THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Berlin, Germany) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release May 13, 1998
PRESS BRIEFING BY PRESS SECRETARY MIKE MCCURRY
Radisson SAS Hotel Berlin, Germany
9:02 P.M. (L)
MR. MCCURRY: Anything else, other areas, subjects?
Q Do you know about this briefing he just mentioned? Where was it, is it coming?
MR. MCCURRY: They've got economic data. The piece of paper he read we will make available, so if you didn't get those numbers -- there's not much beyond what Sandy went through that was there. At the State Department's daily briefing today I think they did some of the economic consequences. So you can check with your colleagues there.
Q This is a technical question. If the countries gathered in Birmingham all agree, do they have the power to block all World Bank loans? Are there enough votes here to block all World Bank loans to India?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, you'd have -- I'm not entirely familiar with the voting structure within the World Bank, but you've got around that table a vast majority of the voting blocs on credit extension and most of the facilities that IMF makes available and World Bank makes available.
Q Mike, Senator Helms apparently said he's going to hold up ratification of the Test Ban Treaty now. What kind of impact will that have --
MR. MCCURRY: I believe the Chairman had more or less indicated that prior to these tests. I'm not sure that represents a change in his view.
Q With the President speaking favorably about Kohl today in his speech and also at the press conference, any move to prop up support for him here?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, I think he clearly spoke favorably about the contribution all Germans have made to promoting the vision of a unified Europe. And the President in a passage in the speech that he personally wrote wanted to pay tribute to the extraordinary things the people of Germany have done since 1989 to reach out and to bring about the process both of reunification and integration within Europe. And he properly credited the Chancellor and the Chancellor's vision as part of that effort.
We leave the political decisions that the people of Germany have to make to the people of Germany. But it's not a surprise that the President would pay tribute to a leader that he has grown to respect a great deal and someone that he's grown personally fond of as well. As said, he obviously had a very successful initial meeting with the opposition leader today, too, and that would remind all that the strength of German-American relations is based on the policies and ideas that unite us, not necessarily on personalities.
Q To follow up on that, wasn't his endorsement a rather ringing one, coming at a time when Kohl is facing election next September, and the President said that he expected -- he'd be proud to march into the next millennium with him, when in fact that would mean Kohl would be reelected?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, that passage of the speech was clear -- he was talking about marching into the next millennium with the people of Germany who he was crediting for those things that he identified in the speech. I think that you'll see that that's very clear, but obviously, he does pay tribute to the vision of the Chancellor, the Chancellor's leadership in accomplishing many of those things that he described. But I'll say again that the political decisions the people of Germany have to make are made by them.
Q France has said they're opposed to sanctions, and I think Russia. That's not a very good start --
MR. MCCURRY: I think that other -- everyone here is well aware of the view that other governments take on the use of economic policy as a tool of diplomacy. Very few, hardly any other countries in this world view economics as the useful tool for diplomacy that the United States sees. It may reflect our own status as an economic superpower, but it also reflects maybe some different ways in which people think about market flows and their own positions as market capitalist democracies.
Prime Minister Blair has indicated this will be a subject that the leaders will take up and address when they meet in Birmingham, and we'll see how ideas have developed as we look ahead to the coming discussion in a few days.
Q How do you pursue that given the reluctance --
MR. MCCURRY: They will meet and discuss this issue, as the Prime Minister indicated.
Q What's the latest assessment of the situation in Indonesia? Do you expect it to come up at the G-8 in the context of the Asian financial crisis?
MR. MCCURRY: We are very deeply concerned by the violence that's occurred there and by the deaths. Secretary Albright yesterday indicated that much more needs to be done to put the government of Indonesia in touch with the legitimate aspirations that many are voicing now through the dissent that they are raising of the government policies, suggesting that there is a need for political reform. And how that political reform should occur will be left to the people of Indonesia, but it's important that the government recognize the strong sentiment that exists for that type of dialogue.
Q If the U.S. urges economic sanctions against India and most of the other G-8 nations refuse, does that send a mixed message to India and undercut the effect of the U.S. sanctions?
MR. MCCURRY: Depends on what other ways in which those other governments choose to express the displeasure that they have all, to my knowledge, expressed in the wake of these tests. They have all universally, as far as I know, condemned the tests, and no doubt, each of those governments will have different ways of expressing their displeasure.
Q So does that mean that Clinton will tell them that if they don't want economic sanctions, they should take some other kinds of steps?
MR. MCCURRY: That means that many of them may move, and maybe already some -- obviously, Japan is one -- are already moving to do exactly that. And I think that there will be some discussion in Birmingham about how to coordinate the work that all the governments around the table would want to do to remind India of its obligations and to express the displeasure that has been voiced by each of those nations.
Q Is the situation with the media at this point such that we learn about these nuclear tests at roughly the same time the administration learns about them -- do you consider that the President gets a good jump on that information or is such now that --
MR. MCCURRY: Well, it depends. It depends. We've had in the period of time that Bill Clinton has been President, there have been tests by a number of governments and there have been different -- a different quantity and quality of information available in each and every instance, as far as I recall.
Q In these instances -- everybody is getting information around the same time as the President --
MR. MCCURRY: Well, whatever information that you had access to and whatever information we had access to is something that I imagine that Admiral Jeremiah and the President's foreign intelligence advisory board are going to be looking at carefully in the next week or so.
Q Back to the speech and the endorsement of Kohl. How much does it say about the President's preferences for the elections in September? And if there was any ambiguity in the speech, how far was it intended to be?
MR. MCCURRY: I think I pretty much answered that question already. I made it clear that the President believes that political decisions about the future leadership of Germany have to be made by the German people. The President expressed on behalf of the American people what we think of the contributions the German people have made to this unique moment in the history of Europe, a history that we share because of our close ties and our alliance. And he in no way, shape or form directly intervened in the decision, the electoral decision that the people of Germany have to make in September.
Q On Indonesia, does the administration think the Indonesian military overreacted to the demonstrations down there and have we communicated any direct displeasure to --
MR. MCCURRY: We have. In something akin to that, Secretary Albright's remarks yesterday, her statement yesterday indicates that degree of concern.
Q Will you be briefing tomorrow, Mike?
MR. MCCURRY: I probably will be, but I haven't figured out when or how. We'll figure that out and let you know.
Okay. Very good, thanks.
END 9:11 P.M. (L)