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I think plainly it was designed to further the debate, and I hope it did 
that.

Media Criticism

    Mr. Esler. Finally, Mr. President, you go to Europe at a time when 
you're facing the kind of criticism, sleazy criticism, at home and in 
the British papers that no President has ever had to face before. How 
distracting is it for you that people are raking up financial dealings 
and personal affairs going back years?
    The President. Well, unfortunately that's become part of the daily 
fare of American public life now because of certain extremist groups and 
because now it's part of our media life, like unfortunately it's a part 
of your media life. But I know that the charges are bogus and that 
they'll ultimately be disproved or they'll die of their own weight. And 
they don't take up a lot of our time and attention here.
    My job is to lead this country in its own path of internal revival 
and engaging with our friends and allies. And I can't really afford to 
be distracted by it. I just get up here every day and think about what 
an incredible historic opportunity and what an obligation it is, and I 
do my best to fulfill the obligation.
    I will say this, I'm ecstatic about going back to Britain again 
after some years of absence and having a chance to go back to Oxford 
again after the D-Day ceremonies are complete. The United States has no 
closer ally than Great Britain. And even though we may have some 
differences from time to time, we mustn't let those differences get in 
our way. We have too much at stake. We have too much work to do in 
building this new world. As you point out, there are still a lot of 
problems out there, but we're going to deal with them, and we're going 
to do fine.
    Mr. Esler. Mr. President, thank you very much for talking to me. And 
I hope you enjoy your visit to Britain.
    The President. Thank you.

Note: The interview began at 2:40 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White 
House. In his remarks, the President referred to Gerry Adams, leader of 
Sinn Fein. This item was not received in time for publication in the 
appropriate issue.


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]


[Page 1179-1182]
 
Monday, June 6, 1994
 
Volume 30--Number 22
Pages 1177-1208
 
Week Ending Friday, June 3, 1994
 
Interview With the Italian Media

May 27, 1994

    Giuseppe Lugato. Mr. President, I want to thank you, first of all, 
for this great opportunity. I want to remember that this is the first 
time that a President of the United States gives an interview to two 
Italian journalists only. So thank you, and our first question, sir.

Italian Government

    Silvia Kramar. My first question to you, Mr. President, is about 
Italy. There has been great many political changes in the last few 
months. We have a brand new government, and we actually call it the 
beginning of the second republic. My question to you is what do you 
think about this new government? What is your impression? And also, what 
do you think will be the future of the relationships between the United 
States and Italy?
    The President. Well, first let me say a word about the outgoing 
government. I think Prime Minister Ciampi did a fine job of bridging the 
period of transition and giving a sense of stability and security and 
confidence to the rest of us about Italy and what was going on. We all 
followed the elections with great interest. As you know, your system is 
quite a bit different from ours, so here in America we were very 
interested to see how the election would come out and then how a 
government would be formed.
    I haven't met with your new Prime Minister, but I am looking forward 
to it. The Ital- 

[[Page 1180]]

ian Foreign Minister was here just a few days ago to assure the United 
States of the continuing commitment of Italy to the sort of partnership 
we have had. The Italian-American relationship is extremely important 
for our ability to work for peace in Bosnia, for our ability to maintain 
a stability in the entire region, and for our long-term economic 
partnerships as well. So I am looking forward to it, and I am basically 
quite optimistic. I'm hopeful.
    Mr. Lugato. Sir, you were just quoting the new Prime Minister. Can I 
ask you what is the perception that you have of Mr. Berlusconi? That at 
the same time he is a successful businessman, number one Italian TV 
tycoon, and Prime Minister. Now, many in Italy, they think that's too 
much, and they think that in the United States this couldn't happen.
    The President. Couldn't happen?
    Mr. Lugato. That's what I'm saying.
    The President. Well, you know, as I said, we've never met so I have 
no direct perception. But I think that we live in a world in which the 
media is very dominant. I mean, our perceptions are so shaped by what we 
see and what we hear that it is not surprising that in certain nations 
people who have made their careers and fortunes in the media would rise 
to the top of the political system.
    I think the question is, then once you have the job, what do you do 
with it? And I think I have the impression that in the campaign he 
projected strength, he projected a sense of where Italy should go and a 
willingness to make sure that certain changes would be made to make the 
system function and to provide a measure of stable progress. And that, 
of course, is the challenge that we all face.
    So I am sort of like, I think the Italian citizens--I say that the 
man has been elected; give him a chance. Let's see if he can do his job. 
Give him a chance, and give him a little support.
    Ms. Kramar. Talking about the new government, Berlusconi also has a 
coalition with a different party called Aliancia Nacionale, which has 
always been a right-wing party. And five of our new ministers belong to 
that party. Of course, you must have read all the newspapers here and 
the columns saying that Italy is going back to a new Fascist era. What 
do you think about that?
    The President. I think it's a little premature to make that sort of 
extreme judgment, for several reasons. I mean a lot of the political 
parties in multiparty democracies have their roots in the past and 
certain ideas and images and policies of the past, which may not be a 
valid way of judging them today. In Poland, for example, they had an 
election and the, if you will, the children, the descendants of the 
former Communist Party, won a big portion of the election. Does that 
mean they are going to go back to communism? Not necessarily. In 
Argentina, one of my favorite examples, the President Menem won as the 
heir of the Juan Peron's party, but he privatized the economy. He grew 
it. He stabilized inflation.
    In Italy, when I was last in Italy in 1987, I was staying in 
Florence and traveling around through to Bologna and to Siena and to 
many other cities. And I was noticing all these governments governed by 
people who said they were members of the Community Party. But they were 
pro-NATO, and anti-Soviet Union, pro-United States, pro-free enterprise. 
I think we must judge people by what they do, not by the labels behind 
them. So let's give them a chance to govern and see what they do.

Administration Goals

    Mr. Lugato. Mr. President, what is the America that you would like 
to see? And do you think you are on the right track to build it?
    The President. Yes, I think we're going in the right direction. I 
want America to be able to do the following things: One, I want America 
to rebuild itself. I want a strong American economy, and I want this 
incredibly diverse country of ours to be coming together with a stronger 
sense of community. I want us to have a mature and accurate idea of what 
the relationship between the Government and the people should be. What 
can the Government do, what must the people do for themselves from the 
grassroots up in their families, their communities, their workplaces? I 
want an America that is moving outward into the 21st century, reaching 
out to other countries and leading a world in which

[[Page 1181]]

we do not dominate but in which we must lead, where we cooperate with 
our friends and allies to provide for security against the proliferation 
of weapons, against terrorism, against aggression, against all the 
pressures to dissolve in all these countries and where we try to advance 
the cause of prosperity, democracy, and human rights, and where we try 
to limit chaos and misery, doing what we can in a cooperative way as we 
did in Somalia or as we work together to try to help the African 
countries deal with the tragedy of Rwanda and Burundi, and et cetera, et 
cetera. Those are the things I think we should be doing.

Foreign Policy

    Mr. Lugato. So, Mr. President, you have a vision also for the world. 
Now, how do you explain that your foreign policy--I know that you don't 
deserve that, but--has been so criticized, has been unfocused, 
uncertain? How do you explain that?
    The President. Well, I think that there are, if you will, three 
parts of it, and one part of it has been criticized. No one has 
criticized what we have done to protect the security of Americans, that 
is, working with the Russians to make Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus 
nonnuclear states, reducing our nuclear arsenals. We don't point our 
nuclear weapons at each other any more. We are working in partnership. 
That's been very successful.
    The second thing we have done is to try to advance international 
trade and to promote freedom and openness through that in our own 
hemisphere with the North American Free Trade Agreement, with our 
leadership to get the GATT agreement worldwide, with our continuing 
efforts to engage China and Japan and other Asian countries. We are 
working in ways that--in our country, we have seen more progress than in 
a generation in reaching out to the world economically.
    The third area is the most difficult: To what extent can America 
influence adverse events in other parts of the world? And particularly, 
they mention Bosnia and, in our backyard here, Haiti. The real issue 
there, it seems to me, is that there is a lot of confusion about exactly 
how much our country should do.
    We have interests and values at stake in Bosnia. Should we be on the 
ground there with troops? I don't think so. Should we lift the arms 
embargo, as maybe a majority of my Congress wants to do? I don't think 
so. I don't agree with the arms embargo. I think it was a mistake in the 
first place. But we are now involved in a cooperative venture in Bosnia 
with our allies in NATO and the United Nations and principally with 
Europe to try to help to bring that awful conflict to an end and, in the 
meanwhile, to make sure it does not spread. In that environment where we 
are working to push toward a solution, we cannot impose our will, and we 
have to be flexible and listening. That is the frustration people have. 
People say, ``Well, President Clinton doesn't favor the arms embargo, 
but he won't lift it.'' That's right. Because if I lift the arms embargo 
all by myself, then why should Italy observe the embargo on Saddam 
Hussein, or any other country?
    We have done the following things constantly. I have always said I 
would not send troops into Bosnia while the war was going on because 
that would complicate the U.N. mission and because I did not think that 
was the right thing to do. I would, however, support the troops there 
with air support, with the airplanes for the humanitarian airlift, and 
then I'll work to get NATO to agree to an out-of-area mission to use 
airpower there to keep the Bosnian war from spreading into the air and 
to try to protect Sarajevo and these other areas. That is my policy. If 
we can reach an agreement on clear dividing lines for peace, then I 
would be prepared to have the United States participate in that peace 
effort. I think that shows leadership, I think it shows a respect for 
the European powers, and I don't think it shows vacillation. But it is 
frustrating because people say, ``Well, the U.S. is the only superpower 
in the world, and Europe is very strong and rich. Why can't we just fix 
this?'' We forget the history of Bosnia. It can't be fixed easily.
    Ms. Kramar. Mr. President, on a more personal level, you are an 
idealist. You always wanted to be President of the United States, ever 
since you were a child. Now you are in the position of being probably 
the most powerful man in the world, and yet you wake up in the morning, 
you read the papers, and

[[Page 1182]]

you see that there is violence in Rwanda, there is violence in Bosnia, 
there is violence in Haiti and in the streets of America. How does it 
feel to be not able to change this?
    The President.  Well, one of my great predecessors, Harry Truman, 
who was President, as you know, right after World War II, said that he 
discovered after he became President that his job largely consisted of 
trying to talk other people into doing what they ought to do anyway. 
Sometimes I feel that way, that I don't have as much power as I thought 
I would have.
    On the other hand, this is a place with some power. As anyone who 
has ever exercised power will tell you, there is always the tug of the 
mind and the heart, of the interests and the values. And what you have 
to do is to decide how much you can do and do that and do it as well as 
you can and then try to marshall the energies and ideas and values of 
other people to help.
    So that is what I am trying to do. I am trying to construct a 
framework in which Italy and France and Germany and England and the 
South American powers and the Asian powers and the African powers can 
cooperate to try to deal with horrible problems in which the United 
States leads but does not attempt to do something it cannot do. And 
every day I think about it. I am doing my best to live out my ideals, 
understanding that I have to have everyone else's help in order to do 
it. But I am, frankly, more optimistic than I was about the future of 
the world than when I took office.
    Mr. Lugato. Mr. President, we thank you very much, and clearly be 
welcome in my country and have a great time in Italy.
    The President.  I can't wait to come. Thank you.

Note: The interview began at 3:10 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White 
House. The interviewers were Giuseppe Lugato, RAI Television, and Silvia 
Kramar, RTI Television. This item was not received in time for 
publication in the appropriate issue.


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]


[Page 1182]
 
Monday, June 6, 1994
 
Volume 30--Number 22
Pages 1177-1208
 
Week Ending Friday, June 3, 1994
 
Letter Accepting the Resignation of David Watkins as Assistant to the 
President for Management and Administration

May 27, 1994

Dear David:

    I write to accept your resignation and to say that I understand your 
reasons for submitting it.
    At the same time, it should be stated that you undertook your 
assignment as Assistant to the President for Management and 
Administration with great vigor and effectiveness. During your tenure, 
we changed and upgraded the technology upon which this White House 
depends and future White Houses will depend; from telephones to 
computers, you brought us into the modern age. Moreover, you opened this 
house--the people's house--literally to thousands more visitors than had 
ever been welcomed here in White House history. For these, and many 
other accomplishments large and small, you deserve great credit.
    Hillary and I will never forget the loyal friendship you and Ileene 
have given to us over the years.
    Sincerely,
                                                          Bill

Note: A letter of resignation from David Watkins to the President and a 

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