THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release June 14, 1995
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT CLINTON,
PRESIDENT OF FRANCE, JACQUES CHIRAC
AND PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, JACQUES SANTER
IN PRESS AVAILABILITY
The East Room
5:15 P.M. EDT
PRESIDENT CLINTON: It's a great pleasure to welcome
President Chirac and President Santer to the White House -- the first
visit for both leaders in their present positions to the Oval Office.
I begin with congratulations to President Chirac on his
outstanding victory last month. From our many contacts with him
throughout his long public service, the United States knows that he is a
true and reliable friend, and he will be a strong and effective leader
for France and for Europe.
In his short time as President he has already demonstrated
this leadership. We applaud his determination to create jobs and
economic growth for his own country, and with Jacques Chirac as
President, we are sure that the French commitment to peace, stability
and progress is in excellent hands.
France, as all of you know, was America's first ally. We
know that our relationships will grow even stronger in the coming years.
It was a pleasure as well to meet President Santer, whose
leadership in the cause of Europe follows in the great tradition that
began with Jean Monet. More than 30 years ago, President Kennedy spoke
of a strong and united Europe as an equal partner with whom we face --
and I quote -- "the great and burdensome tasks of building and defending
a community of free nations." This is more true than ever. And our
summit today shows the United States' partnership with Europe is a
powerful, positive force.
The three of us reviewed a lot of economic and security
issues: Our efforts to help the countries of Central Europe and the
former Soviet Union. We reaffirmed our commitment to strengthening NATO
and proceeding with the steady process of enlarging the Alliance. We
agreed to continue liberalizing trade. We agreed that senior
representatives of the U.S. and the EU will work together to develop a
common agenda for the 21st century. Secretary Christopher has already
provided a road map for this dialogue in his recent speech in Madrid.
We discussed our efforts to strengthen the U.N.
peacekeeping forces and to reduce the suffering in Bosnia. In the midst
of the tragedy, we must not forget that the common efforts have already
saved thousands of lives, and we must continue to work together.
We also explored a number of issues that the leaders of the
G-7 will deal with in Halifax, and I'd like to mention a couple of them
if I might. The Halifax conference marks another step in our effort to
build the structures of the global economy for the 21st century. In the
face of astonishing change -- the growing economic ties between nations,
the rapid movement of people and information, the miracles of technology
-- our prosperity depends upon preparing our people for the future and
forging an international system that is strong enough and flexible
enough to make the most of these opportunities.
At home we have been working hard to establish a steady
record of growth, investment in our people, in bringing down our budget
deficit. I am proud that our deficit today is now the lowest of all the
G-7 countries. Our new budget proposal to balance the budget in 10
years will permit us to do this and continue to invest in the education
and development of our people.
Abroad we have set out clear goals: To open world markets,
to help the former communist countries transform themselves into free
market democracies, to promote economic reform in the developing world,
to speed reforms in the international financial institutions. These
efforts have yielded tremendous successes -- NAFTA, GATT, agreements
with the Asia Pacific region and in our own hemisphere. We have
supported the nations in Central Europe, the New Independent States and
the developing world in their historic turn toward free markets. Now we
have a chance to reap enormous benefits in better jobs, greater
opportunities and growing prosperity.
We will build on our agreements last year in Naples when we
meet in Halifax to focus on reforming the institutions of the
international economy. The IMF, the World Bank, the regional banks have
served us very well over the last half-century. And they have grown,
taken on new missions as the times demand. But deal with a new economy
we have to give them new guidance and new momentum.
First, we must work to identify and prevent financial
problems like Mexico's before they become disasters and rock the global
economy. And when crises occur, we must have efficient ways to mobilize
the international community.
Second, we have to examine how best to adapt for a new era,
the multilateral development banks and the social and economic agencies
of the U.N. These organizations have helped dozens of countries to
build their economies and improve the lives of their people. We must
not walk away from those banks and our obligations to the developing
world. This is a point that President Chirac made to me in our meeting,
and one with which I strongly agree.
Finally, together with Russia, we will discuss a range of
political issues that include Bosnia, Iran's nuclear ambitions, European
security and reform in Russia. We will consider new forms of
cooperation to combat international crime, terrorism and nuclear
smuggling, because prosperity without security means little.
Also, I will be having some bilateral meetings, as all of
you know, including a meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan, at which
time we will review the position the United States has taken on our
trade disputes with Japan with regarding autos and auto parts.
As you know, we are going to be meeting about that again
shortly after the Halifax Summit. My determination there remains as
firm as ever. I believe we can reach a successful conclusion and I
intend to do everything I can to see that it is done.
Let me again thank President Chirac and President Santer
and offer them the opportunity to make a couple of opening remarks.
PRESIDENT CHIRAC: Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen.
Mr. President, 40 years ago, when I was a working as a soda jerk in the
Howard Johnson restaurant -- (laughter) -- I didn't think that one day I
would be in the White House beside the President of the United States
for a press conference. And I appreciate it very much. It's rather
moving for me. Since that time I, unfortunately, forgot most of my
English. (Laughter.) That's why I'm going to speak French if you don't
mind -- (laughter) -- just to say a few words to start with.
Firstly, I would like to thank you very much for the
welcome you have extended to me. I'd also like to tell you how pleased
I am to see that on the main issues we are facing in the world today,
and namely, relations with France and with Europe, we have total
convergence of views.
We're living in a world that is becoming increasingly
disintegrated. We see a rising trend of selfishness and isolationism in
many, many countries. And so, it is very reassuring, indeed, to see
that the world's greatest nations realize how important it is to have
solidarity amongst one another. This is true in politics. This is true
in the social and economic areas. It's also true when we face
challenges together throughout the world and crises together throughout
the world. And this is why I said that we are in agreement on most of
the points, even if on some issues we do have divergent views.
Mr. President, as the President of the European Union for a
few more weeks, I would like to express my gratitude for the stance that
you have taken on Bosnia, which is of great concern to me personally. I
would like to say to you that we would like the entire Western world to
be more attentive to the problems of the developing issues. And this is
something that we will take up in Halifax. This is something that we
must do something about. It's an ethical problem, a moral problem.
It's also in our own interest, given the population growth that we see
in many of these countries.
I think that we must also work more closely together when
it comes to addressing regional crises. We've seen the eruption of
regional crises in many different parts of the world -- in Africa, in
Europe, elsewhere. I think that we must, again, think more carefully
about the main issues -- the main challenges we are facing today, mainly
employment. And this is why I am very pleased to make my request that a
second G-7 meeting be held on employment and that you welcomed that.
The first meeting was, indeed, a success.
I also think that we ought to undertake great efforts to
fight against organized crime. In the United States some recent
successes have been achieved in the fight against drugs. And I think
that everything that deals with money laundering, fighting against drug
trafficking, fighting against the spread of AIDS, again we must pool our
efforts, enhance our efforts, and make sure that we work together in a
complementary fashion. Now, in Halifax I will be touching on those
points as well.
Now, we have an additional issue -- monetary insecurity,
currency fluctuations. This is something that is a worldwide problem
and a European problem, in particular. So these are the issues that I,
as President of the European Union, have raised in my conversations with
the President of the United States and will also be discussed during our
meeting in Halifax.
PRESIDENT SANTER: Thank you, Mr. President. The wide
range of issues we covered in out stimulating discussions today gives
testimony to the importance of our mutual relationship. (Inaudible) --
the world's most important bilateral partnership. The regular six
monthly meetings between the United States and the European Union as
such are catalysts for announcing our cooperation. The continued
strengthening of the Union allows this cooperation to be balanced and
Despite the excellence of our relations, there is no place
for complacency. In a world searching for new equilibrium, every
opportunity must be taken to broaden and deepen the relationship. This
will provide the foundation for global stability and prosperity.
That is why I called at the beginning of this year for a
review of the transatlantic partnership and -- (inaudible) -- with a
transatlantic treaty. I am happy that since then, on both sides of the
Atlantic, vivid debate is starting on the future of American and
European relations. Today's meeting shows that there is a clear
political will to explore the various means of structuring our
relationship in view of the 21st century.
It is too early to commit ourselves to precise concepts.
This will need more time. But what we must achieve is a formula which
would integrate the political, economic and security components of that
relationship. A lot will obviously depend on the outcome of the 1996
Intergovernmental Conference, which will define the future shape and
role of the European Union itself. But it is not too early to
immediately improve our consultation mechanism and to concentrate on
concrete action, delivering tangible results in the short-term. And
that is what we have done today.
We have also discussed the idea of launching a new
transatlantic initiative at our next meeting in Madrid in December. I
very much welcome that, as I welcome the decision to charge a small
group of senior-level representatives to examine ways of strengthening
the European Union and the United States relationship and prepare the
Today's meeting has confirmed my belief that we are on the
right track and that the transatlantic partnership will further prosper
to the benefit of our peoples and, indeed, of the whole world.
Thank you so much.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Helen.
Q President Chirac, your decision to resume nuclear
testing provoked worldwide consternation. Are you willing to
reconsider? And also, President Clinton, has his decision handicapped
the drive for a comprehensive test ban?
PRESIDENT CHIRAC: Well, obviously, the question that
you've put to President Clinton is a question that he shall answer. But
for me I would say that no, I am not at all willing to go back on the
decision that I've taken. But I would like to recall that we are
talking about a limited number of tests for a pre-established time frame
-- that is from September to May 1996 -- and that France has made a
commitment to sign without reservations, once it is ready to do so --
that is in the autumn of 1996, we will then be in a position to sign the
comprehensive test ban treaty.
Q So the protests don't bother you -- I mean, the fact
that the rest of the world really is disarmed by your decision?
PRESIDENT CHIRAC: Well, unfortunately, I haven't really
seen that the rest of the world is unarmed in this. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: As you know, we regret the decision and
we have worked hard to try to stop the test as a way of setting up
greater willingness to have a comprehensive test ban treaty. We have
foregone testing ourselves. But I do want to point out that the French
have pledged before President Chirac came here -- and he has reaffirmed
that pledge, which you just heard -- to achieve a comprehensive test ban
treaty by next year. Also, France was very helpful in supporting the
indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
So I believe on the larger goals that we still are united,
and I believe we will achieve the success that we seek.
Mr. President, would you like to call on a French
PRESIDENT CHIRAC: A French journalist -- is there a French
journalist who would like to ask a question?
Q A question for both Presidents. Concerning the way of
dealing with Iran as a terrorist state, are both of the governments on
the same wavelength or is it still a bone of contention?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: You think I should go first?
PRESIDENT CHIRAC: Yes, you are the host. (Laughter.)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: It's the least I can do as the host.
I don't know that we're on the same wavelength. As you
know, many countries disagree with the position the United States has
taken, but we believe the evidence is clear that Iran is a major sponsor
of terrorism. And we believe the evidence is clear that they are
attempting to develop the capacity for nuclear weapons. And we think
that neither of those things should be supported, and, in fact, should
We also believe, regrettably, that the evidence is that a
constructive engagement with the Iranians has at least so far failed to
produce any positive results -- failed to change the course of conduct
of the country. And that is why we decided to take even stronger action
recently and stop our direct and indirect trade with Iran. And I
believe it is a proper course. I will attempt to persuade others that
it is a proper course, at least insofar -- certainly insofar as it
affects sensitive things, like technologies, which can be used for
military benefit and certainly to develop nuclear capacity.
Q I'd like to ask President Clinton, thousands of
government troops are converging on Sarajevo vowing to break the
three-year-old Serb stranglehold on the capital. Do you think that a
military solution is possible there? And do you think that the U.N.
peacekeepers should get out of the way and open the way for any attack?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, you really asked two different
questions there. In the first -- whether the road can be opened to
Sarajevo militarily is not the same question as whether a military
solution is possible in a larger sense. And my judgment is, and I think
President Chirac agrees, that in the end a military solution is not
available to the Bosnian government. And I'm quite concerned about it.
And, therefore, I believe that what we are trying to do in
strengthening UNPROFOR -- you know that President Chirac has taken the
lead, and the United States certainly supports him in principle in
developing a rapid reaction force to try to strengthen the UNPROFOR
troops there and to protect his own troops more. And we believe that
that and a vigorous continued pursuit of diplomacy offers the best hope
of saving the Bosnian state and minimizing casualties.
In terms of whether in this narrow moment such an action
would succeed, I think our military leaders' judgment would be better
than mine. But I think the larger point is that we have discouraged all
the parties from continued violence. That's one of the reasons that we
agreed with the U.N.'s request for a bombing support when Sarajevo was
shelled by the Serbs recently. We think that the position of the United
States should be to support our allies who are there on the ground, to
support strengthening the U.N. mission and to discourage all increases
in violence, to try to keep the lid on the violence and put the pressure
on all parties, including Serbia proper, to support those actions which
would lead to a negotiated settlement.
Would you like to comment on that?
PRESIDENT CHIRAC: On Bosnia we share the same view.
Firstly, the UNPROFOR soldiers have been scattered throughout the
country as part of a humanitarian and peacekeeping policy. They have
been spread out across a vast territory, which is, furthermore, occupied
by terrorists, and in particular, Serbian terrorists.
Now, the inevitable happened -- that is to say, availing
themselves to the first pretext that came along, the Serbians took
hostages and the UNPROFOR soldiers on the ground were incapable of
defending themselves. Now, a soldier ought to be able to defend himself
at all times, especially if he is running a risk of physical danger or
death. And in that kind of case, it is impossible to allow for him to
be humiliated. But the soldiers of UNPROFOR have become increasingly
humiliated. So it's a question of honor, and that called for a
And so, France and the United Kingdom, along with some
Dutch reinforcements, we have decided to create a rapid reaction force.
The objective of this is not to attack anyone. It is going to be part
of the existing U.N. mission and will cooperate with NATO, of course.
The mission here is to react, to react anytime U.N. soldiers are
attacked, humiliated or deprived of their freedom. In order to achieve
this, we had to develop a force that had the means to react; namely
artillery, helicopters and tanks.
Now, I have heard in some quarters from some political
leaders who are wondering whether or not this Franco-British initiative
is just a first step toward a withdrawal of UNPROFOR in Bosnia. Well,
this is obviously absurd. If such a withdrawal were ever to take place
-- and I certainly hope that it does not -- this is something that has
already been planned for. We've already come up with contingency plans
for a withdrawal.
So what I would -- what we were trying to do with the
creation -- what we are trying to do with the creation of the rapid
reaction force is to enhance the capability of the soldiers to carry out
their mission. And the quicker we can do this, the quicker the Serbs
themselves will realize that they can't get away with murder.
And this is why we require the general agreement of the
Contact Group. And I can say that the Russians have agreed to this, and
almost all the countries we've consulted have agreed. Now, it is up to
the United States Congress to give the green light to this initiative.
And, obviously, I hope that it will.
It's important to bear in mind that any delay shall be seen
by the Serbs as a glimmer of hope. And they shall be banking on
internal dissension within the Contact Group -- shall give them more
time. And they have to understand that time is running against them.
So that is the rationale behind this rapid reaction force which is being
set up and which is, for the most part, composed of French and British
PRESIDENT CLINTON: If I might just make one other response
to the original question. You know that the sympathies of the United
States and this administration are with the struggle of the Bosnian
government to preserve the territory -- certainly the territory that has
been agreed to in the Contact Group proposal -- and to end the kind of
behavior that we saw in the taking of the U.N. hostages.
The question here is, therefore, would this action, even if
it could succeed, ultimately strengthen or weaken the efforts of
UNPROFOR to strengthen itself. President Chirac is taking bold actions
here to try to strengthen UNPROFOR. Would it increase or decrease the
chances that ultimately these objectives that we all share would
prevail? What other consequences could occur in other parts of the
country as a result of this? All these things need to be taken into
consideration, which is why the United States has taken the position
that for the time being, all the parties should take as much care as
possible to avoid further actions, because we believe that we have the
best chance now of strengthening UNPROFOR and getting some new energy
behind a lot of these diplomatic initiatives. This had nothing to do
with where out sympathies are in terms of whether that road ought to be
It's time for European journalist -- go ahead.
Q Did you talk about Algeria?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: No, but we will tonight. Let me say
I'm very interested in Algeria and the implications of what happens
there for other countries. And President Chirac knows much more about
it than I do. Your country has had a very long history there. And I
look forward to a rather detailed discussion about it this evening.
Q Mr. President, you're being urged by members of Congress
and by, we're told, officials of your own State Department, to proceed
with the establishment of full diplomatic relations with Vietnam. Do
you think the time is right for that? And in your view, does Vietnam
now meet your criteria for the establishment of these relations?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I have discussed this issue with some
members of Congress; you're correct about that. I specifically have
talked with Senator McCain and Senator John Kerry in my office. And I
had a -- and Senator Robb. I also had a passing conversation with
Senator Bob Kerrey about it. And, of course, I've talked with Herschel
Gober, the Deputy Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs, who
just went to Vietnam on a mission.
They brought back a number of documents, a significant
number of documents which I am now having analyzed with a view toward
trying to determine whether or not the standards that I have set for
have been met. When that analysis is complete, I will then reach a
judgment and, of course, make it public. But, I think I should await
the analysis of the documents.
I will say that the Vietnamese have been quite forthcoming.
They have worked with us. If you look at the extraordinary efforts the
United States has made to determine the fate of POWs and MIAs and the
level of success that has been achieved, even though, to be sure, there
are still outstanding cases, there's nothing quite like it in the
history of warfare. And I think that the American people should be very
proud of the efforts particularly made by our military, our active duty
military and those supporting them to determine the fate of every
possible POW and MIA.
But I cannot answer your question until the review of the
documents has been completed.
Q Mr. President Clinton, what are your thoughts about the
July 1st deadline which was set between the Palestinians and the
Israelis for implementing the second phase in the Oslo Accords? And
what are the economic incentives that you are envisioning to guard and
promote the peace process in the Middle East?
And a question for President Chirac. What is the package,
the economic package that the European Community is about to promote or
to advance to strengthen the peace in the Middle East? Thank you.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, we're working toward the deadline
and we're working closely with the Israelis and the Palestinians. As
you know we're in constant contact with both of them. And we're doing
what we can to get other supporters involved in the process of
rebuilding the Middle East. We support the establishment of a
development bank, which we believe is the least costly and most
effective way to leverage public capital with private investment to
redevelop the region.
And I can tell you that today I feel pretty hopeful about
where we are and where we're going there, both in terms of the
relationships between Israel and the Palestinians and in terms of the
larger issues of Middle East peace. I have been pleased by the courage
and the vision shown by all the leaders there in achieving the progress
that's been achieved thus far.
And of course as you know, we still have two countries to
go. We have to resolve the differences between Israel and Syria, which
are difficult, but they are both working on them. And then, of course,
we would then hopefully get an agreement with Lebanon and Israel.
So I feel hopeful about it and we're prepared to invest
quite a lot of money in it. And we believe that the institution of the
development bank is not only that favored by people in the Middle East,
but also is the most cost-effective way to leverage a large amount of
private capital with public investment. We do have to show the
Palestinian people some benefits of the peace. And we are committed to
PRESIDENT CHIRAC: Yes, I would just like to make a brief
reply to that last question. Development in these countries is a
categorical imperative. What do the Palestinians today need? They need
a house and they need a job. And for that, it takes money.
Let me just remind you that France is the largest financial
contributor to the Palestinian Authority's budget. And France has every
intention of participating in the development efforts, which to us, seem
to be exemplary. Now, we fully agree with the idea of setting up a
financial system that would be as efficient as it is quick in bringing
Now, obviously, none of this has been fully decided yet; is
it going to be a bank or is it going to be something that's easier to
set up over the short run. I think that that is more a matter of
technical detail. But France will be there and we'll be participating.
THE PRESIDENT: I owe this journalist a question because
she thought I was calling on her.
The other thing that I would emphasize in addition to
investment is -- to pick up on a point the President made in his opening
remarks -- is that we, all of us, have to be involved in a stronger
effort to combat terrorism because insofar as the Israelis and others
can succeed in combatting terrorism, the relationships between Israel
and the Palestinians can be more open. The biggest threat to the
success of the peace has been closing up the borders as a necessity of
dealing with the terror so that it drives the income of the Palestinians
down. So they will develop a lot of their own economic opportunities if
we can permit them to do so in peace and openness. And we should work
Q President Clinton, is the United States prepared to pay
its share of the creation of a rapid deployment force for Bosnia under
the U.N.? And, President Chirac, you have suggested that the time may
have come for the United States to get tough on Bosnia. What did you
mean by that remark and what specifically are you asking the United
States to do to help your troops on the ground?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: The answer to your first question is
that it depends upon whether the Congress is willing to participate as
well. And so, I have received correspondence and contacts with Congress
about this. I have begun opening discussions about it, and I am
consulting with them. But that is up to the Congress as well as to the
President. I support, in principle, this rapid reaction force, and I
think it has a chance to really strengthen the U.N. mission there. To
what extent we can contribute depends upon congressional consultations
which have only just begun.
PRESIDENT CHIRAC: Well, perhaps I must have misspoken,
even in French, because I never said that the United States had to take
a tougher stand on Bosnia. I never even mentioned the idea that they
ought to send ground troops. We have a convergent strategy for the time
being, and I fully support the American stance. I hope that this time
my point has been made understood.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 5:52 P.M. EDT