Bill Clinton photo

Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic

April 20, 1993


Q. Mr. President, President Havel is here for the Holocaust Museum opening, and you toured the museum last night. All this focus on the Holocaust, how does that weigh on your decisionmaking process as far as Bosnia is concerned?

The President. Well, I think the Holocaust is the most extreme example the world has ever known of ethnic cleansing. And I think that even in its more limited manifestations, it's an idea that should be opposed. You couldn't help thinking about that. That's not to compare the two examples. They're not identical. Everyone knows that. But I think that the United States should always seek an opportunity to stand up against-at least to speak out against inhumanity.

Q. Sir, how close are you to a decision on more sanctions on Bosnia?

The President. Well, of course, we've got the U.N. vote. Ambassador Albright was instrumental in the U.N. vote to strengthen the sanctions, and they are quite tough. And we now are putting our heads at the business of implementing them and looking at what other options we ought to consider. And I don't have anything else to say, except to tell you that I spent quite a bit of time on it and will continue to over the next several days.

Q. Following your meeting today, sir, are you any closer to some sort of U.S.. military presence there?

The President. I have not made any decisions.

[At this point, one group of reporters left the room, and another group entered.]

Meeting With President Havel

Q. President Clinton, why have you decided to meet with Mr. Havel?

The President. Well, I'm just honored that he would come and see me. I'm glad he's here in the United States for the dedication of the Holocaust Museum. He is a figure widely admired in our country and around the world and a very important person in Europe and a very important person to the United States. So I'm hoping that we'll have a chance to talk about the new Czech Republic and what kinds of things we can do together to support the causes we believe in.

NOTE: The exchange began at 5 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With President Vaclav Havel of the Czech Republic Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives