USIS Washington 

09 March 1998


White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry briefed.

Following is the White House transcript:

(begin transcript)


Office of the Press Secretary

March 9, 1998


The Briefing Room

QUESTION:  Is Annan still coming this week?

MCCURRY: He plans to come later in the week. We're still finalizing
whatever itinerary he will have both here and -- we understand the
Secretary General's Office is working on their itinerary elsewhere.

Q:  Is he still welcome?

MCCURRY: Oh, absolutely. We work very closely with the Secretary

Q: Annan says that he thinks the United States needs to come back to
the Council -- required to come back for consultations, whatever that
means, before taking any sort of military actions.

MCCURRY: Consultations are consultations. If we got to the point where
there were serious questions about the government of Iraq's
willingness to honor the Memorandum of Understanding, we would, of
course, be consulting with members of the Security Council. The
Security Council has already indicated they will remain seized of this
matter, and I would expect urgent deliberations to occur if there was
any abrogation of the agreement.

Now, so far, this past weekend we've had several inspections that the
United Nations has conducted. They can tell you more about them, but
they have proceeded according to the UN satisfactorily.

Q: But is it the President's view, as previously stated, that the
United States has from previous resolutions adequate authority if he
decides that he wants to move in an armed forces way.

MCCURRY: That is exactly our position, although that does not preclude
consultations with the Security Council should there be need to
consider a new course of action.

Q: So you're saying now, Mike, that they would go to the Security
Council first before initiating military action?

MCCURRY: I'm saying that nothing that we have ever said would have
precluded us from continuing to consult with the Security Council if
the situation there became more urgent.

Q: But, Mike, I thought the whole upshot of this last round with Iraq
was that the Security Council was -- all were singing off the same
page more than they used to. As it turns out not only did you not get
the resolution that you wanted but now they're telling you that if you
want to take military action you have to go through the same things
you've done in the past, come to them and --

MCCURRY: You're misreading what the Secretary General said. He said
simply that he expected the United States would consult further in the
event that there was need to take additional action there and if there
were abrogation of the agreement of understanding between the United
Nations and Iraq. And we have prior to that stated that we would so

Q:  He used the word "required"; that's the problem.

Q: France, Russia and China still are opposed, so what I'm asking you
is it doesn't seem like you've gotten any more support for military
action than you had before this last --

MCCURRY: I think, as the Secretary General said yesterday, if there
were any abrogation of the agreement with -- in the current
circumstances, he suspected that the disposition of Council members
with respect to use of force would be much different than it's been in
the past. We concur.

Q: He used the word "required" in talking about his view that the
United States needed to consult.

MCCURRY: Sam, I -- we don't attach any particular meaning to that
other than that the Secretary General's suggestion that there would be
further consultations in the Security Council in the event there were,
you know, clearly a need to have consultations, we clearly would do


Q: Mike, this morning you were asked about Annan's comments and you
said that we, the United States, have differing views. What views
differ there?

MCCURRY: Well, the question posed to me this morning, as it ended up
-- I wasn't completely familiar with the Secretary General's remarks
-- the question was posed that some how or other we'd be required to
go there for an additional resolution, and I was indicating that we
have a different view on that. But that, as it turns out, not what the
Secretary General said.

Q: What would the White House do if the during these consultations
Russia, for instance, refused to go along with any talk of military
force, military action against Iraq? What would you do? Would you just

MCCURRY: We have had very high level consultations with all the
members of the Security Council. If there were an abrogation of this
current memorandum of understanding by the government of Iraq, our
judgment is the disposition regarding use of force would be much
different than it has been in the past.


(end transcript)