THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Bridgetown, Barbados) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release May 10, 1997
PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY AND JIM STEINBERG
Grand Barbados Hotel Bridgetown, Barbados
5:30 P.M. (L)
MR. MCCURRY: The President is in very many ways delighted with the success of this trip, and now delighted that it's given him an opportunity for a day of relaxation. He asked me to report that -- I asked him if he had any plans to go out, and he said his only travel plans are from the back door to the pool. And that applies, as near as I can tell, to tonight and tomorrow and through tomorrow night.
So we're going to ask again to see if we can't give you sort of a full lid for all day tomorrow, and then you can make arrangements with Mary Ellen and David if you want to just get a little update on anything that we hear from where the President is.
Q So you wouldn't need a pool to hang out then?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, I've asked -- I explained to the President we need about -- given everyone, staff and press and everybody, is scattered over so many hotels, that we would need time to assemble a group if he planned to go anywhere. And he seemed to understand that. But he indicated to me he didn't have any plans to go anywhere.
Q What's the Monday outlook, Mike?
MR. MCCURRY: I have no idea at this point. Just no idea -- don't even want to speculate.
Q Might they stay --
MR. MCCURRY: Don't want to speculate, Peter, I don't know.
As a general proposition, from Mexico City to Barbados, the President has done a great deal on this trip to reengage with the nations of this hemisphere to follow through on the commitments made at the Summit of the Americas and really to set the stage for just under a year of work, looking ahead to Santiago and the Summit of the Americas next year.
We think whether the issue is migration, whether it's fighting drug trafficking, whether it is advancing the economic interests of the people of the United States and the people of this hemisphere, this trip has been about America setting an agenda that looks ahead to the 21st century and finding ways to grow the economies of this region in a way that benefit all of those, so that none get left behind.
And in that respect the President, from his meetings with the Mexican government, the Binational Commission meetings to the summit in Costa Rica to the summit here today, is convinced that this trip has done a great deal to advance our interests in this hemisphere and to really keep us focused and engaged on the importance we attach to this hemisphere and relations in this hemisphere.
So he's delighted with the trip and happy with the outcome of a lot of the discussions today, which were very profound. To tell you more about that now, we've got Jim Steinberg, the Deputy National Security Advisor to the President, who can tell you more about the summit, if you want to; can report to you a little bit about the working lunch, which was a very good discussion that ran overtime.
And then Ambassador Jim Dobbins, who is the Senior Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council is here. He can tell you more about the just concluded bilateral with President Preval. Meanwhile, we'll try to get a little bit on the President's bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Arthur, which is probably concluding right about now. My colleagues, my friends.
MR. STEINBERG: Thank you, sir.
The meeting today I think was a continuation of a series of themes that have gone through the entire trip, which is the President talking about the opportunities that change brings to this region, but also helping the countries of this region understand the dangers of change and how the United States is prepared to work with them, both to take advantage of the opportunities and deal with the dangers.
The focus of the first session was on the economic issues. I think what was interesting about the discussion is that most of these countries accept the fact that as part of the Summit of the Americas process, that we are moving towards a free trade area of the Americas by 2005, but there are unique problems that the smaller economies face in this region. And they talked a lot about how to deal with those problems of adjustment -- not in terms of trying to exempt themselves in the long run, but rather dealing with the transitional problems that they need both in terms of dealing with specific sectors of their economies, like bananas, and also in terms of the kind of adjustment they need -- for example, how do they participate in these negotiations for the free trade area of 2005 and how that United States -- the President talked about how we can provide technical assistance, how we can help them work through these problems to be part of the process.
The second part of the discussions focused on the security issues broadly understood, particularly the problems of crime and drugs and the partnership that we're building here. As you heard the President say, we've now completed maritime cooperation agreements with virtually all the countries in the region, important agreements with Jamaica and Barbados. There are a number of efforts that are underway both bilaterally and regionally to try to deal with these problems, which is a growing concern here. And the President made clear that he understood from our perspective that there is a relationship between the two halves of the discussion, that is to the extent that there is economic opportunity and prosperity here that it's a stronger base from which to deal with the problems of crime and drugs.
I think it was clear from all of the discussion that the President's presence here was something that almost every one of the speakers noted as important to them, as a sense of a real understanding of the nature of their problems. It was a very detailed discussion. In many cases, countries had particular concerns, particular issues that were of concern to them and they were all discussed.
At the lunch, discussion was quite eclectic. The group heard President Preval talk about the situation in Haiti and expressed his thanks to the members of CARICOM and the United States for their support. He invited them to join for the 250th anniversary of Port-au-Prince next year, in 1998. And he also indicated that Haiti would be applying for membership in CARICOM, which is something I think we've all felt would be a positive step. And I believe it would be welcome by the members of CARICOM.
There was a discussion of a particular economic concern that the Dominican Republic and several others had with a provision of the tax code, section 936, which was recently eliminated by Congress. They discussed the problem of the volcanic activity on Montserrat, which was particularly of concern to the government of Montserrat. And they discussed environmental issues. And they did have a discussion of Cuba as you heard foreshadowed at the press conference where they both agreed on the overall perspective of trying to enhance democracy and have a discussion about how that best should be done.
Let me now turn it -- unless you have questions in this, maybe I'll turn it over to brother Dobbins who can talk about the President's meeting with Preval.
Q Just a -- at the lunch, did the President bring up the Fletcher case with Sir James at all?
MR. STEINBERG: The President did have an opportunity to discuss the Fletcher case with the Prime Minister and indicated his concern and his hope that at the highest levels there would be an effort to make sure that full due process was given to the case.
Q Did he give him a satisfying answer?
MR. STEINBERG: I think the President felt that he was heard, and he's certainly hopeful that that will be the case.
Q How did the President leave it on Cuba? Did you just agree to disagree or --
MR. STEINBERG: I think that there's obviously a variety of viewpoints on the question of how to proceed with Cuba. I think again that everybody agrees that they would like to support democracy. But as has generally been the case in discussions in the hemisphere, there are different viewpoints about how best to do that and what the best strategy is. There's no attempt to reach any conclusion. There certainly were quite widely different viewpoints on that.
Q Back on Fletcher, did the President -- was the President specific about what he meant by he wants full due process?
MR. STEINBERG: The President had a private conversation with the Prime Minister on that topic, and they discussed -- the President raised his concerns.
Q He didn't say anything else?
MR. STEINBERG: I'm not going to say --
Q -- what he meant by full due process?
MR. STEINBERG: I think that's a fair characterization of what the President said.
Q Did he speak about the conditions under which the Fletchers are being kept?
MR. STEINBERG: I'm just not going to -- the President, as I said, had a chance to -- it has certainly been raised by others, and as I say, the President raised his concerns about the issue.
Q Raised by others in the administration?
MR. STEINBERG: Yes, at all levels.
Q At all levels, including the highest level?
MR. STEINBERG: I'm saying that the issue of the Fletcher case has been raised at all levels, and in more detail it has been raised by the State Department, by the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs and others.
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: The President greeted Preval, expressed his admiration and support for the efforts Preval is making to move forward with his economic reforms, noted that they had something in common -- both of them had had major achievements on the budget in the last week or so. The President had concluded his negotiations in principle, and Preval had actually secured passage by the Parliament of his budget. And the President said that he could appreciate based on his own experience what a significant achievement this was for Preval.
The President expressed the hope that the Haitian government would be able to move forward with the planned privatizations that they have announced and that there would be one or two specific decisions in this regard over the next several months. He also expressed the hope that the U.S. and Haiti would be able to conclude a maritime agreement of the sort that we've concluded with other countries of the region sometime in the near future.
The President also briefed Preval on several additional steps which we and others in the international community are taking to assist Haiti. He indicated that the U.S. Corps of Engineers had completed a survey of Port-au-Prince Harbor, based upon which we had discussed with the World Bank and secured World Bank agreement to dredge Port-au-Prince Harbor, which would make a significant contribution both to safety and to the commercial use of that harbor.
He indicated that the U.S. Coast Guard would organize and lead interagency teams to do surveys of Haiti's other harbors with a view to both safety and improved commercial use of those harbors, and that, in addition, that the Coast Guard was going to survey two additional possible Haitian Coast Guard bases. There's one small facility in Port-au-Prince and they will do surveys on the possibility of two others.
We've been assisting the Haitian Coast Guard; they and we have worked together and there have been a couple of significant drug seizures as a result, and we want to sustain that cooperation.
The President also told Preval that as a result of our budget negotiations, we had been able to identify $10 million in PL-480 agriculture assistance for Haiti that would be available this year, this fiscal year, and that the revenues which would be generated by this assistance would be available for rural credits in Haiti, something that's very close to Preval's heart.
Preval, for his part, talked at some length about his discussions with the World Bank and other international lenders on some projects that he's personally involved in that have to do with land reclamation and watershed -- preservation of watersheds, and he's quite excited about these and talked at some length to the President about them.
Q Was there any discussion about U.S. troops, when they might come home, or maybe extending their --
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: There was discussion about the international presence. As you may know, President Preval has requested an international presence through the end of November of this year. The President said that we were consulting with other countries with a view to seeing what the international communities response to that might be.
Q So it went no further than that? The President didn't make any commitments?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: No. Regarding international presence, no. He said we were in discussion with other countries; we're not in a position to make commitments on that.
Q When does the current mandate end?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: It ends on July 30th.
Q So there's not a lot of time to begin to discussions if you're seeking an extension of the mandate, is that correct?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: It's been extended about five times. I'm not saying it will be extended on this occasion, but the extensions have occurred previously and this is not an unusual time to be discussing with other countries whether to extend and on what basis. Each time it's been extended, it's also been reduced very significantly. So the issue before the international community is whether to further reduce and extend, or to leave on July 30th.
Q And what is the President's position on it?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: We're sympathetic to Preval's request, we're consulting with other countries.
Q Which ones?
Q How many U.S. troops are there now?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: There are approximately 450 troops. They're not part of this international presence. They don't have a security role. They're mostly engineers, medical personnel doing civic action type projects -- training and construction projects.
Q How much international assistance is being upheld right now, and was there any discussion of when or if it would be release?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: I think that there's a good deal of international assistance which has been pending based on specific steps by the government of Haiti in regard to its economic reforms. The biggest hurdle was passage of the budget, which has just been passed. I can't give you exact amounts, it's in the tens of millions of dollars. The IMF, the World Bank will examine the exact bill the budget passed and all the signs -- either they will find it adequate and release further funding.
Q Does Haiti's unwillingness to service its domestic debt pose a problem to the release of --
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: I think that one of the issues -- it's not that they're unwilling to service it. There was something in the budget that set a limit on debt servicing and, in effect, allowed some small increase, or some increase in their overall debt.
And that's one of the issues that the IMF, the World Bank will have to look at to see whether it meets the conditions that they set. The preliminary soundings that I have heard -- and I don't know that they're conclusive -- are that this is not going to prove a problem. But that was not a definitive judgment by those institutions.
Q Does the administration think the Haitian government is anywhere close to being able to cope once the international security presence leaves? As you know, the argument is that as soon as the international forces leave, the guns that's been hidden away are going to come back out in the streets.
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Well, there's a couple of parts to that question, I guess. The Haitians obviously have been getting a lot closer to this since we've gone from an international force of 22,000 troops to one that's 1,300 troops at the moment. And those troops have, I think, with one exception, which was in error, not been engaged at any time in the last five months.
So, clearly, the Haitian police forces are taking hold. For instance, they conducted elections which were almost entirely peaceful and the security for which was almost entirely provided by the Haitian National Police with very little in the way of international assistance. So the answer is they certainly are becoming more and more ready and at some point will be ready.
On the issue of whether there are huge stockpiles of guns that have been hidden away, personally, my view is that there aren't and never were huge stockpiles of guns. There are undoubtedly guns in Haiti, as there are on every other island in the Caribbean, and I doubt that they're more numerous. In fact, I suspect that they're less numerous than they are most elsewhere.
Q Just to be clear about the conversation about peacekeeping, did the President indicate that the U.S. was sympathetic to the idea of extending the peacekeeping mission or did he just take a pass and say we're consulting with other nations?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: He said he was consulting with other nations in a way which would have led to the assumption that we thought that Preval's request was a reasonable one and that we wanted to talk to others as to how it could be accommodated.
Q How many -- how big is the international force there?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: It's 1,300 at the moment.
Q What's the breakdown roughly on that?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: I think it's 700 Canadians and 600 Pakistanis.
Q And how many -- you said about 350 Americans?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: 450, which are not part of that force.
Q We heard some fairly candid comments at the press conference. Could you give us a sense of whether the private discussions were even more candid? And secondly, it's sort of unusual for a President to meet with leaders of such small nations. Could you give us an example of one or two of the rather small issues that came up?
MR. STEINBERG: I think what you heard at the press conference pretty much reflected the discussion. There was a real sense that everybody felt that what they wanted was some attention on the part of the United States to their issues and concerns. The fact that the President was there -- I think it was very striking to them that the President of the United States was there, was listening. And the President made a point on each of the issues, like 936 and the like, to respond on specifics.
They had a lot of discussion about the scholarship program, for example. One of the leaders brought up the fact that during the Reagan administration a scholarship program had been started, the so-called Reagan Scholarships. They had been ended and the President was now preparing to reinstitute them.
And they really had a back-and-forth. They had a lot -- they had a discussion on aviation safety. They had a discussion on problems with structures of phone rates. And each of these countries have very specific problems that they're trying to deal with. And the President engaged with them on each and every one of those issues. And I think that that was very much sort of what they wanted to hear.
They understood, whether it was the larger ones like bananas, or the smaller ones, not in every case were we able to give them fully the answer they wanted, but the President was listening, was attentive and the fact that there is this continued engagement, including the annual meetings that Secretary Albright is intending to have with her counterpart foreign ministers, I think was a real sign that they were not going to be left behind or ignored in this process.
And it's something we've obviously heard throughout this trip -- a concern that to make sure that this region, which is so important to us, is not somehow neglected. And I think the President feels, and we all feel, that that was a very significant accomplishment of the trip.
Q Ambassador Dobbins, could you just tell us a little bit more about what's anticipated in trying to develop a consensus for extending this mission? Is it consultations with Security Council partners? Is there anything more than that?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: I think it's fairly standard. I mean, it's discussions with possible troop contributors -- there's two there now -- and it's discussions with the Security Council. And this is something which in the way the Security Council does business is just beginning. I mean, these decisions are made by the Security Council usually at the conclusion of a mandate. And so it will continue for a month or two.
Q And the extensions in November is what's being contemplated. Just logistically, does it make sense to extend it four months at a time or would you be looking for a six month --
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: The average extension is six months, but Preval asked for it through November and that's what people are talking about.
Q Could you give us a little more information on the $10 million in agricultural aid? Where is it coming from?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: It's PL-480, there's two types of PL-480. This is the type where you bring the agricultural assistance in, it's sold for certain purposes and then that generates local currency revenue, which is in turn used for other aid projects. And one of the main possible uses is agricultural credits to assist small farmers, capitalize them.
Q How long did they meet?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: I guess 20, 25 minutes.
MR. MCCURRY: A little bit longer, it was almost an hour.
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Was it? Half an hour.
Q Why is Haiti not a member of CARICOM now and what will it take for it to join?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Haiti has historically been rather isolated. And it's beginning, as a result of the installation of democracy and also the way democracy was restored, with the participation of many nations -- including, in particular, all of the CARICOM nations -- to become part of a broader communities of which CARICOM is one.
My understanding is that it has been invited and expressed an intention of becoming a member of CARICOM and that it currently has an observer status. And I honestly don't know what the specific criteria are that it would need to meet to become a full member.
Q One more time on the peace keeping force. Is it the U.S. view that if the force is extended until November that should be the last extension, or can this go on and on like Cyprus and other places --
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Well, it's certainly not going to go on and on like Cyprus. I mean, the force has been dramatically drawn down virtually every time it's been extended. So there's no sense that this is a permanent requirement. The question has just been tapering it off and at what stage.
Q -- mandate -- from the U.N. mandate? Is there any possibility of being --
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: It's hard to speculate. I mean, nothing is impossible, but I think the first inclination would be to go through the U.N. and there's no particular reason not to if that works.
Q Why was the President so reluctant to endorse and to support Preval's idea for extending mandate as a U.N. force?
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: I didn't say he was.
Q Well, I mean, he did not endorse it. It's difficult to think that he would -- that Preval would attain extension without U.S. support.
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: I'm not -- there wasn't a sense of Preval asking for something and not getting it. These have been ongoing consultations. What the President said to Preval was not new. Preval has made this request. He's talked to the Canadians. He's talked to the U.N. He's talked to us. We told him that we were anticipating an ongoing consultations.
So we weren't giving Preval any new information on this. We were simply confirming that the President of United States was aware that there was ongoing consultations. And the President of Haiti acknowledged that and acknowledged that he did have this request.
Q The question still holds, which is, why wouldn't the President embrace this idea of lend some more public support for Preval's campaign for --
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Preval's not campaigning for this. He's made a request. He made it nearly a year ago. He's said that he stands by that request. He thinks it would be useful for the international presence to stay until that period. And we've said, we are consulting with other countries on his request.
MR. STEINBERG: Let me just answer this. I think part of the problem may be we're not being clear enough is that the problem is not the concept of having an extension of the mandate. The problem is you've got to get the specifics.
And so, what we're talking about is -- there's no problem at all with the concept of extending the mandate. But you need to have the support of the Security Council and the troop contributing forces. So what the President is basically saying is, yes, I'm trying to work this problem. And that's what we're discussing here. I don't think -- there was no sense at all of a divergence on this issue. But until we have a concept lined up, the troop contributing countries, and have an idea of what it is, the proposition is still being worked.
Q Do you mean to say that he supports the concept of extension, they're just simply working out the details?
MR. STEINBERG: I think that -- I mean, the problem is a lot of the support comes from making sure that we have the right kinds of people there to do it. And so, I think that he is -- I think the right way to put it is the President is very sympathetic to the request, and now he's working with Preval to get the kind of response that Preval wants and the international community. So, I would say, very sympathetic to the request, wants to work with him and with the Security Council and potential troop contributors to figure out how that would come to life.
MR. MCCURRY: I'm surprised you're more interested in this than the movie you've been watching here. (Laughter.)
Q Mike, not to beat a dead horse, but you say he's sympathetic --
MR. MCCURRY: That's what -- you got what you're going to get on that, I think. (Laughter.)
Okay, any other subjects?
MR. MCCURRY: Immigration.
Q The President said that he wasn't seeking changes in the immigration law, which seemed a rather -- I don't know if it's running counter to what Doris Meissner said the day before yesterday or if they're talking about different things.
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: Let me try to answer that. I think the distinction is between what the Caribbean countries were asking and what the Central American countries were asking. The Central American countries were particularly concerned about this issue with the cap on the suspension of deportation, which I think Doris Meissner went in at some length with you on. And that does -- that would require some changes in the legislation, and the administration has for the last several weeks been in consultations with the Congress about that.
The Caribbean were more concerned about this issue of notification when people who are in our criminal justice system are returned. And we have established -- we are establishing and have committed to establish a system of prior notification. And that does not require legislation that's purely administrative.
MR. MCCURRY: All right, any other subjects?
Q Can you tell us anything about Sir Anthony and Lady Bamford?
MR. MCCURRY: I don't know much about them. I know that they are obviously -- it's a fine, long-standing prominent British family, and they are, I understand -- have a number of vacation homes around the world. We asked our embassy here to identify a place where the Clintons could have some privacy for the balance of the weekend and while they were here for the meetings. And the embassy worked with a local realtor, identified this property and Sir and Lady Bamford graciously offered it.
Q They don't know the Clintons?
MR. MCCURRY: Not to my knowledge, no. They are fairly prominent, and they've -- you can find out a lot about the Bamfords if you want to go do a Lexis search. But they -- to my knowledge, the President -- the Clintons had no connection to them, and the embassy worked it out for us.
Q I'm going to go back to the immigration question. What he said, according to the transcript, is that we pledge not to engage in any mass deportations. That is not required under our law, nor was it contemplated. So he's talking about the mass deportations, not about the criminal aliens who are deported.
MR. MCCURRY: The President's view, as he stated it in Costa Rica even several days ago, is that mass deportations, particularly as they affect the Central American populations that are of concern to those leaders we saw in Costa Rica was not foreseen by the law, nothing in the legislative history and the law that suggests that, and we don't believe it is necessary to fulfill the requirements of the law.
Q Does that mean then that you are going to cease your efforts, the efforts the administration is making to soften the law?
MR. MCCURRY: That question was explored in great detail with Commissioner Meissner and I don't have anything to add to that.
Q But it sounds like it's changing.
MR. MCCURRY: There's no change from -- this is just as we briefed, just as the President said and just as she briefed. We've been over that question a number of times.
Q The President and the Commissioner both said that she was seeking consultations with Congress --
MR. MCCURRY: No change from what we've said. And I think that if you go back over that transcript, the President said in Costa Rica there would be no mass deportations. In fact, I think he said it in Mexico, too.
Q He did, but that's not what I'm talking -- he also said there were consultations with Congress.
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: There are several different issues here. The issue of mass deportation is trying to relieve a concern that somehow we are going to reorient the use of INS resources away, for instance, from processing people who come into our criminal justice system or catching people at the border as they come in, to other types of enforcement which might end up in large-scale roundups and expelling of large numbers of people in a manner different than the process. That wasn't what was contemplated in the law.
What's contemplated in the law is doing more of what you're doing better, and not reorienting resources in different directions. And levels of deportations are largely a function of resources. So the note "mass deportations" is not designed to suggest we're going to change the law or change the way the law was intended to be enforced. It's designed to relieve those kinds of anxieties which are not based on a realistic appreciation of what are likely to be the deportation rates based on the application of INS resources, based on the size of INS budget and based on the priorities that the INS has established, which the President outlined today. That's one issue.
A second issue is the cap, the limit on suspensions. The people from Central America who went to the United States during a period of civil war were allowed to stay in the United States, but were not allowed to become permanent residents and thus were not allowed to become ultimately citizens -- who are now in this status where they've been there a long time, but unlike other people who have been there a long time they haven't been able to become naturalized or become eligible for citizenship.
And the President was talking about that and the cap on suspensions. That's not an issue here in the Caribbean and it wasn't addressed in today's discussions with the Caribbean leaders.
Q Well, let me ask you one more time very simply and it's the last time I'll try. Does this mean that the administration will cease its efforts to try and soften the law as it deals with the cap or --
AMBASSADOR DOBBINS: No, I just said -- I thought I just said that what the President said in Central America related to the cap was that we were in consultations with the Congress to see whether there could be some way of ameliorating the effect of that 4,000 cap on suspensions. Those consultations with Congress have begun and the President has confirmed that he intends to pursue them.
Q Do you know how long the U.S. forces are going to stay in Haiti? Is there any --
MR. MCCURRY: Well, that will await the outcome of some of the consultations that are underway.
Q But they're not there as part of the U.N. forces.
MR. MCCURRY: But their presence there is, obviously, synchronized with the U.N. mission.
Q Were you going to give us a readout on the other bilat that took place this afternoon?
MR. MCCURRY: Did you get anything on Arthur? It's not over yet? Just finishing now? Okay. We'll get a couple of sentences on it. Maybe David could just post two sentences on it. They intended to talk about -- review the outcome of the meeting. There were one or two particular issues relating to airline issues and telecommunications issues that are of specific concern here that might have come up. But other than that, I think it was pretty straightforward. The President wanted to thank him again for the splendid hospitality of the Barbadians as he was here.
Anything else? Last thing.
Q Is Chelsea staying in Washington or flying in to spend Mother's Day with her mom?
MR. MCCURRY: I believe she's staying at home.
Anything else? We'll see you all on Tuesday. There will be no briefing on Monday because I assume you'll still be down here. One thing you should know is that -- some people have asked Mary Ellen -- I think the President's Counsel will file a writ for cert in the 8th Circuit on Monday. We had already indicated that to a number of people and it's been, I think, reported in some of the stories already. But that will go in on Monday. And we will release that brief on Monday. So, somehow or other, we'll get it done here if any of you down here need to have that.
And I also expect -- some people have been asking about the Starr comments today and I think that Lanny Davis was taking some questions on that. So, just so you know that if you need anything more on that, you can talk to him.
Q Are you not going to brief tomorrow?
MR. MCCURRY: I'm not here tomorrow, and I don't --Mary Ellen's plans and David's plans are to be determined, but I don't imagine they plan to do much tomorrow.
Q I'm sorry, this writ is Monday --
MR. MCCURRY: We had already indicated in Chuck Ruff's statement at the time the 8th Circuit opinion was released -- well, when we successfully sought the unsealing of the proceedings, we indicated that we would appeal the 8th Circuit decision to the Supreme Court. And they're going to file that writ for certiori on Monday.
Q Formally file it?
MR. MCCURRY: Yes. It was formally filed and we will put the pleading out publicly, presumably, since it's a public document.
Q The President has indicated that he was going to start using a cane Monday.
MR. MCCURRY: The President on the way back will talk to his doctors about how he will next course of his rehabilitation. There are some different options and the doctors really want to talk through the different options with him, explain what the different risks are, the different things they might do and let the President decide. I think the President expressed what his hope is, but the doctors will talk to him and let him make an informed decision. They were going to talk to him, I think try to take the opportunity to talk to him on the way back on Monday.
Q Mike, are you talking about options for his therapy, cane versus crutches?
MR. MCCURRY: Yes, that kind -- there are different types of -- different ways that you can structure therapy at this point that have different levels of risk for reinjury or for giving the leg more time to heal, and they just want to talk to him about what the different options are and let him decide how he wants to proceed. But I think he's already pretty well stated what his preference is. But I think the docs want to give him a reasonable basis of information to make that decision.
Q Thank you.
MR. MCCURRY: All right. See you Tuesday, then. We'll brief on Tuesday.
END 6:05 P.M. (L)