State Department Noon Briefing

JULY 12, 2001

QUESTION: Can you talk about reports of a memorandum sent to US
diplomatic posts around the world about how we might come into
conflict with the ABM treaty during upcoming missile tests?
MR. BOUCHER: It won't surprise those of you who see me walk out with
my big book every day that we do try to inform our officers of what
our policy is and what they might say about it, and we did so with a
cable to our embassies that went out to all our embassies and
diplomatic posts about a week ago, that lays out the President's
arguments for a new strategic framework, that lays out the
implications of that for missile defense, for the need for missile
defense and the kind of missile defense we might be wanting to build,
and which lays out the questions and answers and issues involved with
the ABM treaty for our diplomatic officers overseas, so that they can
advocate the US position, so that they can support our efforts and
hopefully convince people overseas that this is necessary.
Enough of you have gotten hold of this document, it's an unclassified
cable, to see that it really parallels closely what the President said
in his speeches, what he said in his press conference with President
Putin and the other things we have been saying. Also, I would say in
general, none of the material comes as a surprise to the allies
because we have been talking to them in a series of consultations. You
will remember the trips made by Mr. Hadley and Mr. Armitage, Mr.
Grossman, Mr. Wolfowitz and others a couple months ago.
In terms of the overall policy and the goals laid out by the
President, we are seeking a new strategic framework that encompasses a
broad area with a number of steps from offense to defense to
nonproliferation. And it is being laid out by the Deputy Secretary of
Defense in testimony on the Hill today. So I don't think I have much
to add to what he says.
QUESTION: Would you like to respond to the reaction of a senior
Russian official in Moscow, who believes that it's - well, has
described it, the policy of consulting Russia, as a smoke screen for
the genuine intent, which is to move away from ABM, with or without
Russian agreement.
MR. BOUCHER: Is this before he listened to Mr. Wolfowitz's testimony
or after?
QUESTION: I can't check that one --
MR. BOUCHER: I can't check that either. But I would say, if he did
listen to Mr. Wolfowitz's testimony, he would see quite clearly that
we made clear there what we've made clear all along, that our goal is
not somehow just to break the ABM Treaty. Our goal is to have an
effective missile defense, to work cooperatively with allies, friends
and partners in doing that, to move beyond the constraints of the ABM
treaty, and that with regard to Russia, our goal is to work this out
and reach an agreement with Russia on how we go about putting in place
a new strategic framework. That's what the President did when he met
with President Putin, what the Secretary has done in his meetings with
Foreign Minister Ivanov, and that is what we will continue to do.
QUESTION: Richard, do you have any fresh words on the International
Olympic Committee decision due in 24 hours?
MR. BOUCHER: We try not to be fresh around here. No.