks for some major specific. But as the process has gone along, the President has talked to people in the State Department and Defense Department and others have re-evaluated their options. Certainly, that's what's happening on the ground as you would expect. General Luck and others are looking at what their options are and those are being reviewed here. So the process is ongoing.
Q But, that point -- are they specifically like looking at these options, writing them down, will they be coming to the President -- presenting them to the President as options that could be taken?
MS. MYERS: I think in an ongoing basis. At this point, I mean, if you're looking for a major meeting where they're going to sit around the table and review various options -- there's been an ongoing process to look at options as the situation on the ground has developed. I would just steer you away from looking for any major meeting. At the same time, I think the President's very engaged on this issue. He's very concerned about it. He's continuing to discuss it with people. He's continuing to discuss with people what the various -- what the situation is, what the options are, what's happening on the ground, and will continue to do that.
Q Did the President come by the NSC meeting today at all?
MS. MYERS: He hadn't as of the time I walked out here. I don't expect him to.
Q And getting back, was Korea the only subject on the agenda at the NSC meeting?
MS. MYERS: No. Can't say. I'll take that question.
Q How about Haiti? Was Haiti discussed there?
MS. MYERS: I'll have to take that.
Q Dee Dee, you mentioned some of the carrots, so to speak, in the dealings with North Korea, continuing the dialogue, if they resumed their dialogue with South Korea and observe the IAEA stipulations. What about the stick, so to speak? What if they don't do what we ask them to do?
MS. MYERS: Well, I think that they know that -- I mean, certainly, that's something that we would discuss with our allies, with China, with Japan, with the South Koreans. Sanctions, of course, have been an option all along. We've, at the request of the South Koreans and others, have steered away from doing that. But that's certainly something that is a live option.
I think the President's view is that North Korea is already perhaps the most isolated country in the world and that that may not be -- it makes it difficult to deal with them sometimes and may not be the most -- may make it difficult to impose additional sanctions. Nonetheless, it's a live option, something that we would certainly consider.
Q Does the President intend to make any recess appointments, particularly to any agencies that lack a forum right now?
MS. MYERS: I don't know. I have to take that. I don't think we have a major round of appointments coming up, but there may be some.
Q I think NORB -- possibly the civil rights --
MS. MYERS: I'll have to double check with personnel to see what the status of that is. I don't know.
Q Back on to Korea. Hans Blix told the IAEA Board of Governors today that the agency can no longer guarantee that the North Koreans are not using their nuclear material in an unapproved fashion. Is that the break in continuity you've been waiting for?
MS. MYERS: No, I think specifically he didn't say that there was a break in continuity. And we're reviewing his comments now.
Q What do you assume that means, though? Are we no longer able to tell what's going on?
MS. MYERS: No, I think we're looking at Blix's comments now. I think it's -- clearly the North Koreans have had a active nuclear program, and I think it's unclear what the status of that is. I think that's something that's been true all along.
Q How long are you going to give them, then? When do you expect -- what kind of deadline is there?
MS. MYERS: We don't have a deadline. But there is urgency attached to this. We take this -- this is a matter of utmost seriousness and we're not going to wait forever.
Q What does it take to trigger the end of this process? Do they have to sign some -- does Blix have to sign some piece of paper saying there's no longer continuity? Or does the U.N. have to vote there is?
MS. MYERS: Blix is the one who would have to say that there had been a break, that would be how it would become official. He has not done that yet.
Q Have we asked him to be very cautious in doing that?
MS. MYERS: I don't know whether we've had conversations with him about that. I would expect that we hope that he does that to the best of his ability, as accurately as he can. I think we want his judgement to reflect what's actually happening on the ground.
Q Dee Dee, given the release of these LBJ tapes yesterday, what's this White House's policy on taping phone conversations that the President has with people?
MS. MYERS: To the best I can tell none of the President's phone conversations are taped.
Q With foreign leaders or with anyone?
MS. MYERS: No, there are often note takers on the calls with foreign leaders who are trained in shorthand, or whatever, and take transcripts of the calls, but they are not tape recorded.
Q Is there going to be a theme to the Hollywood speech?
MS. MYERS: I think the President will talk about violence and breakdown of families, disintegration of families, his concern for that, and I think the concern that will be shared by many of the individuals at that event.
Q Will he ask them to do anything like chill out?
MS. MYERS: No, I wouldn't look -- the President doesn't have any intention of being confrontational, but I think this is something that is obviously on his mind, something that he has talked about quite a bit, something that he's concerned about, and I think is going to talk at that event which is open to the press -- will talk about there.
Q Is this Saturday?
MS. MYERS: This is Saturday. Let me just give you a little bit on the rest of the day. Saturday morning from 10:00 a.m. to noon, he'll do what's being described as being an economic round table. He'll open that up -- that will be opened up -- and it will be him sitting around a conference table, or quasi-conference table setting with local officials, local civic leaders, economists and the like. He'll open up with an assessment of -- specifically of the Southern California economy, and then he'll talk about -- there'll be three segments on different things: one is trade and trade policy, community development, and defense conversion or reinvestment and technology. And then at noon, he'll give a speech -- this will be at Rockwell in Canoga Park, which is a west San Fernando Valley area. Then at noon he'll give a speech to the Rockwell employees about the state of the economy there and what we can do about it. And then the next open event is at 6:15 at Creative Artists. Then he'll attend the dinner which is closed and is scheduled to leave L.A. at 9:45 arriving back in Washington around 5:00 a.m.
Q What's the radio address tomorrow?
MS. MYERS: I forgot to check -- I think it's crime, but I'm not sure.
Q Does he have any plans on Sunday other than the Kennedy Center?
MS. MYERS: No.
Q You said the dinner is closed. Can you tell us who is going to be there?
MS. MYERS: I don't have a list. It'll be major Democratic contributors in the L.A. area, but I don't have a list.
Q Is there a number of entertainment personalities involved?
MS. MYERS: I would expect so.
Q Are talking about the event that Marvin Davis is --
MS. MYERS: Yes.
Q Dee Dee, getting back that Hollywood speech. On that same subject, are you aware of a letter that he has received or was sent from Michael Moriarty, the actor who is protesting the way he was treated in a meeting with Janet Reno the other day?
MS. MYERS: No.
Q You're not aware of the letter?
Q Are you aware of the incident?
MS. MYERS: No.
Q Are you aware of the actor?
MS. MYERS: I'm afraid to say that I'm not. Are you?
Q Law and Order. You've seen Law and Order haven't you?
Q Can you take that?
MS. MYERS: Well, I used to be in touch with popular culture. (Laughter.)
Q Could you take that and find out if the President's --
Q Then you went to work for the government. (Laughter.)
MS. MYERS: Yeah, I will take that -- I'm pretty familiar with I Dream of Jeannie.
Q Is violence on TV one of the subjects Saturday?
MS. MYERS: The speech really hasn't been written. It's something -- as you know, the President, for example, he wrote a letter to the networks, I think applauding them when they voluntarily agreed to, I think, label some of their programming. So it's been a concern of his. He may, I think he'll probably say something about it, but I will just emphasize the intention here is not to be confrontational. Although I think there are some serious issues that need to be addressed. So, I think he'll talk about.
Q Can I go back briefly to the never-ending GATT talks?
MS. MYERS: Is that GATT or NAFTA?
Q No, definitely GATT. Definitely GATT. You said earlier that they made good progress, particulary on agricultural issues. Now, as I remember the administration was saying we're not going to reopen the Blair House Agreement. Isn't it, in fact, being reopened?
MS. MYERS: I think our position has been that we're not going to reopen the Blair House Agreement. It has not been reopened.
Q Well, how has good progress been made in agriculture without reopening the Blair House Agreement?
MS. MYERS: I'll have to refer you to Secretary Espey for the specifics, but our position has not changed. We're not reopening Blair House and progress -- there was a press conference earlier from Brussels where both Espey and Mickey attended. I talked about some of the specifics, but for the details on -- I don't know how much they're willing to talk about it since the negotiations are ongoing.
Q Did you say how much people are paying for the CAA fundraiser and how much for the dinner? And also whether the President feels at all comfortable about going to an event where people are paying so much money.
MS. MYERS: The CAA event is $1,000 a person. I'll have to double check, I'm not sure what the dinner --
Q The New York Times says $25,000.
Q Is just seems not really in the spirit, some of the things the President talked about in the campaign.
MS. MYERS: I think -- it's a DNC fundraiser -- the President has proposed serious campaign finance reform and will continue to pursue that next year. We never called for unilateral disarmament. But we're going to continue to press for campaign finance reform.
Q I mean, is it in the spirit of what he's been talking about in terms of special interest and campaign reform, it's sort of a --
MS. MYERS: I think we're going to continue to press for campaign finance reform for reducing the influence of special interests in politics. In the meantime, we aren't going to unilaterally disarm.
Q Do you think the President might feel at all constrained in what he can say to Hollywood executives in terms of talking about violence if he's taken -- if he's going to take so much of their money -- or collect so much of their money.
MS. MYERS: I think the President is going to talk to Hollywood executives the same way he's been talking to the American people. This is a subject that he thinks is very serious and something that he's concerned about. He believes that the disintegration of the family and the breakdown of our collective values and the escalation of violence and the scourge of drugs and crime in our communities is an incredible serious problem. Something that everybody has to take some responsibility to solve, and he will talk to Hollywood executives about that as he will to many groups throughout the next months and years. And I don't think he sees that crowd as being any different. And I think that they live with the same fears and concerns that everybody else does.
Q Dee Dee, speaking of violence, back to Aideed. Is the President concerned at all that he might be viewed as hypocritical back in America's heartland? You know, giving Aideed a free ride like this on a U.S. airplane when 18 men were shot and killed trying to save other Americans because of Aideed?
MS. MYERS: Again, this is something that is consistent with both U.S. and U.N. objectives. I think our mission going into Somalia in the first place was to ease a humanitarian crisis where literally hundreds of thousands of people were starving to death. That starvation is largely been eliminated. Now our objective is to create a process that will lead toward political reconciliation so that that starvation won't resume once we leave.
That's what the Americans went to Somalia for, and hopefully we'll be able to achieve it before we leave.
Q But Dee Dee, we had a change in policy because 24 Pakistani peace-keepers got murdered, apparently on orders of this man. We consented and participated in an attempt to arrest him, we tried to raid his headquarters to pick him up, and now we're giving him flights on American planes. The inconsistency seems gaping and obvious and to say that we have these nice objectives is one thing, but how does that address the question that's been posed here about how can we do the one thing on the one hand, and then turn around and do this. It just doesn't make sense.
MS. MYERS: When the President gave the Oval Office address, one of the things that he said was that too much emphasis had been put on the military and security track and not enough on the political track. And he made it very clear at that point that the emphasis was going to shift from solely a security track, which had happened in the wake of the Pakistani murders, and toward a political track that would create an environment that would allow reconciliation. Again, the objective being so that the mass starvation wouldn't resume. That's what we've done here. I think --
Q Backed off, in fact.
MS. MYERS: Well, try to move forward on another track. And I think we've been fairly -- the results, while I think progress has been slower than we would have liked, there has been some progress. There's been relatively little violence in Somalia in the last -- since early October, and we're going to pursue the larger political objectives.
Q Yes, but it seemed a quantum leap to provide an airtaxi service from Mr. Aideed. At what level was this approved? Did the President sign off on this?
MS. MYERS: I don't believe the President knew about it ahead of time, but it was something -- it was an Army plane --
Q Does he know of it now?
MS. MYERS: I've not spoken to him about it. I have to double check.
Q Can we find out? Will you take that to find out what he thinks about it, if you can, please? Thank you.
MS. MYERS: Sure.
Q How do you overcome the possibility that people will see this as a political endorsement of Aideed?
MS. MYERS: It's not a political endorsement of Aideed. Q You singled him out for special treatment. MS. MYERS: No, we think that his participation in the
political dialogue is important. We think that furthers our objective there.
Q plane where you get American -- protection and transportation?
MS. MYERS: The other leaders, I believe, were already in Addis.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END3:49 P.M. EST