[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1997, Book II)]
[November 26, 1997]
[Pages 1665-1666]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Signing the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and
Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1998
November 26, 1997

    Today I have signed into law H.R. 2159, the ``Foreign Operations, 
Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1998.''
    I am pleased that the Act contains funding for many key 
international affairs programs at or near the amounts requested. The Act 
contains vital funding and other needed authorities in support of the 
Middle East peace process. It also provides for contributions to the 
multilateral development banks, including a down payment on the 
clearance of arrears, notably to the International Development 
Association; assistance to

[[Page 1666]]

Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, as well as New Independent States 
of the former Soviet Union; international narcotics control; development 
assistance; and migration and refugee assistance. I am also very pleased 
that the Congress has fully funded my request of $222 million for the 
Peace Corps.
    In addition, I commend the Congress for funding international 
planning programs without the misguided ``Mexico City'' restrictions. My 
Administration continues to oppose these restrictions, which would deny 
funding to the most experienced and qualified family planning and 
maternal-child health care providers. I am also pleased that the 
Congress has reduced the number of other restrictions on assistance, 
such as earmarks, that have hampered my ability to carry out U.S. 
foreign policy.
    I deeply regret that the Congress did not include funding for the 
International Monetary Fund's New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) program. 
The NAB is needed to ensure that sufficient resources are available to 
respond to monetary crises in a world of rapidly expanding trade and 
finance. Recent events in southeast Asia only underscore the threat of 
shocks to the global financial system and the need for a strong and 
responsive IMF. The decision by the Congress not to provide this 
authority is irresponsible. I call on the Congress to provide funding 
for the NAB, and my Administration stands ready to work with the 
Congress to overcome obstacles to funding this important program.
    My Administration is concerned that Russia's new law on religion be 
implemented in a manner that is consistent with international 
obligations and that fully respects religious freedom. We are watching 
carefully to assess Russian implementation of this law. At the same 
time, my Administration continues to oppose legislating limits on 
assistance, especially without the possibility of a presidential waiver. 
American assistance to Russia, including to the Russian government, 
serves important U.S. interests. Technical assistance that promotes tax 
reform and aids in removing obstacles to investment and assistance in 
nuclear reactor safety are two good examples.
    While H.R. 2159 does contain a national security waiver related to 
Russian assistance to the Iranian missile program, my Administration 
still opposes in principle legislating limits on assistance to the 
Russian government because this assistance serves U.S. interests. The 
United States is conducting critical discussions with Russia on missile 
technology to Iran, and legislated assistance cutoffs could harm this 
    This Act contains several provisions that raise constitutional 
concerns, such as requirements that the United States take particular 
positions in international organizations. I will apply these and other 
provisions in the Act consistent with my constitutional 

                                                      William J. Clinton

The White House,

November 26, 1997.

Note: H.R. 2159, approved November 26, was assigned Public Law No. 105-