Thursday, April 19, 2001, 1:30 p.m. EDT
Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have a couple of announcements this afternoon. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul D. Wolfowitz will deliver remarks during the 50th anniversary celebration dinner of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, or DACOWITS, tomorrow, April 20th, at the Sheraton Premiere Hotel, Tysons Corner. DACOWITS is holding its annual spring conference at the hotel from April 18th through the 22nd. [See press advisory at http://www.defenselink.mil/advisories/2001/p04202001_p075-01.html ]
Q: What time is that?
Quigley: 8:00 tomorrow night.
Q: In the morning?
Quigley: No, no; 8:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. This is a dinner.
Second, the Army will conduct its Transformation War Game at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania on Monday, the 23rd, through Friday, the 27th. This year's war game will pit notional neighboring countries in a water rights dispute in about the year 2015, that escalates into a major theater war involving U.S. and allied forces. Media are welcome to cover the war game any time during the week, but there will be a special media day on Wednesday, the 25th. And contact Army Public Affairs for more information on that.
Next, Earth Day is this Sunday, the 22nd of April. In celebration of Earth Day, the Pentagon is hosting a three-day event next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the 23rd, 24th and 25th, where vendors will display renewable technologies, recycling, alternative fuels/transportation and water and energy conservation concepts. The exhibits will be open each day from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on the Pentagon's main concourse.
As part of Earth Day recognition, a special demonstration of a new paint, developed by the Southern Mississippi School of Polymers, will be held on Tuesday, the 24th, at 10:30, in Room 5A1070. University researchers will explain their innovative technology for low-odor, low-volatile organic-compound paint that exceeds all environmental requirements. The Pentagon plans to use this paint in its renovation program as each of the wedges is renovated.
Earth Day events are being held around the world by the U.S. military services. Please check with them for details on various observances in locales around the world. It should be noted, however, that the Department of Defense works every day, not only Earth Day, to protect our environment. [See press advisory at http://www.defenselink.mil/advisories/2001/p04192001_p073-01.html ]
And last, the Navy has two events scheduled for this weekend. The Naval Reserve will take delivery of the first of its newest logistics aircraft, the C-40A "Clipper", this Saturday in a 1:00 p.m. ceremony at Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas.
The Clipper is Boeing's 737-700C model aircraft ordered by the Navy to replace their fleet of aging C-9 Skytrains. The C-40A is the first new logistics aircraft in 17 years to join the Naval Reserve.
A media day is scheduled for Friday in Fort Worth.
And finally, the Navy will commission its 32nd Arleigh Burke class destroyer, the Lassen, DDG-82, on Saturday during an 11:00 a.m. ceremony at the Florida Aquarium Pier in Tampa.
There are releases on both events, or you can check with Navy Public Affairs for more details. [See press advisory at http://www.defenselink.mil/advisories/2001/p04192001_p074-01.html and news release at http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2001/b04192001_bt172-01.html ]
And with that, I'll take your questions. Charlie?
Q: Craig, could you bring us up to date on the status of the talks in Beijing? And when will the reconnaissance flights resume off China --
Quigley: I can give you a description of the second round of talks with the Chinese. It lasted about 90 minutes. They were businesslike in nature. All of the agenda items were in fact discussed this go-round. And just to kind of recap there, they started off with both the Chinese and American delegations describing their understanding of how the collision occurred. As I'm sure you understand, we are not very close on that version of events. We feel very strongly that the EP-3 was flying straight and level, on autopilot, when the collision occurred. The Chinese do not agree with that assessment, and on that we must agree to disagree at this point.
The second of the agenda items was the discussion of a prompt return -- a plan to develop to the prompt return of the EP-3. We have presented the Chinese a proposal in that regard. They received the proposal, said they need to discuss that with their higher headquarters, and we expect to hear back from them on that. It was much the same as I discussed Tuesday here from the briefing room as to the options available in either repairing the plane or disassembling the plane.
And the third was the discussion of some sort of a forum where you could have both the Chinese and Americans agree on some set of procedures to preclude or at least minimize the opportunities for such collisions in the future. We have proposed that that be the MMCA, the Maritime Military Consultative Agreement that Secretary Cohen signed in January of '98, that that be the structure for such a discussion to take place. The Chinese are considering that and again will let us know. [The agreement is on the Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Apr2001/d20010405agreement.pdf ].
There was a meeting of the MMCA scheduled for this coming Monday, the 23rd, in San Francisco. That has been postponed. No date has been yet set up for that -- for the rescheduling. But neither China nor the United States could have prepared adequately for that, given the completion of the talks today.
Mr. Verga and his delegation will leave China tonight, our time, which is Friday morning, Beijing time, and head back to the United States. That's --
Q: And the status of the flights? When will they resume?
Quigley: We have made no announcement on scheduling or any of the details of those flights, other than to say that we intend to continue to fly reconnaissance and surveillance flights around the world in international airspace, in accordance with international law.
Q: You've made no announcement. Has any decision been made on when the flights will resume?
Quigley: Not to my knowledge. No, not to my knowledge.
Q: Craig, the Chinese Foreign Ministry, after those meetings, released its own videotapes of intercepts of Chinese planes by U.S. pilots, which, they asserted, showed that U.S. pilots were guilty of aggressive and dangerous flying. Can you comment, having seen these videotapes of what they show or don't show?
Quigley: Well, there was actually two sort of video that were released, Jamie. I'm sure that many of you have seen those during the course of the morning. The first was something of a cartoon, of an animation, that described the Chinese version of how the EP-3 made a sharp left turn and collided with the F-8, flying straight and level. And we just don't agree with that assessment at all. And again, that was a cartoon, if you will, just a concept of how their understanding of the accident took place.
The second was real video, and it was of a Navy F-14 and Navy F/A-18s that were apparently shot from a Chinese aircraft out through the canopy. And I don't have the date or the place or the details of where that video was shot, but it doesn't look too old, either.
You know, we have said many times that our objection here is not the fact that China comes out to intercept American airplanes in international airspace, to have a look-see. That's not the point. The point is the aggressive flying. And I will leave the interpretation of the video to each of you, if you wish. But my interpretation was that showed clearly the F-14 and the F/A-18s that were in the proximity of whatever type of Chinese aircraft it was. I assume it was a jet, because the U.S. aircraft were clean, as they say; they didn't have their flaps extended or nothing like you saw last week with the F-8 trying to go slow to accompany a much slower aircraft. So I'm going to assume it was a Chinese jet aircraft of some sort. And what you saw was quite a civil distance being maintained between the Chinese aircraft and the F-14 and the F/A-18s.
Now, they were pretty quick with the zoom button on the video camera, and it brought the aircraft much closer, but I think the starting point of the video that they showed indeed showed the U.S. aircraft at what we would consider a prudent distance from the Chinese aircraft. And that's all we're asking for in this case, is prudent, non-aggressive, non-threatening flying to come out and have a look and see who's out there and what we're doing.
Q: What is a "prudent distance"? How many feet are you talking about?
Quigley: It's funny, Jamie, I've talked to many aviators on that over the last couple of weeks, and they all say that if -- there is no particular number that is involved here; it's not 50 feet or 100 feet or 500 feet or any other number. They just say, you'll kind of know it when you see it. And the principal idea is to make yourself easily visible to the plane that you are intercepting, not to have them be forced to make any radical maneuvers to get out of your way; don't put them in a situation that makes them nervous or forces them to do anything dramatic or sudden in the maneuvering of the aircraft. Your goal is to both see and be seen, and you can accomplish that quite easily in a non-threatening manner, and that's the key point here, I think.
Q: Before they release the plane, was there any kind of demand for compensation of any kind for the death of the pilot or any kind of compensation?
And number two, if the U.S. thinks that China is a friend, foe or a country they can work in the future?
Quigley: The answer to the first one is, I have not heard that as part of the discussions on this second round of talks. That may be something in the future. But again, I fail to see where there would be any U.S. compensation here for an accident that we did not cause.
And I'm sorry, what was the second part of your question?
Q: If the U.S. thinks China is a friend, foe, or if China is a country that the U.S. can work in the future in the same way that you have been dealing with China?
Quigley: A pretty broad question. I think I'll restrict my comments to the accident on the 1st of April.
Q: Have any reconnaissance flights been conducted off China by any of our aircraft since the collision?
Quigley: I'm not going to get into the scheduling of them in any way, I'm sorry.
Q: You could have had some; you're not ruling it out?
Quigley: I will leave that to your speculation. I will just not discuss schedules in any way.
Q: Craig, is the administration considering escorting future surveillance flights with fighters, either land-based or otherwise?
Quigley: I'm sorry, I'm not going to get into that either, Bob. I will not discuss any sort of details on scheduling or how we might do it or where or anything. It's something that we, in a general sense, insist on our right to do that in international airspace and in accordance with international law. But it's not something I'm going to provide those sorts of details about.
Q: Can I just go back to that for half a minute?
Q: Why should that be secret? If they're conducted, their radar would show it, so who are you keeping the information from?
Quigley: I don't know that that's true at all, George. And if -- I have no interest in broadcasting when our surveillance and reconnaissance flights are operating in a particular part of the world.
Q: Well wait a minute, Craig.
Q: I mean, you and the secretary have both made a big point of saying that these are not spy missions because they're done overtly and they're not secret. So now why are you turning around telling us that you can't tell us anything about it because you don't want to telegraph anything, if these are supposed to be done overt -- if these are overt intelligence gathering and not secret spying?
Quigley: They are very overt in the sense that the aircraft are clearly marked as to their country of origin; it says "U.S. Navy" on the side of an EP-3. But by the same token, these are not flights that we want to draw a lot of attention to for many of the same reasons that came around the accident on the 1st of April.
We want to be able to quietly conduct these reconnaissance and surveillance missions in international airspace at a schedule of our choosing. These should not be seen as threatening to any country in any way. But by the same token, these are not events that we will announce in advance.
Q: But George is asking about history, past. Has there been a flight?
Quigley: Maybe I didn't hear you properly.
Q: My question was: Has there been a reconnaissance flight by an America aircraft off China since the April 1st collision with the Chinese?
Quigley: Not far enough in the past. Sorry, I'm still not going to acknowledge that. (Laughter.)
Q: Again, my point is they would know that, so what's the secret?
Quigley: Well, then, George, why don't you ask the Chinese and see if they'll give you a schedule of what our reconnaissance --
Q: (Inaudible) -- made a big point out of how these things are open --
Quigley: And this building's policy is to not acknowledge the schedule of reconnaissance and surveillance flights.
Q: Even after they're finished?
Q: A question about the equipment that is on board the EP-3. Has DoD, from its debriefing of the crew members, been able to make a determination about any need to purchase new iterations of software or new transmitters or receivers that operate on different frequencies than are currently used in the rest of the fleet? Or has a determination on that not been made yet?
Quigley: I do not think that a determination on that has been made; not that I have heard discussed so far, of the elements that you just described, not at all of the elements that I have seen -- or heard discussed in the days since the aircrew has been debriefed.
Q: Do you know if that is on the table to be discussed at some undetermined date in the future?
Quigley: I don't know. I have just not heard one way or the other.
Q: Craig, if our reconnaissance flights had a fighter escort, would that be unprecedented, or have fighter escorts gone along with reconnaissance flights in the past?
Quigley: I don't know. I'd have to do a pretty considered research to give you a good answer to your question. Typically they are not because of the fact that they fly in international airspace, and these are unarmed planes. And typically they are not. I'll just leave it at that.
Q: Craig, given sort of the very different atmospherics, or seemingly different atmospherics in the meeting today, how is that seen here? Are you encouraged that the Chinese are receptive to the American request to return the plane? And my understanding is that, in fact, there was an agreement to go forward with further meetings in the Maritime Consultative Commission.
Quigley: If the Chinese have responded to that in the last few hours, I have not heard that. I hope that's true. We would anticipate that they would see that that's a good venue to discuss that very issue. We think it's a perfect fit, and hope that they will agree to that and we can schedule one in the not too distant future and move on down the road.
I would have to say that anybody would have to think that today's talks were very much worth doing and would -- we were very pleased that all three of the agenda items were discussed. There's no definitive conclusions or agreements in hand, as of today, but it's a start and it's a good place to start.
Q: When was that meeting in San Francisco cancelled, and by whom, and why?
Quigley: Well, the final decisions were made late yesterday and today, because neither nation felt that it was going to be prepared. With the rounds of talks just ending today, you'd have to assimilate that, think about it, consider your approach, who are the right people --
Q: That's to discuss the aircraft issue --
Quigley: Right, right. And so neither nation felt they would be adequately prepared to meet so soon. So we'll have an MMCA meeting; it's just been postponed. We need to discuss with the Chinese what date would be appropriate, and have both the Chinese prepared and the United States prepared to do something constructive in that meeting, when it occurs.
Q: We know -- you've told us, informed us for weeks now what the American position on how this collision occurred is -- was. Can you talk about what you heard from the Chinese in terms of their position on the return of the aircraft? Were there statements in the meeting -- did they reflect their public statements that they are entitled to inspect the aircraft while they are investigating the collision? Can you talk about what their position is vis-a-vis the return of the aircraft?
Quigley: I don't have that level of detail; I'm sorry. Other than they received our proposal, again, which is basically a written version of what I discussed here Tuesday, and said they would have to consider it with their higher headquarters. And that's where we left it. Beyond that, I don't have any level of detail on that.
Q: Can you just state again why it is that it's so important for the United States to continue these surveillance flights?
Quigley: It provides and improves upon the national security of this country and our friends and allies around the world. It provides knowledge, it provides transparency as to the areas of the world that you do -- conduct the surveillance and reconnaissance flights. The more I know, the more I disseminate this information to not only the United States consumers, but our friends and allies around the world, the less mystery is involved, Jamie, and you have a thorough understanding. It demystifies the process and just -- everybody just has a better understanding of the status quo, and I think it contributes to a sense of stability and knowledge of what's going on in that part of the world.
Q: To what do you attribute the Chinese apparent change of heart? Yesterday everybody was all cranky; the Chinese won't talk about the EP-3. And today everybody is all happy. So why did they discuss it today?
Quigley: Well, I don't know if "happy" is the right adjective, but certainly "businesslike." I keep coming back to that one; that's what Pete Verga described it.
I can only think, Pam, that they felt that this was a more productive way ahead, was to engage and start discussing these issues. We know that we're very far apart on some of them, particularly the cause of the accident. But there's no purpose served by not discussing this. Difficult though they might be, you have got to engage, you've got to start this process. And that would be my best guess.
Q: Craig, did you ever determine whether the U.S. delegation showed videotapes or videos or anything to the Chinese counterparts during this meeting?
Quigley: Well, I know the first one, they did not, because there was a problem with the video equipment. I don't know if the tape that we took was not compatible with their projection equipment. I don't know what the problem was, and I didn't ask the question today, I'm sorry. I don't know.
I know in the first session we were able to show stills that were taken from the video; just short, you know, snatches of stills from the video. But I don't know; I just didn't ask the question today.
Q: Do you know whether the Chinese showed these videotapes, that they released later at the Foreign Ministry, did they show them to the U.S. --
Quigley: Yes. Yes. They were shown there today during the -- but I don't know if we were able to show the videotape that you-all saw in here last Friday.
Q: One more just clean-up item on this. Have the Chinese, in either the recent past or at any time that you know of, made any sort of complaint or formal complaint to the United States about the way U.S. planes were intercepting their planes, such as the complaint the U.S. filed with the Chinese last December?
Quigley: No, not that I'm aware of.
Q: These incidents that they showed the United States representatives are not things that they've complained about in the past?
Quigley: No, not that I'm aware of. They've not made -- now, their objection to our conducting the reconnaissance and surveillance flights, even though it's in international airspace, is well known. But the specific objection about aggressive flying on the part of American pilots, to the best of my knowledge, Jamie, they have not registered a complaint about that.
Q: Admiral, does the EP-3 carry flight-data recorders that would establish that it was flying straight and level?
Quigley: I don't know. I don't believe they do, but I'm not that familiar with the specific equipment, to which we don't have access, of course, at the moment.
Q: Can you confirm now that at the time of the flight the Chinese were getting ready for an underground nuclear test in that same area?
Quigley: I've seen the reports on that at about the same time, but if I'm doing my math correctly, that's a couple of thousand miles away. I don't think this plane would have been very constructive about getting any information on that.
Q: But is the U.S. worried about these underground tests the Chinese are doing?
Quigley: It's not at all clear to me the Chinese are conducting underground tests. I -- it's not at all clear to me that they are.
Q: Since the two aircraft that the Chinese video taped showed were both carrier-based Navy aircraft, is it likely that that intercept was done of a Chinese aircraft approaching one of our carriers somewhere in the South China Sea?
Quigley: It could be. It could be, sure. That's very possible. Or the East China Sea, somewhere fairly close to the Chinese coast would be a good guess. But I asked this morning to see if we could find out, and we don't have the specifics yet to kind of work backwards and see when those particular aircraft would have been somewhere near China.
Q: There are a number of cases where the Soviets -- the Russians have reactivated their surveillance flights over our carrier battle groups. Have we reported anything, of the Chinese have come out to take a look-see at any of our carriers recently?
Quigley: I don't know about recently, but they have certainly come out to American carrier battle groups in the past and had a look as the carriers were operating, again, in international waters, but fairly close to the Chinese coast.
Q: Craig, speaking of carriers, can you bring us up to date on the whereabouts of the Kitty Hawk?
Quigley: Yeah, Kitty Hawk pulls into Guam tomorrow for a several-day port visit, and when she departs Guam, she'll be headed down to Australia to participate in an exercise with the Australians called Tandem Thrust. And we have an announcement of that exercise, I believe, following the brief. It's in the back of the room or it's over at the news desk. [The news release is on the Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2001/b04192001_bt171-01.html ]
Q: On a new subject?
Quigley: Any other questions on that one, before we leave that?
Pam, go ahead.
Q: Just one. From the videotape that the Chinese showed, is it apparent from that, can you tell if they were doing the intercepting or U.S. planes were doing the intercepting? It gets to the question of who got too close to whom, according to the Chinese.
Quigley: I certainly can't tell. It is not apparent to me who intercepted who. No, it is not clear.
If you want to use that, though, as an example of that's not really the point, the point is what manner of flying is taking place. And the U.S. aircraft, again, are roughly on the same altitude, easily seen, and well to the side. So, again, non-threatening, non-aggressive, doesn't make the pilot nervous sort of a posture, and that's the whole point.
Q: Can I ask you, can you tell us what Secretary Rumsfeld told Ariel Sharon and Mr. Mubarak about the Sinai and our commitment to the MFO? And did both State -- did the State Department or Secretary Powell know about that before he said it? What is the status and what are the plans?
Quigley: Let me go back a little bit a few months. And you all will recall that candidate Bush, during the campaign, said that one of the things he would take a look at, if elected president, would be to take a look at U.S. troop stationing around the world in a variety of scenarios, to take a look at where they might be reduced.
Secretary Rumsfeld, in his discussions with both President Mubarak and Prime Minister Sharon, was sounding both of those leaders out as to what they would think about the United States reducing some of its presence in the Sinai force.
Yes, this was discussed with the national security team, including Secretary Powell, before he sounded out Prime Minister Sharon and President Mubarak. No decisions have been made in that regard, but we continue to discuss that, and not only there, but elsewhere around the world as well.
We're trying to take a look, as the president has said, and Secretary Rumsfeld in concert with the rest of the national security team, where are there places around the world where we might reduce our American force presence in some way, shape or form?
Q: What other areas are you looking at? And also, what was the response from those two leaders?
Quigley: I won't get into either one of those. All that's going to end up doing is leading us down a speculative path as to what we might do and might not do, and I'm not going to go there. And the discussions with the two leaders were indeed private. They were not definitive; it was getting their reactions. And I need to keep the sanctity of those conversations.
Q: And Secretary Powell, did he agree with this -- or does he agree with this move towards reducing the presence in the Sinai?
Quigley: Conceptually, he absolutely does. And without committing to a specific number or the Sinai, even, but conceptually he is right aboard with what the president has said, he wants to take a look at that around the world.
Before you would go to any sort of a final decision here, this would go into the interagency process, and ultimately the decision would be the president's. But this is something that we are actively looking at around the world.
Q: You say that no decision has been made. Is it the position of Secretary Rumsfeld that this would be a wise move? In other words, he wants -- he would like to do it, if it --
Quigley: Well, I think he wants to start at the beginning, Bob, and that is to get the feelings of both Israel and Egypt, certainly the nations -- two most affected, okay, by the Sinai Force. You've got 11 nations that are contributing forces of some type, of some size, to the force that's in the Sinai, so you would have an impact on all of them. It's a complicated process to go through this, but you've got to start somewhere. And there's no question that conceptually, the president very much wants to look at this around the world. Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Powell are right with him in that regard. And so the secretary thought it was appropriate to start with asking the leaders of those two nations for their views.
Q: When was that conversation, the date, do you know?
Quigley: I'd have to go back and check the calendar, but it's when they were in Washington, D.C. Both of them were in the last few weeks, but I'd have to go back and check the dates. We can get that for you.
Q: Mubarak and Sharon?
Quigley: Yeah. They weren't here at the same time, but they were fairly close to each other; I want to say a week or 10 days, or so, apart, Bob. We can get those dates for you, though. [Secretary Rumsfeld met with President Mubarak on April 3 and with Prime Minister Sharon on March 19.]
Q: Under the Sinai agreement, would not Israel and Egypt both have to agree to this?
Quigley: Yes. Yes, they would.
Q: So a unilateral move on this is not being considered; it would have to be --
Quigley: Well, like I said, it would really be a fairly complicated process to make that final decision, and this was kind of the first step in that regard, to just see their -- hear their views and get their perspective on this.
Q: Craig, can you give us the latest number of U.S. forces that are currently deployed on that particular mission?
Quigley: Yeah. There is a congressional cap of 1,200, and current U.S. military strength is 860.
Q: Now, is the discussion aimed at withdrawing them all, or a partial withdrawal?
Quigley: Alex, you're more detailed than we are in the discussions at this point.
Q: What units are there right now?
Quigley: I've got a United States infantry battalion -- do you want me to go through the contributions of the other nations as well?
Q: No, no. Which infantry, please?
Quigley: I don't have the number. Let me take that.
Q: There's one infantry --
Q: (Off mike.)
Quigley: I'm sorry?
Q: Do the other make-up.
Q: Yeah, what's the total number, actually the total number of all forces?
Q: What's the total number, and what are the other nations?
Quigley: There are 860 --
Q: Both U.S. troops and internationally.
Q: Total number of troops overall.
Quigley: Oh, oh, oh. Okay, let's see, do I have that? For the U.S. -- let me start at the beginning here. The current U.S. -- we have 529 soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division; I have a support battalion of 309 U.S. soldiers; and I have a headquarters element of 27 soldiers. These are broken into a North Camp and a South Camp split-out.
Let's see, I don't know if the I have the total -- I have the nations identified. Let me see if I can get a total number of forces that are on hand right now. I don't have that. [About 1,850 from 11 nations.]
Q: Could you describe their mission?
Q: But --
Quigley: This goes back to 1982, okay. Assumed its duties on the 25th of April, so right at 19 years ago, almost right now. It's a multinational peacekeeping force outside the auspices of the United Nations, and it's a part of the overall 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
Q: Aren't there also surveillance flights that support that that aren't connected with Sinai?
Quigley: I don't know.
Q: A budget question. The line out of the Pentagon has been, to Congress, don't give us a supplemental till the secretary finishes these various studies. And yet there is a document from this building before the Senate Armed Services Committee, and perhaps other committees, which figures $11.9 billion needed for Fiscal '01, the current fiscal year, in additional funds.
What I was hoping you could do is identify what document that is. Is that a preliminary estimate for the supplemental, or is it the costing of perhaps the money that John Warner added --
Quigley: I'm not the one that brought up the document, George. If you say there's a document of $11.9 billion, let me see it when you get a copy of it, would you?
Q: Well, it's your document.
Quigley: If you say so. I didn't start this discussion. You said there's a document before the Senate Armed Services Committee. I --
Q: (Off mike) -- what that document is?
Quigley: No, I can't.
Q: Because you sent it up there.
Quigley: I haven't seen it. Perhaps when you do, let me know.
Q: I mean, Rumsfeld's deputy sent it up there.
Q: Well, can you check and see if you have submitted such a document?
Quigley: No. I'm not going to try to track down a single document on Capitol Hill.
Q: Well, it's not just a minor issue, it's an $11 billion request.
Quigley: When we make a request, when and if the president decides to make a request for '01 supplemental, you'll all know it at about the same time, I suggest. There'll be a public announcement on that.
Whatever document might be up on the Hill, I suggest there's more than one with different figures, it's the perception of the writer of the note, if there is such a note. That does not reflect the views of the secretary or of the president until it has their signatures on it and is formally submitted to the Congress for their consideration. So I'm not going to go chase memos around Capitol Hill; there's too many to chase.
Q: New subject?
Q: Okay, on Vieques, yesterday the attorney general of Puerto Rico presented legislation, sound legislation, to -- the objectives are to prevent the Navy from training, and if the Navy decides to proceed with this training, scheduled for next week, to take the Navy to court, issue an injunction. At the press conference where the attorney general presented this draft legislation -- and the Puerto Rico legislature has said they're going to proceed with quick -- prompt hearings and probably enact it the beginning of the week -- she said that the legislation does not violate the presidential directives. But once again, she reiterated the governor's position that the agreement does not exist because, in essence, when Congress adopted the law, the Defense authorization bill, it changed the agreement. What's the department's position on that?
Quigley: Wow. Let's see, let me break that down into parts. Until there is legislation, we cannot really understand what a possible impact there might be. It's our long-standing practice not to comment on draft legislation because it changes so often between the time it's introduced and the time that it ultimately is approved, if ever approved, by a legislature or one of the houses of Congress.
I would have to do a comparison of the agreement that was signed by the president and the governor and compare that to the language in the authorization bill, which became law, to see if there are any differences between the two. But I'm not aware of any.
I think the law was specifically crafted to be in compliance with the agreement, so I'm not aware of any differences.
Q: When she mentions the differences or how come this changed, it was the specific mention of the transfer of the land. The acreage that will be transferred to Puerto Rico is not as much as it originally was planned; it's going to -- part of it is going to Interior, Fish and Wildlife, versus GSA; and it's going to the municipality versus the government. So, those were, you know, minor or major changes, depending from whose perspective, and that's why she's saying well, that changed the agreement; the agreement doesn't exist.
Quigley: You got me. I'm sorry. We'd have to have our attorneys take a close look at that and try to discern the difference between the two. I don't know.
Q: And as a follow-up to that, the Navy has issued a report to members of the Armed Services -- Senate and House Armed Services, detailing the incidents of violence on the range, trespassing, et cetera. Six men and women have been reported to have been injured. There have even been one bomb threat and other incidents. While the government of Puerto Rico claims there's only been one minor incident. Does the department believe that this is a major or minor incident?
And as a follow-up to that, does the department feel that the government of Puerto Rico is complying with their part of the deal, agreement, or directives, by providing or not providing adequate security for the Range?
Quigley: I think that the instances -- I'm going to try to remember your question. The instances of the disparity in the numbers of events that the Puerto Rican law enforcement authorities and Navy security forces have come up with, we're trying to provide those -- and I don't know if we've done that yet -- to the Puerto Rican law enforcement authorities to make sure that we're on the same page there. But there are several more instances that the Navy, at least, considers significant, in that either people were injured, or certainly they were threatened with injury of rocks and bottles and things of that sort, during the course of these events.
And so I guess I'd put it we're comparing notes to make sure that we're talking about the same events on the same dates in the same locations. And if they're not aware of that, then we'll be glad to provide the knowledge that -- as we understand it, of the particulars of those incidents on those dates.
And again, I am not aware of anything that -- to date, at least, that says that the agreement does not remain in force. And it is our sincere desire that the agreement be the foundation for the way ahead, both in the conduct and frequency of training, turnover of land, turnover of money. That, we think, was painstakingly worked out over many months and is a very good foundation on which to build and move ahead. And we would hope that the governor and the commonwealth would stay in the terms of the agreement and we could move ahead.
Q: But in light of the number of incidents, whether we have to, you know, be on the same page -- but in light of the number of incidents, do you feel that the governor of Puerto Rico has been providing the adequate security to prevent these incidents, in light -- or at least in the spirit of the agreement?
Quigley: Well, I think that's all going to be part of that same process of sharing information with the Puerto Rican law enforcement authorities, to make sure that they have the information that we have, and maybe records locally differ from those held in San Juan, or -- or I don't know. But that's all a part of this information sharing that we're going to try to make sure that we're on the same page and that they understand "this event happened at this place at this time; do you have that? Well, here are the particulars," and so that we understand that we're talking about the same frame of reference here.
Q: Is the department considering beefing up security for the upcoming training schedule for next week?
Quigley: I can't discuss any security preparations that might be considered. I'm sorry.
Q: In that vein, the department, as I understand it, sent a group of people -- I'm not sure if it was the Defense Department or the Navy Department -- sent a group of people to Vieques or to Puerto Rico early this week to discuss the security situation. Can you update us on what the result of that -- those discussions were?
Quigley: I need --
Q: Are you -- is the department now satisfied that the local authorities are going to provide security?
Quigley: I don't know. I believe they went down two days ago, but it was done under the Navy Department auspices. I would ask you to check with those guys.
Q: And a related question: The land transfer is now scheduled for May 1st, or by May 1st, I think, is the way that the agreement is worded. Does the department intend to continue with that, on that schedule, at this point? And what --
Quigley: Yes, indeed. As long as the agreement remains in force, we plan on complying with it.
Q: Well, would the mere introduction -- not necessarily the passage, but the introduction of the noise -- anti-noise legislation, violate the agreement, or does it have to be passed?
Quigley: I don't know.
Q: Thank you.
Quigley: Could I correct -- or finish one thought? There are about 1,850 people assigned to the multinational peacekeeping force in the Sinai right now. Again, that's 11 nations. And Secretary Rumsfeld met with President Mubarak on the 3rd of April, and with Prime Minister Sharon on the 19th of March.
Q: Craig, just a question on that. Is the idea to remove the U.S. troops and reduce the size of the peacekeeping force, or to replace them with people from other nations?
Quigley: Say that again.
Q: Would the U.S. -- is the idea for the U.S. to try to get other nations to replace the U.S. troops, or just simply remove ours?
Quigley: I think our initial reaction would be to consider the reaction of Israel and Egypt for the reduction in numbers of the U.S. contribution to the force.
Q: Thank you.
Quigley: You bet.
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