President Clinton, after a long telephone conversation with the principal of the Arkansas school where five people were gunned down, said Friday any federal review of the shootings would wait until the community has had "a chance to grieve."

Clinton made his remarks about the schoolyard killings at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark., during the opening of a news conference with South African President Nelson Mandela.Clinton said he had spoken by telephone Thursday night with Arkansas Gov. Jim Huckabee, Jonesboro Mayor Hubert Brodell and Westside principal Karen Curtner.

"I hope, as I've said before that all of us - including the federal authorities and members of the press corps - will give the people in Jonesboro a chance to grieve and bury those who have died," Clinton said Friday.

"Then, after a decent period, after I return home, the attorney general, I and others have got to compare this incident with the other two that have occured in the last few months to try and determine what they have in common and whether there are other things we should do to prevent this kind of thing."