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Remarks on Signing Into Law the Rhodesian Chrome Bill

March 18, 1977

Somebody said it's such a short bill that was passed. But it took so long to get it done.

I'm very grateful this morning to have a chance to sign House Resolution 1746, which gives me the authority to reestablish the embargo against the purchase of chrome from Rhodesia.

This legislation probably has as high a symbolic importance in international affairs as anything that I will do this year. It's something that I sign with gratitude and appreciation on the one hand, and regret on the other--gratitude and appreciation because the Congress and I have demonstrated vividly that we are deeply concerned about our own abandonment of a unanimous decision made by the United Nations in which our country participated, in effect, on its word of honor, and then later because of pressing circumstances revoked.

I think it puts us on the side of what's right and proper. I believe that this resolution can lead to help in resolving the southern African questions, particularly relating to Rhodesia.

The regret is that we've not been able to work harmoniously with a legitimate government in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. As you know, there is an illegal government there. They have not been willing yet to come forward and negotiate effectively between the white and black citizens of Rhodesia, and this is something that all of us regret.

Our country is playing a strong but secondary role in the Rhodesian question. Britain legally still has dominion over this territory. They are the top persons who have participated in trying to bring the disputing parties together. We've negotiated constantly with them, and I think we will continue to play this secondary but important and supportive role.

The only nation, I believe, that recognizes the Smith government is South Africa, and we've been working closely with them. This puts us back on the side of support for the United Nations. It puts us in the strategic position to help with the resolution of the Rhodesian question. And the attendance here of the labor leaders, for instance, who are involved in the steel industry, is indicative of the fact that we do have adequate supplies of chrome on hand or in shipment to tide us over in this period that is immediately ahead of us.

I am also instructing that the embargo be reinstituted, permitting shipments that are en route to come into our country. And, of course, under the congressional decision that was made this week, I would have the authority to reopen purchases of Rhodesian chrome in the future if it becomes appropriate.

So, it is with a great deal of gratitude to the Congress and to others who have helped make this decision that I sign this very important legislation.

[At this point, the President signed the bill into law.]

I want to thank again the Members of the Congress who were so effective in finally passing this bill. It was a matter of great interest last night when I visited the United Nations. Many of the delegates to the U.N. who came by to speak to me in the receiving line expressed their deep appreciation for this move.

I think it is going to help us not only in the South African question, the Rhodesian question, the Namibian question, but also throughout the world.

Thank you very much, again.

Note: The President spoke at 10:08 a.m. at the signing ceremony in the Cabinet Room at the White House.

As enacted, H.R. 1746 is Public Law 95-12, approved March 18.

Jimmy Carter, Remarks on Signing Into Law the Rhodesian Chrome Bill Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243113

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