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Secretary Perry welcomes German Minister of Defense to Pentagon, Friday, October 4, 1996 - 11 a.m.

Presenter: Secretary of Defense William J. Perry
October 04, 1996 11:00 AM EDT

Friday, October 4, 1996 - 11 a.m.

Q: Mr. Ruehe, might I ask, in recent weeks you've insisted repeatedly that there will be international military troops in Bosnia next year -- though Dr. Perry has been reluctant to commit U.S. troops. How do you feel about the reluctance of the United States to commit troops at this time, when you've said that U.S. troops should be there?

Minister Ruehe: Well, I feel very confident with the decisionmaking process -- the decisions in Germany will be taken in December, I think, and that's the right time. What we're doing now is preparing. And, as you know, in the past we had debates in Germany and now we have a consensus -- and I'm very glad that we do have this kind of consensus for Germany.

Q: Would you continue to insist that there will be international troops there next year?

Minister Ruehe: Well, obviously, we have achieved a lot. As you can also see, in recent days, I mean -- the recognition of Yugoslavia and Bosnia-Herzegovina; the relationship between Croatia and Yugoslavia ... but not enough to leave Yugoslavia, totally.

 

And, so, we have asked our authorities to study the situation. What we have to do, really, is to deter the return of war; and the return of massacres in the area. We're agreed on that ...

Secretary Perry: Are there any questions from German media here?

 

Q: [In German]

Minister Ruehe: [In German]

Q: [In German]

Minister Ruehe: [In German]

Secretary Perry: Now, American press?

Q: Will there be as many as 7,000 U.S. troops in Bosnia as late as March?

Secretary Perry: No. The press reports on that were wrong. I'm glad to have the chance to correct that report. General Joulwan's plans involve having 7,000 troops up to the end of January -- about the 1st of February -- and then a rapid drawdown, and then zero by the middle of March. In fact, by the 1st of March, we'll already be down to about 3,000.

Q: Mr. Secretary, Senator McCain was very critical of you yesterday -- and of Shalikashvili -- saying, "... the credibility gap is as wide as the Grand Canyon." And, plus, Bob Dole issued a very strong speech yesterday, critical of the Administration's foreign policy, saying that successes are being portrayed as failures. How do you respond to that?

Secretary Perry: Well, I have no problem ... In a 5-second soundbite, I'm not going to defend all of the foreign policy moves of the Administration. But, I am very proud of the actions taken by this Department; by this Administration in national security missions in Bosnia; in Haiti; what we've done in Korea ... All of these ... I feel very proud and quite confident we can defend all of those with ...

Q: And Senator McCain's remark that the credibility on your statements and Shalikashvili's -- the credibility is as wide a the Grand Canyon ... How do you respond to that?

Secretary Perry: I believe we answered those questions fully and thoroughly at the hearing yesterday. Our statements to the Armed Services Committee yesterday were quite consistent with the statements we made a year ago.