Statement on Signing the Military Appropriations Authorization Bill.
I HAVE today signed H.R. 8687, the military procurement authorization act of 1971.
To avoid any possible misconceptions, I wish to emphasize that section 601 of this act--the so-called Mansfield Amendment-does not represent the policies of this Administration. Section 601 urges that the President establish a "final date" for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Indochina, subject only to the release of U.S. prisoners of war and an accounting for the missing in action.
Section 601 expresses a judgment about the manner in which the American involvement in the war should be ended. However, it is without binding force or effect, and it does not reflect my judgment about the way in which the war should be brought to a ccnclusion. My signing of the bill that contains this section, therefore, will not change the policies I have pursued and that I shall continue to pursue toward this end.
Let me reiterate what has been and remains United States policy regarding withdrawal of U.S. forces from Indoehina.
Our goal--and my hope--is a negotiated settlement providing for the total withdrawal of all foreign forces, including our own, for the release of all prisoners, and for a cease-fire throughout Indochina. In the absence of such a settlement, or until such a settlement is reached, the rate of withdrawal of U.S. forces will be determined by three factors: by the level of enemy activity, by the progress of our program of Vietnamization, and by progress toward obtaining the release of all of our prisoners wherever they are in Southeast Asia and toward obtaining a cease-fire for all of Southeast Asia.
It is because section 601 of this bill will not in fact alter this policy that I have signed it into law. I would add, regretfully, that legislative actions such as this hinder rather than assist in the search for a negotiated settlement.
Note: As enacted, H.R. 8687 is Public Law 92-156 (85 St. at. 423).
Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing the Military Appropriations Authorization Bill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/241246