THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Vancouver, British Columbia)
|For Immediate Release|| ||November 25, 1997 |
PRESS BRIEFING BY
PRESS SECRETARY MIKE MCCURRY
AND ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT
FOR INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC POLICY DAN TARULLO
Waterfront Centre Hotel2:50 P.M. (L)
Vancouver, British Columbia
MR. MCCURRY: All right, everyone is on deadline, so we won't have a lengthy introduction of the Assistant to the President for International Economic Policy, and sherpa, and President's sidekick at today's meetings, Dan Tarullo.
MR. TARULLO: Insofar as you all are on deadline, I assume you don't want a blow by blow. I can do some of that in questions, but let me try to give you the feel for the meetings up until this point. And I'll try to summarize as follows:
The entire three-hour session this morning was devoted to the financial situation in Asia. As you know, it originally had been planned to have about half of it on infrastructure and sustainable development. Every single leader wanted to speak to the East Asian financial issues and, therefore, the entire time was taken up by that discussion.
I would say that the most galvanizing moment of the morning came when President Zedillo of Mexico spoke. He gave an account of the difficulties that Mexico suffered in late '94 and into 1995 with the peso crisis and tried to draw some lessons from that set of difficulties for the leaders of Asian economies which are currently subject to substantial financial pressure.
He made clear that he didn't think all of the lessons were transferrable and, indeed, he pointed out that the high domestic savings rates in East Asian countries probably provide more of a basis for a rapid rebound than existed even in Mexico. But his message was quite cogent and quite, I think, a shift in the perceptions of a lot of the leaders there.
What he basically said was that one has to be cognizant as a leader; that in the short-term the most important thing that can be done is to give reassurance to markets, to investors that the economy in question is going to be placed on a sound footing. Accordingly, he said there were three things that need to be done. One, sound macroeconomic program to correct imbalances -- fiscal and internal imbalances; two, deal with weaknesses in the banking system of the country in question; and, three, obtain external financing to support adjustment, not as a way to avoid adjustment.
He said that there is no way to protect an economy that has suffered financial dislocation from all pain, but that his experience was the most important thing was to face up to it, to tell the citizens of the country the truth about the situation, to give them the confidence that with the right set of measures they can restore growth, and then to go about in a very forthright way implementing the principles that I just detailed.
He further added that as a political matter obviously this entails a good deal of problem in the short run because the political situation in the country is likely to be affected adversely by serious economic difficulties. But he pointed out that the experience of Mexico demonstrates that the political situation can also turn back quickly in favor of the government's programs and policies when those programs and polices are seen to be bearing fruit.
A number of other leaders, including Prime Minister Goh of Singapore, President Frei of Chile, and others, commented both on President Zedillo's presentation and also on the fact that Mexico had indeed restored growth, had indeed restored confidence in barely two years.
As I say, this actually elicited from President Frei of Chile, also from Chee-hwa Tung of Hong Kong, accounts of difficulties that their economies had gone through in the '80s and the similar sets of measures that were needed in order to set things right.
President Clinton followed President Zedillo's presentation -- not directly; it was a couple later -- with, first off, an endorsement of the approach and account that President Zedillo had given. President Clinton noted that he had lived through these times with President Zedillo, had been in frequent contact with him, so he knew what Zedillo and Mexico had gone through. He reinforced a number of the points that President Zedillo had made. He went further to say that the goal here ought to be asking how financial markets can work to the benefit of the various economies of the region. It was clear that they played an enormously important role in the development of Asia and indeed the growth in all our economies, and that the steps towards achieving that end were the following:
One, to move forward on the Manila Framework, which we've discussed previously here. Two, to address banking problems where they exist. He recounted U.S. experience with the savings and loan problem of the 1980s and indicated that quick action and a strong restoration of confidence for depositors was essential to dealing with the banking problem here.
Three, that if the countries of the world can come up with a good set of offers to conclude the financial services liberalization talks in the WTO by the 12th of December, which is the current deadline, that that act will be a further confidence restorer to the rest of the world because they'll see the commitment of the economies in the region and, indeed, throughout the world to strengthening capital markets through providing more stable flows.
Four, he indicated that if an economy is running a substantial trade surplus and has a high savings rate, that this kind of economy ought not to respond to potential financial difficulties simply by constricting, by fiscal tightening, but instead should not try to export its way back to stability; instead it had to take domestic measures as well.
Five, he, too, addressed the political difficulties that can be entailed when one has to take a tough set of policies. He recounted his own experience in 1993, when changes in the budget deficit projections even from the time he was running for President to the time he became President were such as to have to make him adjust his own program. He indicated the difficulties it caused with his own party, the fact that no Republicans had voted for the program he eventually brought forth in 1993; but, like President Zedillo, was able with a few years hindsight to look at a very good set of results and the resulting impact on the economy as an indication that things can be turned around and that taking some fairly difficult decisions in the short-term is really quite critical to most quickly getting back on a good program.
There was, as you can imagine, also some discussion from some different perspectives. Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia repeated calls that he has made publicly here in Vancouver and elsewhere for action to deal with currency trading. A number of other leaders commented on that proposal. Some suggested that it was precipitous to take any action because one didn't want to cut off the very capital flows that were important for economies. Others had similar notes of caution, but endorsed the IMF study which is ongoing right now on market participation in this set of problems that have been encountered in Asia. That study is ongoing and should be completed in the quite near-term.
As I say, a number of leaders thought it was difficult to distinguish the good and very positive effects of currency trading, which is to say facilitating trade and investment on the one hand from activity that some think was not so good. If there was -- I think a rough consensus was emerging that some study by the IMF was warranted. A few leaders seemed to think even a study may not be necessary, but they didn't oppose it.
The one other thing that I would mention on this subject is that, beginning with Prime Minister Goh, a number of other leaders indicated the interest they had in the United States continuing to play a very active role in shaping responses to problems in the region and, indeed, to extending the consideration and response to those problems to the rest of the world.
As you know, there will be a meeting in Kuala Lampur next week of the ASEAN finance ministers plus six, including the United States and Japan. There's also a meeting at a sub-ministerial level planned in January in Tokyo to follow up on the Manila Framework.
The President indicated that he, in response to the expressions of concern and requests for sustained U.S. involvement in here would convene at an appropriate time a meeting of finance ministers -- the composition of that group, obviously, to be determined -- to try to move this process along and move it to the rest of the world and to keep the attention of the leaders not just of this region, but of the rest of the world, focused on the principles that are embodied in the Manila Framework
At lunch there was a discussion -- that, as I say, took the whole morning, so there was no infrastructure discussion at all. At lunch there was a discussion of climate change. As those of you who are APEC and/or G-7 veterans know, the notetakers or the observers -- to wit, me -- were not present for the lunch so I'm just going on the basis of a brief readout I had from the President and actually from Prime Minister Chretien, whom I spoke with briefly as well after the lunch. They both indicated that climate change was the principal topic discussed at lunch.
President Clinton made the kind of presentation that I detailed to you yesterday, indicating the importance of participation by all countries and the opportunities for developing countries to participate in a way consistent with their growth ambitions, and yet still having a positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
There was a good deal of favorable reaction. A number of leaders indicated that they understood the kind of approach and proposal that was being made. As I said yesterday, this was not a time or a meeting to try to pin down on specifics, obviously, but I think that the President was quite pleased with the reception and understanding that a number of his fellow leaders manifested at that lunch.
I'm afraid that is literally the sum of what I know about the lunch conversation, because he was then whisked into the afternoon meetings. And so at least for purposes of today's deadline, that's all I'll be able to give you.
MR. MCCURRY: Tell them about the declaration.
MR. TARULLO: Declaration. There are still a couple of outstanding issues on the declaration. They are issues of wording; they are not indicative of major issues affecting any of the major elements here. One is on the climate change language, although, I believe that actually has been resolved and, to tell you the truth, as I looked at it quickly on the way over here I wasn't sure I understood the substantive differences from what had been in there before.
Secondly, I gather that the wording on the package of sectorial liberalization measures might be discussed this afternoon. At least one leader wanted, I think, to make sure that the sectorial liberalization approach being taken within APEC and tried to move forward ought not to displace efforts at broad based multilateral liberalization. I don't think that's at all a controversial concept -- indeed, something to that effect was included in the trade ministers own declaration the other day. It is still unclear to me at this time, as I left the center, whether or not there will be any change in the trade communique -- excuse me, the declaration language with respect to trade. If there is, it will be on that point; it will not, though, affect the package of nine sectors accounting for $1.9 trillion in trade.
Q Was any of the demonstration, which apparently has resulted in the use of pepper spray and a whole bunch of arrests -- was any of that audible at any time to the leaders?
MR. TARULLO: Audible, no. On the way in to the University, one could see demonstrators on either side, but at that time there was nothing particularly remarkable about them and I heard nothing at the conference center itself.
Q Can you say anything about designing the study? What are they going to study, the currency speculation, who is involved, what exactly is the nature of this study that they're going to --
MR. TARULLO: Well, for the details of that I
would actually refer you to the IMF. It may be that someone in our Executive Director's Office at the IMF in Washington could give you more information.
It is not done yet, but it is in process. And as I understand it, it is a study of the role of market participant, which is a term of art for those who are moving currency, moving money in and out of markets, during the recent financial dislocations.
You ought not to equate market participants with currency speculators. Market participants are anybody who's moving money around. And there obviously are a variety of motivations and a variety of contexts in which they do that. I honestly don't know exactly what the scope or -- and I certainly don't know what the conclusions of the study will be. The key point I think for our purposes here is that in general the leaders recognized the value of a careful analysis of what went on in order better to understand it. And, certainly, as a prerequisite for thinking one might do anything about it.
Q Was there anything specific on a Korean bailout to supplement the IMF? We've been hearing a lot about that.
MR. TARULLO: No, there was not. President Kim spoke in the course of the morning. And if you want I can give you a brief summary of what he said. He indicated that the free movement of capital was unavoidable and desirable, but, obviously, it created the potential for vulnerability in an economy. He recounted the package of measures which his government announced on November 19th. He indicated the recognition by the government of Korea that international cooperation was needed in order to respond to the pressures to which Korea is subject, and that his government has requested a stand-by arrangement from the IMF.
He concluded by saying that the contagion of recent weeks reveals the need for a multiplicity of responses. He welcomed the Manila Framework as a good way forward and asked for the support of the rest of the countries in the region for Korea's efforts. There was no direct response to that.
Q Given that the Manila Framework embodies an approach rather than a specific commitment by any country to any particular package of reforms, what then is the symbolic importance or the message that comes out of what happened here?
MR. TARULLO: I think it's at least twofold, Dick. One, in purely practical terms, the fact is that the approach that was taken on a de novo basis in the case of Indonesia has now been regularized in the sense that the relevant group, the relevant contacts, and the relevant parameters for discussion are now well understood among the Manila Group participants. As a corollary to that, there is contemplated regular meetings at which the situation in the various countries participating in the framework will be reviewed -- as I said yesterday, a kind of surveillance parallel to and complementary to IMF surveillance -- and thus, a regional focus for surveillance and peer discussion is provided.
Second thing that I think is important about it is the notion of the region coming together to try to supplement, complement the multilateral mechanisms that exist, providing some regional focus for these efforts.
As I said, I think the best way to understand it is what APEC has done in the trade area. Just as APEC has moved some sectors like the ITA last year and these nine this year, forward on to the multilateral trade agenda, what the Manila Framework and the APEC meeting do this year is to move forward an approach for a multilateral response to financial problems on to the global agenda, including the call for IMF efforts to increase the quickness, the speed of its short-term credit reaction.
So, basically, you've got the capacity for regional monitoring and a regional response coexistent with an effort to move and shape the existing multilateral institutions. That really is what APEC is about in a lot of ways. The concept of open regionalism has always meant turning out to the world and not sort of just turning inward, notwithstanding the size and importance of that market.
Q Could you tell us more about this meeting of finance ministers that the Presidents wants to convene? What would be exactly the goal of the meeting?
MR. TARULLO: The purpose of it, and it's not -- there is no time, there is no date, and there is no firm composition here yet -- but there is a purpose, and the purpose is consistent with the Manila Framework and the meetings planned for next week and in January. The President will convene as appropriate a group which can take that work and move it forward, move it into discussions with finance ministries from other parts of the world and the IMF. So it's really to complement the regionally based activities that were already contemplated in the wake of the Manila Framework.
Q What discussion, if at all, was there about the idea of Japan playing some sort of locomotive role for the regional economies? It sounds as if you're saying the President didn't raise that. And if not, why not?
MR. TARULLO: This was a multilateral -- this was a meeting of 18 economies. I detailed yesterday the discussion in the bilateral meeting between the President and the Prime Minister. But I think if you review what I indicated were the President's own remarks about the need, the kind of response that's necessary, one of those things was the importance of dealing with banking systems head on. Another was the importance of countries with large trade surpluses not responding just through fiscal tightening to financial problems. So in the framework of the kinds of responses that are needed by everybody, I think the President was including in more general terms some of the specific ideas that he talked about yesterday.
Q Did other countries raise the same idea, at all?
MR. TARULLO: That specific idea, I don't think so. I don't think on that specific idea they did.
Q Was there any discussion or questions of the President on U.S. -- attitudes within the U.S. on continuing to play a leadership role on some of these issues, given the defeat on fast track and the failure to win IMF budgeting?
MR. TARULLO: There was no discussion at all of either of those things. I think, obviously, fast track -- the fast track delay until next year is principally a trade issue in any case, number one. Number two, as we've said, a number of us -- Michael and others have said on a number of occasions -- the new arrangement to borrow authorization, which we sought in the appropriations bill this year, was caught up in a set of different kinds of political disputes. It was not a dispute about the NAB itself, and we're hopeful that it will be authorized next year.
Second, remember that in what's happened to date, there has been no thought of using the NAB because it's not in effect yet. So this is something that's part of an ongoing response which it's important for us to make. But in the immediate term it hasn't had an impact.
Q What is the United States' view of what Kim called the contagion? Is it over? Is it ebbing? Are there still economies to be sort of sucked in? What's the view?
MR. TARULLO: Well, I don't know that it's particularly useful, certainly not at this juncture, to speculate on whether it's over, whether things are continuing. I think if I can repeat what the President said yesterday, this is a serious set of circumstances which we're facing now and they need to entail serious responses.
On the other hand -- and this came through in a number of comments this morning -- there are some very strong favorable factors in the economies of the region which are the basis for restoring sustained and quite impressive growth rates.
So, really, I think what it comes down to is the resolve to adopt the right set of policy responses, to take those responses, and not to spend more of your time sitting saying, well, is there going to be more contagion or less contagion, relatively speaking, but instead, to take the kinds of measures which stabilize markets and create the conditions for sustained growth.
Q If you look at the big picture for a second, did the focus here on the Asian crisis prevent the United States from pressing any trade liberalization, any other things that we wanted to achieve here? And flowing from that, what did the United States accomplish here?
MR. TARULLO: A couple of things. First off, the answer to the first question is actually, no, for the following reasons. What we wanted was the continue the process of trade liberalization. The nine-sector package that we negotiated over the last couple of days exceeded by a substantial number of sectors our expectations for what we thought we were going to get. In fact, that package reflected the view of a number of Asian countries that it was more important now than ever to affirm their commitment to liberal markets and their willingness to compete in international markets as a way of creating the conditions for sustained growth.
One other initiative that we have that's been lost, I think, a little bit here, is a work program to try to respond to natural disasters in the region. What we're doing there is generalizing from our experience with Indonesia in sending assistance, but also in mobilizing the resources in the region. In the case of the Indonesian fires, this had to be done on an ad hoc basis. And, once again, it's the sort of cooperative framework which, without being institutionalized, can still be very real in terms of contacts among emergency response agencies and the like.
I think when you ask what the United States accomplished here, I think there are a couple of things. First, it's not just our accomplishments, it's an accomplishment of APEC. But what we saw is that the instrument which the President created four years ago at Blake Island, a leaders meeting of the Asia Pacific economies was a useful and important instrument in difficult times, a well as it has been in times when there was seemingly unbounded growth and a lot of opportunities to do new things.
The response, the quality of the discussion this morning was extremely high. The presentations obviously had been thought about an awful lot. And I think the backdrop for that, too, is the essential nature of U.S. participation in and leadership of international responses to these kinds of problems. Secondly, we were able, in concert with our partners, to move the trade agenda forward. And as I say, I think this accomplishment is more notable at a time when there financial uncertainties than it is in good times. And, third, even though the disaster response notion is modest in dollar terms -- we're making $4 million available, for example -- modest in dollar terms, it is another indication of the kind of network of cooperation that can develop among the countries of the region. That in sort of tick terms are the three things.
The only other thing I'd add is that this set of meetings does provide the opportunity for the President to interact with a number of leaders whom he doesn't see that frequently in other contexts. Obviously, he sees Prime Minister Hashimoto regularly. He's seen President Jiang a number of times in the last few years. He doesn't see all these leaders multiple times a year. And the bilaterals we had yesterday, the ASEAN breakfast, some of the pull-asides today all provide those kinds of opportunities which I think leaders value enormously and which serve as the basis for cooperation in the future on specific items.
Q You were talking about all these accomplishments that we've had in these financial crisis. But during the three days of APEC, the Korean stock market has gone down double-digit percentage, and markets all over Asia have tanked. (Laughter.)
MR. TARULLO: I don't know, Dina, if I'd agree with the characterization of "tanking." (Laughter.) I don't know how much you've got in Asian equity funds, and it may be a different reflection.
I think, again, you can't look -- the purpose of coming here is not a short-term, 72-hour, we're going to fix the situation. A number of leaders, including those from affected countries said you don't fix this overnight. What is important about what happened here, what happened last week in Manila, what will happen next week in Kuala Lampur is a sustained cooperative effort to agree upon and implement the principles that are necessary for stabilizing countries in East Asia and indeed around the world. And in that sense, I think APEC has been a success this year. You can't judge it by whether all the equity markets are now going up in Asia instead of going down in Asia. I think you have to ask what signal this is sending, and I believe the signal this is sending should be reassuring to the markets because it indicates the resolve of not just the leaders in the affected countries, but in the region to respond appropriately and forthrightly.
I should say in that regard that the Prime Minister of Thailand and President Soeharto of Indonesia both indicated, reaffirmed for their colleagues their intentions to implement faithfully and quickly the terms of the IMF stand-by arrangements which they had concluded. That obviously is a complement to President Kim's indication that he was working with the IMF.
Q To follow up on that, Dan, after President Zedillo talked about the political problems, was there any discussion about making these IMF-adjusted programs more voter-friendly and to take away some of their root canal nature that they have traditionally had?
MR. TARULLO: No. There actually was not. And, look, it's something which the Fund needs to take up on a case-by-case basis, obviously. What programmatic or policy measures are necessary in the case of any particular country experiencing balance of payments or other macro difficulties varies from case to case. And as I think you've seen in the cases of Indonesia and Thailand, the Fund, in consultation with the U.S. and other member states, has tried to tailor the program to the situation of the particular country.
This, as multiple leaders starting with President Zedillo said this morning, is not a painless process. If there were no problems there would -- if there were no difficulties with policy, there would have been no problems in the first place. So, obviously, some policies are going to change. But I do think there's a widespread recognition here and certainly in our Treasury Department and in the IMF that the particulars of any program need to -- and are -- varied with the particular situations of the country in question.
Q Was President Clinton one of the leaders who observed you don't fix this overnight? Maybe not using that precise phrase. And will you say that you didn't fix anything here overnight?
MR. TARULLO: Well, fix overnight in the sense that tomorrow morning everything, Barry, everything -- no, of course we didn't say we fixed it overnight. That was not the aim.
Q No, I'm saying would you --
MR. TARULLO: I think I just said it.
Q And was President Clinton one of those who made that observation? You said a number of leaders.
MR. TARULLO: Yes. No, actually, I think -- I don't think he said that.
Q Or words to that effect.
MR. TARULLO: No, I don't think he said words to that effect either. Hold on.
Q I mean, he's more hopeful for an overnight fix than the --
MR. TARULLO: Zedillo definitely said that.
Q Can you characterize Prime Minister Hashimoto's statements as you did with President Kim, and did you detect any movement there in our favor?
MR. TARULLO: In our favor? Well, let's see. What Prime Minister Hashimoto said was broadly consistent with what he said in our bilateral yesterday. It had some differences. He indicated that with proper management of some of the challenges that are faced, he believes that not just Japan, but the region generally can still achieve growth. He welcomed the new Manilla Framework. He indicated that attention has to also be given to structural reforms, as well as immediate macro measures.
He reiterated -- and I would say probably the bulk of his comments -- these are fairly short in most cases, because there were so many of the leaders speaking to it -- but probably the majority of his comments went to financial system in Japan. He reiterated what he said to us yesterday -- what he said at the ABAC meeting, I think yesterday afternoon -- that he has taken up the question of financial system reform. He embraces the principle that depositors and the stability of this system itself need to be protected, and that that doesn't necessarily mean the protection of specific financial institutions.
Let's see. He indicated, with respect to Yamaichi, Securities that even though there is quite a bit of capital on its balance sheet, so that he thought ultimately they would have the assets necessary to pay off creditors, that there would be short-term liquidity problems. And for that reason, the bank the Japan has committed to supplying the necessary liquidity through special loans.
Let me just run through this. The only other comment he made was consonant with -- he endorsed what President Zedillo had said; he thought it was a very instructive. And he also indicated that one doesn't want to begin affecting currency trading in a way that would actually reduce, rather than increase, the amount of capital available to the developing world.
Do you want me to finish?
MR. MCCURRY: Last question.
Q Dan you zipped by it too fast. What was that $4 million modest response you alluded to? What is that money for?
MR. TARULLO: That's for helping to set up a disaster response capacity among the Asia Pacific countries. It's building, Mark, on what we did in Indonesia and what some other countries did in Indonesia. The lesson here seemed to be that, once again, when you have to deal with a problem from scratch, there is some delay simply because you have to get people going, you have to get contacts made. The idea of the work program here is to get all those contacts made, to understand what resources are available, and to be able to deploy those quickly.
Q So natural disasters, not economic disasters?
MR. TARULLO: Correct. Four million might be a bit short for economic -- (laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: All right. I want to end because a lot of people are in the midst or writing and I want to respect that. I think you all have got the embargoed remarks the President plans to give. We stressed to him how important it was to follow that as -- (laughter) -- well as he could. So we'll see how well we do on that.
For those of you who are going to be back in Washington tomorrow, there will be no early-morning gaggle. We'll probably do some mid-afternoon gaggle, briefing. I will anyhow. That will be after we do the turkey deal, which is around 11:00 a.m. tomorrow.
Q Did the President meet one on one with President Frei of Chile, as was planned?
MR. MCCURRY: Danny, did we do the pull-aside with Frei?
MR. TARULLO: No, that's right after we have this afternoon.
MR. MCCURRY: That's supposed to be right at the conclusion of the afternoon session, so we will pass that on to the pool that links up out at the golf course.
Q Is the President going to make the interim appointment of Bill Lann Lee tomorrow?
MR. MCCURRY: No action on that or other personnel action that I am aware of anticipated for the balance of the week.
Q Anything for the rest of day?
MR. MCCURRY: No, only the President concludes these meetings, or concludes the afternoon session, may have the pull-aside with the President of Chile, will make the remarks as indicated at the golf course, and then homeward bound.
Q Mike, do you know when we'll get the communique?
MR. MCCURRY: Probably not much before they actually formally read it. But those of you who have not seen the penultimate draft circulating please let someone know, because, I'm shocked, but it leaked. (Laughter.)
Q Can you give us some sense of how the President has been following the situation in Iraq, how much time he's been spending?
MR. MCCURRY: He's been getting periodic updates from Mr. Berger both on the status of UNSCOM inspections in Iraq, on some of the other deliberations that have occurred in New York, particularly at the Security Counsel. Obviously, he knew about and followed the presentation that Secretary Cohen made today, but it has been by nature of updates. He, of course, gets a status of force update on the deployments in the Gulf every morning as well.
Q Did you hear a reaction to the Russian actions in the Security Counsel yesterday?
MR. MCCURRY: He did not seem to be particularly surprised by it.
Q When the President was here in 1993 for the Yeltsin summit he didn't get out of town very quickly. He did some shopping and did some fooling around. Are there going to be anything -- any unplanned things before he takes off?
MR. MCCURRY: He did have a little bit of time to
get out and see some of Vancouver I think it was yesterday and a little bit last night. They've had some of that on television. But I think he's anxious to get home. Obviously, he and the First Lady are looking forward to Chelsea coming back for Thanksgiving. I think given that we get in so late tonight we'll probably try to get out of here relatively swiftly.
Q Mike, do you know if there's been anything on new membership in APEC? We've been hearing about possibly there would be '98 or '99, and then will it be Russia or not?
MR. MCCURRY: Mr. Tarullo, thankfully, dodged that issue. But that is a point of contention even at this late hour and most likely was going to be taken up later this afternoon. It is entirely possible that the declaration will remain moot on that point -- which means that there was not a consensus achieved, obviously.
Okay. Thank you. See you all back in Washington. Since everyone is leaving, we're going to have a little bit of trouble -- if anyone gets stuck with a real, must-answer question, we're working out a system with Barry that we can get stuff relayed to either the support plane or to Air Force One to try to get answers if you're in that situation.
Q Are you finished briefing? No more briefings, any more briefings?
MR. MCCURRY: We're done here. And the only thing that we will do is try to let the travel pool that's out at the
golf course know if we did the pull-aside with Frei and anything else, any other reaction.
Q But something was said about something later.
MR. MCCURRY: No, that's it for here.