Vice President Dan Quayle denied Monday that the United States would pull troops out of Europe if world trade talks fail because of differences over farm subsidies.
"There is absolutely no linkage between the level of troops in Europe and the GATT negotiations," he said, referring to the talks being conducted under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
"There is a linkage, if you will, between economic security and military security, and it is important that the economic security issue be addressed, especially in the post-Cold War era," Quayle said in Geneva.
The vice president and his wife, Marilyn, later flew to London, the last stop on a six-day European tour. Quayle will meet today with Prime Minister John Major and Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, the U.S. Embassy said. He saw former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher briefly Monday.
At a security conference Sunday in Munich, Quayle warned of a crisis in trans-Atlantic ties if the trade talks fail, but said the United States intends to maintain a significant military presence in Europe.
He acknowledged Monday that some members of the U.S. delegation had been interpreted as warning of a troop pullout, but said he was speaking for President Bush in affirming there is no linkage.
"Let us not have a fortress Europe, a Fortress America, a Fortress Asia, or a fortress anything," Quayle said. "We need open trade, we need free trade, we need to conclude the GATT negotiations, we need to reduce the subsidies."
The United States claims that agricultural subsidies cost European consumers $100-billion annually and that U.S. farm subsidies cost $25-billion to $30-billion a year.
France, which has a strong farmers' lobby, is leading European resistance to wide-ranging cuts in the subsidies. The GATT talks, now in their sixth year, are deadlocked over the issue.
In a Monday interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. TV Newsnight program, Quayle was asked if the time was approaching when Britain and America should act if Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi fails to turn over the two Libyan suspects in the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
Quayle replied, "Gadhafi had better realize we are serious. He ought to look to the past and see that we've got the political will to make these types of requests happen."
Asked if that meant America would bomb Libya, as it did in 1986 following a terrorist attack, Quayle would not specify what he meant, but emphasized he was not saying the United States was contemplating military force.
While in Geneva, Quayle attended the annual meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission. He told the commission that countries including Iraq, Iran and Cuba should be barred from the organization for failing to live up to its principles.