News

May 27, 1998

PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY


	     

                           THE WHITE HOUSE

                    Office of the Press Secretary

_____________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                                    May 27, 1998


                           PRESS BRIEFING
                           BY MIKE MCCURRY


                          The Briefing Room


2:24 P.M. EDT



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	     Q	  Did you ever straighten out the question of the 
Pakistani delegation?

	     MR. MCCURRY:  It's apparently a group of legislators 
from Pakistan.  There had been some discussions of a trip by them 
previously.  Obviously the question of current security balance on 
the subcontinent would likely be a topic of consideration.  But I'm 
not aware that in any way the arrival of this delegation or its 
meetings would be seen by the United States government as an 
authoritative way to communicate our views on their testing. 


	     Q	  When are they coming? 

	     MR. MCCURRY:  We have found the appropriate channels to 
do that, although we would look forward to a full exchange of views 
with these -- we expect them to see either Mr. Berger or Mr. 
Steinberg when they are here. 

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  They will be here next week.  I think 
their schedule is still not completely set 

	     MR. MCCURRY:  And they will be here next week.  The 
schedule is not completely set, be here sometime next week. 

	     Q	  But this delegation was not invited by Clinton, 
when he talked to -- 

	     MR. MCCURRY:  That's not my understanding.  Stewart 
asked that earlier today, and I couldn't find anything to corroborate 
that. 


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	     Q	  Mike, with Pakistan on the brink of capability to 
test, are there additional efforts by the administration now to 
persuade them not go to forward?
	     
	     MR. MCCURRY:  I think you're well aware that the 
President has been directly involved with Prime Minister Sharif, with 
others.  He has worked with Prime Minister Blair and others in the 
international community to encourage Pakistan to see that it can 
address its security needs and the needs of its population without 
joining the nuclear club.  And we continue to make that argument 
strenuously.  I'm not going to detail the nature of the diplomatic 
conversations we're having, but we are continuing to press that case.
	     
	     Q	  Do you have anything from the Hill to show the 
willingness to move on the F-16s or compensate them in any way?
	     
	     MR. MCCURRY:  As Mr. Berger indicated more than a week 
ago, our consultations up there certainly indicate to us that a 
conscious decision by Pakistan not to test would produce a very 
favorable, much more favorable environment for the consideration of 
relaxation of the Pressler Amendment, the Symington Amendment, other 
issues with respect to our bilateral relationship.  It's not to say 
that it would be a done deal, but our consultations indicate it 
certainly would improve the climate for consideration.
	     
	     Q	  Any initiatives planned to reflect that change of 
climate?
	     
	     MR. MCCURRY:  We have clearly been pursuing with senior 
members of Congress what their attitude would be in an environment in 
which Pakistan made a conscious decision not to respond to India's 
test by testing itself.
	     
	     Q	  Will Sandy Berger be talking with his Chinese 
counterparts on enlisting further Chinese assistance in putting 
pressure on the Pakistanis to that regard?
	     
	     MR. MCCURRY:  I'm sure that they will review the 
situation in South Asia, yes.
	     
	     Q	  Mike, did you just say that Pakistan would have to 
affirmatively say we are not going to test before any movement on 
Pressler could occur?  
	     
	     MR. MCCURRY:  No, I'm not saying that.  I'm saying it 
would clearly be more -- if such a debate were to advance, the 
climate for considering it would be much more favorable if they 
clearly had made a decision not to pursue testing.
	     
	     Q	  So they need a proactive sort of commitment.
	     
	     Q	  As opposed to merely not having had tested.
	     
	     MR. MCCURRY:  Well, you need some indication of what 
their disposition is.

	     


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	     Q	  Mike, can you clarify something that came out of 
the documents that were released Friday?  Does the White House 
acknowledge that the President was aware of the financial problems 
for Loral -- that it did not get the waiver?
	     
	     MR. MCCURRY:  The what problems?
	     
	     Q	  That Loral stood to lose millions.  Was the 
President aware --
	     
	     MR. MCCURRY:  I don't know if the President, himself, 
was aware of that, but certainly the administration and those that 
were familiar with the decision making were aware of that, even 
before -- a representative of Loral has indicated they were 
attempting to press upon the administration the importance of making 
a timely decision because, in part, they were losing money.  But the 
decision memo that had been drafted and approved by Mr. Berger for 
forwarding to the President had even gone forward to the President 
prior to that. 
	     
	     But anyone familiar with the way in which these 
aerospace contracts are structured would know that any delay in time 
would probably result in some kind of penalty.
	     
	     Q	  Are you saying that you're not sure that the 
President got the memo?
	     
	     MR. MCCURRY:  I don't know whether the President, 
himself, knew specifically that they were going to lose a lot of 
money; but I can't imagine that anyone familiar with this and the 
President is relatively familiar with, would not  understand that any 
delay in a contract for a launch would result in some penalty that 
could cost a company money. 


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