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Secretary of Defense Press Availability Enroute to Latin American - October 1, 2006

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
October 01, 2006

Q: (inaudible) your reaction (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: Well I don’t (inaudible) … I didn’t read the first two (inaudible) I haven’t read this… and doubt that I will.

(?) Everyone seems to be saying things (inaudible) aren’t true. (inaudible)

Q: (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: That I wouldn’t know.

Q: The reported attempt by Andrew Card. (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: I have no idea. All I know is what Andy Card said. (inaudible) it’s been out in the press(?) I take them at his word. It’s the task of a Chief of Staff of the White House, and any good one I know of, to raise all kinds of questions of the President. (inaudible) So it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if that subject were to come up. But I take Andy’s comments from what people have said to be uh, ?? exactly what happened. He’s an honorable man.

Q: There was one thing in the book (inaudible) between you and Condoleeza Rice.

A. That’s nonsense.

Q: (inaudible) Apparently you weren’t talking. (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: Not that I recall. Trying to think … over the last five or six years. We certainly discussed a hundred things, over the phone I suppose for almost every morning for years, you know. When she’s in town and I’m in town.

Q: (inaudible) …progaganda. Do you think it hurts your ability when you go to these meetings, these international meetings with other countries? (inaudible).

RUMSFELD: We don’t seem to pay a lot of attention to it. Mostly you do.

Q: (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: No, I mean, you people who, want to write stories about …

Q: Have you spoken to the President at all?

RUMSFELD: Yeah.

Q: And, uh.

RUMSFELD: I’m not going to tell you what he said. But he made some comments, in a larger group on secure video, and then he called me personally afterward.

Q: (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: Oh my Lord yes. He said that publicly (inaudible)

Q: (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: You mean if I’d like to repeat anything and get it all fresh? Regrind it?

Q. (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: No.

Q: (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: No! How many times do I have to answer? No.

Q: (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: At the end of the term I went up to Andy Card and Josh Bolton and said that no one is indispensable. And you ought to fashion your next term in the way that makes the most sense. That’s not resigning, but it certainly is opening the door.

Q: There’s on thing in the book that Bob Woodward talks about …

RUMSFELD: Is that all you guys do is read these books? You ought to get a life!

Q: He talks about the fact that…

RUMSFELD: How do you know it’s right?

Q: Well I don’t know and that’s what I am going to ask you. He said there were something like 800 attacks (inaudible) kept inside the White House…

RUMSFELD: (inaudible) I cannot believe it. I cannot believe any charge that data is being checked in the White House. First of all I don’t know what the White House gets by way of data, but I know the data we get, and its mountains. And we put out mountains, and I just can’t conceive of that. Although I did not read his book I don’t know what he said precisely, therefore I cannot say that it’s inaccurate. Although the way you’ve characterized it strikes me as it would be near impossible and unhelpful.

Q: (inaudible) at all are you …

RUMSFELD: (inaudible) I don’t think they’re on the bilateral list. They’ll be in the meetings. Of course I’ll meet with them.

Q: (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: I don’t know what will happen. (inaudible) I don’t have any scheduled meetings. I will be in all the plenary sessions with them… attend coffee breaks and all those things.(inaudible).

Q: (inaudible) There seems to be (left-leaning??) tendency among voters of Latin America. It’s not only Cuba anymore, it’s Venezuela. We have some Brazilian leaders, a Chilean leader and now this Ortega phenomenon in Nicaragua. Are you concerned about this?

RUMSFELD: Ortega’s been there a long time, and I don’t get into politics. I don’t do it in the United States and I don’t do it in Latin America.

Q: (inaudible)… Are relationships harder do you think?

RUMSFELD: We’ve had, you know, many many decades of relationships in this hemisphere. And they ebb and flow. And we’ve had very good military to military relationships uniformly across the hemisphere. Sometimes there better than others but certainly, in the last five and a half years we’ve strengthened our military to military relationships in the hemisphere substantially.

RUMSFELD: So you’re not going to the volcano?

Q: Yeah we are.

RUMSFELD: Oh.

Q: (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: (inaudible)… what favors?

Q: (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: did they announce that? It’s been announced?

Q: (inaudible)

RUMSFELD: I favor, having the President sign it, if he decides to do so.

Q: (inaudible)


RUMSFELD: The, we’re always going to have multi-faceted relationships with other nations. They’re going to be political, they’re going to be economic, they’re going to be security. There’s going to be probably no nation on earth who will agree with us all the time. That being the case, it is, would be, it has been, and is today, and would be in the future unfortunate, if our immediate reaction to some disagreement or difference, as to a policy issue, would have the automatic effect of severing military to military relationships. These are fundamentally important and valuable. When you’re dealing with countries that have only recent experience in some cases with civilian control over the military. Take Indonesia and Pakistan. We severed military to military relationships with those two countries and a whole generation was lost in terms of relationships. And those relationships between American military people and military people in other countries are enormously valuable. They are valuable to our country. They are valuable to that country. They become friendships that last for decades. And those people go on to become Chief of Staff of their military. It’s all demystified. America is demystified because they go to school in the United States. And they understand it, and they see how it works. And all the lies, and misinformation that get peddled around the world about the United States. (inaudible) That isn’t the way it works there, I’ve lived there, I’ve been to school there. I send cards back and (inaudible) between the people I went to war college with or command school with or artillery school or whatever. So I think its a shame if we do that, and I think it’s a good thing not to do that – sever those relationships. When you take a country as important as Indonesia, as important as Pakistan and go for decades without relationships, it is unhelpful for the values we have and the things we believe in and hope that other people would offer their people.