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Statement on Signing the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1991

November 05, 1990

Today I have signed H.R. 5114, the "Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1991." The Act contains many important provisions that the Administration supports. I am especially pleased that the Congress has recognized the critical importance of the issue of Egypt's military debt, and included provisions that will allow me to address this issue in a manner consistent with the national security interests of the United States. Congressional recognition of the unique Egyptian contribution in galvanizing international support against Iraqi aggression is in accord with the finest traditions of bipartisan cooperation.

I am also appreciative that the Congress has included several provisions that will increase my flexibility in conducting foreign policy. These include provisions that will afford substantial latitude in providing assistance to Eastern Europe and that will allow me to respond more quickly to new and changing developments around the world.

There are, however, a number of troublesome provisions in the Act. Of greatest concern is section 531, regarding assistance to El Salvador. Despite the important changes made to this provision in conference, I remain concerned that the structure and wording of section 531 could complicate our efforts to achieve a satisfactory settlement in El Salvador between the democratically elected government and the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN).

I am concerned that the Congress has included a variety of specific provisions that could be counterproductive in carrying out our foreign relations. These provisions include conditions on assistance for Cambodia, the limiting of military assistance to Turkey below the level that I requested, and the prohibition on international military education and training for Malaysia as well as other countries.

Similarly, I must note my concern about a number of provisions that raise constitutional issues. Among these are provisions that purport to direct, or forbid, negotiations with foreign governments or entities; that require the executive branch to disclose current negotiations or present specific positions to international organizations; or that mandate representatives of certain executive branch agencies to be assigned to certain countries. In keeping with past practice, I shall treat such provisions as advisory rather than mandatory. Moreover, I retain the same concerns about section 569, prohibiting certain dealings with foreign governments, that I expressed in signing last year's appropriations Act. In the case of section 562A, which calls for the Administrator of the Agency for International Development ("AID") to conduct an on-site assessment "along the Thai-Cambodian border and within Cambodia, including Phnom Penh," I will interpret the provision so as to avoid constitutional problems. Because I have no objection to sending an AID team to certain areas along the Thai-Cambodian border, and from there that team can gather information about conditions along the border and in Cambodia itself, section 562A can be satisfied consistent with the exercise of my constitutional authority.

Despite my serious concerns about certain of its provisions, I believe that it is necessary to sign this Act in order to move forward with the job of conducting U.S. foreign policy.

George Bush

The White House,

November 5, 1990.

Note: H.R. 5114, approved November 5, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 513.

George Bush, Statement on Signing the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1991 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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