KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE, AUG. 22 -- Following are excerpts of a news conference with President Bush, Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney and Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

Let me make a brief opening statement, and then I'll be glad to take any questions. First, Secretary Cheney and General Powell have just given me a very full and, I would say, encouraging briefing on the status of our deployment to the Persian Gulf. This has been a very complicated mission, calling for precision, calling for maximum coordination with Saudi Arabia and the other nations providing forces.

The process has gone smoothly, and we've now moved what amounts to a medium-sized American city, completely capable of sustaining itself, all the way over to the Middle East.

And the secretary reports that the men and women in the armed forces have performed with extraordinary ability. Their morale is high, and they've accepted the challenge of their mission with extraordinary dedication to duty. And I'm very proud of each and every single one of them. And I want them to know that the American people are behind them 100 percent, supporting them strongly.

And it's also crucial that everyone understand we are not in this alone. We stand shoulder to shoulder right there in the Middle East with the armed forces of 22 other nations from the Middle East, from Europe and around the world.

Secretary Dick Cheney reports an impressive alliance of multinational forces that stands behind the United States's resolve that Iraq completely and unconditionally withdraw from Kuwait with the restoration of the legitimate government in that country.

The United Nations has provided enormous leadership to the whole world community in pursuing this objective and voting the sanctions necessary to carrying it out.

And let's be clear. As the deployment of the forces of the many nations shows, and as the votes in the United Nations show, this is not a matter between Iraq and the United States of America. It is between Iraq and the entire world community, Arab and non-Arab alike, all the nations of the world lined up, that oppose aggression.

And as our forces continue to arrive, they can look forward to the support of the finest reserve components in the world. We are activating those special categories of reservists that are essential to completing our mission.

The United States considers its reserve forces to be an integral part of the total military command. These essential personnel will soon be joining the cohesive organization required to support the military operations in and around the Arabian Peninsula, and I have the highest confidence in their ability to augment the active forces in this operation.

We continue to pursue our objectives with absolute determination. I might add that I talked to the four leaders of Congress today and I am very pleased that they are giving us the strong support they have been. . . . The world simply cannot waver in its opposition to the threat that Iraq has placed on the doorstep of all nations who cherish freedom and the rule of law. . . .

Soviet Military Advisers in Iraq

The Soviets have voted with us in the Security Council for the economic sanctions, but we learned today that they have 193 military advisers still advising the Iraqi army on how to use Soviet-built weapons against the allied forces. Do you call upon them to pull those people out?

Well, I think that frankly I'd like to see Iraq do what is civilized and permit foreigners who want to leave, leave, but I'm not going to comment on that, because I don't have this information that you're telling me about. Maybe Dick Cheney can comment on it later.

Have you called President Gorbachev, and will you call President Gorbachev for his help in the crisis?

Secretary {of State James A.} Baker talked to Foreign Minister {Eduard} Shevardnadze less than two hours ago, and we are in close touch with the Soviets. At this point, I can say we are getting superb cooperation from the Soviets. There may be some differences. In fact, I think it's fair to say we've been discussing some of them regarding the timing of certain further U.N. action, but I have no argument with the way in which they have cooperated, and I would expect that Secretary Cheney would agree on that point.

Enforcing the Sanctions

U.S. forces fired across the bow of a ship that then was allowed to continue on and is now in Yemen. Why did they not pursue that farther? Do you want to wait until you now have that U.N. authority?

We feel we have all the authority we need. . . . At this juncture I'm not prepared to say whether we're going to insist on U.N. action before we go further, but I think the record -- the signal must go out to the world, that many countries are prepared to fully enforce these sanctions, and if there's some U.N. action that will help, so much the better.

How long will you wait for that U.N. action?

We haven't made a determination. . . . The question is, how much more U.N. action is beneficiary -- benefits this idea of the world staying more closely together. And I might be prepared to give a little time. . . . in order to get more collective action.

Keeping Open Embassy in Kuwait

Despite demands from the Iraqis that the U.S. and other countries close their embassies in Kuwait and remove all their diplomatic personnel, the State Department announced today that the U.S. would not do that. Why have you decided to take that course of action, and how can you possibly enforce that?

Because the occupation of {Kuwait by} Iraq is illegal under international law, and other countries agree totally that we must not take the position that this illegal regime can shut down legitimate embassies at -- as a result of their aggression. That's why.

But with Iraq in military control of Kuwait, how can you possibly hope to enforce that?

Well, my view is let's wait and see what happens. . . . I think most countries . . . would agree that they will not go along with . . . agreeing to this kind of affirmation of Iraq aggression, aggression that has been thoroughly condemned by the United Nations.

Americans Trapped in Kuwait

About your hostage policy: You were very firm the other day in warning {Iraqi President} Saddam {Hussein} not to harm the Americans, but I wonder, as commander in chief, sir, do you consider the U.S. has been provoked right now?

I don't think it's a question of the United States; I think it's a question of the whole world is being provoked by this illegal action, outrageous action. . . . It is of grave concern to all the countries whose leaders I've talked to.

How constrained do you feel . . . by the plight of Americans trapped in Kuwait?

I think any decision-maker in the United States or in any of these countries is concerned about the lives of innocent civilians, innocent people. And so you weigh that very thoroughly against your actions. Having said that, international law -- in this case, the Chapter 7 sanctions -- must be enforced.

Energy Conservation by Americans

You said last Wednesday at the Pentagon that part of that we're fighting for, standing for in the desert, is our way of life. Part of our way of life is heavy usage of energy, much more so than any other industrialized country. We haven't really heard you call upon Americans to conserve as part of this crisis.

I call upon Americans to conserve.

Do you want to elaborate?

No. I think we ought to conserve in times like this. On the other hand, we're doing everything we can to guarantee that we don't panic Americans and that there will be an adequate supply of hydrocarbons.

But I think it is a good time to conserve. . . . And I think that doesn't mean that life screeches to a halt. . . . But I also think that we're going to be able to guarantee an adequate supply of petroleum.

Iraq Versus the World

Do you sense any frustration or even desperation in the recent statements we've been hearing out of Iraq?

I certainly sense a sense of isolation. I think the urgency in these statements, in the high immoderate tone, is due to worldwide isolation. . . . I think he's trying to whip up support and make this Iraq versus the United States. Indeed, it is Iraq versus the rest of the world. . . .

Position of Jordan's King Hussein

King Hussein today in Jordan suggested that perhaps you moved too precipitously, in his words, that if there had not been this buildup, that we might not be in the situation we're in, that Saddam Hussein might have withdrawn. Were there ever any signals, anything that suggested that that might have been the case?

No, and the king, regrettably, did not have much support in the Arab world for that position. You'll recall the vote at the Arab summit. He certainly had no support for that position in the United Nations, and as the United Nations moved toward Chapter 7 {sanctions}. And I would simply remind people who hear that allegation, that it isn't just the United States, it's the rest of the world.

But when we are invited by a friend to help defend it against aggression that has recently taken place, and that threatens to take place again, we're going to respond, and that's a good signal to send to friends around the world. And, I might say, the request for support was not taken without reason.

Supply Shipments to Iraq

Why is Iraq still being allowed to receive supplies through Jordan?

I'm not sure they are, and I hope they're not. And very little is going into the Gulf of Aqaba these days. . . . If it is going in, it clearly violates not only the sanctions but what King Hussein told me. . . .

The Role of the U.S. Military

When you made the announcement that you were sending U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, you said their mission was not to kick the Iraqis out of Kuwait. Do you still rule out the use of U.S. military force to --

I don't rule in or rule out the use of military force. And I learned long ago not to tie oneself down by stating what I will or will not do in that regard.

We asked you last week if you saw any hope of a diplomatic solution and you said, "I don't see it right now." Do these statements from Baghdad that they are willing to put their cards on the table increase the hopes there will be a diplomatic solution?

If they're willing to put all their cards on the table, that's good. I didn't hear that. But if they're willing to put them all out there, including complying with international law, that would be good. . . . The world community has made a strong statement -- a very strong statement -- and I don't sense any view in the world community that it's going to back away from that statement. And that statement included removal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait and the restoration of the rulers. . . .

F-15s to Saudi Arabia

{On the question of reports that the Saudis want American-built F-15Es, an advanced, long-range air-to-air and air-to-ground fighter jet,} what are the Saudis going to get?

CHENEY: . . . We are looking at transferring to the Saudis from our own forces, our own inventory, a number of existing F-15s. They would not be the E model, they would be the C or D model, basically designed for air-to-air combat, although they have some ground attack capability as well.

The report that we're going to provide the F-15Es immediately simply isn't valid. That's the kind of thing we'd work in the longer term package.

Do they even need them, and don't you run into a problem with the Israelis if you even give them?

CHENEY: . . . I would argue that a million-man Iraqi army, 160,000 to 200,000 Iraqi soldiers, 1,000 Iraqi tanks poised on the northern border of Saudi Arabia is a legitimate security need. . . . I don't think this is a situation that presents any threat whatsoever to Israel. And I would not expect there to be any opposition in that quarter to our efforts to help the Saudis and our other friends in the region deal with what is a threat to their very existence.

Press Coverage of Persian Gulf

Will the American people be able to rely on free, open and complete press coverage of their American men and women deployed overseas, or are we going to be restricted?

CHENEY: . . . What you mean by "free" and "unrestricted" might be different than what the Saudis think of as free and unrestricted. The fact of the matter is we are in their country at their request. . . . And I think we have to respect their culture just as they respect ours. . . .

I think we'll work with the government of Saudi Arabia to provide as much access as we can. In the final analysis, they'll make the decision, but obviously we will be advocates for the concept that there should be significant coverage of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia available to the American people. . . .

How would you characterize the Iraqi deployment now: offensive, defensive?

POWELL: It's ambiguous, frankly. As the secretary pointed out, there are 160,000 or more Iraqi soldiers north of the Saudi-Kuwait border. There's a large number of tanks. There are artillery formations there. There is some buildup, and when you see that kind of a force you have to give it the capability of either defending or attacking, and so I'm not prepared to say which one they are going to do. I always assume the worst in our planning, but I really can't ascribe an intent to Mr. Saddam Hussein, but it is a very capable force that does have the capability to go on the offense. . . .

Activating the Reserve

Logistically, what happens now when you {call up} the reservists?

POWELL: After the service secretaries and service chiefs brief the secretary of defense tomorrow morning, and get approval of their plans, then the call-ups will begin. Selected units will be called up as they are needed and when they are needed, so you'll not see a sudden rush, but individual units will be called up and told at what time to report to their mobilization station and whether or not they are going overseas or whether they'll be used just to backfill for units who have left the United States. . . .