For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 14, 2001
Press Gaggle by Ari Fleischer
The Scandic Hotel Crown Goteborg
6:30 P.M. CET
Q And I'm still not
certain -- did Rumsfeld come with a recommendation, did English* come
with a recommendation? Where did the -- the President
conferred, did not ask them -- did not instruct them to come to this
FLEISCHER: No. This is something the President
charged the Secretary with and the Department of the
Navy. There are people in the Department of the Navy who
think differently about it, but the people at the top made the
decisions they made?
Q Civilian? MR.
FLEISCHER: You would have to ask the department to tick-tock
it. Q Did they brief
the White House yesterday? MR.
FLEISCHER: -- speak to the White House.
Q Did they brief the
White House yesterday? Is that right?
MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, there was a
meeting yesterday with the White House.
Q Is this not just an unabashed outreach to
Hispanic American voters? MR.
FLEISCHER: No, this was a decision made on the
merits. But the President had two concerns in
mind. One is ensuring that our military is trained for the
mission required, and two, listening to the legitimate concerns of the
people of Puerto Rico.
Q The first one -- you come up short on the
first one, though, don't you? MR.
FLEISCHER: Can what?
Q Make sure that the military mission --
MR. FLEISCHER: The President is
satisfied that the military mission can be maintained, given this
decision, and the timeline of the decision.
Q And why is he satisfied about
that? I mean, how did the Defense Department reassure him --
MR. FLEISCHER: He's confident, as
he's indicated today, the Department of the Navy will find another
facility. Q Are any
other similar situations being studied, for instance, Okinawa?
MR. FLEISCHER: I can only address
Vieques. I'll have to go back and talk about anything
else. This is just Vieques.
Q Does this mean that civil disobedience
works? (Laughter.) MR.
FLEISCHER: Well, I was just thinking, should I answer that
here in Stockholm, or wait until we
leave. (Laughter.) No, it means the President
makes his decisions on the merits of the issues that he's facing.
Q Is this a victory for
Al Sharpton? Imprisoned Al Sharpton?
Q Ari, the Puerto Rican
leaders say that the decision doesn't change anything because the
bombing was supposed to stop in two years under a Clinton agreement,
and then the real motivation is to avoid the July referendum.
MR. FLEISCHER: I think we're
replowing old ground. I've said everything I can say on
Vieques. Q Ari, could
you give us a little of the behind-the-scenes atmospherics about the
meeting, the discussion about global warming? Was there any
fists pounded on the table, or -- MR.
FLEISCHER: No, it was described to me as very
cordial. I think the word for was used. Yes, it
was described to me as a very nice atmosphere. People talked
about the common responsibilities. The President --
Q Are these the
President's words? MR.
FLEISCHER: The President -- no, these are
paraphrases. The President talked about how we must be
together, we must always work together, even when we disagree, and
we'll always do so in an atmosphere of cooperation. It's
been -- yesterday and today, both -- Spain as well -- were marked by
the friendliness of the reception the President received, and the
friendliness with which all the meetings were conducted.
Q What message does he
have in his big speech in Poland that he hasn't been saying all week
long? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION
OFFICIAL: I think you're going to hear a very broad and big
speech tomorrow about post-Cold War Europe and what it means for Europe
to be free and at peace and whole, and how Europe, as well as the
United States, stands on the edge of this post-Cold War world with so
much opportunity and promise, from trade, to peace, to freedom, to
advance the cause of people, hundreds of millions of people in Europe
and the United States.
Q And he hasn't said that all week?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think it's
interesting to go to Warsaw, to go to one of the former Soviet bloc
countries -- Q That is
Warsaw? MR. FLEISCHER: -- on the
eve of a meeting with the President of Russia, and an American
President with a Polish NATO ally and to reflect about what this new
post-Cold War world is shaping up as. There's really
something historic about that.
Q Would you point to anything --
MR. FLEISCHER: We still are in the
new stages of the post-Cold War world. Remember, it was only
12 years ago the Berlin Wall was standing --
Q Yes, a lot of us were still here listening to
former President Bush talk about the post-Cold War world. We
were hearing this for 12 years. (Laughter.)
MR. FLEISCHER: It's a good thing
the post-Cold War world still is going.
Q The Cold War is still over.
Q But is there anything
you would point to that he is going to say that was not the view of
either President Clinton or former President Bush?
MR. FLEISCHER: You can -- you will
infer that tomorrow. I mean, you will hear for yourselves
and you'll -- with it.
Q I mean, there has been a consistent
message. You know, Europe free and whole and so on and so
forth, and the trade and democracy. Is there any new wrinkle
that we should anticipate? MR.
FLEISCHER: I've given you the broad overview of
it. I don't want to go beyond that.
Q Does he seek to
define post-Cold War world as something other than post-Cold War?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, it's -- Europe
whole, at peace and free. I mean, that's the words he's
going to use tomorrow. And --
Q Those are the words he used at the D-Day
speech, right, last week?
Q To describe Europe.
MR. FLEISCHER: Absolutely. But think about that
vision of Europe. It had not been like that; it had been
divided. There was an Iron Curtain. It's
gone. Peace. There used to be terrible conflict
throughout the Balkans. Now, it's much more limited than it
ever was before. The fact of the matter is that our alliance
with Europe and the way Europe is facing its future has made it more
peaceful, more whole and more free.
Q Does he mention Iron --
MR. FLEISCHER: And that's a
change. I mean, it's not always been like that, and when
those changes take place, I know those words sound very routine to
Americans, but the fact of the matter is, those words should be
rejoiced around Europe and the United States.
Q Does he reference the Iron
Curtain? Is there some parallel to that? You know
-- MR. FLEISCHER: I think he will
talk about what it was like before. He will talk about that.
Q Is there any sense
that this President in particular needs to say these words, given what
may be the perception that at least during the campaign that he wasn't
as internationalist, perhaps as some of his predecessors?
MR. FLEISCHER: Actually, I think
the perception during the campaign was that the President took on an
element within his own party that was very isolationist and
anti-trade. And the President successfully defeated that
element in the primary. And that the President represents,
as he puts it, the distinct American internationalism. And
that's a very international part of our Republican Party. So
I differ with the premise on that question.
Q Did he change whether or not he agrees on
troops in Europe, having a -- I think he said that he still would be
withdrawing. MR. FLEISCHER: We
believe that he said during the campaign that our troops should come
home as quickly as possible, and that we should have open-ended
missions. And what you're seeing now is we have already
reduced by some 750 the number of Americans serving in SFOR, and the
President has said that we went in together, we'll come out together,
and he still believes that we need to come out as quickly as possible.
Let's just do one more. I really
came over here to say hi to everybody.
Q Hi. MR.
FLEISCHER: No, I'm here to say bye to
Q To what degree is the President aware of the
protests, and how does he feel about them here?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think every modern
American President has gotten used to the fact that at large summit
meetings, protestors are present. But the
fact of the matter is, you know, they really are hard to see from the
places where the President travels and goes. So he knows
they're there, but it's a small presence. Thanks,
everybody. Q You said
that the meeting was very cordial. Could you just elaborate,
explain what you mean exactly? I mean --
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, that was -- I
was not in the luncheon, and that was passed on to me by somebody who
was in the luncheon and the meeting beforehand. So I just
would like to -- Q I
mean, allies, some partners said something -- I mean, according to your
opinion, supposedly they were open -- MR.
FLEISCHER: I would just give you what I was given
there. I'm not going to tell you about something I wasn't
there to hear? Q So
why you say cordial? MR.
FLEISCHER: Because the person who was in the room who
briefed me on it, that's how he described it.
Q That's the only expression he used?
MR. FLEISCHER: And very friendly.
Q Was European defense
discussed? MR. FLEISCHER: ESDP?
END 6:40 P.M. CET