Letter to Senators Robert Dole and John McCain on the Plan for Implementation of the Balkan Peace Agreement
Dear Mr. Leader:
I am writing in response to your December 12 letter on equip and train. You raise several questions to which I would like to respond.
First of all, the United States will take a leadership role in coordinating an international effort to ensure that the Bosnian Federation receives the assistance necessary to achieve an adequate military balance when IFOR leaves. As in all things related to our effort to bringing peace to the region, U.S. leadership has been critical.
As I stated in my December 10 letter to you, I want to assure the impartiality of IFOR. In the view of my military advisors, this requires minimizing the involvement of U.S. military personnel. But we expect that some individual military officers, for example, working in OSD, DSAA or other agencies, will be involved in planning this effort. We also will offer the Bosnians participation in U.S. programs such as IMET. I agree that maintaining flexibility is important to the success of the effort to achieve a stable military balance within Bosnia. But I will do nothing that I believe will endanger the safety of American troops on the ground in Bosnia. I am sure you will agree that is my primary responsibility.
I want to assure you that I am focusing on what the United States can do. That is why I sent an assessment team to the region to properly evaluate the needs of the Federation. Training programs and provision of non-lethal assistance can begin immediately after the peace agreement enters into force; and provision of small arms can begin after three months. We intend to move expeditiously.
I have given you my word that we will make certain that the Bosnian Federation will receive the assistance necessary to achieve an adequate military balance when IFOR leaves. I intend to keep it.
NOTE: This letter was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 12 but was not issued as a White House press release.
William J. Clinton, Letter to Senators Robert Dole and John McCain on the Plan for Implementation of the Balkan Peace Agreement Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/221317