[EXCERPT] DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY BRIEFING
BRIEFER: NICHOLAS BURNS THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 1997
This morning the Secretary addressed the senior staff meeting, which
included all our assistant secretaries in the building. She talked to
them about the issue of reorganization of the foreign affairs
agencies. She said that she believed that this is a huge and important
step forward for the Executive Branch of our government.
Certainly now, we will look towards integrating public diplomacy, arms
control and security issues into one agency over the next three years.
We will have a much tighter relationship, closer relationship with
AID. She really appealed to all of us in the room to approach this
creatively, flexibly and with a certain degree of hope that along with
an internal reorganization of the State Department, we are going to
have a leaner and more efficient State Department in the next two to
Q: Nick, the North Koreans have made a food deal a precondition to
four-party talks. They've added a few other preconditions. I'd like to
ask you to comment on those. And the United States in the past have
rejected food aid as a precondition for talks. Now, is this a
non-starter on the part of the North Koreans?
BURNS: Yes. We will not agree to any preconditions to start these
talks. As we said yesterday -- and I'm going to be very brief about
this, because we've gone over this every day this week. The central
point is this, if there's a critical food shortage in North Korea, why
in the world would we link food assistance to the slow-as-molasses
political talks that have taken 44 years not to begin? The North
Koreans have a direct interest in getting the food aid there. They
surely can't want to tie it political talks that may or may not begin
at any time during this year. That is our answer. David.