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Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Dorsey High School Students

March 25, 1993


Q. Mr. President, did anything come out of your meeting with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister as far as the START Treaty?

The President. I just told him how important it was to us, that I realize that there was some opposition at home in Ukraine because of uncertainty in Russia, but we had to have them sign on. And I would encourage them to go ahead and do it, while I realize there are some implementation issues that we would have to work with them on. And I was glad to work with him on that but that the United States wanted very much to be close to the Ukraine. We have a big stake in their success, and we've got a lot of commercial potential there and they here, as well as a lot of ties. We have a lot of Ukrainian-Americans, as you know.

But I think this START Treaty is a precondition to a long-term, successful relationship. And I think they should go into the nonproliferation regime and give up nuclear weapons. We don't need any more nuclear states. The United States is trying to reduce our nuclear arsenals, and we need to continue to push in that direction.

It was a very good meeting. And I think over the long run, the United States will have a good relationship with Ukraine if we get the START issue resolved.

Q. Mr. President, did he say the crisis in Moscow is having repercussions back home for him?

The President. Well, he said it was adding to a sense of uncertainty in this country, which you would expect it would. I mean, they're right next door there. But I hope, of course, as every day goes by there seems to be an attempt by President Yeltsin and others, frankly, to confine the dimensions of the process, to regularize it and to let it play itself out in a vote of the people on April 25th. Of course that's the most democratic way you could do that to resolve that crisis.

Q. Did you get a sense—

The President. I don't know that. I know what you were going to say. I don't know that. I hope so. I feel better about it, but I don't know that fo sure.

U.S. Attorneys

Q. Are you afraid that firing all the U.S. attorneys at once will be seen as political?

The President. Absolutely not. We waited longer than most of our predecessors have. Go back and look and see when they tried to replace them under Bush, under Reagan, under-particularly under Reagan. Anytime when you change parties—it took us longer to begin the process because of the delay in getting an Attorney General confirmed. But all those people are routinely replaced, and I have not done anything differently. The Justice Department is just proceeding from essentially a late start. And I think the blanket decision is less political than picking people out one by one.

Q. Do you think Jay Stephens should stay on at least to the end of the Rostenkowski—

The President. I support the Attorney General. She made the decision about what the best way to handle this was, since we were behind. And I support her decision.

NOTE: The exchange began at 4:10 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. Jay Stephens was the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Dorsey High School Students Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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