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Security Assistance Programs Letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate Transmitting Proposed Legislation.

March 28, 1977

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

I am transmitting today a bill to authorize security assistance programs for the fiscal years 1978 and 1979. I consider these programs essential to the attainment of important United States foreign policy goals throughout the world, and to reassure our friends and allies of the constancy of our support.

The programs authorized by this legislation include both military and economic forms of security assistance, with approximately two-thirds of the funds requested intended for nonmilitary programs. In addition, the bill provides for the continuation of our important international narcotics control efforts.

The authorizations I am proposing reflect downward adjustments this Administration has made in several programs in light of the human rights situations in the countries concerned. We are committed to a continuing effort to ensure that human rights considerations are taken fully into account in determining whether our security assistance programs serve our national security and foreign policy objectives.

I am not at this time proposing major changes in the authorities and statutory procedures which now govern security assistance and arms export controls. I have made clear on several occasions my deep concern over the burgeoning international traffic in arms. I am firmly resolved to bring greater coherence, restraint and control to our arms transfer policies and practices. To this end, I have ordered a comprehensive review of our policies and practices regarding both governmental and commercial arms exports.

We have already begun to discuss our preliminary ideas with members of the Congress, and will increase our consultations as we proceed with our policy review. When concluded, our review will provide the basis for the reports to the Congress mandated by sections 202 and 218 of the International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976.

Our goal is to develop, in close consultation with the Congress, policies which respect our commitments to the security and independence of friends and allies, which reflect fully our common concern for the promotion of basic human rights, and which give substance to our commitment to restrain the world arms trade.

The completion of this process within the next few months will give both the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch a sound foundation on which they can base a thoughtful reexamination of existing law and fashion needed legislative revisions which will complement our common policy objectives, ensure appropriate participation and oversight by the Congress, and provide clear authority for the efficient conduct .of approved programs.

In the meantime, I urge the Congress to avoid legislative initiatives which could disrupt important programs or would hinder a future cooperative effort based on a thorough evaluation of the facts and policy considerations. In this spirit, I have requested only minimal changes in statutory authority and have amended my predecessor's budget only where necessary to bring the request into line with basic principles of this Administration. I urge the early passage of the enclosed legislation and look forward to joining in a productive effort with the Congress later this year to achieve constructive reform of the security assistance and arms export control laws.



Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the Honorable Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Honorable Walter F. Mondale, President of the Senate.

Jimmy Carter, Security Assistance Programs Letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate Transmitting Proposed Legislation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243421

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