Colin Powell IVs On NBC, ABC And Fox News
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release June 18, 2001
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On NBC Evening News with David Gregory In Warsaw, Poland
June 15, 2001
MR. GREGORY: Tomorrow, when they meet for the first time face to face, advisors say Bush will try to allay Putin's concerns. But today, Secretary of State Colin Powell tells NBC News the US is looking for a partner on missile defense, not permission.
What is the United States prepared to offer President Putin to get him to go along?
SECRETARY POWELL: A more stable strategic relationship. And if they continue to insist that they do not wish to move in this direction, we will have to move anyway.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release June 18, 2001
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On ABC's "This Week" with Cokie Roberts
June 17, 2001
SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, Cokie.
MS. ROBERTS: And Happy Father's Day.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much.
MS. ROBERTS: The President said after his meeting with Vladimir Putin, "Mark me down as very pleased.'' Why? He didn't agree with him on anything.
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, the purpose of the first meeting was not to get an agreement on anything in particular; it was to create a relationship between the presidents of two very important countries who had never met each other before. And they succeeded. They talked about issues where we have mutual interests and agreement, and they talk about issues where we disagree.
But it was a great first start. These two men have formed a relationship, they looked in each others' eyes. As I said to my Russian colleague, my foreign minister colleague, they took out tape measures and measured each other, and liked what they saw. And I think it's a good way to start this kind of relationship.
There are tough issues ahead but, more important than that, there are many areas of cooperation, and the two presidents pointed that out yesterday, whether it's getting business delegations to go to Russia and having the Secretary of Commerce lead that, and Secretary O'Neill do more, and Trade Representative Zoellick, and what I'm going to be doing with the Foreign Ministry and with Don Rumsfeld will be doing with the Defense Ministry.
So there are many areas of cooperation. We want Russia to keep looking to the West. We believe that Russia's future lies as part of an enlarged Europe. And that was also the point the President made in his Warsaw speech, and his comments also with respect to NATO enlargement. An enlarged NATO does not threaten Russia in any way. That is the point he tried to make. In fact, when you look at the three nations that came into NATO a couple of years ago, their relations with Russia are perhaps better than they have ever been. So NATO membership does not threaten or should not cause Russia any problems. We hope to persuade them of that.
MS. ROBERTS: You talk about this relationship and building up some trust, but there have been many reports recently about Russia under Putin being a place that is cracking down. Scholars are being jailed. The United States Government has actually issued warnings to people doing business in Russia that their conversations could be monitored, their e-mails monitored.
Should you be trusting this man?
SECRETARY POWELL: We are troubled by these kinds of issues, and the President spoke to Mr. Putin about our concerns with respect to media freedom, with respect to human rights, and that will be part of the dialogue, just as it has always been in the past with Moscow. We will talk about human rights, we will talk about openness, we will talk about the need for the rule of law.
And if you really want to be a solid democratic country that is part of this enlarging Europe, part of this enlarging world, then you have to meet certain standards. There are certain membership standards that you have to meet if you want to be accepted. And those include a free press, the rule of law, getting rid of corruption. And it is a message we give to all of the new emerging countries that we speak with.
MS. ROBERTS: And does that include membership in the WTO, which the President said he thought would be useful?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think it would be very useful for Russia to be a member of the WTO, because with membership in the WTO, you're signing on to rules, to standards, to conditions that you must meet to be a participating member of the WTO.
So as part of this process of moving forward, I think it will be very good for Russia to become a member of the WTO, just as we recently have found that China has met the conditions that will allow accession to the WTO.
This is good. It is part of an international framework of rules that are based on the rule of law, based on economic empowerment, removing trade barriers, items of this nature, that I think allows nations to create wealth, wealth that will benefit their people. Wealth comes from trade.
MS. ROBERTS: But you're not saying that China has freedom of the press and human rights?
SECRETARY POWELL: Not at all, and we point that out. I have been very aggressive with respect to criticizing China's human rights policy, as has President Bush and as has the Administration. We have done so in Geneva at the Human Rights Convention recently.
MS. ROBERTS: Now, on the subject of the ABM treaty, there was not agreement, and there were stories here while you were there from scientists saying that the United States can test under the treaty. And here's a quotation from a scientist: "They're not seeking to find a way to do this within the treaty,'' said Jack Mendelsohn of the Arms Control Association. "They want to break the treaty.''
Why not do this testing within the framework of the treaty when you have all of Europe saying they want to keep the treaty?
SECRETARY POWELL: There's a lot of testing that is being done now, there is a lot of development being done now. It is all treaty- compliant. So we are not looking for a way to break the treaty. We are looking for a way to develop missile defenses that are effective and that will work.
But we know that the treaty constrains how far you can go. There will come a point in time, with all of the technologies that Secretary Rumsfeld is looking at, where you run into a specific prohibition contained in the treaty. And at that point, we are going to have to find a way to remove that prohibition, remove that constraint, and it may involve removing the treaty as an obstacle to development.
But we're not looking for a way to break the treaty. If this treaty allowed us to do what we needed to do and have to do to provide a limited missile defense, it could stay in effect forever. But it doesn't. It is designed to keep us from moving in this direction. And that was the original purpose of it, but that purpose no longer exists. It is a different world. It is not 1972.
MS. ROBERTS: But you didn't seem to convince the Europeans of that. Jacques Chirac says it's "a fantastic incentive to proliferate.''
SECRETARY POWELL: It is not a fantastic incentive to proliferate. If there was no ABM Treaty tomorrow, there is no nation that's going to run out and start developing nuclear weapons just for the sake of it. I think that is a false characterization. And while some of our European friends continue to have concerns about this, other of our European friends were quite supportive, such as the Spanish and the Poles and others.
And so what we have to do is to keep consulting, as the President said he would do, but make it also clear, as the President did, we are going to move forward with missile defense because we think it deals with the kind of new threat that was unanticipated back in 1972, but we had better anticipate it now that we are approaching 2002.
MS. ROBERTS: Now, but the missile defense, we don't have a Pentagon budget for 2002, and how is missile defense even going to fit into that? There's a lot of criticism on Capitol Hill now that Secretary Rumsfeld has not sent up a budget and that he's getting criticized by a lot of military people.
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, there is work on an amendment to the 2002 submission, and I am sure that Secretary Rumsfeld is looking at all of the studies that have been done for him over the last four months. He has had a variety of task forces giving him ideas. And I am sure that in due course he will submit a program that deals with all of the President's priorities and the needs of the military in 2002, the budget amendment for 2002, as well as in 2003.
MS. ROBERTS: But it's a little late for this.
SECRETARY POWELL: I think you'll see the first major change -- and here I am a little out of my portfolio, but I don't think Don will mind, and I do have certain memories from my days in the Pentagon. I am sure that when you see the 2003 submission, which will be put to bed in the fall of this year and then be submitted with the President's budget early next year, you will see all of the pieces coming together.
And so right now, Don is continuing to do these very, very detailed studies to come up with a cohesive, comprehensive plan as to how the Pentagon should move forward with that.
MS. ROBERTS: But those studies are -- the criticism is, they're going on in private. And you've been there, as you say. What would you recommend to him that he do to get away from this kind of criticism?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, Don is talking to the chiefs, he is talking to the CINCs, he is also talking to people who are not part of the system. And I think that's healthy. What he has done in recent weeks is to take the products that have come out of this study process and give it to what's called the QDR, the Quadrennial Defense Review, which is the inside process within the building.
So the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all the other worried persons in the Pentagon are now receiving the results of Don's studies so that they can plug that into the formal process of coming up with a program and a budget submission. So I think this is the kind of tick- tock that will fade away in due course. Don knows that building; he has been the Secretary of Defense before and he knows how to get to the right answer.
MS. ROBERTS: The other, of course, big issue in Europe was the question of global warming. And again, you don't seem to have convinced people that abandoning the Kyoto treaty is the way to go. The Swedish president says, "We intend to ratify it and convince the rest of the world to follow our example, not that of the United States.''
SECRETARY POWELL: That is his point of view. We don't think the Kyoto Protocol was the way to go. But what the President did say is that he understands there is a problem called global warming that we have to do something about, although the science isn't yet clear as to how bad it is and at what point does it really become something that must be dealt with immediately, and we have to examine the cost. He also indicated that he's moving forward with technology studies, looking at new ways to address this problem.
MS. ROBERTS: But why --
SECRETARY POWELL: He supports the Kyoto process, but he does not like the product that that process produced, called the Kyoto Protocol.
MS. ROBERTS: But why did this not convince anyone?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we'll see how many people are convinced. You know, the European Union said, we're going to ratify this. Well, none of them have ratified it yet. They've had several years to do so. So we will see whether that ratification process takes place.
MS. ROBERTS: Do you think it will?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know. I think it's kind of a long shot right now, but we will see. When they start to see some of the costs associated with ratification -- it was a major cost for us, and undeveloped nations were left out of that process, which we thought was a flaw in the product.
And so I think that our approach is a good one. Let's continue to study. We're going to come up with ideas, we're going to be in a leadership role, and we'll see who wins this argument at the end of the day.
But the United States is not walking away from the problem of global warming. We just think that there are other ways to look at this problem, and we are going to seek those other ways and be coming forward with ideas, ideas that will be technologically based and ideas that may well be market-based, to put incentive into our markets to move in the direction of reducing these dangerous emissions.
MS. ROBERTS: One more matter on the European trip, and then I want to turn to a couple of other things, which was troops in Macedonia. You said no troops in Macedonia. What was the response?
SECRETARY POWELL: We have not said no troops in Macedonia because no one has asked us to send troops to Macedonia, notwithstanding one press report and some people who are commenting on this issue. The issue that NATO is looking at this weekend is whether or not, as part of a cease- fire which we are trying to arrange now both on the Macedonian side and on the insurgent side, as part of that cease-fire, would there be opportunities to perhaps turn in weapons that NATO might be able to help with. But the United States is not in receipt of a request to send troops to Macedonia to engage in combat or peacekeeping operations.
MS. ROBERTS: Middle East. George Tenet has gone to the Middle East. This involves the United States more than you had originally seemed to be wanting to get involved. Is there reason to believe that, after all this time, that he can get anywhere?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, it is not just George. George did a great job in putting down a work plan for the two sides to follow in implementation of the Mitchell report.
We have been involved in the Middle East from the very first day of the Administration. It occupies more of my time than any other subject and any other issue. So we have been involved. And I think the most important part of our involvement in recent months was to fully put the weight of the United States government behind the Mitchell Committee Report, and then work with the rest of the international community to do the same thing.
So what we are now saying to the Israelis and to the Palestinians and to all others, it is the Mitchell Committee Report that the whole international community falls behind, and the way to get started on that Mitchell Committee road map is to get the violence down, hopefully to zero. We would like to see no violence. That is a difficult objective, but it is certainly one we would like to achieve.
In the last few weeks, as a result of George's work and other things we have been doing, the violence has come down somewhat, not enough yet. And there has been some opening of access, increased access for Palestinians to get to workplaces and get across out of Gaza and out of the West Bank. So we have seen a little bit of progress, but we need quite a bit more progress in order to start the Mitchell Committee road map moving.
But I am hopeful that we can move quickly so that we can get to confidence-building measures after a cooling-off period, and then ultimately get to a negotiating track. At the end of the day, these two people will live in peace only if they can come to final status negotiated settlements of all of the outstanding issues.
But we can't get there if bombs are going off, if people are resorting to the street, if counterstrikes come in response to those actions, and you have a cycle of violence that produces nothing except death and destruction.
MS. ROBERTS: Do you see sending in higher-level officials?
SECRETARY POWELL: Higher-level officials have been involved. I am involved every single day, with phone calls, with creating delegations to go there, forming delegations. And it's not just a matter of showing up for a few hours; it's a matter of being deeply involved every day. I am, the President is, the whole national security team is. And at an appropriate time, I will make another trip to the region when I can see the kind of progress that would warrant a trip to the region.
MS. ROBERTS: We're just about out of time here, but this week the President decided to stop, eventually stop, the testing of bombs on Vieques Island, and the Congress seems very upset. We have a letter from Congressman Stump and others: '"Until a suitable alternative can be identified and established which can meet all the training requirements currently met at Vieques in a comparable manner, we would strongly oppose any plan that would stop training on Vieques.''
SECRETARY POWELL: I think the Secretary of the Navy has come up with a pretty good solution; that is to say, we will use Vieques for another two years or so, and during that two-year period, we will come up with alternatives. Not another Vieques. It's unlikely you'll find another Vieques where you can do everything the way we have done it for the past 50 or 60 years, whatever the time has been.
But using technology, using simulators, and also finding a place to conduct live fire. This isn't for testing; this is for readiness. Vieques has been used to get our troops ready to go in harm's way, going into combat. And so that's what has made it so valuable, but it also has been a source of enormous irritation to the people of Puerto Rico and Vieques.
And so I think the Navy has decided -- and the President, of course, supports that decision -- that let's find alternative ways of making sure that our troops are ready.
MS. ROBERTS: But the Congress doesn't seem to support it, and a lot of people in the military don't.
SECRETARY POWELL: There is mixed -- well, at this moment, you can get every point of view out of the Congress on this subject: those who say do it right away, stop firing right away; those who say no, don't do it until you have a solution. And so I am hopeful the Secretary of the Navy will have an exciting time this week as he tries to bridge these differences.
MS. ROBERTS: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Thanks for coming in after your long trip. We appreciate it.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release June 18, 2001
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On Fox News Sunday with Tony Snow
June 17, 2001
MR. SNOW: President Bush returned late last night from his first extended trip overseas, a journey on which he met with European heads of state and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Joining us to discuss the mission, Secretary of State Colin Powell.
General Powell, Vladimir Putin says he wants to join NATO. Under what conditions would Russia be able to join NATO?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I don't think he quite said he wanted to join NATO. I think what he wanted to convey was that he understood that Russia is a European nation and Russia's future lies to the West. And that is my judgment; it is the President's judgment as well.
Russia is a nation that is coming out of a thousand years of history where you had a czar in charge, and now it is a democratic nation trying to embed those democratic principles throughout its society. And as the President tried to convey to President Putin, Europe welcomes Russia, and he wants to do everything he can to encourage Russia to become a part of a broader Europe.
MR. SNOW: Including becoming part of NATO?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think it's premature to even suggest something like that. It is not one of the aspirant countries, and, as you know, the Russians have some concern about the aspirant countries, those who have applied to join NATO, getting membership.
What President Bush made clear is that NATO is going to enlarge again. And what is interesting is that the three nations that joined NATO a few years ago are all doing very, very well, and all of them have better relations with Russia now than they did before they became members of NATO.
So we hope we can persuade the Russian leadership over time that there is nothing threatening about NATO enlarging, whether it is enlarging in the south, whether it is enlarging in the middle, or whether it is enlarging in the north. And Russia's future does lie to the West, and we welcome the opportunity to create new linkages with Russia. And what the President said is --
MR. SNOW: What new linkages?
SECRETARY POWELL: Trade, commerce, businessmen going over there, cultural exchanges, and a new strategic framework where we can look at reductions in offensive nuclear weapons and begin the progress toward missile defense, which will not threaten Russia, not take away Russia's deterrent posture, but defend against the new threats that are out there, as the President explained.
MR. SNOW: Pick apart a couple of the things you just mentioned. First, when it comes to dealing with nuclear weapons, can we trust Russia to help us track down and either destroy or inventory nuclear materials that have left Russia and are now unaccounted for?
SECRETARY POWELL: We are anxious to engage with the Russians on subjects such as that. The President and Mr. Putin talked about this kind of proliferation, especially proliferation activities related to Iran, a country that we are concerned about.
And so we have set up working groups that will be formed with members of the State Department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Defense Department and their Ministry of Defense to examine all of these issues, to include proliferation issues and tracking down proliferation activities and materials and equipment, and even as important as that, knowledge -- people who have knowledge of these kinds of weapons and these kinds of systems to ensure that we control this so they don't go out to these states of concern, these states that are irresponsible.
MR. SNOW: So we really don't know where these materials or even scientists are right now?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, no, we don't exactly have a social security system that captures every Russian scientist, but this is something that is of concern to us and should be of concern to Russia as well.
Russia should see that it is even more in their interest than our interest not to have this kind of knowledge leave Russia. And you keep that knowledge from leaving by finding alternative sources of employment for these scientists, and we have had programs with Russia that accomplishes this purpose. We can do more of that.
Russian scientists want to stay in Russia. They don't want to go to some foreign country to practice their trade or use their knowledge for these kinds of purposes. But we have to make sure there is a reason for them to stay in Russia so they don't share this knowledge elsewhere.
MR. SNOW: Do we have reason to believe that any of those scientists are now working in Iran?
SECRETARY POWELL: I can't account for every Russian scientist who may have knowledge, but --
MR. SNOW: I'm not asking you to account for every one.
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I can't account for any particular group or one. I don't know.
MR. SNOW: When it comes to Iran, we've been concerned about nuclear proliferation. Russia has sold some very high-strength aluminum to Iran. This has been something that everybody up the food chain, including, I presume, the President, has talked to President Putin about. He says that they merely sold this high-strength aluminum, normally used for nuclear weapons, for aircraft.
Do you buy that?
SECRETARY POWELL: That's what they say. We have a slightly different view. We have discussed it with them on a number of occasions, and it was a subject -- not that particular case, but the whole issue of what's being sold and transferred to Iran was the subject of discussion between the two presidents and between me and my colleague, Foreign Minister Ivanov.
They have communicated to us in various ways that they understand the danger in selling various kinds of technologies and weapons, that they have no interest in seeing Iran develop the kind of capability that we are worried about. But we have to keep talking about this to make sure that we are of a common mind on this and we have a unified approach to this. They sell for the purpose of generating hard currency, and we are troubled by some of the sales that have taken place in the past.
MR. SNOW: Of course, Congress several years ago passed the Iran Non- Proliferation Act that said for Russian companies that do such trade, we are going to cut them off. Does this Administration plan to enforce that law?
SECRETARY POWELL: This Administration enforces every law on the books of the Congress.
MR. SNOW: Including that one?
SECRETARY POWELL: We enforce the law.
MR. SNOW: Okay. Mr. Putin also -- the Russian administration just last week held talks with China in which they agreed to work together against nuclear missile defense, particularly the plan that this Administration has been advancing. Do you see any signs that he is going to back away from that?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, their defense ministers, after this meeting in Shanghai, or in China, issued a statement saying that they were all supporting the 1972 ABM Treaty. And Mr. Putin made it clear yesterday at the press conference that he still holds that treaty to the centerpiece of the strategic framework. We have said that it is time to move beyond that.
And I think what we saw yesterday -- what I saw yesterday from the conversation between our presidents and my conversation with Mr. Ivanov -- is that they want to talk about it, they want to hear, they want to listen, they want to see more, they want to know about what we have in mind.
And so I think there are opportunities to move forward. But are they holding to their position? Yes. Are we holding to our position that it is time to move forward? Yes. And now we have to begin the dialogue between these two nations.
MR. SNOW: Does that mean that we are not going to abrogate, that is, get out of the treaty right away?
SECRETARY POWELL: We will get out of the constraints of the treaty when those constraints do not allow us to move forward with our technology. The exact timing and how we would actually get out of the constraints of that treaty remains to be determined.
And Secretary Rumsfeld is hard at work with the technology, and at some point he will come forward to the President and say, I can't go forward unless certain constraints in the treaty are removed. And at that point, we will have a decision to make.
MR. SNOW: Well, it sounds as if the decision has been made. At that point, we will say the treaty no longer binds us?
SECRETARY POWELL: The President has made it clear that he is going to move forward with missile defense. And he believes it is so important for the future strategic stability of the world to move forward that we can't allow ourselves to be stopped by the constraints of a treaty that is almost 30 years old and was designed for a different strategic situation in a different world.
MR. SNOW: Several weeks ago after a bombing in Tel Aviv, you publicly admonished Yasser Arafat to do several things, including to push for a total cease-fire and to take every effort to bring the people responsible to justice. Has he done either of those?
SECRETARY POWELL: I said to Mr. Arafat and to Mr. Sharon at that time that we had to take advantage of the Mitchell Committee Report, which gives us a way out of this terrible situation. And I asked both sides at that time to do everything they could to bring the violence down. I specifically spoke to Mr. Arafat about bringing the violence down.
Over the last several weeks, we have seen some progress when we were able to send George Tenet over, our CIA director, who did a great job in bringing the two sides together at the security level, and say let's start working again.
Now, the violence has come down. It hasn't come down as much as either side would like to see it, and there are still differences of opinion with respect to arresting potential terrorists or known terrorists. The person who perpetrated that terrible crime died in the process of the bombing itself, so that person is gone.
And we have seen some progress, but we need a lot more progress. I am very pleased that Kofi Annan, the Secretary General, was in the region yesterday and reinforced that point.
MR. SNOW: But there were --
SECRETARY POWELL: We are constantly reinforcing the point that we've got to get on to the Mitchell Report game plan; otherwise this situation will just continue to be a bombing every few days, a retaliation, and the cycle of violence will continue. The cycle of violence has to be broken, and that is what all of our attention is focused on.
Once that is done, then we can start the cooling-off period, we can get into confidence-building measures, and all of that will lead us ultimately to the resumption of negotiations for a political settlement.
MR. SNOW: The clear implication is the violence hasn't stopped.
SECRETARY POWELL: The violence has gone down. It hasn't stopped.
MR. SNOW: All right. And Yasser Arafat is accusing the Israelis of not holding to their part of the bargain on the cease-fire. Is he right?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we have both sides accusing each other of not doing as much as they can, and this is part of my daily conversations with both of them. But the Israelis have backed off somewhat with respect to closures and restricted movement of people going back and forth. The Palestinians, of course, would like to see much less of that kind of restriction; and the Israelis, at the same time, would like to see more arrests, and they would like to see the violence go down to zero.
We will reach a point where we will have to a make a judgment whether or not we have seen enough to move forward. Right now we're not there yet, but I hope we're getting closer. And efforts such as Mr. Annan's and the efforts I'm trying to make, and other leaders, are moving both sides in the direction of getting the violence down.
The good news right now is that the entire international community is united behind the Mitchell report as a solution to this problem.
MR. SNOW: Is the Kyoto Protocol a dead letter?
SECRETARY POWELL: The Kyoto Protocol, as far as the United States is concerned, is a dead letter. The Kyoto process is not a dead letter. As the President said, he understands that there is a global warming problem, although the science is not complete in its defining exactly the extent and magnitude and timing of that problem, but it is a problem.
And he also said he wants to be part of a process. He just believes that the process produced a bad product in the 1997 protocol. And he has explained the reasoning for that: it did not include undeveloped nations; the requirements placed on the United States were far too severe for us to be able to accommodate within our economic system; and the Europeans, frankly, did not have the same burdens placed on them that we had placed on us.
So the process produced a product that was flawed, and now we need to use the process to produce a product that will be successful, will be more comprehensive, make maximum use of developing technologies, and be equitable for all the nations of the world and deal with the specific problem.
MR. SNOW: You talk about a process. European heads of state were openly hostile with the President. Here's what the Prime Minister of Japan said: "I find it truly deplorable that the US Government said the pact was fatally flawed." What kind of process can you have?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, he may find it deplorable, but nevertheless it was flawed. And the process will continue. There will be conferences in Bonn in about six weeks' time, and the President has told his colleagues in Europe and elsewhere -- and I'll be speaking to the Foreign Minister of Japan tomorrow, Mrs. Tanaka, and describe to her and to others that we are moving forward to see what else might be done with technology improvements, with ways of keeping emissions from going up into the sky in the first place.
And this is just the beginning of a long process of studying and examination on the part of the United States. So we are going to play a leadership role in showing the world that there is a better product that can come out of this process than was the Kyoto Protocol.
MR. SNOW: Mrs. Tanaka comes out at a time when some Members of Congress are advocating reparations for American POWs who were used as slave labor during World War II. Now, the State Department position is, in 1951, we agreed not to seek such reparations but also buried in the same laws language that indicates if other countries get a better deal, then we can revisit it. Well, at least 11 other countries are getting a better deal.
Why should not American POWs be given the same sort of consideration that Holocaust victims are getting in terms of reparations for World War II?
SECRETARY POWELL: This is a terrible human tragedy. It all happened when I was a young lad, but I remember vividly over those years and in the years since the horrible stories that came out of the Bataan death march. So this is a deep, personal tragedy for these veterans.
But the facts are that the 1951 treaty did deal with these claims, and, as a result, the United States, the State Department on behalf of the United States, finds itself obliged to stay within the terms of the treaty. All the courts that have looked at this so far have upheld the correctness of that position.
The specific issue about another clause that says if anybody else gets a better deal, then it makes the clause that we're resting our case on not in effect any longer, that has not, obviously, been upheld by the courts over time, but it is certainly something I am going to look into again tomorrow.
MR. SNOW: The President has agreed to stop doing bombing exercises and military exercises in Vieques Island, primarily because he says people there don't like it, they've been harmed. Does that set a precedent for people in such places as Okinawa and elsewhere where American military forces conduct exercises to say we don't like it either, you get out? And will we do it?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't think it sets a precedent. Vieques was a very unique situation, and I think the way the Secretary of the Navy has handled it this week is a very correct way of going about this problem, understanding that there is this deep resentment over bombing and live fire exercise in Vieques, and he has now tasked Navy authorities to find alternatives.
The issue isn't whether people are protesting or whether people like it or not, or the political standpoint or the political perspective, but how do we train our forces to go to combat, to go to war. And what the Secretary of the Navy has directed his people to come up with is a new way to train our forces that will not require that same use of Vieques in two years' time. And as he said, we're looking at simulations, we're looking at other things, and we're looking at other places to do live firing because, at the end of the day, you do need live firing.
And so I think it was a combination of issues that came together to resolve this contentious Vieques problem. It's been there for years. But I don't think it necessarily sets a precedent for other places.
MR. SNOW: John Negroponte. Is he going to make it?
SECRETARY POWELL: John Negroponte is one of the most distinguished Foreign Service Officers and American public servants I have ever known. And as you know from your question, he is the President's nominee to be the Ambassador to the United Nations.
There are some questions about John's activities when he was Ambassador to Honduras back in the '80s. We have provided to the Congress every piece of information they have asked for, unredacted. Here, take a look at it. And I am quite confident that when they have examined it, they will confirm John Negroponte to be the UN Ambassador.
He has been confirmed twice since those days, as Ambassador to Mexico and as Ambassador to the Philippines. And he has just served with the greatest distinction, and he will serve with the distinction when the Senate gives its advice and consent to his appointment as US Ambassador to the United Nations.
MR. SNOW: Secretary of State Colin Powell, thanks for joining us this morning.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.