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Statement on Signing the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995

April 30, 1994

Today I have signed into law H.R. 2333, the "Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995." This Act authorizes critically needed appropriations and provides important authorities for the Department of State, the United States Information Agency (USIA), the Peace Corps, and the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (USACDA). I appreciate the Congress' cooperation in passing a bill that maintains many of the Administration's requests and provides management authorities that will improve the operations of the Department of State and related agencies during a period of fiscal constraint.

I am especially pleased that this legislation includes language authorizing implementation of the Administration's international broadcasting reorganization plan. The plan, to be implemented over 2 fiscal years, will achieve projected savings of approximately $400 million over 4 years, while preserving and enhancing the program quality, effectiveness, and professional integrity of U.S.-funded broadcast services. These services include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Radio and Television Marti, WorldNet, and a new Radio Free Asia operation.

I very much appreciate that the funding authorizations for the Department of State, USIA, and other agencies are sufficient to cover appropriations for this fiscal year, and for the levels requested by the Administration for fiscal year 1995. I also appreciate the authorizations for Contributions to International Organizations and Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities, which are at the Administration's request level, plus an additional $670 million in authorization provided for a portion of the anticipated shortfall in fiscal year 1994 peacekeeping funds.

However, earmarks in the Department of State's main operating accounts for activities not requested by the Administration will severely restrict the Department's ability to meet planned levels for critical investments in its information system and other infrastructure improvements. As part of the Department's streamlining efforts, and with a constrained budget, the Secretary of State needs the flexibility to allocate scarce resources where they are needed most.

I am pleased at the inclusion of authorities necessary to implement the Department of State's reorganization plan. I regret, however, the provision that interferes with the Secretary's plan to merge the Office of the Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism into the proposed Bureau of Narcotics, Terrorism, and Crime, where this activity would receive the coordinated, high-level attention that I believe would be the most effective in fighting terrorism.

The bill also contains many useful authorities that will assist the Department in improving the efficiency of its operations both domestically and overseas. These include a new visa fee to be used for upgrading consular systems and expanded authority to hire U.S. citizens at posts abroad. Despite these and many other useful authorities contained in this bill, I have serious reservations concerning a number of its provisions.

Section 141 would require the Department of State to allow local guard contracts awarded to U.S. firms to be paid in U.S. dollars in certain countries. Because many countries require that payment for services rendered locally be paid in local currency, this provision could force the United States to violate both host country law and its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. I will seek to implement this section in the manner most consistent with U.S. obligations under international law.

Other provisions raise constitutional concerns. Article II of the Constitution confers the Executive power of the United States on the President alone. Executive power includes special authority in the area of foreign affairs. Certain provisions in H.R. 2333, however, could be construed so as to interfere with the discharge of my constitutional responsibilities.

For example, section 412 (reforms in the World Health Organization), section 501 (protection of refugee women and children), section 527(b) (loans by international financial institutions to governments that have expropriated property of U.S. citizens), and section 823 (loans or other payments by international financial institutions for the purpose of acquiring nuclear materials by non-nuclear states), purport specifically to direct the President on how to proceed in negotiations with international organizations. These provisions might be construed to require the Executive branch to espouse certain substantive positions regarding specific issues. I support the policies underlying these sections. My constitutional authority over foreign affairs, however, necessarily entails discretion over these matters. Accordingly, I shall construe these provisions to be precatory.

Section 221 (the establishment of an office in Lhasa, Tibet), section 236 (an exchange program with the people of Tibet), and section 573 (an Office of Cambodian Genocide Investigation, the activities of which are to be carried out primarily in Cambodia), could also interfere with the President's constitutional prerogatives. I am sympathetic to the goals of these provisions. However, they could be construed to require the President to negotiate with foreign countries or to take actions in those countries without their consent. I will, therefore, implement them to the extent consistent with my constitutional responsibilities.

As with the resources allocated to the Department of State, I appreciate the appropriations authorizations provided for USIA for fiscal years 1994 and 1995. There are, however, certain earmarks, particularly in the exchange programs, that inhibit the flexibility that USIA needs to meet changing priorities. In addition, I understand that the 1994 appropriations authorizations provided for USIA for salaries and expenses includes the authorization for administrative and staff costs for the "Educational and Cultural Exchange Programs."

I regret the repeal of the Voice of America broadcast charter language (P.L. 94-350). My Administration will work with the Congress to address this issue further.

Section 401 requires certain withholdings from U.S. assessed contributions for the United Nations (U.N.) regular budget, and from the fiscal year 1994 supplemental until the President makes the requisite certification that the U.N. has established an office of and appointed an Inspector General, empowered with specified authorities. Section 404 also sets forth ceilings on assessments on the United States for peacekeeping contributions. Although I share the Congress' goal of encouraging U.N. reform and broader cost sharing, I cannot endorse the method proposed by these provisions because they could place the United States in violation of its international treaty obligations if reform is not achieved within the stated time.

Section 407 sets forth new reporting and notification requirements, including a requirement for 15-day advance notification (with no waiver provision) before the United States provides certain in-kind assistance to support U.N. peacekeeping operations. It is understood that the Congress, however, does not consider this provision to be subject to the regular procedures on reprogramming notifications. It is imperative at times to provide such assistance on an urgent basis to further U.S. foreign policy interests. I will, therefore, construe these reporting and notification requirements consistent with my constitutional prerogatives and responsibilities as Commander in Chief and head of the Executive branch. I also note the understanding reached with the Congress that this notification process will not include congressional "holds" on assistance when notification does occur.

The conference report accompanying H.R. 2333, with respect to section 525(a), Free Trade in Ideas, purports to describe the Administration's policy with respect to restrictions on travel or exchanges in the context of economic embargoes. We will carefully consider the sense of the Congress as we complete our review of the standards for general and specific licenses under embargo programs. We have not, however, committed as a matter of policy to broad regulatory or administrative changes to remove restrictions affecting travel or exchanges for informational, educational, religious, cultural, or humanitarian purposes or for public performance or exhibitions. Nor have we initiated any action with respect to visa or currency restrictions.

Title VII, the Arms Control and Nonproliferation Act of 1994, reflects the principle that the USACDA must be a key participant on arms control and nonproliferation matters. The conference report accompanying H.R. 2333 calls for a presumption that the President should direct the USACDA to have primary responsibility for nonproliferation matters absent compelling reasons to do otherwise. It also suggests specific areas of responsibility in the nonproliferation field that should be shifted to the USACDA. I do not accept either the stated presumption or the suggested shift, since such limitations would infringe on the discretion of the President in carrying out foreign affairs.

Title VIII contains provisions that raise significant constitutional concerns. Section 824 would require an "opportunity for a hearing on the record" prior to a Presidential determination to impose sanctions on any person contributing to nuclear proliferation through financial transactions. It would also subject this determination to judicial review under the Administrative Procedures Act. These are extraordinary and unwarranted procedural requirements for a Presidential determination in the area of foreign affairs, and they raise serious constitutional concerns. The delay in holding hearings and the possibility of delay pending judicial review would severely undermine the effectiveness of these sanctions. They would also eliminate the flexibility needed to impose sanctions quickly to address urgent foreign policy problems and interfere with our nonproliferation efforts. Nor is it clear how these procedures could function in view of the classified nature of much of the material involved. In addition, the broad reach of section 824 (which covers any person, not just financial entities) would complicate Federal enforcement of the proposed sanctions and raises additional constitutional questions when coupled with the extent of the specified sanctions (i.e., a complete prohibition on the conduct of any new business activities).

The juxtaposition of these elements in section 824 makes the provision essentially unworkable. I have been assured that this provision will be corrected in a manner acceptable to the Administration at the earliest possible date. Pending these corrections, and particularly in light of the constitutional problems, I will interpret the statute as providing me discretion to make the determinations provided for in this section.

Finally, section 134 provides that whenever the Department of State enters into a leasepurchase agreement involving foreign countries, the Department shall account for such transactions "in accordance with fiscal year obligations." The Administration's interpretation is that this provision does not waive the scoring rules governing lease-purchases under the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990.


The White House, April 30, 1994.

NOTE: H.R. 2333, approved April 30, was assigned Public Law No. 103-236.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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