[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Volume 38, Number 40 (Monday, October 7, 2002)]
[Pages 1658-1660]
[Online from the Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov]

<R04>
Statement on Signing the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal 
Year 2003

September 30, 2002

    I have today signed into law H.R. 1646, the ``Foreign Relations 
Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003.'' This Act authorizes 
appropriations, and provides important new authorities, for diplomatic 
and related activities of the U.S. Government. Many provisions in the 
Act will strengthen our ability to advance American interests around the 
globe, including nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and to 
meet our international commitments, including those to the United 
Nations. Regrettably, the Act contains a number of provisions that 
impermissibly interfere with the constitutional functions of the 
presidency in foreign affairs, including provisions that purport to 
establish foreign policy that are of significant concern.
    The executive branch shall construe as advisory the provisions of 
the Act, including sections 408, 616, 621, 633, and 1343(b), that 
purport to direct or burden the conduct of negotiations by the executive 
branch with foreign governments, international organizations, or other 
entities abroad or which purport to direct executive branch officials to 
use the U.S. voice and vote in international organizations to achieve 
specified foreign policy objectives. Such provisions, if construed as 
mandatory rather than advisory, would impermissibly interfere with the 
President's constitutional authorities to conduct the Nation's foreign 
affairs, participate in international negotiations, and supervise the 
unitary executive branch.
    The executive branch shall also construe provisions in the Act that 
mandate submission of information to the Congress or the public, such as 
sections 204, 215, 603, 613(b), 615 and 1602, in a manner consistent 
with the President's constitutional authority to withhold information 
the disclosure of which could impair the foreign relations, the national 
security, the deliberative processes of

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the Executive, or the performance of the Executive's constitutional 
duties. The Secretary of State will, of course, continue as a matter of 
comity to keep the Congress appropriately informed of the Nation's 
foreign affairs activities.
    Several provisions of the Act, including sections 650, 1205(d)(5), 
and 1501(7) call for executive branch officials to submit to the 
Congress recommendations for legislation. The executive branch shall 
implement these provisions in a manner consistent with the President's 
constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and 
to recommend to the Congress such measures as the President judges 
necessary and expedient.
    Section 214, concerning Jerusalem, impermissibly interferes with the 
President's constitutional authority to conduct the Nation's foreign 
affairs and to supervise the unitary executive branch. Moreover, the 
purported direction in section 214 would, if construed as mandatory 
rather than advisory, impermissibly interfere with the President's 
constitutional authority to formulate the position of the United States, 
speak for the Nation in international affairs, and determine the terms 
on which recognition is given to foreign states. U.S. policy regarding 
Jerusalem has not changed.
    The executive branch shall implement sections 325 and 687 in a 
manner consistent with the equal protection requirements of the Due 
Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.
    Section 505 of the Act excludes U.S. Government employees abroad 
assigned to duty as correspondents for the Voice of America (VOA) from 
the statutory responsibilities of the Secretary of State for security of 
certain U.S. Government personnel abroad and of chiefs of U.S. missions 
for direction of such personnel. Pursuant to the constitutional 
authority of the President to conduct the Nation's foreign affairs and 
to supervise the unitary executive branch, the Secretary of State may 
provide such direction as may be necessary with respect to the security 
and conduct of U.S. Government employees abroad assigned to duty as VOA 
correspondents.
    Section 604 purports to require the imposition of certain sanctions 
on the Palestinian Liberation Organization or Palestinian Authority 
based on the determinations that the President makes or fails to make in 
the report provided for in section 603. Although a waiver authority is 
also provided, I note that some of these sanctions, in particular with 
respect to visas and the status of representational offices, bear on the 
President's power with respect to the timing and nature of diplomatic 
communications. Accordingly, I shall construe these requirements in a 
manner consistent with my constitutional responsibilities for the 
conduct of foreign affairs.
    Section 645 of the Act purports to require the President to 
implement a law through a particular subordinate officer in the 
Department of Commerce. The executive branch shall implement this 
provision in a manner consistent with the President's authority to 
supervise the unitary executive branch, including the authority to 
direct which officers in the executive branch shall assist the President 
in faithfully executing the law.
    Section 686 makes seven additional plaintiffs with judgments against 
Iran eligible for payments under the Victims of Trafficking and Violence 
Protection Act of 2000. While U.S. victims of international terrorism 
are deserving of compensation in accordance with the law, the continued 
piecemeal legislative approach that addresses some victims and not 
others is neither equitable nor practicable. The Congress should develop 
a comprehensive proposal that provides compensation for all victims, 
following the principles my Administration outlined in June of this 
year. Such a proposal should not draw upon blocked assets to fund victim 
compensation, so as to preserve the prerogatives of the President in the 
area of foreign affairs.
    Sections 321 and 322, which provide certain retirement benefits to 
discrete groups of Federal employees, undermine fundamental principles 
underlying Federal retirement systems. These sections introduce serious 
inequities in the operation of those systems, and set undesirable 
precedents. My Administration will submit to the Congress appropriate 
legislation to repeal section 321 and to adopt remedial legislation in 
lieu of section 322 that would not undermine the

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integrity, equity, and sound funding principles of our Federal 
retirement systems.
    Section 1206 could be misconstrued to imply a change in the ``one 
China'' policy of the United States when, in fact, that U.S. policy 
remains unchanged. To the extent that this section could be read to 
purport to change United States policy, it impermissibly interferes with 
the President's constitutional authority to conduct the Nation's foreign 
affairs.
    Section 1406 of the Act requires that actions to remove items from 
the munitions list be subject to reprogramming notifications to 
committees of Congress. By its plain terms, this provision does not 
subject such actions to any committee approval requirements, which would 
be impermissible under the constitutional separation of powers, and 
accordingly, the executive branch shall so implement it.
    My approval of the Act does not constitute my adoption of the 
various statements of policy in the Act as U.S. foreign policy. Given 
the Constitution's commitment to the presidency of the authority to 
conduct the Nation's foreign affairs, the executive branch shall 
construe such policy statements as advisory, giving them the due weight 
that comity between the legislative and executive branches should 
require, to the extent consistent with U.S. foreign policy.
                                                George W. Bush
The White House,
September 30, 2002.

Note: H.R. 1646, approved September 30, was assigned Public Law No. 107-
228.