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Remarks By Acting Secretary Shanahan At An Enhanced Honor Cordon In Honor Of Portuguese Minister of National Defense João Cravinho

June 14, 2019
Acting Secretary Of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan; Portuguese Minister of National Defense João Cravinho

ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE PATRICK SHANAHAN:  Mr. Minister, welcome to the Pentagon.  Always good to see you and be able to spend some time together and talk about very meaningful issues at a very important time in the world.  We didn't get a chance to look at the portrait of Frank Carlucci, who is out in -- in the hallway, but as you know, played a role in the creation of the Constitution.

If we pass by him over there on our way out, maybe you'll have a chance to -- to see his picture.  But we really value the relationship and being a NATO ally.  The thing I should mention is we really appreciate you hosting us in the Azores.  It's a critical resource for us in many ways.

And then Ms. Wheelbarger here, appreciate the hosting of last week's d-ISIS coalition ministerial.  I know we have some important work to do in -- in Brussels at the end of this month as we talk about technology, the evolving threats to Europe and our need to evolve our readiness and our capability.

But before that, we should probably congratulate you on your 1-0 defeat of the Netherlands and the championship so lots of things to celebrate, but welcome here to the Pentagon.  Please.

Portuguese Minister of National Defense João Cravinho:  Thank you very much -- thank you very much, I'm delighted to be here.  Thank you very much for the reception, thank you for your words also, not only celebrating our defeat of our NATO ally -- (Laughter.) -- but -- but also your reference to Frank Carlucci, who was, as you -- as you mentioned, very, very important at a crucial phase in our history.  And the important thing about Frank Carlucci was that he believed in Portugal and that came through when we most needed it.

So I think that's also very symbolic, as Ambassador Glass knows, he's very much remembered in Portugal.  The Azores, which you mentioned, is again a symbol of very close ties that we have.  It's also a symbol, I think, of what we need to do together in the future as we reinvent and repurpose the base.

And I -- we do have indeed a number of common challenges.  The most important for us I think is to continue this close dialogue that we have with the United States so that we can find the best way to work together on issues, such as defeating Daesh or indeed meeting the numerous challenges that we face in the Atlantic or other parts of the world.

So I'm very much looking forward to this opportunity to talk.

SEC. SHANAHAN:  Thank you, thank you. Good. Well...


Q:  Mr. Minister, are there any circumstances under which you would allow the Chinese access to the Azores, for any kind of basing agreement?  And to the Secretary, are you considering any additional troops or capabilities in the wake of these attacks in the Middle East?

MIN. CRAVINHO:  Well with respect to Chinese in the Azores, it's not an issue that has arisen. I don't see any reason why we would wish to establish anything Chinese on the Azores. It's not a question. Not an issue.

SEC. SHANAHAN:  You know, Phil, we -- your question's a good one.  And as -- as you know, we're always planning various contingencies.  You know, I emphasized earlier this need to develop international consensus.

When you look at the -- the situation, a Norwegian ship, Japanese ship, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, 15% of the world's oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz, so we obviously need to make contingency plans should the situation deteriorate but we also need to broaden our support for this international situation.

Q:  Mr. Secretary, you talked outside briefly about the new transparency of the Pentagon, getting the video out and the photographs out.  When will we see similar types of substantiation on the origin of the -- of the mines that were applied to the ships?

SEC. SHANAHAN:  I don't have -- I don't have a sense for the -- the timing but I -- I will just emphasize the earlier point that you made.  You know, the more information that we can declassify, the more information we can share, we will, and that's our intent, and I think as you saw yesterday, doing it quickly.

So it's as important to do it in a timely manner as it is to release it.  

Q:  So that process is underway, however, to determine the origin of -- of the -- the -- of those mines?

SEC. SHANAHAN:  Oh -- absolutely, yeah.  Thank you everybody, appreciate your time.

Q:  Thank you.