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Statement on Signing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995

October 05, 1994

Today I have signed into law S. 2182, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995." This Act authorizes appropriations for Department of Defense and Department of Energy national security activities and extends and amends other programs. This Act, which authorizes most of the Administration's major defense priorities, will provide for a continuing strong national defense during fiscal year 1995.

In signing this Act, it is important to clarify the interpretation of several provisions related to the President's authority and responsibility in the area of foreign affairs.

First, with respect to section 1404, which relates to Bosnia and Herzegovina, I note that the language on international policy leaves flexibility to calibrate our actions as events develop. Similarly, the provisions on reporting to and consulting with the Congress on training and the unilateral termination of the Bosnia arms embargo leave flexibility to determine the content of these reports and consultations and the extent to which such proposals would be implemented. This flexibility is critical for ensuring that the United States remains in a position to react to developments in the manner that best serves our Nation's interests.

Moreover, with respect to the provision on use of funds, I note that the limitation in section 1404(f)(2) applies only when appropriated funds are used "for the purpose" described therein. I sign the bill with the understanding that it therefore would not affect the United States' ability to participate in activities in the Adriatic that are needed in order to avoid impeding enforcement of sanctions against Serbia, or for other purposes, even if doing so provides indirect or incidental support or assistance for the embargo. Also, I further understand that the waiver authority in paragraph (3)(A) applies to U.S. military personnel serving in headquarters positions for NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, the Commander in Chief, Allied Forces Southern Europe, and subordinate headquarters staffs, such as those for the Commander, Joint Task Force Provide Promise and his subordinate headquarters staffs.

To the extent that section 1404 could be construed to require the President or other executive branch officers or employees to espouse or refrain from espousing certain substantive positions, it would be inconsistent with my constitutional authority for the conduct of foreign affairs. I will accordingly interpret the provision as not applicable to efforts that are diplomatic in nature.

In the Classified Annex, incorporated into S. 2182 by reference, section 101 directs that the Secretary of Defense provide a weekly National Operations Summary to the Committees on Armed Services of the House and Senate. Implementation of this provision must be consistent with my constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and my constitutional responsibility for the conduct of foreign affairs. While I understand the interest of the two Defense oversight committees in receiving this sensitive information, there are questions of scope that need to be resolved. In this regard, I note that the joint explanatory statement of the conferees indicates their intent to provide maximum flexibility to the Department of Defense and the committees to work out the details of the content of the National Operations Summary.

I also point out that section 232, relating to modifications to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, cannot restrict the constitutional options for congressional approval of substantive modifications of treaties.

Finally, I note that section 1304 could be interpreted as specifically directing the President how to proceed in negotiations with European countries regarding cost-sharing arrangements for U.S. military installations in host nations. I support the policy underlying section 1304 to encourage these countries to increase their contributions, direct and indirect, of the nonpersonnel costs described in the provision. However, my constitutional authority over foreign affairs necessarily entails discretion over these and similar matters.


The White House,

October 5, 1994.

NOTE: S. 2182, approved October 5, was assigned Public Law No. 103-337.

William J. Clinton, Statement on Signing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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