ACCESSION NUMBER:308804 FILE ID:POL505 DATE:10/22/93 TITLE:WHITE HOUSE REPORT, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22 (10/22/93) TEXT:*93102205.POL WHITE HOUSE REPORT, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 22 (Aristide, NAFTA, Angola envoy, Ferraro appointment) (660) NEWS BRIEFING -- Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers discussed the following topics: ARISTIDE DEFENDED Questioned about a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) briefing for members of the Senate on the fitness of Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide, Myers strongly defended his qualifications to serve; she said she could not make any comment, however, on a classified assessment given by the CIA. Asked if the briefing was an embarrassment, she answered, "When a United States senator requests a CIA briefing, we comply. It's as simple as that." According to news accounts, the briefing -- requested by Senator Jesse Helms -- suggested Aristide has had mental problems, and accused him of condoning murder to suppress opposition. The accounts said the information was first circulated by the CIA two years ago. Myers said Clinton was aware of the two-year-old report, adding, "In our dealings with President Aristide he's been rational and responsible. He's had the best interests of his people at heart. He's lived up to the commitments that he's made. And I would remind you that he is the duly-elected leader of that country, the democratically-elected leader. 1nd so it is our judgment, based on our experience with him, that he is fully qualified to serve as the president of Haiti." Myers added that when Aristide was functioning as president, "human rights abuses were down, transition to democracy was moving in the right direction...I think all of the reliable studies show that there was a marked improvement in the way people were treated." NAFTA PROSPECTS IMPROVE She told a questioner Clinton "seems to feel a little better" about passage of enabling legislation for the North American Free Trade Agreement. She called expressions of support for the pact from Republican leaders Bob Michel and Newt Gingrich, following their meeting with Clinton, "excellent." Asked about the possibility that Canada might elect a prime minister anxious to re-negotiate the agreement, Myers said, "It's always been our position that we would press ahead with NAFTA because we believe it's in the best interests of this country. We will await the results on Monday's election and...go from there." Myers predicted Clinton will be "more aggressive" in pressing the agreement in the three weeks before the matter comes to a vote, sometime in November. ENVOY SELECTED Asserting that "a lasting peace in Angola will require the sustained commitment of all Angolans and the support of the entire international community," the White House has named Paul J. Hare as Clinton's representative to the Angolan peace process. Myers said in a written statement that Hare brings to his new task "a wealth of experience gained in more than 30 years as an American diplomat... We believe," she added, "that there is a new opportunity to end the suffering of the Angolan people." She noted that although a total cease-fire is not yet in place, the level of the violence has diminished somewhat, and flights with relief supplies have reached some towns in the interior for the first time in eight months. OTHER DEVELOPMENTS FERRARO NOMINATED TO UNHRC President Clinton announced his intention October 22 to appoint former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro to be the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), with the rank of ambassador. "As alternate head of the U.S. delegation to this year's session of the UNHRC, she spoke eloquently on behalf of women in the former Yugoslavia, and brought all of the parties involved to a consensus position," Clinton said. Ferraro was first elected to Congress from New York's 9th Congressional District in 1978, and served three terms in the House before leaving after her 1984 vice presidential campaign, in which she was the first woman ever to be nominated for national office by a major party. Ferraro is currently managing partner in the new York office of Keck, Mahin and Cate, a national law firm. NNNN .