Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Prime Minister Wim Kok of The Netherlands
Q. Mr. President, are you concerned about Iran placing antiaircraft missiles at the mouth of the Persian Gulf?
The President. I think that I'll wait until later to answer any questions.
Q. Even the ones—the Republicans saying that they're willing to change the balanced budget amendment so that the courts cannot raise taxes or cut spending?
Q. And about The Netherlands—[laughter]——
The President. It's a great country and a great ally of the United States.
[At this point, one group of reporters left the room, and another group entered.]
Q. Mr. President, how will you react if the Dutch Government decides not to buy Apache helicopters?
The President. Well, that's a decision for the Dutch Government to make. Obviously, I hope that that will be the decision because I think on the merits, it's the best product. But that's a decision that the Government has to make.
Q. Mr. President, are you trying to sell the Prime Minister on the benefits of the Apache helicopter?
The President. I've already done that. I've already made my pitch, if you will.
Prime Minister Kok. And Mr. President, if we don't buy them, we remain a great country.
The President. That's right. We have—you know, our relationship with the Dutch, it's a very—it's a deep and broad and complex one. There are a lot of things involved in it, and this is just one part of it. We are allies in every sense of the word, in so many ways. And we have to continue to work together. There are a lot of problems in Europe and beyond that require our cooperation and our mutual support. And of course, we have a terrific commercial relationship as well. So we have a lot riding on this relationship, and no single element of it can be allowed to define it.
United Nations Peacekeeping
Q. [Inaudible]—about U.N. peacekeeping forces that may be in jeopardy because of the attitude of the Republican Party?
The President. Well, I don't agree with the attitude of the party with regard to the peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and with regard to at least some of what I've seen in the House of Representatives on peacekeeping generally. I believe the United States should participate in peacekeeping. I think we should pay our way. I think we should continue to be a strong force there.
With regard to Bosnia, I think we should— the United States should support the Contact Group and should support those countries that do have their soldiers on the ground and at risk there. And we have said, for example, if we had to withdraw, if UNPROFOR collapsed, we would try to do our part to help people get out of Bosnia safely. But I think it would be a mistake for the United States to go off on its own and start making independent Bosnia policy. We don't have our soldiers there. The Europeans do have soldiers there; the Canadians have soldiers there. They have put their lives at risk. We have spent a lot of money in Bosnia, and we have supported from air and sea and from our hospital in Croatia, and a lot of other ways we've supported the operation of the U.N. in Bosnia.
Q. So you're with our Prime Minister and against the Republicans in this matter?
The President. That's correct. That's essentially——
The President. [Inaudible]—Constitution——
The President. There has to be a difference of opinion in the United States or you're on the long end of it—you're in the right position. [Laughter]
NOTE: The exchange began at 10:27 a.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 Prime Minister Wim Kok of The Netherlands Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/220992