THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts) ______________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release September 2, 1997
PRESS BRIEFING BY JOE LOCKHART
Edgartown Elementary School Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
12:33 P.M. EDT
MR. LOCKHART: Let me just start with a brief statement. In recognition of the President's and the First Lady's personal association with the late Princess Diana and deep respect for her humatarian work, Hillary Rodham Clinton will attend Saturday's funeral service for the Princess of Wales. The First Lady will arrive on Saturday morning and depart after the conclusion of the service at Westminster Abbey.
Let me tell you a little bit about the invitation. The invitation was issued on behalf of the Spencer family and the Royal family and was issued on the basis of special invitation because of her close personal association with the Princess of Wales. This will not be -- she will not be representing the government officially, but she will certainly take the condolences of her husband, the President, and we fully expect the American people will believe that she will be passing along the American public's condolences for them.
As far as I know, the only other American official to be invited at this point is Admiral Crowe. He is being invited because similar invitations were issued to diplomatic representatives of places Princess Diana had visited during her life.
Q Is Chelsea going to accompany her mother?
MR. LOCKHART: No, she has no plans to.
Q If this is not an official trip, who pays for it?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know the answer to that.
Q Can you find out?
Q Just tell us -- someone, another person will lead the American delegation --
MR. LOCKHART: No, because it is not a state funeral there will be no official American delegation. The First Lady will go in response to an invitation from the Spencer family and the Royal family based on her personal relationship.
Q And Gore will not attend, it's just --
Q I'm sorry, I didn't hear the first question. Is she taking any press, and is Chelsea going?
MR. LOCKHART: She is going by herself, and I have no knowledge that she'll be taking any press. You should check with her office.
Q The Admiral is still the incumbent U.S. Ambassador?
MR. LOCKHART: That is correct.
Q Will she take any others who were invited by the Spencer family or the Royal family, any other guests?
MR. LOCKHART: Not that I'm aware of at this point. I mean, we obviously have some days before she is to leave, but at this point I am not aware -- because, again, the only people that I know who have been invited are herself and Admiral Crowe.
Q This was a diplomatic minuet. The United States government told Buckingham Palace who it would like to send and then the invitation was proffered, right?
MR. LOCKHART: Well, obviously there were consultations over the last day between our government and the embassy and the Spencer family and the Royal family, yes.
Q When was the invitation received?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know exactly when, but I think it was -- it was today. I can try to find out exactly the time.
Q What was today?
MR. LOCKHART: The invitation.
Q How would you characterize this close personal association? What -- I mean, they've only met a few times, right?
MR. LOCKHART: Yes, but I think there was certainly a confluence of interests between both the First Lady and the late Princess Diana, particularly if you look at some of the charity work she did on issues like breast cancer, on children's health and AIDS. So I think that that complements -- and the relationship that they had based on the time that they spent together.
Q When will she leave, and will she leave from here and return to the Vineyard, and then will both of the Clintons still leave here on Sunday, the 7th?
MR. LOCKHART: Well, based on the fact that she's arriving Saturday morning, she will leave sometime Friday in the evening. I don't know whether it's from the Vineyard. I don't know whether she'll travel back here or travel directly to Washington.
Q And then will she meet with members of the Royal family, do you know? Do you know what her plans are other than attending the funeral?
MR. LOCKHART: The only plans I know of is she will attend the funeral and then return.
Q On Saturday or --
MR. LOCKHART: Yes.
Q Why was it decided that it was not appropriate for the President to attend?
MR. LOCKHART: Because this is not a state funeral. It is an event where the invitations were based on, as I said before, the special associations with Princess Diana, and there will not be, as far as I know, state delegations from any country. And it was decided that it was more appropriate to issue the invitation to the First Lady.
Q Is the President going to stay here over the weekend?
MR. LOCKHART: I am not aware of any change in his travel plans.
Q The Admiral is going to the funeral, right?
MR. LOCKHART: The Admiral is in London and will be attending, yes.
Q Joe, was the President invited?
MR. LOCKHART: No, the President was not invited.
Q Did the President have any relationship with Diana?
MR. LOCKHART: Yes. I think we've detailed over the last couple of days -- he met her the first time at the D-Day celebrations in, I believe, Portsmith in 1994, and certainly had admired the work that she's done throughout the world over the last decade for humanitarian and charitable causes.
Q You mentioned the -- you referred to the confluence of interests between Mrs. Clinton and the Princess. Do you know if they ever had any shared interests about media treatment or the kind of treatment they both had experienced?
MR. LOCKHART: I don't know.
Q Clinton is not going to leave here -- the President is not leaving here early? He'll still return to Washington on Sunday, as far as you know?
MR. LOCKHART: That is my current understanding.
Q Joe, the Princess visited the First Lady in June. Apparently, they talked about the land mine issue. The administration subsequently has taken up a more active policy on the land mine issue. Can any of that be attributed to this meeting between the First Lady and the Princess?
MR. LOCKHART: Well, I think that Princess Diana was one of many voices that the administration heard on the subject. And as you know, they're currently talking in Oslo on the subject.
Just to Bill's question -- she is traveling as the First Lady and it will be paid for like all her other travel.
Q By the government?
MR. LOCKHART: The distinction, though, is they are not inviting people as official head of state or head of state representative. They're doing it on the basis of personal association.
Q But she will be traveling aboard a U.S. military aircraft, paid for by the U.S. government?
MR. LOCKHART: That is correct, which will be paid for, yes, that is correct.
Q On the land mine question -- I wasn't certain about the answer. What is the First Lady's position on land mines?
MR. LOCKHART: We are currently involved in the discussions going on in Oslo, trying to work out a treaty, and we'll have to see where those discussions go.
Q That doesn't answer her opinion on that.
MR. LOCKHART: I'm not aware of any discrepancy between her position and the administration's position.
Q Do you have any sense of the First Lady's thoughts about the role that she is going to have to play on Saturday, how she feels about having to undertake this task? Have you had a chance to talk to her about --
MR. LOCKHART: I believe that she will seek to convey the American people's condolences on the terrible loss the entire British public is feeling right now.
A little bit more on what he's doing today?
Q Yes, please.
Q Chelsea is not going with her?
MR. LOCKHART: No.
As far as -- he's not planning to leave until at least 4:00 p.m. and I don't have any knowledge of plans for tonight. He's been doing a couple of things this morning. One is they have been working for the past several days on a very large jigsaw puzzle, which is described for me as the size of a kitchen table --
Q How many pieces?
MR. LOCKHART: Not sure. I'll have to go and count them.
Q It's on the box.
MR. LOCKHART: It's on the box? Okay. Let's go look at the box then. But until a couple of days ago, my source on the jigsaw puzzle could not tell what it was, but yesterday it became clear that it is a large map of Martha's Vineyard with all sorts of local attractions.
He's doing a little bit of work on a short essay he's writing for a publication on his personal remembrances having to do with the Central High anniversary that's coming up. He's been working on that on and off for a while, and I expect him to complete that today.
Q Will that be released?
MR. LOCKHART: No. It will be released when it's printed.
Q A publication? What publication?
MR. LOCKHART: It's a publication you're all aware of, and you'll see it when you see it. It's not something coming out any day now, though.
Several people had asked on calls. I'm not aware of any calls the President's made as far as foreign leaders or people outside the U.S. I know he did talk to his Chief of Staff yesterday just to touch base on what was going on this week.
Finally, just one piece of business -- we'll have several later on this afternoon -- personnel announcements. That's sort of the same range I think as we put out Friday -- some ambassadors, some judicial and some agency assistant secretaries. We'll get them as soon as we have them all and get them out as fast as we can. But I think it will be at least a couple of hours before they're ready.
Q Will we have an all-call before you put that out?
MR. LOCKHART: Sure.
Q Did you say anything about Madeleine Albright going to the funeral?
MR. LOCKHART: No, I didn't.
Q Is she going?
MR. LOCKHART: No.
Q Will the President be changing his schedule at all? Is he going to continue on his vacation through Sunday, or is he cutting it short?
MR. LOCKHART: No. To the best of my knowledge, the President will stay here through Sunday and return to Washington sometime on Sunday.
THE PRESS: Thank youu.
END 12:44 P.M. EDT