THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Honolulu, Hawaii) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release November 16, 1996
PRESS BRIEFING BY MARY ELLEN GLYNN
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Honolulu, Hawaii
11:18 A.M. HST
MS. GLYNN: This is more like a, kind of a wrap-up. I don't have any news at all. The President is going to play golf at a place called Rowana Hills, which used to --
Q Rwanda Hills? (Laughter.)
MS. GLYNN: No. Rowana, I think with an "o," Rowana, which used to be a Royal Hawaiian golf course. And the place that they're staying is Bellows Base, which has a lot of recreational facilities and it's kind of this huge base. I'm not sure what the acreage is, but it's right at the base of a volcanic mountain and their house is out on the edge there. They didn't close most of the base. There's -- you know, I saw kids playing and things. There's even a little miniature golf course there.
Q Will you allow cameras to shoot where they are, where the house is and that kind of stuff, or no?
Q Is the house a commandant's house or something, or a guest house?
MS. GLYNN: It's a guest house. It's a guest house, and there's a bunch of guest cottages and bungalows all along the base there, right on the beach. And theirs is kind of right out at the point there.
It's not really camera-friendly; it's actually pretty secluded. It's among the palm trees and kind of -- they look like mangos to me, but I'm not sure.
Q Is the travel pool going to get a shot of him teeing off?
MS. GLYNN: Yes, the travel pool will get a shot of him teeing off. I'm not sure -- I mean, I'm not sure what he's doing tonight. They don't have any plans, but the Governor has invited him to a luau. I don't know if they're going to come back to this side of the island.
Q Well, wait, is that the same luau the Governor invited us to?
MS. GLYNN: Same.
Q He's going to horn in on our luau? (Laughter.)
MS. GLYNN: That would be awful of him.
Q I mean, does that mean -- I'm sorry, serious question. If the President shows up at this thing tonight does the travel pool come in to take pictures or coverage or on the record or --
MS. GLYNN: Probably not, no. He's not planning to make remarks.
Q Just decide before you act.
MS. GLYNN: Yes. But we'll put a lid on as soon as we can, as soon as he finishes golfing hopefully, maybe they'll know --
Q Has he started to golf yet? Is he out there?
MS. GLYNN: You know, he would have within the last 10 minutes if he did.
Q Do you know anything about the course? I mean, the courses here are pretty soggy.
MS. GLYNN: Yes, it's very soggy, I'm told. But that's not going to stop him.
Q Who's he golfing with?
MS. GLYNN: I'm going to get a list of people. He's golfing actually with about eight people.
Q Eight people?
MS. GLYNN: Yes.
Q Is he wearing scuba gear while he's golfing? (Laughter.)
Q Has the Governor asked for any money?
MS. GLYNN: Not that I know of, not yet. So I'll keep a watch on that and see.
Q Because he made it clear he was in the paper this morning, said he would talk to him about it.
MS. GLYNN: Yes, he might. He might do that. You know, it has to go through FEMA.
Q Is the Governor one of the eight of the golfing, do you know?
MS. GLYNN: Not that I know of.
Q For those of us doing stories on Zaire, is he staying in touch with the folks back there?
MS. GLYNN: He is staying in touch with people. He actually had a call to Nelson Mandela to discuss the situation this morning. It was pretty short, about 15 minutes.
Q -- why Mandela?
MS. GLYNN: Because Mandela is a regional leader. They'll probably contribute to the force, international force.
Q You don't know anything about the conversation, what --
MS. GLYNN: That's about all I want to go into about it.
Q Who called whom?
MS. GLYNN: The President called Mandela.
Q And has he been on the phone with Perry?
MS. GLYNN: Other than that, he has not been on the phone with any other foreign leaders. He has had contact with his national security team. I think he talked to Tony Lake this morning and Peter Bass, as well. There is -- you know, our planning is still going forward. There's been no change in that. We have even begun to pre-position some equipment, I'm told. And the situation on the ground is pretty fluid, but the assessment team should come back with a recommendation by early to mid-week.
Q When you say "pretty fluid," do you mean still unacceptable for insertion of American troops?
MS. GLYNN: No, there's a large movement of refugees right now back into Rwanda. So the assessment team is looking at that and trying to figure out where we can be most effective.
Q There's one report that the big refugee camp was literally deserted by the end of this exodus.
MS. GLYNN: Right.
Q Are there other camps near this Goma Airport or is this going to change the strategy?
MS. GLYNN: Well, it could. That's exactly what I'm saying by saying it's fluid. There are camps that are all the way down the Great Lake.
Q You say you should have the results by early next week?
MS. GLYNN: We should have an assessment by early to mid-week.
Q Does that mean there's no final go/no-go decision until then?
MS. GLYNN: No final "go," but our planning is going forward as if we were going in.
Q Does the final okay have to come to him or is it up to Perry? I mean, when the assessment team --
MS. GLYNN: That's a good question. I don't know. I would think it would be, you know, Perry would recommend something to him, but I would think he has to give a final okay. That's a technical question, so I'll find out.
Q How would you characterize his communication? I mean, would you say he's in constant communication of people back there or with Perry and Tony Lake?
MS. GLYNN: Yes, he's definitely -- you know, he has been up this morning having calls with Tony, as I say. And he did get a briefing from Peter Bass this morning. And they know how to reach him this afternoon.
Q -- any other business?
MS. GLYNN: No, other than that, no business. He's going to relax.
Q Who's traveling with him?
MS. GLYNN: Let's see, Bruce Lindsey, me, Nancy Hernreich, Peter Bass, Ellen Olcott. (Laughter.)
Q Is Evelyn here with him?
MS. GLYNN: Evelyn is not here. She's joining us tomorrow.
Q Is there a whole support plane coming --
MS. GLYNN: Yes, the support plane is coming in about 2:00 p.m. tomorrow. So all the Far Eastern experts will show up then.
Q And Chelsea stayed behind, right?
MS. GLYNN: Stayed behind.
Q What's Hillary doing while he's golfing?
MS. GLYNN: Relaxing. She had a pretty heavy travel schedule until 10 days ago, as well.
Q Did you say where he was golfing?
MS. GLYNN: A place called Rowana Hills.
Q Can you spell that?
MS. GLYNN: I think it's R-o-w-a-n-a.
Q Is it pretty near the base?
MS. GLYNN: Yes, I'm told it's 10 minutes from the base.
Q Is it a country club?
MS. GLYNN: It is a private club, yes.
Q And the pool will be told who he's playing with?
MS. GLYNN: Yes.
Q Do you know where the pool is holding?
MS. GLYNN: I don't. I don't. Right by there.
Q Is he going to snorkel --
MS. GLYNN: It looks like the beach where -- apparently there was a beach in front of these houses until this week. But a lot of it has been washed away.
MS. GLYNN: Yes, where he's staying.
Q Do you know which house he's staying in on the base? Can you tell us? I mean, does it have a name?
MS. GLYNN: I don't think it has a name. I mean, it's at the very end. As I say, there's a whole series of bungalows and cottages on this base and then his is kind of a house, and there are a couple of houses.
Q Is it somebody's residence?
MS. GLYNN: It is not. It is -- the military uses it for various commanders who come in.
Q Just --
MS. GLYNN: Yes.
Q Is it ocean front?
MS. GLYNN: Yes.
Q If this is a beach, that means Bellows Beach.
MS. GLYNN: Well, it's kind of been washed away. So it's right on this volcanic rock outcropping and there's a beautiful huge island, two of them, right in front of him, with green and -- you know, obviously nothing is built on it.
Q Which side of the island is that on, do you know?
MS. GLYNN: If you go up to this point and go around it, he's on the other side. (Laughter.) It's a long way away. It's about 45 minutes from here.
Q Besides, obviously, reading newspaper reports, he's just aware of the rain situation and mud slides and all that?
MS. GLYNN: Yes, he talked to the Governor last night at the airport, and the Governor briefed him on the situation.
Some of you were asking about visits to mud slides, but I'm not aware of any plans to do so.
Q Will you brief tomorrow?
MS. GLYNN: If you like. You know, I kind of wanted to --
Q This is great. (Laughter.)
MS. GLYNN: Consider this a paper lid, and we'll try and get a travel pool lid as soon as we can. I know that's a pain.
Q Mary Ellen, tell us about the -- what's evident from this morning's paper is that the White House released all sorts of information about the President's meetings with Riady and John Huang. What was that that you put out and can we get copies of it?
MS. GLYNN: I'm not sure. I'm not sure that they put any paper out, per se. If you'd like a comment on it or if you want to confirm the stories, call Mike; he's at the office.
Q He is?
MS. GLYNN: Page him. But he's the one.
Q Why did the White House decide to do it in the manner of just giving an interview to newspapers for Saturday publication, the least-read paper of the week?
MS. GLYNN: That's a great question for my boss. (Laughter.)
Q I'll tell him you said so. (Laughter.)
MS. GLYNN: You know, there are a lot of investigative teams, obviously, working on this.
Q The White House isn't under the impression that only the New York Times, L.A. Times and Washington Post are interested in this story?
MS. GLYNN: That's true. I've heard you guys ask a question or two about it, as well. (Laughter.)
Q Some pretty forceful ones.
Q That's why they're afraid of you.
Q But as a point, obviously the next two days and since Mike is not here for the next four or five days, we just want to be heads-up that we don't have people in Washington for the next four or five days. If something is going to be released I would ask, and I think my colleagues would --
MS. GLYNN: The action is not coming out of here, and specifically not coming out of here this weekend. So Mike McCurry is staying back and that is the person to contact next week. There's a reason that he's back there and I'm here.
Q We've been through it for three years. Whenever the White House travels, the White House Press Office travels. I'm making -- I'm asking, as a request, that if anything is released in Washington it also be released on the road.
MS. GLYNN: I'm advising you to call Mike McCurry on this subject.
Q Are you advising us to cover the White House while the President is away next week?
MS. GLYNN: I'm advising you to talk to Mike about it.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 11:28 A.M. HST