Remarks Following Discussions With President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and an Exchange With Reporters
President Bush. Mr. President, welcome to the Oval Office. It's an honor to meet with you again. Last time I was with you, I congratulated you on winning a hard-fought Presidential campaign. Now I had a chance to congratulate you on fulfilling your campaign promises. I want to thank you for your impressive record.
I also want to thank you for the strength and the leadership you showed during what must have been an incredibly difficult period for the government and the people of Indonesia during the catastrophe after the tsunami. You showed good—great courage. And it's been an honor to work with you to help save lives and to bring people order out of the chaos that ensued after the terrible disaster.
We had a very good conversation today. We talked about a variety of subjects, all aimed about making our countries more peaceful and more prosperous and the world more peaceful. Indonesia will play a large role and a significant role in helping us understand that great religions should coexist in a peaceful way.
Mr. President, thank you for coming, and welcome to the Oval Office.
President Yudhoyono. Mr. President, I'm also pleased to have the opportunity to meet you again, after we met in Chile during the APEC meeting.
As I have said during this meeting, that I do hope that our cooperation can be strengthened from time to time. And as we discussed on many subjects—the education, the economic cooperations, the counterterrorism, regional situation, and others—I extremely hope that Indonesia can continue its reforms, democratizations, and economic reconstruction. And I do hope that you could maintain your contribution and support to us in continuing our reforms and democratizations.
President Bush. Thank you, sir. We'll answer two questions a side. We'll start with the American person, Jennifer [Jennifer Loven, Associated Press].
Bioethics/Stem Cell Research
Q. Thank you, sir. With 400,000 frozen embryos in this country unlikely to all get adopted, why do you think that either storing them or even discarding them is better than using them for research?
President Bush. She's asking about a very delicate subject called embryonic stem cell research. I have made my position very clear on that issue. I believe that the use of Federal moneys that end up destroying life is not—is not positive, is not good. And so therefore, I'm against the extension of the research of using more Federal dollars on new embryonic stem cell lines.
As you know, I made the decision that existing lines should receive Federal dollars, and we've had about 600 different experiments, maybe 3,000 more to go. And so you asked about frozen embryos—that would entail the destruction of life, and the use of Federal dollars to destroy life is something I simply do not support.
Indonesia-U.S. Military Relations
Q. How about good will for relation of our military?
President Yudhoyono. Yes, we discussed with President Bush on the effort in normalizing our military-to-military relations. Of course Indonesia has to be thankful for the resumptions of IMET program. And we have to do more along with the reforms of the military that is conducted in Indonesia. I do hope that in the future we are moving ahead for fully normalizations of the military-to-military relations.
Actually, the atmosphere is positive that of course in part of Indonesia, we have to continue our reform to many things— toward the normalization of our military-to-military relations.
President Bush. The President did mention that we're revitalizing the military education training program. It makes sense that we have mil-to-mil exchanges, military-to-military exchanges. We want young officers from Indonesia coming to the United States. We want there to be exchanges between our military corps. That will help lead to better understandings. And so I— the President told me he's in the process of reforming the military, and I believe him. So this is the first step toward what will be fuller mil-to-mil cooperation.
Cameron [Carl Cameron, Fox News].
Bioethics/Stem Cell Research
Q. Again on stem cells, Mr. President. If I understood you correctly, the embryos put together for in vitro fertilization do contain life. And if that's the case, do you believe that those people who create those embryos for in vitro fertilization have an obligation to ensure that they are brought to term, if they are, in fact, not needed by the original——
President Bush. No, the issue that involves the Federal Government is whether or not we use taxpayers' money that would end up destroying that life. That's the issue at hand. And as you know, I'm the first President to say we could use Federal dollars on embryonic stem cells, but those stem cells had already—had been created, so that—it's from the moment I made the declaration forward that we would not use Federal taxpayers' money to destroy life. That's the issue. And the Congress has made its position clear, and I've made my position clear. And I will be vetoing the bill they send to me if it were to pass the United States Senate.
Now, there is research going on in the private sector. There's a lot of research on adult stem cells that appears to be very promising. And my Government strongly supports stem cells. There must be a balance—strongly supports adult stem cell research—but there must be a balance between science and ethics. And I've made my decision as to how best achieve that balance.
Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunamis Disaster Relief
Q. We understand that United States has pledged a commitment—a lot have pledged a commitment to the tsunami relief reconstruction and effort. I would like to ask, how is it going to be realized, the commitment?
President Bush. Well, the commitment was first realized when we moved an aircraft carrier with a lot of equipment into the neighborhood. And many of our Navy officers and Marine officers and Marine enlisted, Navy enlisted personnel were the first people on the ground to start helping in coordination with the Indonesian Government.
That commitment is further being met by expenditures out of the United States Congress. Plus, I put together kind of an interesting group of private citizens to help raise money for the tsunami relief—that would be my father and President Clinton, number 41 and 42. And they have worked hard to convince our fellow citizens to contribute—these are private-sector citizens— to contribute to help provide relief as well. I'm proud of my Government's—more importantly, my country's commitment to help the people who suffer.
And the President and I talked a lot about the ongoing relief efforts. We thanked the Government for their hard work, and I told him the American people will stand with these folks.
Thank you all very much.
NOTE: The President spoke at 3:36 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.
George W. Bush, Remarks Following Discussions With President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/211212