June 4, 2000


4:03 P.M. (L)

                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                             (Moscow, Russia)
            For Immediate Release                                  June 4,

                               PRESS BRIEFING BY

                               The National Hotel
                                  Moscow, Russia
4:03 P.M. (L)

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Later this afternoon, President
Clinton and President Putin will sign a memorandum of agreement, whose
formal title is on the Establishment of the Joint Center for the Exchange
of Data from Early Warning Systems and Notification of Missile Launches.
Informally, this whole endeavor over the last couple of years has been
known as the Shared Early Warning Initiative.

     It builds on a joint statement that was agreed, as was noted earlier,
between President Yeltsin and President Clinton here in Moscow in early
September of 1998, when they had a joint statement on the exchange of early
warning type of data, and the potential establishment of a multilateral
notification system for the launch of ballistic missiles.

     This culminates a set of negotiations that have been ongoing off and
on, given the nature of our relationships here between the two countries,
but were intensified this spring and brought to conclusion just within the
last week or so, and were really finally brought to conclusion by this
impending summit and concluded as we have gone into the negotiations today.

     The purpose of this whole effort is to provide a near real-time
exchange of the detected information about the launch of ballistic missiles
and space-launch vehicles that are detected by the warning systems of the
two sides.  The warning systems in this case are the space-based
satellites, infrared systems, and the early warning radars each possesses.

     The reason we do this is we seek to strengthen strategic stability
between the sides, mutual deterrents, by further reducing the danger that
ballistic missiles might be launched on the basis of false warning of
attack.  There has been concern about this possibility off and on for many,
many years.  The concerns were raised again in the mid-1990s on this, and
this led to the initiative to begin work in this area, which is now
concluding with the agreement to move forward to create a joint warning

     The joint warning center in question will be located here in Moscow.
That location had been agreed last in September, but now we've gone into
much more detail, and that center will be established over the next year or
so.  And then there will be a period of operational testing for about three
months, and then the center will be fully operational.

     Now, there are other purposes that are also served by the creation of
this center.  One of those purposes is to increase the mutual confidence
between the sides about the effectiveness of their early warning systems.
And it also is a way to focus attention on the continuing worldwide
proliferation of ballistic missiles.

     As far as the operation of the center is concerned, it will be the
first time that American and Russian military personnel will be permanently
involved in a joint military operation over an extended period.  Once
established, the current agreement provides for 10 years of operation of
this joint warning center, and with the option to successively, by mutual
agreement, extend the existence of the center for subsequent five-year

     The type of information that is provided is the type of information
that these launched section sensors typically produce -- the geographic
area from which a launch has occurred, the time at which a launch has
occurred, the generic type of missile as best they can detect that is
involved here, the azmuth of the launch, the projected area of impact of a
ballistic missile, and the projected time at which that missile would

     For space launches, of course, instead you get the front end.  You get
the information about the time of launch, the area of the launch, the
generic nature of the missile in question, and the general azmuth in which
it is proceeding.

     This whole center, of course, as you may well remember, builds upon
recent successful experience between the two sides.  At the time of the
rollover into the year 2000, there was a temporary center of very similar
character that was established in the last days of 1999 at Colorado
Springs, Colorado.  It was jointly manned by Russian and American military
experts from the last days of '99 in through the first couple of weeks of
the year 2000.  That experience was very valuable for us in getting a way
to work out what amount to the procedures, the modes of presentation of the

     What will happen will be that the personnel of the two countries, once
the joint center is established, will sit side by side and see desktop
computer projections, geographic map-oriented projections, of the relevant
information once detections are made.  This information will also be
provided in alpha numeric form about longitude and latitude and so forth,
but easily the most visible and accessible information is that that will be
available in these projections.

     Let me close at this time and be open to your questions.

     Q    Would this system give Russians full access to any information
the United States had about a ballistic missile launch anywhere in the

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The system is to be set up in phases,
and by the end of the third phase, it will include information on ballistic
missile and space launches of third parties.  It will only do so when there
is some indication, because of the azimuth of the projected missile or
space launch, that it might come over the territory of one of the two
parties that are signatories to this agreement.

     There is also a provision, if either side believes that there is some
ambiguity, and there might be danger of false interpretation with serious
consequences, they have the option of providing that information to the
other side.

     Q    -- it would be completed by when?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The phases, they will begin the whole
process, if we are able to keep the schedule we've projected, in the fall
of 2001.  And we seek to move through the phases kind of as rapidly as
possible.  We don't -- we look to them to be in the matter of a few months.

     Q    I'm sorry, this will be blind to any launches that would not be
headed for either the United States or Russia?  Are you going to filter
that out?  Or why would you not want to know any launch?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  It would be -- the data provided
between the two parties will include all of their ballistic missiles.  As
far as the third parties are concerned, it is limited in the manner in
which I just described.

     Q    But how is it limited?  I mean, is it limited technically, or
just because you're filtering it out?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  It's limited by the filtering that
will be done by both sides, because this was the agreement on what they
agreed to display.

     Q    But won't you lose a lot of valuable potential information by
doing that?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We don't think so, not for the
purposes it was set up.  The purposes it was set up is to avoid the
possibility of false warning of attack.

     Q    But if the President wants to share information with the allies
to provide for a missile defense system that everyone could use, why would
you not want to also look at this information?  If someone launches a
missile towards England or something, it wouldn't know that, it wouldn't
tell you?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  This is about a shared early-warning
system between the United States and Russia.  These are the parameters
under which that sharing will occur.

     Q    On that same subject, though, there was a famous incident several
years ago in which a Norwegian research missile launched, and the Russians
apparently misinterpreted that as something else.  As I understand it,
under the system you set up that missile launch, were it to be repeated,
would not be part of that system?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, that's not really the case,
because it does provide that information on detected launches which could
create an ambiguous or dangerous situation will be provided by each side.

     Q    Who makes that decision?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  -- we would consider that -- well, it
will have to be made on a case-by-case basis as a case emerges.  So it's
within the warning system networks of the two sides.

     Q    When you say it would automatically, given the very narrow time
constraints that you're operating under here --

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  This is the manner in which it was
agreed and arranged.

     Q    Will Russia and the United States have equal access to all the
data that is picked up by this system?  Even if --

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes.  The system displays in the
joint warning center, side by side, the data of the two sides according to
these parameters.  Each side provides it, makes it available for real-time
consultation between the specialist officers who are there.  Those officers
in turn will be in reliable direct communication to the appropriate command
posts, command centers that concern themselves with these matters on both

     Q    Is the information provided instantly?  And how does this compare
with any similar system of sharing information the U.S. might have with
Britain or any friendly, civilized countries?  (Laughter.)

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The information is processed
information, but it is provided within a time which is measured in a minute
or less.  So it is virtually real-time information, because that's what's
important in this case.  And it is similar in fidelity to that provided to

     Q    Britain?

     Q    Could you mention some of the others?


     Q    You mean it's a security matter whether we share information with

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I'm not sure I have an accurate --

     Q    But it isn't a security matter whether we share information with

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  In all truth, I'm not up to date on
all the ones there are --

     Q    I see.  Okay.

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  -- and I'd rather not begin those and
leave someone out, and something of the sort.

     Q    Can you tell us, does this include only detections and not
planned launches?  And what's the volume of data, based on past experience,
that you expect to exchange through this?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I don't know the volume of data.  I
could try to look into that.

     We hope to complement this with a pre-launch notification system of a
multi-national character, which was proposed back in 1998.  And we have
been negotiating with the Russians, and continue to negotiate with them, on
that matter.  And we believe that the best combination will be when you
have a pre-launch notification database, which in turn can be consulted as
one in fact encounters the detection of real launches.  It remains to be
seen when we complete that second part of this overall initiative.

     Q    So just to follow up, if we launch some kind of missile in a
test, we don't tell them about it until it actually fires?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We have some other obligations that
others might be able to tell, that are connected to our previous strategic
arms control agreements in this manner.  I can check on the specifics, but
in those type of things, we already tend to exchange information under
earlier agreements.

     Q    Was the motivation for this agreement the Norwegian incident,
where Russia went on alert over that research --

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  It is certainly one of the most
publicly known incidents that did spark broader interest in this potential
problem of launching on the basis of false warning that one was under
attack.  I wouldn't say it was the only source; for instance, this type of
idea was being discussed between the two sides as early as the early 1990s,
and that preceded the Norwegian incident.

     Q    To follow up on that, have there been a number of incidents where
the Russians have gone on alert that we know about that haven't been

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Not to my knowledge.

     Q    Who actually makes the display?  Will there be a Russian display
which then they can relay information to the United States side, and will
there be a U.S. display which there would then be -- which the U.S. would
relay information to Russia about?  It would not be the same display?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  They are not a single integrated
display, they are side-by-side displays of the kind you described.

     Q    If we happened to see, say, an Israeli launch or something like
that, and it wasn't headed to Russia, we are under no obligation to say a
word about it; is that correct?


     Q    Thank you.

     Q    Who actually makes the decision about whether a third country
launch is sufficiently ambiguous to warrant --

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Clearly, those parameters will be
established by the particular operational entities that monitor the launch
process all the time.  And they will have very clear guidelines about the
provision of most things, and they will have to have some guidelines on
this question of potentially threatening.

     Q    Going back to the case of the Norwegian incident where one side
-- the West -- thought it was completely unambiguous and unthreatening, and
the other side saw it as potentially quite ominous -- I mean, isn't there a
potential disconnect here?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I think not.  We specifically tried
to capture that kind of an incident, and we would believe that rocket
launches close to the periphery of Russia would generally merit such
attention.  On the numbers question, there will be 16 Americans associated
-- I mean, the individual, the military personnel that worked on this
process.  There will be a counterpart number of 17 Russians that are
directly in the crews that rotate and provide the round-the-clock coverage.
Once this is done, it is round-the-clock, 24 and seven, through the 10

     There are another 60 or so personnel that will be associated with the
security and upkeep of the installation itself here in Moscow.

     Q    Will the Colorado facility be shut down or is that defunct now,
or is that --

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  It's already been shut down.  It was,
in fact, before the rollover, but it proved to be a very useful test bed on
both hardware and procedures.

     Q    What information will this provide to American security analysts
and is this available already through the assets the United States
currently has?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The purpose here is to provide near
real-time launch detection data which tends to have for a ballistic
missile, I mean, tends to have a half-life in importance only for a few
tens of minutes.  That data doesn't tend to be made available to American
security analysts that I'm aware of on any regular basis.  That's really
the purpose of this, is to use this what's called tactical warning data and
make it mutually available.

     Q    Let me go back to the disposal of plutonium --

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  You've got the wrong person --

     Q    I guess I'm not clear why exactly you need a joint center.  I
mean, why can't the two countries sort of provide the information to each
other?  Is there a symbolic element to this?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, it's much more than symbolic.
There certainly is a symbolic element, but it's much beyond that.  It
provides a direct, face-to-face ability to do consultations.  If there is
some issue of ambiguity, it allows one of the two sides that has some
uncertainties to immediately deal with people they know on a day to day
basis and relay their uncertainties and those individuals in turn are in
direct, permanent, secure communications back to their higher headquarters,
if you will, and they are able, therefore, to relay that same concern to
the senior leadership on the other side and seek to resolve any ambiguities
within minutes.

     Q    So given that, how high a level are the officials going to be
that are going to be looking at this?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The officials here tend to be, I
guess, up through probably about company-grade officers, up through
lieutenants and captains, that will be the professionals manning this.  The
heads of the teams are likely to be somewhat more senior than that.  But
they will have access to watch officers on both sides who are colonels and

     Q    And will there be any new national technical means developed for
this, or will it use only existing?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  It is to use the existing means.  As
those means evolve over time, they will be coupled into the system.

     Q    Not specifically for this?

     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Not specifically for this.  This is
to take advantage of the existing and the evolving warning systems of the
two sides.

     MR. HAMMER:  Thank you very much.  Just an announcement in terms of
further briefings today.  You may have heard that after the President's
press conference, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott will come for an
on-the-record, on-camera briefing, and then after that, Gene Sperling will
brief on the economic summit.  Thank you.

     Q    When will that be?

     MR. HAMMER:  It's all depending on when the press conference ends.
Yes, immediately after the press conference.

      THE PRESS:  Thank you.

     END  4:20 P.M. (L)