Today I have signed into law H.R. 3378, the "International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act of 1993." This legislation underscores the seriousness with which the United States regards international child abduction. It makes this crime, for the first time, a Federal felony offense.
H.R. 3378 recognizes that the international community has created a mechanism to promote the resolution of international parental kidnapping by civil means. This mechanism is the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. H.R. 3378 reflects the Congress' awareness that the Hague Convention has resulted in the return of many children and the Congress' desire to ensure that the creation of a Federal child abduction felony offense does not and should not interfere with the Convention's continued successful operation.
This Act expresses the sense of the Congress that proceedings under the Hague Convention, where available, should be the "option of first choice" for the left-behind parent. H.R. 3378 should be read and used in a manner consistent with the Congress' strong expressed preference for resolving these difficult cases, if at all possible, through civil remedies.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
The White House, December 2, 1993.