The Swiss government said Saturday it is investigating U.S. complaints that Swiss guards had brutally enforced security at the Geneva airport during President Bush's brief visit on Friday.
White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said in Washington that the United States will formally protest to Switzerland because a guard poked U.S. Chief of Protocol Joseph Reed with a machine gun as he boarded a plane taking Bush home from Geneva.
On Bush's arrival at the airport for talks with Syria's Hafez Assad, security officers clashed with journalists and photographers in the President's party. The press people were pushed and shoved as they sought to approach the ramp where Bush was to leave the plane.
Fitzwater also said White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu was later verbally abused by the head of Swiss security.
"I've never seen that kind of brutal and vicious treatment by a security force in the last 10 years," Fitzwater said.
He said a formal protest will be lodged with Swiss Ambassador Edouard Brunner after Bush returns from Mexico.
Geneva police spokesman Thierry Magnin described the actions of some American reporters as "deplorable" and "inadmissible."
One police officer on duty at Geneva airport Friday said the White House press corps behaved like "occupying troops."
A Swiss Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Switzerland could not officially comment on the incident until the investigation is completed Monday.