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Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on Airstrikes Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)

May 25, 1999

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

On March 26, 1999, I reported that I had directed U.S. forces to commence military air strikes as part of NATO's operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in response to the FRY Government's continued campaign of violence and repression against the civilian population of Kosovo. Each day we receive new reports of FRY security forces committing atrocities and forcing civilians from their homes. Currently there are more than 725,000 displaced Kosovars in Albania, Macedonia, and Montenegro, and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons within Kosovo.

At their recent Summit in Washington, NATO Heads of State and Government made clear that the Alliance will not allow this campaign of terror to succeed. Until such time as Belgrade meets NATO's conditions, the allies intend to continue—and intensify—air operations against the Yugoslav war machine. As part of intensifying NATO's operations, and in response to a request by SACEUR, I have directed deployment of additional aircraft and forces to support NATO's ongoing efforts, including several thousand additional U.S. Armed Forces personnel to Albania in support of the deep strike task force located there. I am also directing that additional U.S. forces be deployed to the region to assist in humanitarian operations.

As I mentioned in my April 7 letter, it is not possible to predict how long these operations will last. The duration of the deployments depends upon the course of events in Kosovo, and specifically, on Belgrade's acceptance of the conditions set forth by the United States and its allies.

I have taken this action pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.

I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I appreciate the continued support of the Congress in this action.



NOTE: Identical letters were sent to J. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Strom Thurmond, President pro tempore of the Senate. This letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 26.

William J. Clinton, Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on Airstrikes Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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