ACCESSION NUMBER:323794 FILE ID:POL304 DATE:01/26/94 TITLE:WHITE HOUSE REPORT, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 26 (01/26/94) TEXT:*94012604.POL WHITE HOUSE REPORT, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 26 (Patriots, Russia, Clinton health, visitors) (640) NEWS BRIEFING -- Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers discussed the following topics: CLINTON "LOOKS FAVORABLY" ON PATRIOTS FOR SEOUL Myers told a questioner the president "looks favorably" on supplying Patriot missiles to South Korea, but has made no decision to deploy them there. She said the U.S. commander in South Korea, General Gary Luck, included shipment of Patriots in his review of security for the peninsula. "Final deployment decisions have not been made," Myers said, but she noted that the commander believes such deployment "would enhance security for the 1egion" and "we're taking his recommendation very seriously." The New York Times reported that the administration is thinking about sending 36 Patriot anti-missile launchers to South Korea. The Times story said if North Korea were to attack South Korea, Pyongyang would likely launch Scud missiles against air fields and ports to blunt retaliatory air attacks and slow distribution of supplies and reinforcements. The Patriot is designed to protect such installations by destroying incoming missiles or knocking them off course. Although the Patriot was hailed as an effective weapon during the Persian Gulf War, later surveys by Israel and the U.S. Army questioned its ability to protect population centers; it appeared to work reasonably well in protecting Saudi Arabian ports. Myers told a questioner that "a number of steps" must be taken before a decision to deploy the Patriot is reached. Asked if the Patriots have been "overhauled so they'll work" better, Myers replied that "I think that the missiles have been deemed effective, particularly to protect things like ports and air strips and bases, which is General Luck's objective in recommending them." WARY EYE ON RUSSIA PROMISED Clinton remains hopeful that Russian President Boris Yeltsin can keep the promises of economic reform made during the Moscow summit, Myers said, but the administration "will be watching to see what the policies are" as the new government is formed. "We're more interested in the policies than the personalities," she added. Questioned about Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's rejection of the "romanticism" of market reform, Myers said, "We're going to watch the situation very closely. This is something we obviously take very seriously and we're very concerned about. We're going to continue to work with the Russians to encourage them in every way we can to stay on the road to reform." She said the administration "continues to be very concerned about the overall situation in Russia. It is our primary strategic concern and we will continue to work with the Russian government in their transition." Myers was responding to questions about testimony given by James Woolsey, director of Central Intelligence, before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Woolsey told the committee that prospects for economic reform have faded in Russia in the face of electoral changes and the possibility of instability and hyperinflation. Myers said Washington will work with Moscow to direct both bilateral and multilateral aid "to ways that can be most useful in helping them make the transition" and in promoting stability. CLINTON'S VOICE GIVES OUT The president canceled speaking engagements for January 26 and 27 under doctor's orders to rest his voice, which was reduced to a hoarse whisper after he delivered the 63-minute State of the Union address and took calls on the White House comment telephone line. Myers said the president was examined by a White House physician who ordered Clinton "not to speak too much." MAJOR VISIT PLANNED The British prime minister will meet with Clinton February 28, Myers said, "to continue their ongoing dialogue on a broad range of issues." She said the leaders will discuss the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit, ways to promote economic development, Russia, and Northern Ireland. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl will meet Clinton January 31. NNNN 1 .