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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 14, 1994
                            PRESS BRIEFING
                            DEE DEE MYERS

The Briefing Room

1:46 P.M. EDT

MS. MYERS: Okay, a couple of quick things. First of all, at 2:00 p.m. -- this is just a point of interest -- Dr. Harold Varmus, who is the Director of the National Institutes of Health, is having a press conference to announce that they've isolated the gene that causes breast cancer. So kind of a positive note.

Q gene that --

MS. MYERS: Isolated the gene that causes breast cancer. So that is obviously an important development. It's at NIH.

Now, as you know, the President will be delivering an address to the nation tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. The goal of his speech is essentially threefold. First, it's to explain to the American people our interest in Haiti. Second, is to describe the expanding coalition of nations and to explain the U.N. mission, which is limited in purpose and time. And finally, it's to send a clear an unambiguous message to the military leaders in Haiti that we will act if me must, and the time is getting very, very short for them to leave on their own.

Any questions?

Q Dee Dee, will there be a time set in this speech? Is he going to say, if you don't leave by such an such a time?

MS. MYERS: Well, I think I'll let the President speak for himself tomorrow night. I would make it clear that our message has been consistently clear. And the President is looking for every opportunity to make that as clear as possible -- that they must go. It is up to them whether they leave voluntarily or involuntarily, but they must go.

Q specific deadline by which they must leave -- will the President do that tomorrow?

MS. MYERS: Again, we'll wait until tomorrow night and see what he has to say.

Q Is there any possibility and Congressman Richardson and others have suggested of some emissary going and trying one last chance to explain to Cedras the American position?

MS. MYERS: Well, I think that the time has long passed for negotiations. We're not interesting in negotiating with the dictators. They must go. And the President is still hopeful that they will leave voluntarily. It has always been our objective to end this through diplomatic means, to end this peacefully. And I think the President will continue to look at options for bringing this to a peaceful resolution.

Q What kind of options? Richardson said, what's the hurry if in another week or two they can be persuaded, why not let that play out?

MS. MYERS: Well, I think we've tried and exhausted every diplomatic option. As you know, we engaged in a lengthy negotiating process, which culminated in the Governors Island agreement, which the dictators abrogated. They did not live up to their end of that. We tried sanctions. We tried a number of means, none of which have been successful. I think we've made it very clear to them that patience was not infinite; our patience has worn thin. Time is running out. They must know they have to go.

Q Dee Dee, is the President prepared to send transport planes to give safe passage to the three leaders of Haiti to go to a third country?

MS. MYERS: If the dictators were willing to leave, I think we would certainly discuss with them the specific modalities of that departure. We're not interested in negotiating with them, but if they're willing to leave, we'd be willing to discuss that with them.

Q And so there would be no demand that they go to jail for any alleged crimes that they may have committed? They can go live in Spain or someplace else, and the U.S. would help them get there?

MS. MYERS: It's our position that they have to leave power. That's been our objective all along. That's what we're in this process to bring about. They must leave power. They should leave the country, because if a multinational force is in Haiti, they will apprehend and hand over to the legitimate Haitian government, the military leaders. So it is our recommendation that they leave the country.

Q Dee Dee, on the question of a congressional vote or approval of some kind, when the missions to Grenada and Panama were undertaken, it was at least argued that time was of the absolute essence because the safety of Americans was at stake and that it was an emergency action, and the time did not permit a congressional debate on the matter. That appears not to be the case here. Could you explain further what the administration's thinking is on why congressional -- not consultation, but advice and consent is not required? I take it that's not part -- the safety of Americans, time of the essence is not part of the argument.

MS. MYERS: Certainly, the safety of Americans has been something that we've been concerned about all along. It's something that we've talked about repeatedly. There are between 3,000 and 3,500 Americans in Haiti. We've been in touch with many of those through our embassy in Port au Prince. We are obviously concerned about them, as well as others down there. But --

Q You're not -- (inaudible) -- danger today than they were a week ago or six months ago, are you?

MS. MYERS: No. What we've said is that, first of all, we believe that the President has authority under the United States Constitution to introduce forces if he sees -- believes it's in the United States' national interest to do so, and that's one of the things that he'll be talking about tomorrow night, exactly what our interests are.

The President also believes that we have consistently sent a clear and determined message to the junta leaders in Haiti, as has the international community -- they must go. It's not the time for divisive debate about that issue; it's time for us to present a very unified face, and to show those leaders that we intend to see them go.

Q Do you think you could turn the American public and Congress around with this one speech?

MS. MYERS: Certainly, the President's going to lay out what our interests are, what our policy is, what we're trying to achieve in Haiti. That's certainly what he will do tomorrow night in that speech. It's something that he's talked about, and I think this is not a decision that will be made based on public opinion; it's one made based on what the President sees as very important U.S. national interests.

Q It's very clear from everything you've said that the President has made a decision to invade Haiti.

MS. MYERS: The President has made a decision that the illegitimate government there must go, that the military leaders must go. He's made it very clear --

Q And that he will take military action.

MS. MYERS: Well, I think, U.N. Security Council Resolution 940 authorizes the removal of the dictators by any means necessary. That was a resolution that, as you know, the United States supported, we've continued to support. We've made it very clear that we would prefer to see a peaceful resolution to this. But the people in Haiti should be very, very, very clear that if they do not leave voluntarily, they will leave involuntarily.

Q Well, isn't it fair, though, that U.S. troops are going in anyway, whether they leave or not, right?

MS. MYERS: Correct. And it is, again, a function -- something that we've talked about, a function of under what circumstances.

Q You're not making the argument in response to Brit's question that there is any immediate time pressure involved in the President having to make a decision to send in the troops. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of the American people in the two latest polls oppose this. Senator Glenn, among others, said today that if a vote in Congress were taken, you would lose. Some say you would lose overwhelmingly. The American Legion wrote a letter to the President today saying, do not invade, there's no reason to. Why are you then saying that there is -- this is not a time for debate -- everybody should close ranks behind the President. It seems like the President perhaps might want to listen to the American people --

MS. MYERS: The President -- for 20 months we've been working on this policy. And as you know, the President's been personally involved on this policy. And as you know, the President's been personally involved in this every step of the way, deeply involved in this every step of the way, deeply involved in this every step of the way.

We've made it very clear what our objectives were, as did the previous administration, that the coup in Haiti must not stand --

Q Why?

MS. MYERS: The democratic government must be restored. Because Haiti's in our hemisphere. The trend in the hemisphere has been one that is moving consistently toward democracy. This kind of regime is destabilizing. The potential of increased migration is important. It's something that we're concerned about. And the human rights abuses there, as was outlined yesterday by Assistant Secretary Shattuck over at the State Department, have been increasing in ways that are just unacceptable. And so the United States -- the President believes the United States interests are at stake here. We have consistently pursued a policy aimed at getting the dictators to leave peacefully. We worked through negotiations. We worked through sanctions. We've made it clear to them for weeks and weeks and weeks that if they did not leave voluntarily, they would be forced to leave involuntarily. They must know that we're serious about this and that time is running out.

Q Well, are you suggesting that there's something wrong or unpatriotic in opposing the President at this point in time?

MS. MYERS: I don't think anyone ever suggested that. But I think the President would like to go forward with the policy. He would like to make it very clear that the dictators have to leave. They can do it voluntarily, as the President has urged consistently, or they can do it involuntarily. But they should make no mistake about our resolve in this instance.

Q Has the President seen the letter from the constitutional law professors? And if so, has he responded? Or, of not, who is responding for him?

MS. MYERS: I don't know where that letter is. I think it's been received here. I don't know that the President has seen it.

Q Can you take that question?

MS. MYERS: Sure.

Q All of his advisors support this?

MS. MYERS: Of course, this is something that -- a policy that's been worked out by the administration. The President's obviously the chief decision-maker for the administration. And the rest of his foreign policy team is in -- there's great consensus on this.

Q Dee Dee, you said that this would be limited in time and purpose. How long before all American troops would be out of Haiti?

MS. MYERS: Well, don't have specific timelines, but basically, as you know, there are two phases to this. One is a multinational force, which will go in there to establish a secure environment and help train and stand up a police force that will be able to keep civic order. Once order has been restored to the country, and that's something -- and the commander on the ground then reports back to the United Nations Security Council. The Security Council will authorize the implementation of Blue Helmets, of U.N. peacekeepers who will then replace the multinational force. The peacekeepers will be about 6,000 total, half or a little bit less than half of those will be Americans. And they are committed to staying until the newly elected president or the reelected president is inaugurated, which is through February of 1996.

Now, it's conceivable that they could leave before that. But the Haitian constitution calls for parliamentary elections by January 15th of next year. So sometime before January 15th, presidential elections in December of '95, and inauguration of a new president in February of 1996. The U.N. Resolution 940 allows for peacekeepers to stay through the inauguration of the new president.

Q How long is the speech going to last tomorrow?

MS. MYERS: The speech will last between eight and 10 minutes. It's still being drafted, but I think no longer than 10 minutes.

Q And a second question, tomorrow the new Secretary General of the OAS takes place -- the ex-president of Colombia, Cesar Gaviria. Is the President going to meet with him soon? Has a meeting been scheduled already?

MS. MYERS: I'm not aware of anything that's been scheduled. I'll take that and see if there's anything on that.

Q You spoke of the President -- and you have spoken of the President's ongoing consultations with Congress. One question is, the Republicans complain that they're not getting briefed by anyone in the administration. And the other is, can you name anyone on Capitol Hill who supports this policy after speaking with administration officials?

MS. MYERS: I think there have been a number of members of the Senate and of the House who have said that they support this policy. I don't have a complete list in front of me, but I believe Senator Dodd has publicly said that the supports the policy; I believe that Congressman Hamilton said this morning; Senator Graham of Florida, obviously; and a number of others, I think, have expressed support for this policy. There have been a number of discussions with members from both sides of the aisle over the course of the last weeks and months. Those discussions will continue.

Q Dee Dee, this morning, Leon Panetta said on The Today Show that the decision to invade ultimately would turn on the President's thinking that the national security is at stake here. He didn't go through concerns about restoring democracy and human rights abuses. He said --

MS. MYERS: Those are national security interests of the United States.

Q exactly how that affects our national security.

MS. MYERS: We have an interest in democracy, particularly in our backyard. Democratically-ruled countries make better trading partners. The habits of democracy are the habits of peace. There's certainly, when governments are democratic, a lot less likelihood that there will be internal abuse of power or that there will be external conflicts between countries. Certainly, we have an interest in seeing human rights abuses stopped. We have an interest in seeing stability in the region because of, among other things, migration questions. I think we certainly have a security interest in not seeing a massive outflow of refugees from a country that is 100 miles or so or 150 miles off of our shore.

So there's a number of national security interests at stake, and that's something that we've talked about consistently and the President will address tomorrow.

Q Dee Dee, most of the conditions you've just talked about also apply to Cuba. And is the difference here that Cuba -- an invasion of Cuba would obviously be a very bloody, protracted event? Does the United States see that it has like a higher moral demand to do this invasion of Haiti because it can be done easily and relatively cost-free?

MS. MYERS: I think policy toward Cuba is governed by the Cuban Democracy Act, which was passed in 1992 by a broad majority of both parties in Congress. There is a clear criteria there for reestablishing relations with Cuba, that they must move irreversibly towards democracy. We've made that clear. I think there is --again, there is legislation in place that governs our policy towards Cuba.

Q My point is, why not invade Cuba, because most of the conditions that you just listed demanding an invasion of Haiti --

MS. MYERS: Again, because the Cuban Democracy Act is the foundation of not just this administration's but several previous administrations' policy toward Cuba, and that is the framework for our policy towards Cuba as well.

Q Dee Dee, in view of the national interest concerns that you're attaching to this situation, and in view of the fact that the public support for action has been weak all along, I don't understand why the President is relying on one speech to try to build public support. Why hasn't he been out periodically around the country and periodically on national telecasts using a process to build public support for this over a period of time. Why does he think he can do this in one night?

MS. MYERS: First of all, I certainly don't mean to suggest the President thinks he's going to turn around every American's opinion in one speech. He has talked about this periodically. And I think, as many of you know, that the President doesn't always have a forum -- doesn't always have the opportunity to go on national television and talk about something as the policy is developing. I think it has to get to a much more important point for people to really -- networks to be willing to carrying it, for example. And I assume, but I don't for sure that most of the networks will carry the speech tomorrow night.

But I would just point out that there is -- Americans for generations have been reluctant for as long as there's been a United States of America have been reluctant to use force. That is, I think, something is good. That's part of our national character. I think it's obviously incumbent on the President to explain what our national interests are, what this policy is trying to achieve. But I think that there is always a debate, and a healthy debate, among the American people about the use of force. And that, I think, is something that we expect to continue. It's not unique to this administration. It's certainly not unique to our policy toward Haiti. I think we've seen it consistently for generations.

Q Dee Dee, can you -- I'd like, if you can, to take another crack at the question I asked yesterday about the distinction between the set of goals that the U.S. and the U.S-led, or at least the force -- peacekeeping force -- with heavy U.S. participation, would be engaged in nation-building. What's the distinction?

MS. MYERS: Well, take a look at Somalia, where the institutions had collapsed -- there was no -- there were no democratic institutions. If you look at Haiti, there is a constitution; there is a democratically-elected president; there's a prime minister and cabinet agencies and cabinet members, all of which were the process of a -- or resulted after a process which the United States and other countries helped to implement and culminated in a democratic election which everyone at the time observed as a basically fair and free election with 90 percent of Haitians turning out at the polls.

That chance at democracy was stolen by a handful of dictators. Those institutions still exist. That constitution still exists. What the United States is going to do -- or the multinational force, I should say -- what the mission of the multinational force is, is to go in and to create a secure environment so that the Haitian people can have a chance for those democratic institutions to work. It will be up to the Haitians to police their own society. One of the main tenets of the Governors Island Accord, for example, was to create -- to separate the police and the military and to create a well-trained and civilian police force separate from the military that would respect democratic institutions and preserve civil order. That is one of the objectives of the multinational force and of the international community.

That's a far cry from building democratic institutions, from creating a constitution, from a number of other things resulted --

Q Are you saying that the U.S. forces in Somalia were involved in the building of democratic institutions and the creating of a constitution?

MS. MYERS: That is what the definition of nationbuilding would be. I think this is a very limited -- the objectives of this multinational force, which is U.S.-led, are limited. Again, it is to create a secure environment; to allow the democratic institutions to conduct their work; to allow elections to go forward; to allow the Haitians to create a police force with the help of the international community that will be able to keep civic order in that country. Once a secure environment's been established, a peacekeeping force, the U.N. peacekeeping force, will come in, again, for a limited period of time.

Q I understand, but just -- what I'm trying to get at is, how does that differ precisely -- I understand the differences between Somalia and Haiti as countries, but how does that differ from the mission of the U.S. forces when they got into that firefight that was so telling, from that mission, how does that differ from what these forces are going to do?

MS. MYERS: Well, as you recall, there was a -- there was no democratically-elected government; there was no government in Somalia.

Q just talking about our forces. I'm talking about our forces. What is the difference between what our forces did in Somalia, apart from the humanitarian mission, and what they were doing at the time --

MS. MYERS: I think that if you -- I'm trying to get to that, Brit. If you recall what happened in Somalia, there was no government and there was a U.N. process, which included the U.S., which was aimed at trying to bring the parties together in order to achieve some kind of political reconciliation. That's not necessary in Haiti. There is no need to attempt reconciliation between warring factions. There is a democratically-elected government. There is a constitution. There are institutions in place, which can carry out elections, which can enforce laws, which can pass laws, which can basically operate a civil society. That did not exist in Somalia. And the U.S. forces will not have any role in nation-building. They will simply create a civil environment, a peaceful -- somewhat peaceful environment or more peaceful environment where the Haitians will have a chance at having a democratically-elected government succeed.

Q President still go to California this weekend?

MS. MYERS: The President will go on Sunday, but he'll be back in Washington on Monday.

Q Monday early or --

Q What time is his arrival?

MS. MYERS: I don't have the exact schedule yet, but he'll fly out Sunday, do a couple of events, including a fundraiser for Kathleen Brown, and come back.

Q That night, or the next day?

MS. MYERS: Probably that night.

Q Sunday night?


Q Sunday night?

MS. MYERS: Yes, it's a quick trip.

Q So he'll take the red eye back.

MS. MYERS: Essentially. It's good news for all of us.

Q So the invasion's on Monday?

MS. MYERS: No, I think Congress is in session on Monday.

Q interests you said are at stake here -- you didn't mention the question of credibility, which was the one that Tony Lake first on his list --. Do you want to add that to your list?

MS. MYERS: Sure. The United States has said all along that this coup cannot stand, that it is our goal to restore the democratically-elected government. Obviously, that's something that we meant when we said; it's something that we're going to follow through on.

Q Would the President consider going forward with an invasion before the House has a chance to vote on it next Monday?

MS. MYERS: Our timing is -- our timing is in no way connected to what happens in Congress.

Q A couple of questions. The first is, does this not represent a change in at least the tentative schedule to the California trip? We expected to spend the night out there.

MS. MYERS: We discussed it. We didn't have any events, as you know, for Monday. But I think Congress will be in session on Monday. It's possible that they'll be discussing issues of great concern to the President, and I think he feels it's important for him to be back.

Q timing wasn't connected?

MS. MYERS: The timing of U.S. action is not connected to action in Congress; that's absolutely true.

Q The other question is that Senator Glenn, outside, who seemed to be a man looking to be persuaded, said that the Haiti action, any action in Haiti, needed to pass what he called the Dover test. I want to know if you can speak very directly to that.

MS. MYERS: I don't know what the Dover test is.

Q What Glenn is saying is, is it worth the lives of Americans to do this, and perhaps more specifically, is it worth perhaps more than the 18 lives that bounced us out of Somalia, to deal with the situation in Haiti?

MS. MYERS: The President has and will lay out what he believes are United States interests in Haiti. The United States has a long tradition of standing up for those interests around the world. Obviously you can't undertake any mission like this without potential risks. But we've always been able to take risks to protect our interests and to protect the interests of democracy. That's been something that this country has stood for, for over 200 years.

Q Dee Dee, when the President opened the U.N. session last year and called for limited peacekeeping missions. He held a press conference afterwards and he was asked about using force in Bosnia. And one of his four or five points was that American troops should not be used until there is a strong sense of support from Congress and presumably the American people. How is Haiti different?

MS. MYERS: The President believes this is in our national interest. This is something that we've worked with the international community on; it's something that, as you know, was passed in the U.N. Resolution; it's something the President feels is important. It's something that we've talked about for 20 months.

Q Why is it important in one case to need congressional and public support, but not in the case of Haiti?

MS. MYERS: This is something we'll discuss with Congress and we'll discuss with the public. But, again, I think the President has laid out what he thinks and will lay out again tomorrow night what he thinks our security interest are, and he's going to pursue those.

Q Dee Dee, why now? Why couldn't he have done this speech two weeks ago or two months from now? What's driving the timing of this speech?

MS. MYERS: I think that's clear. We're approaching the end game, as we've been saying. The President has talked consistently about Haiti. He's worked consistently on Haiti for the past 20 months, and as you know, he's been working intensively on it for the last several months and weeks. But I think there's no secret that we've reached the end game, there's no secret that time is running short. The dictators have very little time to either leave or be forced out, and I think that's why it's an appropriate time for him to address the American people.

Q Dee Dee, you've been very open about the invasion plan. So if you can answer this without endangering any lives -- would you like to tell the leaders in Haiti whether they have a matter of hours or days or weeks? (Laughter.)

MS. MYERS: Time is running short. But it's a nice try --

Q Dee Dee, where is President Aristide now? And is he being kept apprised daily?

MS. MYERS: Yes. There have been a number of conversations with President Aristide recently.

Q With President Clinton or --

MS. MYERS: No, no, the President hasn't talked to him, but other senior administration officials have. He's been kept abreast of the state of play and obviously supports the U.S. international community's objectives there.

Q Is he willing to do that publicly?

MS. MYERS: At some point I think he probably will. But that's up to him.

Q Is he still in Washington --

MS. MYERS: I believe so, yes.

Q Does the President have any intention or plans to take questions from reporters in any forum before the end game is complete?

MS. MYERS: There's nothing on the schedule now. But I can't speak to when the end game might be complete, so --

Q Do you think he'd giving another speech to the American people?

MS. MYERS: Nothing is planned. It depends on what happens.

Q Do you know when he's going to invade?

Q Dee Dee, just to clarify, the President and the charter are leaving after the Brown fundraiser?

MS. MYERS: Right. I haven't seen the exact schedule, but -- we'll probably do a public event on arrival at the airport or something, which will be in the evening. Then there will be a reception and a dinner, and then we'll come back.

Q All of us.

MS. MYERS: It's up to you guys, I think, whether you want to stay or go, but --

Q The press charter --

MS. MYERS: Yes. I mean, if that's what you guys want to do. If you want to stay, we can arrange it.

Q Dee Dee, back to the Cuba question. You suggested the reason we are not considering an invasion of Cuba is because Cuban Democracy Act. Now, is there a difference in seeing congressional authority in relation to Cuba, and yet you're saying it makes no difference what Congress does whether the President will or when he will invade Haiti? What is the difference between those two cases?

MS. MYERS: We have different policies toward the two countries. One is governed by the Cuban Democracy Act, which President Bush supported, then-governor, now President Clinton supported, was passed by an overwhelming majority of both houses of Congress. That is President Clinton's policy. That is the policy he chooses to pursue. It has nothing to do with the use of force, or a question about the use of force. It's totally unrelated to the question about the use of force.

Q But why -- (inaudible) -- and go peacefully in Haiti --

MS. MYERS: That's certainly an option. No one in the U.S. Congress has put one forward. And the President doesn't support it in this case.

Q Did you mean to say that there is nothing at all in the scheduling in which the President would take questions on his plans in Haiti?

MS. MYERS: There is nothing that I know of on the schedule right now, that is correct. Now that could change -- there is just nothing on the schedule right now. We are still having a lot of discussions about what will be on the schedule in coming days. There is nothing scheduled Brit, I mean, that --

Q I'm not talking about -- I didn't say a general news conference, I said to take questions from reporters.

MS. MYERS: I said there's nothing scheduled, but I'm not ruling out the possibility. I can't give you any specific plans, but I'm not saying he won't.

Q What about the wires this afternoon?

MS. MYERS: Oh, I'm sorry, I thought he meant for a broader -- I don't think that was the nature of the question. The President will sit down with three wire reporters -- I don't mean to be coy about that, that wasn't the question. The President will sit down with three wire reporters this afternoon. That was the intention, I'm sorry, I thought you meant would there be a press conference where you would have an opportunity.

Q I said in any forum --

Q What time? What time?

MS. MYERS: I think it's 3:30.

Q On Haiti?

MS. MYERS: on Haiti.

Q Dee Dee, a question on costs. With Cuba being an issue a couple of weeks ago -- the costs of putting them at Guantanamo, the Pentagon had suggested they might need a supplemental of some sort to fund that. It there any idea on how much sending two carriers down to Haiti or the Haiti operation will cost and how you will fund it?

MS. MYERS: I don't have any specifics on that yet.

Q supplemental for that, too?

MS. MYERS: Don't know yet. I mean, we'll have to look at that as time goes on.

Q Is the U.S. willing to look at, or are they trying to find a third country to give safe haven to the military dictators -- to facilitate their departure?

MS. MYERS: We have made it clear to them that they have to go. It's up to them to decide how they're going to go and where they're going to go. Now, if they are going to go, we would be willing to help them figure out the specific logistics of their departure, but we're not in the process of negotiating what they're going to do. That's up to them. They've showed no willingness at this point to leave, but we're certainly encouraging them to do so or face the consequences.

Q Have you talked to other countries about hosting these guys?

MS. MYERS: We've talked to other countries about a wide variety of issues with respect to Haiti.

Q Is there anything on the President's schedule tomorrow -- public schedule?

MS. MYERS: Not until 9:00 p.m. That could change, but as of right now, there is nothing.

Q Dee Dee, any reaction from the President on Mayor Barry -- winning the Democratic --

MS. MYERS: Obviously, the people have spoken. As you know, the President supports Democrats and Democratic nominees --

Q Will he going to campaign for him.

MS. MYERS: No plans to do so.

Q Do you plan to put a transcript of the wire interview?

MS. MYERS: Probably.

Q Do you know when you'll get that out?

MS. MYERS: It depends on timing.

Q But as soon as you get it done, you'll put it out.

MS. MYERS: Yes, it'll be about a 10 or 15-minute interviews, and we'll probably release the transcript.

Q Also, do you have any sense of tomorrow night whether you'll have an advanced text before the 9:00 p.m. speech?

Q It's the old advanced text question.

MS. MYERS: Yes, it sure is. You know, as always, I think we understand the need and the desire to have that. We'll do what we can. It'll depend on how things go.

Q Does the President have any ongoing dialogue regarding Haiti with Congressman Mfume or any members of the Congressional Black Caucus?

MS. MYERS: I don't believe the President has talked to them. I mean, certainly, they are part of the ongoing congressional consultation process.

Q So members of the administration are talking with --

MS. MYERS: Sure. I mean, the members of the administration are talking to a wide variety of members of Congress and have been.

Q One other thing -- the baseball strike. Is the President going to be involved, get involved --

MS. MYERS: No plans at this point.

END 2:18 P.M. EDT