I HAVE today signed H.R. 9055, the second supplemental appropriation for fiscal year 1973, and H.J. Res. 636, the continuing joint resolution.
Last week I was compelled to veto the original supplemental bill because of my grave concern that enactment of the rider then attached to it, calling for an immediate halt to all air activity over Cambodia, would have led to a destructive series of events. As I indicated then, such a precipitous step would have crippled or destroyed the chances for achieving a negotiated settlement in Cambodia. The stability of Southeast Asia would have been threatened, and we would have suffered a tragic setback in our efforts to create a lasting structure of peace.
The conclusion of a responsible settlement in Indochina has been and remains a matter of the greatest urgency. All but one of the major elements of that peace are now in place, forged against the will of a determined enemy by the sacrifice and courage of countless men and women, by our perseverance in protracted negotiations, and by the effectiveness and the deterrent of American military power. The last remaining element of the peace in Southeast Asia is a stable Cambodian settlement. I believe that settlement can be secured so long as we maintain reasonable flexibility in our policies and essential air support is not withdrawn unilaterally while delicate negotiations are still underway.
A sudden bombing halt, however, would not have brought us the lasting peace that we all desire. As President, charged by our Constitution with responsibility for conducting our foreign policy and negotiating an end to our conflicts, I will continue to take the responsible actions necessary to win that peace. Should further actions be required to that end later this year, I shall request the Congress to help us achieve our objectives.