May 16, 1998


4:25 P.M. (L)


                               THE WHITE HOUSE

                        Office of the Press Secretary
                            (Birmingham, England)
For Immediate Release                                May 16, 1998

                                PRESS BRIEFING
                                 MIKE McCURRY

                               Metropole Hotel
                             Birmingham, England

4:25 P.M. (L)
	     Q	  Mike, the President is making a big pitch in 
his radio address today to the Senate to ratify the Nuclear Test 
Ban Treaty.  But since the Indians began their tests this week 
have you people detected any shift in opinion in the Senate with 
regard to ratification?
	     MR. MCCURRY:  Yes, we've detected some shift of 
opinion with respect to ratification.
	     Q	  I mean in your direction.
	     MR. MCCURRY:  I think that some people are 
reflecting on the arguments in the way Mr. Berger answered the 
question earlier.  The increased sensitivity, the heightened 
degree of concern is something that suggests a closer evaluation 
of what a comprehensive test ban regime would mean for those who 
are currently non-nuclear states, but capable of acquiring that 
type of fissile material technology.  And I think in some cases 
it probably makes for a more powerful argument.
	     Q	  Particularly with regard to Lott and Helms, how 
are you going to overcome that? 
	     MR. MCCURRY:  There have been some initial political 
analyses made by people who were already likely to be opponents 
of ratification, so I don't think we are judging the climate 
based solely on those that we expected to be either opposed or 
somewhat opposed to ratification.
	     Q	  Will we get any excerpts from Strobe 
Talbott's --
	     MR. MCCURRY:  Strobe Talbott is returning here 
tonight and, as Sandy indicated, he'll probably -- Sandy and 
Strobe will talk.  We've passed on some of the relevant aspects 
of his report to the President already.  If there's anything 
additional to pass on to him tonight, Sandy will probably do so.  
And then the President will have a more detailed briefing from 
Strobe tomorrow.  After that occurs we'll see whether Strobe 
wants to be available.  So sometime tomorrow, but not tonight.
	     Q	  Will he be available like in a briefing here?  
He might do his briefing here, for instance?
	     MR. MCCURRY:  It depends on what his availability is 
going to be.  I think he needs to be on the premises with the 
President for the purpose of participating in his bilateral with 
President Yeltsin.  So that puts him downtown and my guess is 
we'll, if we do anything, we'll have to do it with the pool.  
	     Just so I get expectations set correct, we have 
already told you -- I have and Sandy did just a short while ago 
-- told you exactly what he will tell you when he has a chance to 
talk to you.
	     Q	  Does the administration think that what you've 
done on Pakistan, both criticizing and punishing India and in 
offering incentives to Pakistan, has had an effect -- do you 
think it's had the effect of delaying at least Pakistani tests?
	     MR. MCCURRY:  Well, the government of Pakistan 
should answer that.  I think that the answer to that may well be 
obvious, but I think the government of Pakistan is the only one 
that can accurately address it.
	     Q	  You mean it's obvious because there hasn't been 
a test?
	     MR. MCCURRY:  There has not been a test to my 
	     Q	  Has the President talked at all this week to 
the Prime Minister of India and does he plan to do so?
	     MR. MCCURRY:  He has not.  He was aware that Prime 
Minister Blair intended to make the call that he did to Prime 
Minister Vaj Payee, and it was a quite firm and stiff call, as 
has been reported by my British counterparts.

	     Q	  But Clinton has no plans at this point to 
similarly talk to Mr. Vaj Payee?
	     MR. MCCURRY:  Having sent a high level emissary to 
be in direct conversation with him, having sent a letter to the 
Prime Minister, having had the Secretary of State make a 
presentation and having had less than forthcoming responses from 
the government of India, the answer is most likely no.
	     Q	  Are there any plans for the President to call 
Prime Minister Sharif?
	     MR. MCCURRY:  He has already called him once and I'm 
not aware of any plans for an additional call.  But let me check 
that question again after Deputy Secretary Talbott briefs the