THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (New York, New York) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release October 23, 1995
PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY
Hyde Park, New York
2:10 P.M. EDT
MR. MCCURRY: More from the color watch. First of all, just to summarize where we are -- the two Presidents met tete-a-tete in the Hyde Park residence for 95 minutes, and they have now proceeded to the working lunch with the two delegations in the dining room of the Roosevelt Presidential Library -- an elegant, green wall-papered room with portraits of Franklin Roosevelt, another portrait of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill during World War II, and a portrait of Captain Warren Delano.
Q Paintings, right?
MR. MCCURRY: Yes, it's all paintings.
MR. MCCURRY: Delano -- I'm sorry. "De Lano" -- I was thinking of California.
Q And you call yourself a Democrat. (Laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: That's the way we Democrats in some parts of the country say Delano. Just like "Vianna." That's for Harold Ickes, that's right. (Laughter.)
The luncheon began with the presentation of gifts by the two Presidents. President Clinton presented to President Yeltsin a leatherbound book in Russian of Franklin Roosevelt's 31 Fireside Chats. A wonderful gift.
Q Is it new or old?
MR. MCCURRY: No, this was a recently published book. It was published in Moscow this year, the joint project of the Roosevelt Library and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, in conjunction with Professor Doug Coulter, who teaches at Moscow State University, who actually, I think, did the translation. And the first addition of this book, 3,000 copies worth, is now for sale in Moscow book stores, right along with the Russian translation of Colin Powell's autobiography.
And the President inscribed it to President Yeltsin, "On the occasion of our meeting at Hyde Park, our eighth as heads of state, with high hopes that we can make permanent the friendship and cooperation that meant so much to our people in World War II."
Q Isn't that an error?
MR. MCCURRY: No.
Q Didn't we determine it was the ninth?
Q Could you read that again, Mike?
MR. MCCURRY: This is the -- because I tried to correct the President and say I think it's the ninth, and he corrected me and he said, no it's our eighth meeting as heads of state. When we met in Vancouver was prior to -- Vancouver, he had not been sworn in yet.
Q Yes, he had. It was April of '93.
MR. MCCURRY: He had been? So that was ninth. (Laughter.) Who knows. I wasn't around at that point. (Laughter.)
Q He hadn't gotten the hang of his presidency by then.
MR. MCCURRY: Where was -- Johnson was in Vancouver. You were in Vancouver. He was President. If you were there he was President.
All right, so he was wrong. He was wrong, I was right.
Q Could you read that again?
MR. MCCURRY: I'll read it again. "On the occasion of our meeting at Hyde Park, our eighth as heads of state, with high hopes that we can make permanent the friendship and cooperation that meant so much to our people in World War II."
President Yeltsin, in return, presented two Moscow Penguin Hockey jerseys -- (laughter) -- to the President of the United States, one in English which read on the front, "Clinton," and on the back the numeral 96.
MR. MCCURRY: And the other in Russian which said on the front, "Yeltsin," and on the back the numeral 96.
Q Can we see them?
MR. MCCURRY: The President also -- President Yeltsin also presented to President Clinton a silver medal struck by the Bank of Russia in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the United Nations.
The two Presidents are now dining on a luncheon of smoked breast in tureen of New York duckling, with fresh figs and winter beet salad; loin of venison with wild mushrooms and glazed shallots; acorn squash gnochi and parsley roots. This is at your request, remember. Fall greens and basque pear salad with goat cheese and walnut dressing. Hudson Valley apple festival -- an array of apple desserts, washed down with a splendid dry Reisling from the New York Finger Lakes region. I don't think I'll promote the individual vineyards, but New York Finger vineyard. And a Russian River Pinot Noir from California.
Q There's no news conference, right?
MR. MCCURRY: The plans at the moment are still as they were prior, to have President Yeltsin meet briefly with his press corps prior to departure, and for us to meet with all of you prior to our departure.
Q Mike, are you able to provide any substance from this morning's bilateral?
MR. MCCURRY: I cannot provide any substance. But I'll try. (Laughter.) No, can I go on -- are you guys rolling tape on this? Can I do that on background? If I do so, I have to do that on background.
Q You can't do background in an international story.
MR. MCCURRY: All right, then I won't do background. No substance.
Q Can we ask you a couple questions briefly?
MR. MCCURRY: Yes, sure.
Q Rubin came out --
MR. MCCURRY: No, I can't do anything on Rubin because I haven't been able to catch up with that. Maybe Mary Ellen can help on that.
Q On the meeting with President -- did he say anything on that?
MR. MCCURRY: David Johnson. Why don't you, David -- you can do a readout on that, right?
Q Mike, is there a backtracking on the one-year timetable for U.S. troops?
MR. MCCURRY: No. Not at all. There was a New York Times story this morning that I didn't quite understand. I think you all heard the President very clearly indicate what his prerogatives as Commander in Chief are. He addressed that issue, and Secretary Perry and Secretary Christopher very ably reflected the views that he shared with all of you at his news conference last week.
Q What does that mean? Is there going to be one year --
MR. MCCURRY: No, he explained very carefully. He said I can -- I will make the commitment of one year to the American people when I am satisfied as Commander in Chief that all the aspects of the mission plan have been addressed to my satisfaction. And that can't be done, of course, until the peace agreement; and the peace agreement depends on the outcome of the talks that begin in Dayton next week.
Q Isn't it common at the end of these meetings to issue some sort of, like, a communique saying --
MR. MCCURRY: No, this is a working meeting, as we've told you repeatedly in the last several days. And that certainly is what the two Presidents are doing. They met with their coats off, in shirtsleeves and worked.
Q That doesn't generate any bottom line?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, it generates whatever bottom line the two Presidents choose to describe at the conclusion of their meeting.
MR. MCCURRY: I think that he might have a couple short statements and take a question or two before we leave.
Q What time will that be, roughly?
MR. MCCURRY: It's scheduled to be in the neighborhood of 3:30 p.m., but given that they are running late, I would imagine it's going to be 4:00 p.m. or 4:30 p.m., more like that.
Q Mike, was there any back-and-forth over the hockey shirts? Did Yeltsin say anything about the intentions he may have for 96?
MR. MCCURRY: No, it was not a political banter, it was a social banter. Sports banter. Two guys talking sports.
All right. That will hold you for the time being. Thank you. Anything else? Prime Minister --
Q We did a pool report on that.
MR. MCCURRY: There is a good -- there was a pool report readout on that. Does anyone -- maybe -- why don't you get together with David if you need some more on that. And it's looking like we don't need to go through that whole thing.
Q Thanks, Mike.
END 2:20 P.M. EDT