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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release November 13, 1997
                            PRESS BRIEFING BY 
                               MIKE MCCURRY

The Briefing Room

1:40 P.M. EST

MR. MCCURRY: Let me do two things I forgot to do this morning when I was running through the schedule. First, later this afternoon, the President has invited some of the House Democrats who were with us on the fast track issue to come down, just to commiserate.

Q Did they come in one cab? (Laughter.)

MR. MCCURRY: We're going to be holding that in the phone booth out on Pennsylvania Avenue. (Laughter.) No, it will be down here at about 5:10 p.m. So if you see members of the House starting to arrive, that is the purpose of the meeting, and the President wants to thank them for their support and also talk about how we can continue to find ways to move forward on the fast track issue and consider what steps we take as we look ahead in this session of Congress to develop the authority the President needs for fast track authority.

And I'll give you another program note -- for those of you who are planning your Thanksgiving celebrations, the President and the First Lady and the family plan to be at Camp David. They will leave on Wednesday afternoon, November 26th, and plan to spend the entire weekend up there. So I wanted to let those of you know that now so we don't plan to be around here doing much of anything, unless events in the world require it.

Q Does he plan to stay at Camp David --

MR. MCCURRY: He does.

Q No excursions away from --

MR. MCCURRY: Well, depending on the weather. It would only be weather-related excursions. (Laughter.)

Q He would come back on Sunday?

MR. MCCURRY: That's his plan, yes.

Q Mike, has North Korea agreed to restart preliminary talks and start formal talks?

MR. MCCURRY: We're very encouraged by some of the speculation that the DPRK may be interested in accepting the proposals from the Republic of Korea and the United States to engage in four-way talks. That would be a very positive development in our effort to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula. We, of course, will await any formal word of their acceptance of the invitation to attend and participate in four-way talks, but we are encouraged by some of the speculation that we're hearing.

Q Where's the Bill Lann Lee nomination now as far as the White House is concerned?

MR. MCCURRY: It's right where Senator Specter said it should be; it should be on its way to the floor where it clearly would achieve support from more than half of the United States Senate. But it is being blocked at this moment for reasons that have nothing to do with the qualifications, the experience, the record of the nominee. It has simply to do with the right of the President to select someone that agrees with him on enforcement-of-law-related issues for a major post in the administration. And I think as Senator Specter made clear today, that this is now a Republican leadership issue and it's going to be up to the Majority Leader and others in the leadership to allow this nomination to proceed according to the Constitution. It's Article II, Section II that we're talking about here, and maybe Trent Lott ought to take it out and read it to Senator Hatch and others.

Q So you're not ruling out a recess appointment?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not speculating on that and will not speculate on that.

Q Well, what are your options now, Mike?

MR. MCCURRY: Our options are to see what we can do to try to move this to the floor. And there are ways under Senate rules that we may be able to do that. We're trying to explore that and we have allies and supporters of the nomination on the Hill who are looking into that.

Q So would you say a recess appointment is unlikely?

MR. MCCURRY: Again, I won't speculate on that, for the 15th time.

Q Well, Mike, can I rephrase it? Right now you're going through step one and step two. If step one does not work, will the recess appointment --

MR. MCCURRY: Look, you're not going to get me to budge on it, so let's not waste time, please.

Q Mike, does the United States have standing authority under existing United Nations resolutions to take voluntary --

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to comment on that.

Q -- action in Iraq?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not commenting or speculating on that.

Q The Bush administration interpreted the cease-fire resolution as giving him that authority.

MR. MCCURRY: I'm well aware of that. I'm not a lawyer and I'm not going to interpret the statutory authorities under relevant international law.

Q Has the President been advised about what the interpretation is by the administration?

MR. MCCURRY: He's well aware of what his authorities as Commander in Chief are.

Q Why is the United States asking for a U.N. Security Council meeting this afternoon?

MR. MCCURRY: Because there needs to be consideration by the Council of the utterly outrageous response by the government of Iraq to Security Council Resolution 1137, passed unanimously by the Security Council. They need to take that issue up and be seized with it.

Q Well, what does the United States want?

MR. MCCURRY: We want, first of all, a very clear statement from the Security Council -- most likely, from the President of the Council -- that makes clear the dissatisfaction of the Security Council with the response to the resolution passed unanimously. We'll continue in coming days to be working this issue at the United Nations. I would anticipate the Secretary of State to be engaged with some of her colleagues as she travels to address this issue. And the President himself will be following it, and I don't rule out the President himself might be engaged in some diplomacy related to this issue in the coming days and into next week.

Q With the President traveling on a campaign trip, campaign fundraising trip out West, and the Secretary of State going ahead, it seems there is no air of crisis or anything here in Washington. Is that correct?

MR. MCCURRY: The President is Commander in Chief anywhere in the world that he is, and he's well equipped to fulfill his responsibilities and to handle any situation that develops. But as I just indicated to you, the President and others will be engaged in the careful and patient work of building the correct response to this provocation in coming days, and we will, of course, be very actively monitoring in the region responses by the government of Iraq.

Q Mike, the United Nations asks Iraq to immediately comply and instead they do just the opposite. Iraq says it will immediately kick out the Americans inspectors and it happens today, or tomorrow at the latest. Why does "immediate" for Iraq seem to mean a lot more immediate than it does for the United Nations?

MR. MCCURRY: Because the United Nations assembles and works its will through the patient diplomacy that's done. The United Nations is not a dictatorship, David, and Iraq is, and that makes a big difference. I would tell you, though, that remember what Saddam Hussein's -- what his goals and objectives have been in recent weeks. He is looking for a way to escape the sanctions placed upon him as a result of the end of the Persian Gulf War. He has now basically thrown away the key that gets him out of that sanctions box, and the United Nations has just ordered a strengthening of sanctions and has indicated that further measures are in the offing.

We are going to be working very carefully with our allies and others to fashion an appropriate response in the very determined way that the President suggested today he would be pursuing this matter.

Q Mike, yesterday's resolution was such a clear statement of the U.N.'s unwillingness to accept Saddam Hussein's actions. Why do we need another one?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not saying that we need anything that does other than express the dissatisfaction of the response that was given by the government to this resolution. And then, as we consider additional measures, that statement becomes significant as we hold together the support of the world community in facing this provocation by Saddam.

Q Is there any discussion of a resolution that would declare this a material breach -- using that term of art?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to get into the wording of any statement by the Security Council or the President of the Security Council's response.

Q Does the President regard this as a material breach?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to answer that question.

Q The U.N. inspection team has asked that the U.S. experts be allowed to return tomorrow with the U.N. team. Do you know if there has been a response from --

MR. MCCURRY: I'm sorry, say again?

Q The U.N. team has asked that the U.S. experts be allowed to delay their departure until the U.N. team leaves tomorrow.

MR. MCCURRY: Chairman Butler's request was that for practical purposes, that the U.S. members of that team be allowed to depart with all of the members of the team because he takes the view that -- the Special Commission's inspections team should not be divided according to nationality, and obviously we support that --

Q Has there been a response?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not aware that there has been a response.

Q If it were rejected, if that was --

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not aware that there has been any response. We're certainly expecting that request to be honored.

Q The flip side of that is that the Iraqis are demanding the Americans go out by road to Jordan. Now, that is a long, treacherous trip in the middle of the night.

MR. MCCURRY: I'm well aware of that.

Q Are the Iraqis putting the Americans in harm's way?

MR. MCCURRY: They had better not be.

Q Mike, has the President had any conversations with other heads of state in the last two days about the situation?

MR. MCCURRY: He has exchanged some messages, as I indicated earlier today, and I wouldn't rule out that he would be in contact with at least one of his counterparts in the very near future.

Q Would that be King Hussein?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to --

Q When is he meeting with King Hussein?

MR. MCCURRY: The King -- that's not clear at this point.

Q Mike, on the same subject, how crucial is Arab support to this whole diplomatic effort at this point? As you know, probably, you've got the entire Arab League now, which of course sent troops in in 1990, saying that it totally rejects the idea of any military action, even with the expulsion of these armed inspectors.

MR. MCCURRY: I'm aware of their views, but I think the view of the international community has been expressed by the U.N. Security Council.

Q Mike, I'm sorry -- when you look back at history and what happened in 1990, how crucial is it now for the President to have Arab support, which apparently is not materializing the way it did in 1990?

MR. MCCURRY: It's desirable, but it's certainly not a prerequisite to pursue actions necessary to defend our interests and the interests of the world community.

Q Mike, Mr. Butler said about an hour and a half ago that he had gone back to the Iraqis with -- instead of Americans leaving by road from Jordan, he would take his entire team out by plane tomorrow and that he had conveyed that to them. Have the Americans --

MR. MCCURRY: That was just asked and answered, I think. I indicated I'm not aware that there's been a response.

Q Mike, you say that Saddam has thrown away the key, but in effect what's happened is he has very effectively thrown off one of the major sanctions and exposed divisions in the Security Council on how to proceed.

MR. MCCURRY: I don't understand the question. What do you mean, he's --

Q UNSCOM is gone. They're leaving.

MR. MCCURRY: They're not a sanction. That's a measure by which we monitor the requirements that he has under relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions. Clearly, we are losing some of the capacity to monitor his activity, but that has consequences, as the President and others have indicated.

Q The point of the question, though, Mike, is, isn't Saddam getting precisely what he bargained for?

MR. MCCURRY: No, the point I just made is what he bargained for and what he thought he could calculate by this action was to escape some of the sanctions currently on him. He's now facing the tightest sanctions that exist on any member state of the United Nations anywhere in the world. And they've just been significantly tightened.

Q This is a follow-up -- yes, I mean, he also wanted to get rid of the U.N. inspectors, and he's gotten that so far.

MR. MCCURRY: That's not entirely clear that he's gotten rid of inspections that require him to keep programs of weapons of mass destruction under the tightly circumscribed limits that are defined in the resolutions. That's not at all clear.

Q Why do you say that? There are no inspections going on -- why isn't it --

MR. MCCURRY: One would not assume that the current situation lasts forever, as Chairman Butler indicated earlier.

Q Mike, when you say Saddam Hussein has thrown away the key to lifting sanctions, like so much of the dialogue on this subject, it's personalized. Does this mean that if there were a change in Iraqi government or leadership, that there might be a chance for the sanctions to be lifted, or is this a permanent -- sanctions on Iraq forever and ever, amen?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not suggesting anything about the leadership of that regime, other than to suggest that they need to be in full compliance with the U.N. resolutions, and the only way that they can end the sanctions regime they face is to make clear their peaceful intentions and make clear their willingness to fully subscribe to those resolutions that they are now wantonly violating.

Q Mike, in view of the increasing tensions in the region, does the President think it might be important to meet or at least speak with Netanyahu while he's here?

MR. MCCURRY: We have very close consultations with the government of Israel on this issue.

Q What kind of message does it send when Netanyahu is here --

MR. MCCURRY: We've already made clear we intend to see him soon.

Q Can you give us any guidance at all about what kinds of options there are short of military action, any sense at all on how you can tighten the noose on Saddam?

MR. MCCURRY: Absolutely not.

Q You said that Arab support was desirable but not a prerequisite. What about Turkish or Saudi support?

MR. MCCURRY: It's desirable to have the support of everyone in the international community as we fulfill the mandates placed on Iraq by the United Nations.

Q Butler says that they've given the window to the Iraqis to fly another U2 mission.

MR. MCCURRY: I think that he had made clear in the past that those inspections would continue.

Q The question is that the Iraqis presumably are still -- are the Iraqis, as far as you know, still threatening that U2 flight if it occurs again?

MR. MCCURRY: I have not seen any recent statements by the government of Iraq, but I think that caution would dictate that those missions, when they fly, work with the assumptions that they might be at that risk.

Q Is the President still planning to meet with King Hussein, it's just that the timing is uncertain? Or is the meeting --

MR. MCCURRY: That's correct. He definitely plans to see him and see him soon and we just are not -- we're being a little elliptic about the timing.

Q Mike, the EU just announced they're going to send all their ambassadors back to Iran. Do you have any reaction to that?

MR. MCCURRY: That was not unanticipated.

Q Mike, the goal of the diplomatic effort that the President and Albright are undertaking is to reach an agreement on the next type of action to take, or are you just developing some sort of a consensus within before you adopt any sort of course of action?

MR. MCCURRY: I think it would be both of those.

Q Do you have any information on the skeleton crew that's staying behind?

MR. MCCURRY: No. You should ask Chairman Butler, although I think in his responses to the questions, he was pretty clear on what they would do.

Q Mike, let me ask you a couple of questions going back to the Lee nomination. Is it a fair assumption that the President is not going to allow that position to be filled except by Bill Lann Lee or by somebody who is going to also support the President's position of affirmative action.

MR. MCCURRY: It's not going to be filled by someone who subscribes to the fairly far-right thinking of those in the Senate that want to interpret the Constitution according to their whim, not according to the rulings of the Supreme Court. And the President believes in Bill Lann Lee we have someone who fully understands the ruling by the Court and will effectively administer the law on the books. If this is an issue of changing the law on the books, Congress should address itself to that question and not stand in the way of a highly qualified nominee.

Q So what you're saying is, if the Hatch position prevails in the Senate, that position -- the civil rights job in Justice will remain unfilled for the rest of the President's term?

MR. MCCURRY: Not necessarily.

Q How are you going to get around --

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going to speculate at this point.

Q One could make the case --

MR. MCCURRY: We still want to get the guy confirmed, and we think there are ways --

Q I realize that, but I'm asking you a policy question.

MR. MCCURRY: I'm giving you a policy answer. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott ought to go and explain to Chairman Hatch and others what the Constitution requires. The President has the power, under Article II, to appoint officials of this nature and the Senate can advise and consent. But they can't dictate how the job is filled.

Q But Lott's already made clear he's not going to cross Hatch.

MR. MCCURRY: Well, he's suffering an embarrassment now because of this issue, and maybe that will lead him to rethink.

Q Mike, does President Clinton view the way President Bush kind of rallied allied countries together against Saddam Hussein in the past as any sort of a model for what he needs to do right now?

MR. MCCURRY: It's a model of how you respond to an armed invasion of a sovereign nation. We're not talking about that kind of a situation here. We're talking about deliberate provocations in defiance of the United Nations, which is a different matter. But I think patient diplomacy, building a coalition, trying to hold that coalition together is useful and instructive. But I would make clear once again that even as George Bush said, if it was necessary to go alone, he would have gone alone. And that's true of the United States when it defends its interest and true of this Commander in Chief.

Q Mike, you could make the case that the Arab nations are in as much jeopardy from Iraq -- biological --

MR. MCCURRY: You could make the case that they are in greater jeopardy, because of biological weapons programs, chemical weapons programs, because of the desire by the government of Iraq to develop a long-range missile. In fact, I would make the argument that Paris may be at risk if the government of Iraq develops a long-range missile with the capacity to travel 3,000 kilometers, and that's what this is about.

Q Is that a message to the French government? (Laughter.)

MR. MCCURRY: I carefully chose my destination there.

Q Can I just follow up on that? Are we making that kind of argument to Arab governments? Have we attempted to persuade them that that is, indeed, the case?

MR. MCCURRY: Yes, and yes.

Q Do you have any more detail on the phone call you mentioned this morning from the Prime Minister of Pakistan?

MR. MCCURRY: We don't have any more detail, other than it was a very greatly appreciated call on behalf of the people of Pakistan expressing condolences from their prime minister for the deaths of four American citizens, and the President believed it was gracious for the Prime Minister to call.

Q But he didn't really tell the President what they've learned so far from the investigation?

MR. MCCURRY: I'd just decline to get into that.

Q Mike, a follow to Jim's question. Is the President personally making phone calls to world leaders, trying to rally -- to make these arguments?

MR. MCCURRY: I think I've already answered that question.

Q Mike, doesn't your answer to Jim's question sort of cut the other way, too? I mean, if the Arabs and the Parisians are most in jeopardy here, why should we be exercised about this if they're not?

MR. MCCURRY: Because of our longstanding interest in the region and that we fought a war for among others. We have no an interest in thwarting this particular regime and this particular dictator from acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Chemical weapons, biological weapons, the capacity to deliver them long distances -- that's manifestly against the interests of the American people, obviously.

Q How long did the President meet with his national security advisers today on Iraq? Can you tell us anything about the meeting? And does he have any more meetings, Iraq-related, today?

MR. MCCURRY: He met an hour and 40 minutes, save the 10-minute interruption so he could take the Prime Minister's call, so about an hour and a half total. It was a very good and thorough exploration of the issues, and the President's response was, as he indicated to you, to pursue this in a determined way.

Q And then are there any more meetings planned today involving the President?

MR. MCCURRY: There will be further meetings at the White House, both today, tomorrow, and in coming days and into next week, yes.

Q Involving the President today?

MR. MCCURRY: Some may, some may not.

Q Is it fair to say that the President and the Secretary of State are not trying to build support for any particular option for dealing with Saddam, but are trying to build a case that the inspections should not be delayed -- postponed indefinitely because of the danger?

MR. MCCURRY: No to the first half of the question, yes to the second half of the question.

Q On the Lee nomination and the race initiatives, A, is there anything to announce about the -- scheduled for the December 3rd meeting? And, B, earlier this week the White House was asked about the question of preaching to the choir, the choir perhaps being the civil rights community, which is rallying big time around the Lee nomination here in Washington and around the country. Does this stalemate over the Lee nomination suggest in any way the President's ability to preach beyond the choir -- or inability to preach beyond the choir?

MR. MCCURRY: No, it doesn't say anything about his ability. I think the President reminds Americans often that we are one America, and the message that he delivers to whatever community is appropriate to be delivered to all communities, and we are in the process of delivering that message to all communities.

Q Is it the White House's understanding that the Hormel confirmation is being held up because he's gay? And what's the view of the delay on that?

MR. MCCURRY: You know, it's hard to imagine there is any other reason, and there are certainly statements on behalf of one senator that makes it clear that that's the reason why the nomination is being held up. And as you know, the President recently endorsed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and it looks like we may need to apply it in the United States Senate. And I think that it is regrettable that senators, apparently for no other reason than the sexual orientation of this nominee, have indicated opposition.

Q Then why not show the Senate you mean business and make some announcement or appoint him as a recess appointment?

MR. MCCURRY: Because we're not in a recess, among other matters.

Q Well, Mike, if that's the case, granted you had Weld had problems for whatever reason, but you have Satcher who is having problems now, also you have Lee, and then you had Alexis Herman just recently.

MR. MCCURRY: Right.

Q Do you consider some of that could be racist as well?

MR. MCCURRY: It's just utterly repugnant to me to imagine that motivations of race come into play here. At the same time, I think as the New York Times pointed out today, you've got two candidates for high appointment at the Justice Department who have taken similar positions with respect to the interpretation of the courts' views in Adarand, and then in one case it's satisfactory to the Senate, in the other case it's not. And I think that that is troubling.

Q Given that Congress is ready to leave, as a matter of principle, could this be the season of recess appointments? (Laughter.)

MR. MCCURRY: On the 16th time, you try my patience.

Q Mike, back on Iraq, will the President go to the public at some point and explain the stakes and explain what he's doing and why?

MR. MCCURRY: As he did today, yes.

Q Mike, the President this morning said that the UNSCOM mission was important to the safety of the world. Wouldn't the more prudent course be to allow UNSCOM to continue and negotiate the participation of the Americans later?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, that's -- it's kind of a nonsensical question. They're not doing their work because the chairman made clear that they are not going to divide themselves by nationality. There are good reasons not to do that. And they can't carry out the inspections if they're not going to divide by nationality, given the requirement of the government of Iraq. Therefore, the inspections are not going to go forward. Under those circumstances, the chairman has made a reasonable decision to bring the inspectors out and there may be very good reasons to do that.

Q Let me ask you a technical question with regard to the Lee nomination. Senator Hatch said this morning that there is a Senate rule that if a nomination sent by the President to the Senate is not acted upon, when there is a recess or adjournment of more than 30 days, it automatically goes back to the White House. If he's right in his interpretation of Senate rules and the nomination automatically comes back to the White House, would it be the President's intention --

MR. MCCURRY: We're going to need a parliamentarian at the end of this answer. I don't understand the question, so I can't give you an answer.

Q Let me clarify the question.

MR. MCCURRY: Quickly.

Q Hatch's point is that, under Senate rules, automatically you may receive back the Lee nomination here at the White House, because it won't be acted upon during a recess lasting more than 30 days. If that's the case, what would the President's intention be?

MR. MCCURRY: You need a parliamentarian to answer that question, not a press secretary.

Q You said at the beginning that the President is going to engage in diplomacy in the coming days and into next week. How does the United States take the word "immediate" in a resolution? What does that mean?

MR. MCCURRY: It means exactly what it says.

Q Well, no, Mike, what does it mean?

MR. MCCURRY: Look, we had a response. At this point it's pretty obviously a moot point, because we got an immediate response from the government of Iraq and it was clearly not the one that we wanted and clearly an unacceptable one.

Q Mike, is there not concern that if the United Nations inspection team is removed, that Iraq will move ahead more expeditiously on doing something we don't want them to do in terms of weapons development?

MR. MCCURRY: Obviously.

Q Is the President angry that ATF officials have approved 150,000 import permits for assault weapons at a time when that is in contravention to the President's policy?

MR. MCCURRY: The President is very concerned about the ability of some foreign weapons manufacturers to customize assault weapons and put them under the sporting requirements that allow some sport weapons to be imported if they meet certain criteria -- although I fail to see how you use Uzis to go out deer hunting.

But in any event, we have been looking at a way to address this. I expect the President to take action shortly to deal with the efforts of some foreign weapons manufacturers to slip under that ban. And in the interim, we think it's wise not to process some of these licenses that are out there. We don't fault those that are correctly and literally interpreting the law, but there are some license applications that I believe have been under review by ATF. And, if I understand correctly, they are now being frozen. But apparently some weapons were admitted and I think that was a source of concern here at the White House, to the staff and to the President.

Q Did this policy concern result in a physical altercation here at the White House?

MR. MCCURRY: No, it did not. I saw that report and I checked with people who were present and they indicate no such event occurred.

Q What's been the hangup there? About a month ago there were indications that ATF was looking for a way under the gun act to ban some of these weapons and --

MR. MCCURRY: They want act, James, in a way that legally does not jeopardize any of our other abilities to protect the American people from those types of assault weapons. So they're trying to make sure that they are on very firm ground legally, should any projected directive by the President be challenged in court. And they've been working on that issue, but I expect that it's going to be resolved shortly.

Q Mike, any decision on Defense authorization?

MR. MCCURRY: No, still under study.

Q Is thought being given to possibly taking care of the problem of privatization of these two Air Force logistic bases outside the bills, so that the President could sign a bill and still take care of the privatization issue separately?

MR. MCCURRY: That is an issue of concern, but it is still under study. That issue itself is still under study.

Q Mike, Congress is about to leave, and I'm wondering how you would assess this -- the fifth year here, which is supposed to be this magic year for getting things done, and whether your kind of strike out in the last inning on fast track overshadows some of the President's other --

MR. MCCURRY: Not at all. Tomorrow in fact I'm going to have some combination of people here at the White House walk through what a significant year it's been. You heard the President earlier today talk about in the area of education, which was arguably his number one area of priority this year, all the significant advances of the year. I think he made a good case this morning on that one point.

But we're going to trace through a lot of the things we achieved today, and as I said the other day, take out a dog-eared copy of your State of the Union from January, and look at what the President said he would do, and then measure it against a lot of the things that we did today to make progress. In a year in which we balanced the budget and finally gave the American people something they have asked for for decades, there is no way you can consider it other than a banner year.

But we're going to give you a greater volume of detail tomorrow on the reasons why we consider it a wonderful year.

Q Can I go back to what the U.S. wants to accomplish out of the U.N. Security Council?

MR. MCCURRY: No, David, because I'm -- look, you guys, I'm not -- you're trying a lot of different ways, and we've played the game enough. I'm not going to talk about options and courses of action.

Q No, I'm not asking that. What I'm saying is, your answer was that what the U.S. wants is a very clear statement that we're dissatisfied with the response.

MR. MCCURRY: Right.

Q I think the reaction of many of the American people would be, no kidding, we're dissatisfied with the response.

MR. MCCURRY: Right.

Q Why do you need to go to the Security Council to say to Iraq, we're dissatisfied?

MR. MCCURRY: Because the Security Council properly ought to respond to the action by the government of Iraq in defiance of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1137. There are ample reasons under international law of why we want that to happen.

Q Is he looking at a news conference anytime soon? There hasn't been one in a while.

MR. MCCURRY: We've been looking at it, but we're having scheduling problems on it. I'd like to do one soon, but we have not been able to get one on the schedule.

Q Does the White House still oppose a plan by the National Archives that would result in the destruction of some of the Nixon tapes and send all of them out to California?

MR. MCCURRY: That's a new one to me. I don't know anything about that issue.

Q There was a White House Counsel named Quinn who opposed this.

MR. MCCURRY: I'm sure that we would oppose destruction of archival materials, but I'd have to look into that issue.

Q Mike, I asked McCaffrey this, but what's the White House view of Assistant Army Secretary Lister's comments that the Marine Corps is extremist and dangerous?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not familiar with those comments.

Q Front page of the --

Q She apologized today.

MR. MCCURRY: I don't always get to read that. (Laughter.) Okay, what else?

Q Mike, just for planning, can you tell us, will the President have anything else to say today publicly on the subject of Iraq -- today or tonight?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not aware that we are going to have another opportunity to address this today. As you know, Ambassador Richardson has called for a Security Council meeting. I suspect that much of the action shifts to New York now. But we will -- this is a developing situation, and if that changes we'll let you know.

Thank you.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 2:13 P.M. EST