[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Volume 37, Number 9 (Monday, March 5, 2001)]
[Pages 393-394]
[Online from the Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

Letter to Congressional Leaders Transmitting a Report on Continued 
Deployment of United States Forces to East Timor

March 2, 2001

Dear Mr. Speaker:  (Dear Mr. President:)

    On August 25, 2000, President Clinton provided a report to the 
Congress regarding the continued deployment of U.S. Armed Forces in 
support of East Timor's transition to independence. I am providing this 
supplemental report, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, to help 
ensure that the Congress is kept fully informed regarding U.S. Armed 
Forces in East Timor.

[[Page 394]]

    As you are aware, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1272 established 
the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) on 
October 25, 1999. The UNTAET's mandate includes providing security and 
maintaining law and order throughout East Timor, establishing an 
effective administration, ensuring the coordination and delivery of 
humanitarian assistance, and supporting capacity-building for self-
government. The United States currently contributes three military 
observers to UNTAET. These personnel are assigned to the United Nations 
pursuant to the United Nations Participation Act (Public Law 79-264), 
and operate under U.N. operational control.
    The United States also maintains a military presence in East Timor 
that is separate from UNTAET. This includes the U.S. Support Group East 
Timor (USGET), comprised of approximately 12 U.S. personnel, including a 
security detachment, which facilitates and coordinates U.S. military 
activities in East Timor, and a rotational presence of U.S. forces 
through temporary deployments to East Timor. These rotational presence 
operations include monthly Navy ship visits and deployments of military 
medical and engineering teams that conduct humanitarian and civic 
assistance activities in areas critical to East Timor's citizens. United 
States forces assigned to USGET and those conducting rotational presence 
operations operate under U.S. command and control and U.S. rules of 
engagement. The United Nations has indicated that East Timor has 
benefited greatly from U.S. military deployments and engagement 
activities in East Timor and strongly supports the continued U.S. 
presence there.
    At this point, our rotational presence operations are envisioned to 
continue through December 2001. The duration of our support depends upon 
the course of events in East Timor. It is, however, our objective to 
reduce the rotational presence operations, as well as to redeploy USGET, 
as soon as circumstances permit.
    I have authorized the continuation of this action pursuant to my 
constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as 
Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. I am providing this report as 
part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with 
the War Powers Resolution. I appreciate the support of the Congress in 
this action.
                                                George W. Bush

Note: Identical letters were sent to J. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the 
House of Representatives, and Strom Thurmond, President pro tempore of 
the Senate.