THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN BIPARTISAN LEADERSHIP MEETING The Cabinet Room
10:29 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning to all of you, and welcome. In just a moment Secretary Perry and General Shalikashvili will brief you on the status as of this morning of Operation Uphold Democracy and the situation in Haiti as we see it unfolding.
But before they begin, I'd like to touch on just a few points. This is a very different and a much better day than it would have been had we not been able to successfully combine the credible threat of force with diplomacy. I want to thank President Carter, General Powell and Senator Nunn again for their mission to Haiti and for their work in securing an agreement that will permit the peaceful departure of the military leaders.
Our troops have already entered Haiti peacefully. Under the command of Lieutenant General Hugh Shelton, our troops are working with full cooperation with the Haitian military. We must be prepared for the risks that remain to the troops, but we should recognize that we are in a much stronger and safer position to achieve our goals in Haiti today. The de facto leaders are leaving power, and the democratically-elected government will be restored.
I want to emphasize that, in a matter of months, the United States troops will hand over to the United Nations the responsibility for completing this mission and for maintaining basic security.
A much smaller contingent of United States forces would take part in the United Nations mission which will end after the next elections in Haiti in 1995. I was gratified by the action of the House of Representatives yesterday, and I hope the Senate will follow in providing its support today.
It's important, I think, that we also keep this in proper context. We have much other important business to do in the relatively small number of days that remain with the Congress. First, we have to continue to meet the challenges of the global economy. I hope that you will pass GATT. It is the largest world trade agreement in history; it will provide a global tax cut of $740 billion, reducing tariffs worldwide by more than one-third. It means more jobs and growth and higher incomes for ordinary Americans.
GATT was started under President Reagan, continued under President Bush, completed under our administration. It has been a bipartisan effort all the way, and I hope it can be completed in a speedy and bipartisan fashion this year.
I also would urge you, as we reform the global economy, to take these last few days to reform the way we do business here in Washington. That means passing campaign finance reform, lobby reform, making laws that now apply to the private sector apply also to Congress. The American people clearly want these actions, and they deserve them. And, again, I believe they want them on a completely nonpartisan or bipartisan basis.
Lastly, let me say I know that Senator Mitchell, in rapidly accelerating his aging process, had further meetings yesterday on health care reform, and I look forward to hearing a progress report from him on that, and I know that all of you do, too. Now, I'd like to recognize Secretary Perry and General Shalikashvili.
Let me say, General Shalikashvili has to go back to the Pentagon. Secretary Perry does, too. So we can't take any questions here this morning, but he will be in the Briefing Room soon.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END10:33 A.M. EDT