Bill Clinton photo

Press Briefing by Mike McCurry

April 14, 1995

The Briefing Room

12:45 P.M. EDT

MR. MCCURRY: I think -- that's right -- the President is getting ready to depart, for those of you who chronicle these activities.

Q: And his guests are --

MR. MCCURRY: He's going up with the family.

Q: The Easter Bunny.

MR. MCCURRY: Happy Friday. I suspect that you're interested in the fact that the President of the United States and his wife today filed their federal income tax returns, which shows that they have paid $55,313 in federal income tax on their adjusted gross income for the year, and that they are going to get a little bit of a refund as a result of the tax that was withheld on their behalf.

You've all gotten the returns, I believe. You've now had some chance to go through them, so if there are any questions on that I will give it a whack.

Q: The legal and tax preparation for $10,000, what does that include?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, that's money that they paid during the course of 1994 for checks that the Clintons wrote to Williams & Connolly for the tax and legal work that went into the preparation of this return. They had some tax and legal issues that they were looking at for the year.

Q: Does it include anything with the allegations of Paula Jones --

MR. MCCURRY: No, it does not. This is just strictly for legal -- this is legal and accounting work that went into the preparation of the account.

Q: That's an awful lot of money.

Q: H&R Block.

Q: Why is it that expensive?

MR. MCCURRY: You can ask the attorneys.

Q: There are a couple of items in here -- Schedule E, one dollar rental royalty --

MR. MCCURRY: That's the partnership that I think they talked about last year when they did their return, the same one that's reflected on last year's return. They've reported $1, $2, $3 in income on, I think, on an annual basis. This is a partnership that Hillary was in that obviously didn't make a lot of money.

Q: Did she divest that, or did she put it in a blind trust? What is the legal status of that now?

MR. MCCURRY: No, she did not. It was not placed in the blind trust at the time that the Clinton's became -- or that Bill Clinton became President because it was deemed to have no asset value at the time. And clearly, the return reflects that.

Q: Mike, the $10,000 fee is denominated as legal and tax preparation, and it doesn't otherwise say, at least that I can see, that those legal fees were incurred in connection with tax issues at all. Is it possible that that is a broader set of legal expenses than relate to tax and other matters?

MR. MCCURRY: No. As you know from the disclosure that's been made by the Presidential Legal Expense Trust that the Clinton's have considerable legal bills that are probably in the neighborhood of, what, 50 times these amounts. But the payments that were made to Williams & Connolly during 1994 were designated by Williams & Connolly to pay for accounting and legal services in connection with the preparation of this tax return.

Q: There's another accounting charge of $3,000.

MR. MCCURRY: Oh, the $3,000 charge, that's a payment to the President's accountants in Little Rock for the purposes of preparing their 1993 annual financial disclosure statement. Those were amounts that were then paid to the accountant. They were -- the bill was submitted and they rendered payment for that amount during the course of 1994. So that is a separate accounting fee that goes for their disclosure form.

Q: Could you give us any sense of how it was that there was $10,000 worth of legal opinions? That's a whopping sum of money on this amount of income.

MR. MCCURRY: There are complicated issues associated with the return, even though it is obviously a return that follows very much the same pattern from last year.

Q: Yes.

Q: Well, but the tax preparation firm is Hariton, Mancuso & Jones.

MR. MCCURRY: I believe -- you'll have to check with the firm. I think that firm was retained by Williams & Connolly to prepare the Clintons' return. So they were paid as a vendor by Williams & Connolly.

Q: There's also, Mike, mortgage interest --

Q: The President didn't own a home anymore --

MR. MCCURRY: The President pays -- the President and Mrs. Clinton pay half the mortgage on the property owned in Little Rock owned by Mrs. Clinton's mother, where Mrs. Clinton's mother resides year-round. This is the residence, that for tax and voter registration purposes, the Clinton's claim as their residence in Arkansas.

Q: Is that new, Mike? Was that on last year's return?

MR. MCCURRY: I believe it was on last year's return, yes. There is, by -- if you check, for those of you who have gone -- I think some of you have gone back now and looked at this return compared to last year's return -- you'll see it's almost identical, in the same pattern. The principal difference, I believe, is charitable contributions.

Q: What's the Harvard royalty for?

MR. MCCURRY: The Harvard royalty is -- from time to time Harvard University dispenses royalties to those who have written articles. In this case it is an article that Mrs. Clinton wrote in 1973 for the Harvard Educational Review. They reported a 1099 to the Clinton's reflecting that royalty income. She did not have any income from that source during the course of 1993, although, I think, the President did have an op-ed fee from The New York Times.

Q: Why did the President not choose to disclose the breakdown of the charitable contributions? There's a lot there, but it's unclear where it's going and what he's claiming.

MR. MCCURRY: The Clintons elect to keep private their charitable contributions. I can tell you a little bit about it. They contributed to approximately 28 charitable organizations. The large majority of the charitable contributions reflected on the return went to the churches where the Clintons worship. And you see, I think, reflected in the return also where the contributions were derived from. Of the total amount on the Schedule A, which is, I think -- what is it -- $30,000 plus, $12,000 of that is the money that comes from the Pin Fund, which Mrs. Clinton indicated last year she would be donating to charitable organizations. This is actually the 1993 income that she derived from the Pin Fund which she elected to contribute to charities during the course of 1994. So she will have income, $12,000, for the 1994 year which will be reflected in charitable contributions for calendar year 1995.

Q: Where did Chelsea's income --

MR. MCCURRY: I think that derives, if I'm not mistaken, from the royalties from the book by Virginia Kelley, which they have contributed to her.

Q: Didn't last year the Clintons reveal the recipients of the charitable contributions?

MR. MCCURRY: Not to my knowledge, no.

Q: They did underwear -- no?

MR. MCCURRY: Those were from previous years, those were not from last year's returns.

Q: Did they tithe to the churches, I mean, the 10 percent?

MR. MCCURRY: No, I don't think in the biblical sense. (Laughter.) There contributions to churches were substantial and represent the large proportion of the charitable contributions reflected. But they had, as I say, a number of other charities they contributed to.

Q: And what's their reason for wanting to keep it private? I'm just curious.

MR. MCCURRY: I think, one, just not to make a big deal about it, and two, they would then, no doubt, be solicited by a wide range of charitable organizations, and I think the just elect to keep private those that they choose to contribute to.

Q: Were there any donations of property that he made out of the -- akin to the underwear donation a few years ago?

MR. MCCURRY: No, none that I saw reflected in the materials I examined. I believe they were all contributions made, if I'm not mistaken -- you might want to check; I'm not a tax attorney, obviously, but I think there are new rules on those types of contributions.

Q: Do you know, Mike, if the royalty money that Chelsea received was pursuant to Mrs. Kelley's will, which made her an inheritor of that or whether this somehow transmitted through the President to her and he --

MR. MCCURRY: I would have to -- I believe -- I don't know the answer to that. I'd have to check.

Q: Because if it was from him I'm just wondering why it's not his income as opposed to --

MR. MCCURRY: I don't know, but I know that the reporting of that is done consistent, obviously, with the legal and accounting advise the Clintons got and for which they paid handsomely. (Laughter.)

Q: The $62 in personal property taxes, is that the same '88 Olds that he had last year?

MR. MCCURRY: Yes, that's for the Oldsmobile that's still in a garage down in Arkansas.

Q: And was Mrs. Clinton involved in the meeting last night where they reviewed the final details?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, she examined the return and signed the return, obviously, and I think they did probably meet with the accountant last night, although they've been looking at the preparation of the return as it developed.

Q: Can you break down the royalty -- you just talked about getting something to The New York Times as well as to Harvard. I assume the $259 is all from Harvard.

MR. MCCURRY: Yes, this one amount from --

Q: Is the Times money in the --

MR. MCCURRY: No, I was drawing a contrast to last year's return. Last year's return there was a royalty payment to the President of the United States for I believe an op-ed article. This year the royalty income is to Mrs. Clinton for her article in 1973.

Q: What's this salary above $200,000 --

MR. MCCURRY: That is Arsenio Hall's contribution to this tax return. The Clintons, as you recall, in 1992, appeared on the Arsenio Hall program and there are residuals now paid to both Clintons from a company called E-T Talent, as a result of -- as a results of that. I think they do resales of a highlights video that includes the Clintons performance on the Arsenio Hall program. So they derive a little bit of income in that.

That was actually, by the way, also reported on their tax return last year, but I don't think anyone noticed it because the President was not paid a full $200,000 salary last year since he, of course, took office January 20th in 1993. But he had an amount last year somewhat larger I believe.

Q: Where is that?

MR. MCCURRY: This year --

Q: Where is that?

Q: It's $1,421.

MR. MCCURRY: It's $1,421, which is reported under wages and salaries. The Clintons actually got a W-2 form from the company that pays the residuals. And last year -- it's $1,421 total. Last year, I think it was $2,046. So the sales of the Arsenio Hall highlights reel must have gone down -- (laughter) -- during the course of 1994.

Q: Where do they file state returns -- in Arkansas?

MR. MCCURRY: In Arkansas, but also because of this same question, they have to file -- they, I believe, have to file something in California in connection with that because there's payments that are made by this company in California to them for the residuals for which they also did some withholding. You'll see elsewhere in the return that they overpaid on their FICA in a very small amount, and that comes from the payments that were done through this company in California that was paying the residuals.

Q: Mike, where does the President pay state and local income tax? How's that broken down?

MR. MCCURRY: In Arkansas.

Q: He pays it all to Arkansas?

MR. MCCURRY: I believe all. I want to say all. I'm not certain whether or not -- I think they do have to pay some tax, some small tax in California for this income that they derived from these residuals. But their Arkansas state taxes, where they pay most of their state taxes, as reflected in the refund that they got and the amounts that they report on the schedules for taxes paid.

Q: And they don't pay any tax to the District of Columbia?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't believe they do, no.

Q: I don't think any President -- isn't there some law or regulation about that, that you don't ever -- no President can be docked the way -- I remember the Bush's ran into that and there was a to-do about it, it turned out it was in the law.

MR. MCCURRY: Yes. I'm handed a note, by the way, Todd, in answer to your question, that the President disclaimed his interest in royalties from Mrs. Kelley's book, so she therefore becomes the recipient. It doesn't answer you question though whether that's pursuant to the will. Maybe you can go make a call on that and find out.

Q: Do you think the Clintons would care to elaborate on the $10,000 issue? I mean, they have every right not to, but it seems to me that you're going to have a bunch of reporters wading into that swamp. It might be something that could easily cleared up.

MR. MCCURRY: About what --

Q: Well, yes, what the issue was, why they ran up $10,000 worth of legal expenses.

MR. MCCURRY: Yes. I'll check and see.

Q: They may not want to talk about it.

MR. MCCURRY: I'll check and see. There are some questions associated with the operation of the Legal Expense Trust Fund that I think were fairly complicated, and it did take some work. I imagine that's what it was, but I'll see if I can check on that and we can report back to you.

Anything more on taxes?

Q: Just a generic, general question about given all the questions about at what point do you give tax relief to Americans -- does the President express an opinion on whether he is under-taxed or over-taxed?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, he's expressed an opinion almost daily to you on this question. It's clear from their returns that they would be enormous beneficiaries of tax cuts as proposed by the Republican majority in Congress. The President has suggested to you he thinks that that's unfair and that tax relief ought to be targeted on middle income Americans. And as you can see from the return, they fall outside that category.

Q: How much, do you know? Has anyone figured it out?

MR. MCCURRY: No, I don't know that anyone has applied any of the Republican proposals specifically to their return.

Q: So you don't know whether they would be beneficiaries or not, then, do you?


Q: They might not be beneficiaries -- after all, capitol gains and the $500 per child tax credit -- that doesn't add up to very much in his case

MR. MCCURRY: Based on the analysis by Treasury, people in that income bracket we know would get the disproportionate share of benefits from the Republican tax cut proposal.

Q: If they have capital gains.

MR. MCCURRY: Well, they do. They have capital gains, as derived from the blind trust.

Okay, let's go on -- new subject.

Q: What can you tell us about the opening of Clinton- Gore '96 campaign office?

MR. MCCURRY: It's open. It's there. I can also tell you, I think, what you're really interested in -- the President authorized two forms to be filed on his behalf at the Federal Elections Commission today, FEC Form 1 and FEC Form 2. And with those forms, they formally establish the organization called, Clinton-Gore '96 Primary Committee, Inc., which will be the primary campaign organization for the President until he becomes a nominee of the party. Then he'll have a formal reelection committee that will be duly filed with the FEC. He also filed his form -- his Form 1 is the statement of organization and the Form 2 is the candidacy statement that he's required to file.

Q: Who prepared those for him?

MR. MCCURRY: They were prepared and filed by Joan Pollitt, who is going to be the Treasurer of the committee. She's actually the person who will be at the campaign committee over on M Street, and required to make sure we're in full compliance with FEC reporting.

Q: Does this make him a legally declared candidate, or is this the fund-raising mechanism to begin the exploratory --

MR. MCCURRY: The President has made it abundantly clear that there will be plenty of time for politics in 1996. He will be, at an appropriate point, going to the American people and saying, look, here is the case that I would make for my reelection as President of the United States. That's clearly not what he's doing today. He's authorizing today, legally authorizing a committee to work on his behalf, and he's filed a statement that says that he is a candidate for election as President, as required by the FEC. And that's what -- those are the paperwork steps necessary in order to formally establish the committee.

Q: There are regulations, election law regulations that kick in when you become a legally announced candidate.

MR. MCCURRY: That is correct. And those would kick in as of the filing today, to my understanding.

Q: How much will he have to try to raise?

MR. MCCURRY: He would like to raise and spend the legal maximum for the primary phase of the campaign, which will be, we estimate, somewhere between $33 million and $34 million, depending on the final determinations by the FEC. That is a figure that is adjusted quadrennially, and there are an addition to that amount that you can raise for fundraising expenses and for legal and accounting expenses.

Q: You would want to do that to build a war chest for the general election or to spend it during the primary season?

MR. MCCURRY: That would be to defray the costs of his political work as a candidate during the course of 1995 and '96, prior to becoming the nominee of the party because, of course, he will be publicly financed once he's the legal nominee of the Democratic Party.

Q: So even if he's not challenged within his own party, he wants to have as $34 million campaign?

MR. MCCURRY: That's right, because the President, as he conducts political travel during 1995 and '96, doesn't expect the U.S. taxpayer to be responsible for those costs.

Q: So what is actually happening on M Street? Is there someone sending out a fundraising letter or --

MR. MCCURRY: Yes. The President will begin -- the reason we're taking this step is that there is a legal trigger that requires you to establish a committee once you begin to incur costs. And the President is getting ready on Monday to send a letter to one million of his closest friends saying that he thinks running for reelection is the right thing to do, given the times we live in. And he's going to ask them to join as members of a national steering committee for his reelection efforts. So, given that that letter goes out on Monday, it was important to get the paperwork filed to get the mechanism going.

Q: Can we get a copy of that?

MR. MCCURRY: I won't put out a letter. I think it's fair to those who are receiving the letter to get it before we distribute it to others. I will tell you -- I mean, it's not surprising what -- I'm going to tell you a little bit about what the President is going to say in the letter. Is that okay?

Q: Yes.

MR. MCCURRY: He'll say that Americans are -- understand I'm quoting now from the President's letter -- Americans are understandably frustrated and eager for change, but there are no mandates to support the dangerous and short-sighted measures that he's referred to coming from his opponents. The 1996 elections will be a referendum on how we want to live together, work together and prosper together in America. Will we continue my efforts to restore the American Dream to grow the middle class and shrink the underclass, or will America pursue a different vision which reduces government to an entity without room for helping children, community responsible or sensible regulation to protect ordinary Americans?

And he suggests to those receiving the letter, "You understand the importance of the task ahead. My message to you is that I need your partnership once again to succeed in the most challenging campaign I will ever face."

Q: Does it ask for money?

MR. MCCURRY: It doesn't directly ask for money, but there's conveniently placed in the letter a return envelope in case anyone is so motivated.

Q: What is the fundraising target for this round of direct mail?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't know. That will be determined by those who are working mechanically on the campaign.

Q: How has this mailing been financed? Is this mailing already paid for?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't know. I don't believe it has already been paid for, but they have incurred the cost by going to the vender that has worked on it and prepared the mailing.

Q: Is this to defray all his costs from '95, all his political travel and fundraising?

MR. MCCURRY: It depends. We don't know. That will all be duly disclosed to you, as required by law, when the time comes.

Q: So a lot of things are just ministerially. You have basically no paper on the filings of the declaration of the candidacy and those things, right? There's nothing there other than the FEC form?

MR. MCCURRY: It's just the form that says it's being filed by, and gave the name of who filed it, and gives the proper address of the committee.

Q: So the $34 million is what he expects to get from the government?

MR. MCCURRY: No, no, that's the amount he needs to raise as a primary candidate until such time as he becomes the legal nominee of the Democratic Party. He then is eligible to receive federal money. Now, he will receive a portion of federal matching money through the matching money provisions of federal election law.

Q: On the staff over there, do you have numbers on that? And also, Joan Pollitt, is she on some type of retainer or is she paid?

MR. MCCURRY: I think she's -- I believe she's a member of the staff. Yes, she's a member of the staff. They've got about, I think, between six and 12 people now that are starting over there. Laura Hartigan, who some of you know, is senior staff of the -- there at the moment. She's the finance director. I described most of the people who are there on staff now as being sort of budget people, FEC compliance folks. We've got some computer people who are going to help them get wired so they can get up and running.

Q: What about Terry McAuliffe?

MR. MCCURRY: Terry McAuliffe, I think, will be heading the finance effort as National Finance Chairman.

Q: Is it true that he's hiring some other pollsters and Carville won't have a primary role?

MR. MCCURRY: There's not any decisions yet beyond the sort of fundraising and operational side of the campaign. There are plenty of personnel decisions to be made down the road. Campaign manager has not been decided by the President. He'll have a lot of questions about consultants and vendors and other political people who will work in the campaign. Those are questions for down the road.

The President does intend to reach out to a wide variety of people and, encouragingly, there are a wide variety of people who are offering to help his re-election effort. So I expect that he will have assistance from a number of people beyond those who helped in his 1992 effort.

Q: On a narrow point, do Doug Schoen and his partner, Penn, have a contract a this point?

MR. MCCURRY: They do not have a contract with this committee -- the Clinton-Gore '96 primary committee -- but I believe they do have a contract over at the Democratic National Committee that's roughly similar to the one that Stan Greenberg has.

Q: Mike, despite his de facto status as a candidate as a result of the FEC filings, would it be your expectation that at some point either later this year or early next he would make a declaration, a public declaration of his candidacy?

MR. MCCURRY: I think there is going to be plenty of time, perhaps later this year, for balloons and bunting and the appropriate festivities that would mark a formal declaration of candidacy by the President. This is clearly no substitute for that.

Q: This mailing list for Monday's mailing, how was it derived?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't -- it's probably a standard direct mail listing but it includes those who are supportive of the President's 1992 race.

Q: What the President think his chances are of reelection? (Laughter.)

MR. MCCURRY: Helen, he thinks his chances are splendid. (Laughter.) And he has a great deal of confidence as he thinks of the daunting task ahead.

But remember, too, I mean, kidding aside, the President at the moment is much more focused on the work that lies ahead for 1995. We've got a lot of work to do with Congress, a lot of work to deal with the problems that the American people face. And while there's always politics in that type of work too, they are not the campaign politics of a reelection. And the President, as he has suggested over and over again, thinks the American people deserve a break and we can put some of that on hold until much later in the campaign cycle.

Q: He won't conduct a Rose Garden campaign because of pressing issues that face him as President?

MR. MCCURRY: He would like to conduct a Rose Garden campaign of signing good legislation that's come from this Congress that he supports and signs. That's the best kind of Rose Garden campaign.

Q: New topic?

MR. MCCURRY: New topic. We've exhausted this one.

Q: Can I ask you what it is the President as an intern or aide for Senator Fulbright knew about the war that the public didn't know at the time?

MR. MCCURRY: Yes. The President had a little informal chat with his CNN interviewers after he did his interview yesterday, and he was suggesting that as a young college student, who was working on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he, probably more so than most 20-year-olds, had an opportunity to really see a lot of information and learn a lot about the Vietnam War.

He was there during the period of Fulbright's hearings. He was working as a staff aide at a time when the committee was doing a lot of review of the war in Vietnam and had access to information that was not at that point in the public record, although it later became -- much of it was later in the public record.

And he was suggesting that his opinions formed as a result of that experience are some of the reasons why he became an opponent to the war. It was sort of counter-intuitive coming as a young man from Arkansas and being from a disposition that was most likely pro-military, supportive of government. He learned a lot during the course of that experience working as a Georgetown student up on Capitol Hill that led him to believe that the Vietnam War was wrong.

Q: Did he start out believing it was right and was turned by this experience of being at the knee of the great dissenter, is that what happened?

MR. MCCURRY: No, I think he was just suggesting that as he learned more about the war -- you know, as a young person learning more about the war and learning more about what was happening in Vietnam, he became convinced that the war was wrong. And I think he suggested during the course of this chat that much the same conclusion was reached by Secretary of Defense McNamara.

Q: But he didn't mean to suggest that he had seen classified information or something as a college student?

MR. MCCURRY: I think he was talking generally about what he got, although he did -- as a staff intern, he didn't have a high-level security clearance, but he had a security clearance necessary to carry papers back and forth between senators.

Q: But he was opposed to the war going into that experience, was he not?

MR. MCCURRY: He was, I think, of a disposition against the war. He learned more and became much more against the war as a result of learning more from serving there.

Q: Are you releasing -- is there any audio against the war, he learned more, and became much more against the war as a result of learning more from serving there.

Q: Would you consider releasing -- is there any audio tape or transcript of his actual remarks?

MR. MCCURRY: No, unfortunately, there wasn't. It was kind of a conversation that occurred as the interview was breaking up. And we don't have a transcript available of the interview. They kind of ended the interview at that point and they were chatting informally.

Q: He was asked a couple times on the trip to Atlanta and, unfortunately, evaded when he could have been -- when he went to FDR --

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not aware --

Q: On the McNamara book, he was asked for his opinion, but --

MR. MCCURRY: I was not aware of him being asked that. I'm sorry.

Q: Mike, in the shorter-term here, after the first hundred days, many -- some on the right -- a second hundred days would be on a very conservative social agenda, and quite specific on school prayer, vouchers and a lot of other things. Is the White House at this point going to jump in and have any type of campaign against that type of social 100 days?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, we'll need to wait and see what actually develops as Congress continues its work in the 104th session. My firm belief is that the -- and the I think the President's belief is that the work that faces them immediately is drafting a 1996 federal budget. They are now overdue on the budget as of this weekend. And unlike the President, who is able to kind of generally meet the budget guidelines in law and duly submit a budget and have it passed and approved by the Congress, the Republican majority in Congress has failed to produce any real specifics on a budget proposal. So I suspect that they're going to have to deal with the reality of helping this government run before they get off on social issues.

Q: Is there any -- just to follow up -- is there any thought at the White House, though, to really counteract this early on to meet it head to head faster than perhaps you met --

MR. MCCURRY: I think there's some level of doubt that that's actually going to be the focus of the efforts by the Republican majority.

Q: May we take it that there's not going to -- he'll decline Mr. Gingrich's invitation to submit a balanced budget plan by 2002?

MR. MCCURRY: The President has submitted an FY '96 budget and has said over and over again to this Congress, deal with it. If you're not going to deal with that budget, then write your own, and let's get into it, but let's get down to serious work and stop playing games when it comes to the questions of the federal budget.

Q: Could you outline a little bit where the President is standing on tort reform?

MR. MCCURRY: He's standing right where he's indicated publicly over and over. I'm not aware of anything new on that.

Q: Mike, in his answer on the flat tax yesterday, did he mean to exclude any support for other tax reform proposals, such as Nunn-Domenici, which is not a flat tax, but yet would --

MR. MCCURRY: No, he has said over and over again, he will look at tax proposals in the context of what is going to be fair, what's going to provide relief to middle-income taxpayers, and what is in the best long-term interest of the economy and proposals that will encourage economic growth and not detract from economic growth, measures that will encourage the hard work that lies ahead on budget deficit reduction.

Q: Back to Vietnam briefly. Can you for the record characterize the President's feelings on what Secretary McNamara has done with the release of this book?

MR. MCCURRY: He thinks that the Secretary -- it took courage to write this book, which the President acknowledges. He also believes that what the Secretary -- or what the former Secretary wrote is true. He believes that the war was wrong. And there are reasons to believe it was wrong, even as early as the 1960s.

Q: Has the President had a chance to review the Japanese stimulus program, their so-called reform program?

MR. MCCURRY: He has heard about it. We are looking at it. And I believe Secretary of the Treasury Rubin has commented on that plan. He's attending a ministerial-level of APEC, Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, ministers and has issued a statement on it. So check at Treasury.

Q: Mike, does the President have any views on McNamara's timing on this book? I mean, here he was, the handmaiden of a policy that has created enormous divisions in the country and it took him 30 years to decide the way he did.

MR. MCCURRY: There has been a lot of editorial comment on that question, but I have not heard -- the President has not addressed that as far as I know. I didn't hear it, and I haven't heard him express an opinion on that.

Q: Can I ask about Iraq -- anything new about Barloon and Daliberti?

MR. MCCURRY: No. We continue to press for their release. And they -- we've had counselor access to them, so we get a good update weekly on their condition.

Q: About this motion in the United Nations to grant Iraq --

MR. MCCURRY: I think Ambassador Albright is going to have an explanation -- a vote that is out. We remain fully committed to the view that Iraq needs to comply fully with relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, but that they ought to be provided the opportunity, as has existed under U.N. Security Council resolutions, to sell oil in order to generate revenues for humanitarian relief to the populations of Kurds in the North, and Shia in the South.

Q: Did they say that they would accept that?

MR. MCCURRY: That is not clear. The vote, I believe -- has it just occurred today? The vote has just occurred today, and I don't -- I haven't seen a formal response from the Iraqi government.

Q: But they have turned it down before?

MR. MCCURRY: They have not used the facility available to them under U.S. Security Council Resolution 706 and 712, to make those sales to generate humanitarian relief. And we have been critical of their government for that. We think that a lot of the suffering of the Iraqi people could be relieved if they would proceed with these humanitarian oil sales and use the revenue to provide needed relief.

Q: Is U.S. support for that resolution an effort to forestall a broader lifting of these sanctions against Iraq?

MR. MCCURRY: No, there has been a continuing effort by the United States within the Security Council to find ways to encourage Iraq to make these sales because of our concern for the people of Iraq who are facing hardship as a result of the economic sanctions.

Q: And you say there has been a vote?

MR. MCCURRY: I believe so. You might want to check --

Q: And they have gone -- they have accepted it?

MR. MCCURRY: Our U.N. Mission up in New York can give you more.

Q: What's the status of the D.C. control board legislation?

MR. MCCURRY: It's been passed by Congress, and expected to be signed very shortly by the President of the United States maybe Monday.

Q: Monday.

MR. MCCURRY: Yes, I think we're going to sign it Monday.

Q: Missile defense -- do you think the administration is able to meet with Congress on missile ABM defense?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, the President hopes that we will be able to work with Congress to develop the type of theater antiballistic missile defenses that the President has deemed warranted and has provided for in budget proposals that provide R&D expenditures for that purpose. We're not interested in a major rewrite of the ABM Treaty.

Q: Grachev is apparently today saying that they should not move ahead on START III because of the NATO expansion. Is there any reaction? This apparently came out today. Any reaction to that? And it seems as if yet again another issue is coming up to ruin the summit.

MR. MCCURRY: The desire to proceed with strategic arms reductions, as codified in the START II treaty, has been expressed often at very high levels, including highest levels, between the Russian Federation and the United States. And there's also been expression at highest levels from the Russian government towards an interest in a START III negotiation.

Q: What does that mean, though? Are you saying this is off the reservation, or he's expressing some new idea or --

MR. MCCURRY: That means that there's -- we are fully aware of the Russian Federation's concerns about NATO expansion. We believe we have addressed them effectively. And we believe that the program that we've developed through the Partnership for Peace effort, the work plan that NATO is pursuing for 1995, can allow for parallel development of a closer relationship between NATO and the Russian Federation.

Thank you, everyone. Have a very wonderful holiday weekend. We will see you all after the Easter Egg Roll on Monday.

Q: Early lid?

Q: Will you brief?

MR. MCCURRY: Maybe we shouldn't even brief. Why brief on Monday? How many of you are bringing children or others here on Monday? Okay, that's sufficient reason not to brief. No brief. No briefing Monday.

Thank you.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 1:24 P.M. EDT

William J. Clinton, Press Briefing by Mike McCurry Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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