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State Dept Daily Press Briefing June 5, 2001

Daily Press Briefing Index Tuesday, June 5, 2001

BRIEFER: Richard Boucher, Spokesman

SOUTH KOREA 1 South Korean Foreign Minister's Visit

JAPAN 1-2 Foreign Minister Tanaka Visit

TAIWAN 1-2 President Chen and the APEC Summit

CHILE 1,2,3 Henry Kissinger Testimony on Horman Murder

ISRAEL / PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY 3-5,7,9-10 George Tenet Visit 3-6,7,9-10 Overall Situation / Ambassador Burn's Role / US Policy 3 Secretary Powell's Diplomatic Efforts 6,8 Chairman Arafat's Response to Terrorist Activities 6 Senator Mitchell's Recommendations 6-7 Arab Efforts to Convene Geneva Convention 7-9 Secretary Powell's Response to American Muslims' Protests 8 Terrorist Attacks / Suicide Bombers 8-9 US Arms Sales to Israel 10 Islamic Jihad and Hamas Ceasefire 10-11 UN International Labor Organization's Report on Crisis in PA Territories

IRAN 11 Khatami Remarks on US-Iranian Relations / Border Smuggling

NORTH KOREA 11 Food Aid

AFGHANISTAN 11-12 Humanitarian Crisis / US Aid

CUBA 12 Father George Zirwas Murder

PHILIPPINES 12 Missing US Navy Man

SUDAN 12 Meeting Between Garang and the Bashir / US Food Aid

AUSTRALIA 13 Australian Investigation of Babies Used for Nuclear Testing

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB # 77

TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2001 12:45 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. BOUCHER: Go ahead. You can start.

Q: Will there be a background briefing before the South Korean Foreign Minister's visit?

MR. BOUCHER: Excuse me? Are we planning on a backgrounder?

Q: Yeah.

MR. BOUCHER: No, not usually. When we have foreign ministers come, we usually don't do too much briefing in advance. We look forward to complete and thorough discussions of all the issues. That's about it.

Q: I know this was asked yesterday but it's been in the news again today in Japan. The Foreign Minister Tanaka is again insisting that she would like to come to the United States to visit the Secretary before the two leaders meet. I'm just wondering if there is any movement on this end to try to accommodate that, or if basically you're just looking to the leaders' meeting at this point.

MR. BOUCHER: It's sort of neither one way or the other. There is nothing set at this point. I don't know if it will happen or not. There is no date fixed at this point. We'll just have to see.

Q: Is that something that is being considered then, still?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't really have anything new on it. I can't take it forward from where we were yesterday. We are aware of the interest. There is no date set at this point. That's where we are.

Q: It became clear yesterday that Tanaka had said at the meeting with the German Foreign Minister on May 25th she said that Japan needs to be more independent from the US, and the US-Japan relationship is at the turning point right now. And she also suggested that Japan-US security framework be reviewed.

How do you comment on that?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I want to try to comment on every remark that is reported to have been said in meetings with other people. We have an excellent relationship with Japan that is based on close consultations between two allies, two independent nations who are allies, and we work together on a whole variety of things. I am sure we will continue to do that with Japan, but I don't think I want to start commenting on views that were reportedly expressed in meetings with people where we were not represented.

Okay, anybody in the back row have any more questions?

(Laughter.)

MR. BOUCHER: No? All right, let's go to the front.

Q: Comments by Bob Zoellick in Shanghai on whether President Chen should attend the APEC summit. Do you have a position on whether Taiwanese leaders, presidents, should be allowed to attend?

MR. BOUCHER: I haven't seen the comments by Ambassador Zoellick, so I think I'll stop at that. There is an existing practice within APEC that has been the case for many years.

Q: Which is what?

MR. BOUCHER: Which is something you can look up.

Q: No, you should know well. You worked in that part of the world.

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to try to wing it. I'm sorry. I'll be glad to look up what Zoellick said and I'll tell you what the existing practice is.

Q: Can I change the topic? Chilean Judge Juan Guzman has asked for written testimony from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger regarding any information he might have on, I guess, the murder of American citizen Charles Horman. Does State Department have any position on this, I mean, in terms of going to a former Secretary of State in a criminal proceeding like this?

MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check into that specific situation. As you know, this arose in Paris not too long ago, and at that point we responded to the French court that what they apparently were asking for was official information from the US Government and that we would be providing it on behalf of the US Government, as opposed to requiring an individual who is no longer in the government to submit things. So I don't know exactly what this request is or whether it would be handled in a similar or different fashion, but I'll look into that one for you.

Q: Can I just follow up, and you may not -- has Mr. Kissinger been advised not to go to Chile in case he would be --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know.

Q: Can we stay on murdered Americans in Latin America?

MR. BOUCHER: Let's not stretch it. We can come back to it. Let's go to Ben.

Q: What steps -- there has been a report that Mr. Tenet is going to the Middle East. And could you describe any steps, diplomatic steps, that the United States is doing to pressure the various parties to keep their cease-fires?

MR. BOUCHER: Let me review the overall situation and tell you a little bit about the Director of Central Intelligence's travel to the Middle East. First of all, I would say we have seen a lower level of violence over the past 48 hours, and we are very pleased to see that the situation appears to be headed in the right direction. It is important that we see sustained actions by the parties to maintain the situation and to make the cessation of violence endure.

The Secretary, as you know, has been on the telephone with the parties. As of briefing time today, he talked to Foreign Minister Peres, but I am sure there is chances of other phone calls. But over the last two or three days, he has talked to Prime Minister Sharon and Chairman Arafat several times.

With Chairman Arafat, he has been urging him to continue the positive steps that he has been taking, including to move forward with arresting people who are responsible for terrorism in order to keep the situation moving in the right direction.

With Prime Minister Sharon, he has encouraged the Prime Minister to maintain the policy of restraint and give the Palestinians time to act and the situation time to settle down in order to move forward, in order to create an environment where we can move forward with the other steps that are necessary.

Yesterday afternoon, as I said, he spoke to Chairman Arafat, Prime Minister Sharon also yesterday afternoon.

Now, as far as the travel of Mr. Tenet, he expects to go to the region within the next 24 hours. He will discuss the security situation with the parties in the region. We would expect him to meet with security chiefs and with responsible authorities from all sides, and then he would report back to the Secretary and the President in Washington.

His job, his goal this time, is to assess the situation and to encourage additional security cooperation between the parties.

Q: You say he'll meet with the parties. Will they all sit down together, do you know?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know at this point.

Q: Well, one of the things, I believe, was being waited on was assurances from -- were assurances from Arafat that all Palestinian security personnel would come, the high-ranking ones, now.

Did you get promises again that Dahlan would show up and --

MR. BOUCHER: As I mentioned, we would expect him to meet with security chiefs and responsible authorities from the different parties, and I'll leave it at that for the moment.

Q: Director Tenet's job description in this mission sounds awfully similar to Ambassador Burns'. How is it different, and is he going in because Ambassador Burns has not been able to get the job done?

MR. BOUCHER: What we have here is a failure to communicate. (Laughter.) I think if you remember, in recent days, not more than 48 hours ago, the way we have described Ambassador Burns' role, particularly going back to the original announcement of his role, was to work with the parties to achieve the unconditional cessation of violence and to discuss the timelines for implementation of confidence- building measures and a return to negotiation.

That is not the phrase I just used with regard to Director Tenet. Now, of course Director Tenet and Ambassador Burns' roles are complementary, they work with each other. Director Tenet works particularly on the security situation, and he is going out to assess the security situation, to meet with security chiefs and responsible authorities from both sides, and to encourage additional security coordination. That is part of the process of achieving the cessation of violence and moving forward with the steps recommended in the Mitchell Committee's Report.

Q: From now on, is it going to be the practice of the US Administration to intervene in the Middle East only when things are calm? In other words, if the situation deteriorates, you'll just stare away again, as you did in previous months?

MR. BOUCHER: I would not characterize our efforts that way, and I don't think that is a policy, nor is it a correct observation.

Q: I don't know if you remember, but you asked us to remember back 48 hours. If you remember 480 hours, this Administration wasn't going to use the CIA the way the previous administration did, not only didn't the Administration think that that is the proper use of Mr. Tenet's part -- job -- and nor did the new Israeli Government think that was appropriate.

This seems to be a change in policy involving the head of the CIA in not even -- you don't even have the guarantee of two-way talks. Hasn't this been a change of policy, and is it because the situation is so dangerous now that you have changed course?

MR. BOUCHER: I think first of all, I would say the course that this Administration has followed, whether it is an individual's or the overall effort, it is not exactly the same as in the period before. There are differences, but there is a different situation, there is a different leadership in Israel, there is a different situation on the ground. And we have made clear all along, from the very beginning, that we intended to work with the current situation, the current leaders, to try to achieve an end to the violence, an easing of the pressures, a return to normal life and a return to negotiations.

That remains the pattern that we are trying to follow, that we are trying to achieve. US diplomacy has been active all along. We have been present in the region at times. We have done phone calls. We have had meetings with the President. We've had people coming to Washington. So I don't think it should surprise you that where we have people who can work on the situation, like Director Tenet, that they would get involved in this process.

The policy is the one that we've described to you before. The policy is the one described in the Mitchell Committee recommendations to achieve the unconditional cessation of violence, to move through a cooling-off period into confidence-building measures, and to achieve a return to negotiations of the issues, including the final status issues. That is the policy. This is one of the ways we're achieving it.

Q: I'm not the one who was questioning the Administration's involvement. I was asking about -- and you sort of answered it -- the use of the Director of the CIA. As you just described it, it sounds like more than security; it sounds like he and Burns, moving in parallel tracks, are really the cutting edge of US diplomacy in the Middle East. I find this historically interesting. I don't think it has ever happened before at the CIA. Even, you recall, Clinton's use of Tenet was precedent-setting and this is even more so, as I see it.

I just wondered why you're turning the CIA job into a diplomatic job.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we are. I think we are using the Director to address the security issues because he has particular expertise and particular ability to address the security issues. He is going to go out there, he is going to assess the security situation, he is going to meet with security chiefs and responsible authorities there. He works -- in some ways, you could say he is assisting Ambassador Burns, and Burns has the overall context of achieving those steps of ending the violence, working on the timelines for confidence-building measures, and getting back to peace talks. So in some ways you could say that Burns has the larger effort of which ending the violence, and the security components that Director Tenet is working on is one piece.

Are they the cutting edge of US diplomacy? Sure. There is other things on the blade, as well. We have plenty of phone calls, meetings and discussions that are occurring in other ways, too.

Q: Can I ask you one, and to go back to the statement you made. You'd have to look at it and I'd have to recall it. It's a little bit ambiguous as to whether you want Arafat to make arrests or you're saying he is making arrests, because I haven't noticed any arrests. It's a little blurry there. That's one of the things you want him to do. He hasn't done that yet, has he? Or are you saying he has?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I don't have a specific update on whether he has arrested people or not. Clearly, that anyone involved in terrorist activity or planning terrorist activity needs to be arrested. That's the position that we're stating, that we have stated and continue to state.

Q: The author of the Mitchell Report, Senator Mitchell, said today in the UAE that he thought that an even higher level and a more sustained continued level of US engagement would be necessary to make peace in the Middle East. Has he talked to you about -- in his course of giving the recommendations through the report, are you still using him as making recommendations as he saw the situation on the ground directly to the United States?

And are there any -- have you made any decisions on Ambassador Burns to travel back to the region?

MR. BOUCHER: Ambassador Burns has remained in Amman. He didn't come back over the weekend.

Q: Oh, I'm sorry. I meant back to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

MR. BOUCHER: And at this point, he is in Amman. He is monitoring the situation. He will obviously be in touch with Director Tenet and the others, is in constant touch with our people on the ground -- Ambassador Indyk, Consular General Schlicher -- and is talking to the Secretary very frequently as well.

I don't know when the last time Senator Mitchell and the Secretary talked. They did talk several times around the release of the report and in the beginning of implementation. If Senator Mitchell's traveling right now, I don't think they have talked for a couple of days. That may be why. Obviously we continue to be interested in his views, but the recommendations in the report are the material that we are working with the parties at this point.

I think that takes care of both.

Q: Can I follow up? It's not really a follow-up, but also the Arab -- it's on the same subject.

MR. BOUCHER: It's about space aliens.

(Laughter.)

Q: It's about space aliens in the Mideast. The Arab -- a lot of Arab countries are beginning contacts with Switzerland in an effort to convene members of the Geneva Convention to protect the Palestinians from Israeli aggression. Has anybody in this building been informed of this?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure. I don't know of any new efforts. This issue has come up in the past. Our view has always been, continues to be, the parties need to make peace on the ground; the parties need to deal with each other on the ground, whether it's security cooperation or discussions or steps that each can take to make this endure and to make life better for Palestinians and Israelis. And that is where you are going to find the solutions.

Q: Richard, you may have said prior to this answer, but just to try and pin you down a little bit more, does the Department have any plans for Ambassador Burns to join Director Tenet, or will this all be done by phone, or is it a possibility?

MR. BOUCHER: They will work together, and I am sure they will be together in some meetings. I don't have an exact itinerary for you of which meetings and when they will be there. So for the moment, I am describing where they are.

Q: Well, that would mean Director Tenet would have to go to Jordan or --

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not giving out itineraries for either one right now.

Q: Outside this morning, there was a protest of American Muslims, and one of -- I mean, among their many complaints, one of which was that Secretary Powell has refused to meet them so far and speak with them. And they said they've sent countless letters, calls, faxes, to this building.

As far as you know, does he have any plans to talk to them? And if not, why not?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware of anything involving this particular group. Personally, I don't know much about this group. I'll have to check and see if we have communicated with them.

As you know, there are a wide variety of people interested in our policy, and the Secretary meets with some and not all of them. He is just not able to meet with everybody who might request it. We do try to keep in touch with Arab American, American Muslim groups in a variety of ways. The Secretary has had discussions and meetings with the leaders of the Muslim community in the past, and I am sure he will again.

Q: Over the past few days, I guess months, we have heard ideas to the effect of you didn't want to send a high-level person for the sake of sending one and wanted to do so at the appropriate time or window of opportunity. So why today? Why is now the right time?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, we think it's the proper time to send the Director of Central Intelligence out there.

Q: What precipitated it? Any indication from the parties or --

MR. BOUCHER: We are at a moment in this process where the parties have taken positive steps, where we've seen a reduction in the level of violence, where we want to see steps, further steps, that can help sustain this reduction and make it endure. We believe that Director Tenet has an ability in this circumstance to help the parties coordinate, to help encourage further coordination. And for us, he has the ability to go out and take a good assessment of the situation and what needs to be done and how we can move forward to make sure that, in fact, it does endure.

Q: If the violence is reduced subsequent to Arafat's call for a reduction in violence, does that mean to the State Department that really Arafat was behind all this violence, that he could have controlled it in the past? And if so, what does that say about Mr. Arafat?

MR. BOUCHER: I'll leave the finer points of analysis and tying things -- ABC, Q and X -- together to you. I think we have always maintained that Chairman Arafat had the ability to take steps such as the ones that he has taken. We have always said that one can speculate on what degree of control he has, but we always felt that taking steps was important. The Secretary pointed out he has moral authority as well as control over some organizations, and we have always felt it was important to see him take those steps, and now we're starting to see him take those steps. We hope he continues to take these kind of positive steps, and we look to both parties to continue their restraint, to continue their efforts, and to try to make this reduction in violence endure and, in fact, reach a complete cessation of violence.

Q: Does the State Department believe that there are suicide bombers out there? Do you have knowledge or some intelligence information about planning of attacks? Are you trying to --

MR. BOUCHER: I can't discuss intelligence information, but I think you have seen the statements from Hamas and others, some of them contradictory. But I don't think any of us are under any illusions that the people that are -- that the terrorists have stopped their activity. So it continues to be very important to us that the parties cooperate on security and that they look for ways of stopping these people who look to not only murder innocent people but disrupt the entire peace process.

Q: If I could get back to the near civil disobedience this morning from the six national Muslim organizations, one of their main issues that they talked about was the -- are the US arms shipments to Israel, and they were wondering about, I guess, if there was still a review. And I guess I'm asking, is there still any kind of review in terms of compliance with various regulations and laws controlling the shipment of US arms to Israel?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we ever said there was some particular review going on.

Q: Well, is there? I mean, what is --

MR. BOUCHER: Every arms sale has the --

Q: Yes, you said there was a review.

Q: Yeah, what is the -- Arms Export Control Act.

MR. BOUCHER: I think I said -- okay, every arms sale has the provision in it that it only be used for legitimate defensive needs. That is something we look at. I'll have to check and see if there is a particular review with a particular end date to it, but it is something that we do look at on an ongoing basis. And I'll double-check and see if there a particular review that needs to be concluded at a particular point.

Q: I just want to go back to this Muslim issue you failed to answer. Over the last few months, you have been saying that there was no point in getting too deeply engaged in this conflict because there was nothing to work with, the parties didn't have the political will to make any kind of agreements and so on.

MR. BOUCHER: I haven't said that, Jonathan. I haven't said that.

Q: People have said things along those lines.

MR. BOUCHER: Oh, other people have said things along those lines? Okay.

Q: No, no, no. People in this Department, in this Department, have said things along --

MR. BOUCHER: But I have said consistently that we are engaged, we intend to work with the parties. The Secretary has said we are engaged at all the different levels. Every time we have had a visitor in Washington we have said we're engaged. We're working on it.

Q: No, I mean the Secretary himself has said that there is a limit to the level of your engagement; you wouldn't name envoys and you wouldn't send high-level people out there until they had something to work with. Sorry, that's on the record.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, there are aspects that we have addressed, but I have always said that we are consistently engaged, and we were --

Q: Yes, you can. But there are different levels of engagement. Anyway, now that you see some of those elements in place and you are willing to engage more deeply by sending Mr. Tenet to Mr. Burns and so on, what will the criteria be for sustaining that level of engagement? And how would a breakdown in security affect your engagement in the future?

MR. BOUCHER: Jonathan, I think we have maintained a consistent and active approach to this issue, doing what we consider appropriate at any given moment to try to move the process forward. If there is an opportunity to move things forward, we will do that. If there is the particular mechanism to move things forward, we will do that.

As the Secretary has said before, and said again over the weekend, we are not going to get involved just to have meetings; we are going to try to move things forward. At this particular juncture, we think that by sending the Director of Central Intelligence out there to work on these security issues, and having Ambassador Burns, our Assistant Secretary-Designate for Near East, out there working on these issues, that we have a prospect for moving things forward; we have the prospect of helping the parties enhance their security cooperation and their efforts with each other to move things forward.

We have consistently said we are willing to do that. At various junctures, we have been asked if we were going to name a special envoy, and we have said that our general approach was to use the people that we had and that were responsible for these things, to take it on an integrated basis, people exactly like Ambassador Burns, who is now about to be the Assistant Secretary for the region.

But we have also said that should an occasion arise where we thought a special envoy might be useful, we were willing to consider that, too. So I think you are not really dealing with our characterization of our efforts; you are dealing with others' characterizations of our efforts.

Q: Another issue? No.

Q: Yes, the Islamic Jihad and the Hamas have announced that they are joining in the ceasefire --

MR. BOUCHER: Well, some of them have announced that, and some of them have announced that they are not. So it is anybody's guess.

Q: Well, has that had any impact on the Tenet mission, and is he expected to see anybody -- when you say responsible authorities, does that mean he will see Arafat and he will see Sharon?

MR. BOUCHER: Again, I don't --

Q: Or he can?

MR. BOUCHER: I declined, I think, to try to provide a precise itinerary or set of meetings. That will develop as the travel develops. He is leaving within the next 24 hours. He will be out in the region, and he will have meetings as described.

On the question of the Islamic Jihad and the Hamas, we just addressed that a minute ago. I don't think any of us are under any illusions, and one of the reasons why we do stress arresting those involved in terrorist activity and we do stress the continuing need for security cooperation and further steps is because we know there are these people that are trying to kill innocent people and disrupt the process. So it is important the sides cooperate in that regard.

Q: Okay.

Q: Have you taken a look at this report by the United Nations International Labor Organization that found that there is a major humanitarian crisis of a great magnitude in the Palestinian territories, and it is only contributing to the anger and frustration of the Palestinian people and the --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if we have dealt with that particular report. I think you have heard from us at various occasions, first of all on the assistance that we provide through the UN refugee agencies to people that are in need in those areas; second of all, that we have worked with other governments in the region to try to make sure that there was support for people in the Palestinian Authority; and third, we have consistently urged an easing of the economic pressures and economic restrictions so that people can get back to normal life.

And we recognize the hardship that people are facing. We have said repeatedly that we think that neither Israelis nor Palestinians should have to face this situation in their daily lives, and that ending the violence and returning -- easing the pressures was an important part of the program and remains an important part of the program.

Q: The Middle East, but another country? There will be an election of -- a presidential election in Iran on Friday, and today the incumbent President, Mohammed Khatami, said that he ruled out any restoration of the relation with the United States until Washington ends its sanctions against Iran.

So do you see any prospects for better relations between the two countries?

MR. BOUCHER: As you know, our practice is to try to avoid, wherever possible, getting involved in other people's elections, and I think that applies particularly to Iranian elections. So rather than try to make sweeping statements about the relationship at this juncture, I think I will just decline.

Q: Can I just follow up on that? It's kind of related, but in the next month we are pushing to finalize the sanctions against Iraq. One of those issues is smuggling on border states.

Has there been any contact between US officials in New York and officials in Iran to talk about smuggling potentially there, even though there's -- there is a rivalry, obviously?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I have to check.

Q: Okay.

Q: Have you seen reports of drought in North Korea, and is there any consideration being given to resuming food aid to North Korea?

MR. BOUCHER: We have consistently provided food aid, including in recent months, in response to requests from the World Food Program. They generally contact donors when there are these situations, and I can remember, six weeks ago I think, there was another announcement.

So I will get the latest and see if we are aware of any new requests, and obviously the United States has consistently tried to be of help to the humanitarian needs in North Korea.

Q: What about Afghanistan? There have been reports lately of severe malnutrition in the northern part of the country now. Has the UN made any further appeals for --

MR. BOUCHER: I would have to double-check on that. We are quite aware of the grave situation in Afghanistan. We have briefed you on it here, and we have responded repeatedly to the appeals and the needs for Afghanistan. I'll check to see if there is anything particularly targeted towards the northern part of the country.

Q: This is about a priest that was murdered in Cuba, Father George Zirwas from Pittsburgh, found strangled last week. Are there any developments from the Cubans on the investigation into him, and what is the status of his body being returned to the US?

MR. BOUCHER: I will have to check on that. I am not aware of anything new today, but I will check on it and see.

Q: Do you know where the latest -- where it stands -- where does it stand? Anything new?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't.

Q: Do you have anything on the missing US Navy man in the Philippines?

MR. BOUCHER: The Pentagon can probably give you more information on this. There was a group of US Navy personnel, along with some local guides and local Navy people, who went hiking on Mount Pinatubo, and during the course of their hike, they encountered gunfire, and one became separated.

At this point, four of the five US Navy officers, and I think the rest of the party, have all returned safely. There is one person still missing, and they will be carrying out a search at first light to locate him.

Q: Can you give any follow-up on the Sudan, the meeting in the Sudan between Garang and Bashir? There was a meeting of the IGAD subsequent to Mr. Powell's visit to Nairobi and --

MR. BOUCHER: No, I will have to check on that and see what we got. As you know, when we were in Nairobi with President Moi, President Moi discussed this reconvening, seeing what the IGAD process could do, and getting a meeting together soon with the Secretary. I think he also discussed it at the press conference, if I remember correctly. So we knew this was upcoming. I will see if we have any reports at this point.

Q: Have you had any response from the Sudanese Government to your offer of food aid? Have they kind of welcomed it? Have they --

MR. BOUCHER: I am not sure I have seen anything. It was not an offer of food aid to the government; it is still channeled through the nongovernmental organizations.

Q: They haven't come back to you and said, thank you very much?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure if they have had any statements on it at this point.

Q: Do you have anything on Australian investigations that the bodies of Australian stillborn babies were sent to the United States for nuclear testing in the '50s and '60s? Are you familiar with that? That's the space alien -- (laughter) --

MR. BOUCHER: No, that's a new one on me. I wasn't in this job in the '50s and '60s, so --

Q: Well, apparently the Australians are launching an investigation into some reports that Australian babies were sent to the US for nuclear energy experiments.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know anything about it. I am not sure that we would be involved in researching that kind of thing anyway.

Q: Thank you.

MR. BOUCHER: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:20 p.m.)


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