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Public Papers - 1991 - December

Exchange With Reporters in the Cabinet Room


Soviet Union

Q. Mr. President, who is in charge in the Soviet Union at this point?

The President. Well, we're following that situation very closely in the Soviet Union. And of course, our main interest is in democratic and market reform, the continuation of that. They are going to sort these matters out themselves. We will support democrat and -- reformers wherever they are there. And that means at all levels, incidentally.

So, we are watching it very closely. And as these dramatic changes take place or proposals come forward, that's a matter for the Republics and the center to sort out. I think the answer to that question, you've just got to look at where you're talking about. So, we'll let that evolve.

I'll be meeting this afternoon with the Secretary and our Ambassador and be talking about Jim's upcoming trip, the reasons that are clearly of vital interest to us. One, we want this humanitarian question, humanitarian aid, to go forward in order to promote peaceful reform. That's a question -- besides that, we've got just a plain interest in seeing that people are fed. Ed Madigan and I were talking about this yesterday on the way to Chicago.

And then, of course, we have a keen interest, the whole world does, in the nuclear questions there. And frankly, assurances have been pretty good there. I see no reason to alarm the American people, but it's something that we're following extraordinarily closely, and we are in touch. And I feel that the thing to do now is just to go forward with the plan of the Secretary and see where it comes out.

But we can't make any predictions on the evolution of all of this. That's their business. Our interests are as I stated in here: Democracy, market reform, humanitarian assistance, the nuclear question, and peace, peaceful evolution of all of this.

Capital Gains Tax Cut

Q. Mr. President, you made clear yesterday you're going to keep fighting for a capital gains tax cut -- --

The President. Yes. I will keep on fighting -- --

Q. Are you going to, have you got any other -- --

The President. -- -- for that. But now we've got to get to work in the Cabinet, so thank you.

Q. But, sir, do you have any other ideas to jumpstart the economy?

The President. We'll be talking about that, as I said yesterday -- at the time I said yesterday, too. So, we'll just keep working on it.

Note: The President spoke at 10:35 a.m. In his remarks, he referred to Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Robert S. Strauss, U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

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