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Senate Floor: CONFERENCE REPORT NO. 103-482 ON H.R. 2333

  • Joe Biden
    Person
  • Pete Domenici
    Person
  • Hank Brown
    Person
  • Claiborne Pell
    Person
  • George J. Mitchell
    Person
  • Not Labeled
    Person
Unknown

George J. Mitchell

Positive
Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that upon the receipt of a message from the House that the House has agreed to the conference report No. 103-482 on H.R. 2333, the State Department authorization bill, or a conference report that is identical to that conference report as filed in the House on April 25; that the conference report be considered agreed to and the motion to reconsider laid on the table, notwithstanding the recess or adjournment of the Senate. 5

Unknown
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. 7

Claiborne Pell

Very Positive
Madam President, I am very pleased that the Senate is taking up the conference report on H.R. 2333, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act. The report contains the authorization of appropriations for the Department of State, the United States Information Agency, and the Board for International Broadcasting. 9

Claiborne Pell

Somewhat Positive
The legislation incorporates and endorses the administration's restructuring of the Department of State, most notably by enabling the establishment of the new position of Under Secretary for Global Affairs to oversee policy on many of the issues that transcend national borders. 10

Claiborne Pell

Very Positive
In addition, the legislation consolidates U.S. Government international broadcasting. I am hopeful that this will enhance our broadcast services to those regions where it is most needed while at the same time saving the taxpayers' money. 11

Claiborne Pell

Very Negative
Madam President, there are a number of provisions that I have either authored or cosponsored in this legislation, but I would like to highlight just two. First, part A of title VII of the conference report contains provisions that will significantly strengthen the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. I firmly believe that a revitalized ACDA will enhance our Nation's efforts to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. 12

Claiborne Pell

Very Positive
Second, I have worked closely with Senator Glenn to craft legislation that will strengthen our Nation's nuclear nonproliferation policy. This has passed the Senate and House several times, and I am pleased that it is finally headed towards enactment. 13

Claiborne Pell

Positive
Finally, I would note that the conference report authorizes the administration's request for a supplemental appropriation of $670 million for U.S. assessed dues for U.N. peacekeeping. Madam President, I firmly believe that the Congress and executive branch need to put U.S. financing for its U.N. obligations on a sound footing. This is a step in the right direction. More needs to be done. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this in the weeks to come. 14

Claiborne Pell

Unknown
Madam President, I urge the adoption of the conference report. 15

Pete Domenici

Unknown
Madam President, in my role as ranking Republican on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce-Justice-State, I rise to discuss several provisions of the conference report on the foreign Relations Authorization Act. 17

Pete Domenici

Very Positive
First, I am pleased that the conferees accepted a modification of my amendment to exempt signatories to the North American Free-Trade Agreement from the new visa fees that are authorized in the act. The provision retains the exemption, but provides the Secretary of State with discretionary authority to impose these fees if either Canada or Mexico charge a visa fee to citizens of the United States. 18

Pete Domenici

Slightly Negative
I would hope and expect that the State Department will only use such authority if if fails in attempts to persuade either Canada or Mexico to eliminate current or future visa fees. In my view, this authority should be used as a method of reducing fees that could impede cross- border traffic, not as an excuse to impose new fees. 19

Pete Domenici

Neutral
In any event, I would expect the Department will not use such authority in the near future and that it will consult with Congress prior to any action in this regard. 20

Pete Domenici

Very Positive
I want to thank Senators Pell, Kerry, Helms, and Pressler for their help in resolving this matter. I would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the chairman of the House Subcommittee on International Operations, Congressman Howard Berman, for his willingness to negotiate the terms of this compromise. 21

Pete Domenici

Very Positive
Second, I note the conferees have included a provision withholding 10 percent of the funds appropriated for the assessed contribution of the United States to the United Nations for 1994 until that organization has established an office of inspector general. The withholding rises to 20 percent in 1995. 22

Pete Domenici

Very Positive
The conference agreement is very similar to language I included in the 1994 State Department Appropriations Act. That provision, enacted into law as part of Public Law 103-121, already requires the withholding of 10 percent of the funds appropriated to the United Nations. 23

Pete Domenici

Positive
These funds can be released only upon a certification by the Secretary of State that the United Nations has established an independent office of inspector general. As a result, $29 million has been withheld pursuant to my amendment. 24

Pete Domenici

Very Positive
I hope the United Nations responds positively to these provisions. It is essential that it regain the confidence of the American people if it is to maintain an adequate funding base. 25

Pete Domenici

Positive
Once again, I congratulate the members of the conference committee for following the lead of the Appropriations Committee in the area of U.N. reform. 26

Pete Domenici

Very Positive
I would like to reiterate for the Record that Senate scorekeeping with regard to lease-purchase agreements is the exclusive jurisdiction of the Committee on the Budget. I would expect that the committee will continue to enforce the existing lease-purchase scorekeeping rules, without regard to language in the statement of managers on H.R. 2333 which suggests that special treatment should be accorded to the Department of State with regard to lease-purchase matters. 27

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Madam President, I am pleased to support the conference report on the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for fiscal years 1994 and 1995. I want to commend the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Pell, and the ranking member, Senator Helms. I would also like to express my appreciation to Senator Kerry, who skillfully steered the bill through the various stages of the legislative process. 29

Joe Biden

Very Positive
I would like to call attention to title III of the bill, the U. S. International Broadcasting Act of 1994. This title reorganizes and consolidates all nonmilitary international broadcasting supported by the U.S. Government -- the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio and TV Marti -- under a single broadcasting board of governors, which will be responsible for supervising the operations of these entities. 30

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Also under this structure will be a new Radio Free Asia, which is established in this legislation. As the Senate author of this provision, I am particularly pleased that this idea -- which I first began working on nearly 3 years ago -- is about to come to fruition. 31

Joe Biden

Very Positive
In May 1991, I introduced legislation to establish a commission to examine whether the United States should initiate a surrogate radio service -- on the model of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty [RFE/RL] -- for the People's Republic of China. In September 1992, the Commission on Broadcasting to the People's Republic of China reported its findings. The commission unanimously recommended that the United States increase its surrogate broadcasting to China and the other Communist nations of Asia. Although the panel divided on the best means of achieving that goal, the message was clear -- we need to expand our broadcasting in Asia. 32

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Following the work of the commission, I introduced legislation to establish a Radio Free Asia, modeled on RFE/RL. The bill in the current Congress, S. 659, has 19 cosponsors, including the Senate majority leader, and the chairman and ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Its central provisions are included in the conference report now before the Senate. 33

Joe Biden

Very Positive
This initiative would not have succeeded but for the support of President Clinton. Although I am disappointed that the administration's budget request for Radio Free Asia for fiscal 1995 is only $10 million, I am heartened by the President's commitment to this concept. 34

Joe Biden

Very Positive
The proposal to establish a Radio Free Asia is based on a proven model -- Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty -- which for over four decades have broadcast to the nations of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The leaders of the new democracies in Eastern Europe -- such as Vaclav Havel and Lech Walesa -- have testified to the importance of RFE/ RL in encouraging their democratic movements during the cold war. The radios, as they are known, heartened dissidents from Berlin to Bucharest, from Vilnius to Vladivostok, helping to fan the flame of freedom in the hearts and minds of citizens throughout the Soviet Empire -- a flame that suddenly in 1989 became a torch and then a wildfire. 35

Joe Biden

Very Positive
A Radio Free Asia, like RFE/RL, is designed to provide accurate news and information to the people living under Communist and dictatorial rule in east Asia. Foremost among these nations is China, where one- fifth of the world's population resides. Despite impressive economic liberalization in China, political freedom -- including freedom of the press -- remains under the tight control of the Communist Party. Indeed, it is an unchallenged fact that China severely represses press freedom. The State Department's annual report on human rights describes the situation clearly: 36

Joe Biden

Positive
The extent to which the Chinese people are thus kept ignorant about events in their own country was placed in perspective by Liu Binyan, a prominent Chinese dissident now in exile in the United States, in testimony before the Foreign Relations Committee in 1991: 38

Joe Biden

Positive
The situation in the other Communist countries in Asia is similarly repressive. Press freedom is virtually nonexistent, and the media are used largely as instruments of state policy. 40

Joe Biden

Very Positive
During the public debate on this issue over the past several years, numerous myths have arisen about the establishment of a Radio Free Asia. I want to take a few minutes to put those myths to rest. 41

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Myth no. 1: China is open. It is said that China's economic transformation has already made the Radio Free Asia proposal unnecessary -- that China is so open and free that external broadcasting is not needed. This is patently false. China is indeed open to foreigners bringing investment. It is not open to strangers bringing foreign ideas. 42

Joe Biden

Positive
If China is open and free, why then does it attempt to jam the Chinese language broadcasts of the Voice of America and the British Broadcasting Corporation? If China is so open and free, why then does it continue to arrest leading dissidents? If China is so open and free, why then do thousands of political prisoners languish in its jails? If China is so open and free, why then do millions suffer in brutal labor camps? 43

Joe Biden

Positive
Just as economic liberalization, spurred by western investment, has reduced Beijing's role in the economy, broadcasting the truth about internal events in China will undermine the communist axiom that the state must control not only the lives of the people, but their every though as well. This was the strategy we pursued with the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe: detente through business and cultural exchange, dissemination of accurate news and information through radio broadcasts. 44

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Myth no. 2: Radio Free Asia will upset the Chinese. It is said that establishment of a Radio Free Asia will upset the Chinese Government, reinforcing its xenophobia tendencies. To be sure, China will be unhappy. But Beijing's petulance ought not to guide American policy. Moreover, this argument is made by people who contend -- in the same breath -- that we should increase Voice of America broadcasts. Even the Bush administration -- well known for its zealous defense of Beijing -- increased the budget for VOA programming to China. 45

Joe Biden

Neutral
Myth no. 3: There are already enough foreign broadcasts to China. It is said that there is already a plethora of foreign radio broadcasts to China, and that Radio Free Asia would be lost amid the cacophony of voices. This too is false. The Commission on Broadcasting to China examined this question closely. 46

Joe Biden

Very Positive
There are some 350 hours of foreign broadcasts to China each day. A mere 15 percent -- 52 hours -- is in Chinese languages. Of this, more than half is provided by two Taiwan services, which broadcast hard line propaganda and disinformation. What remains is the VOA and the BBC, and a smattering of hours on stations such as Radio France and Radio Canada. Of the 350 hours of foreign broadcasts to China, the commission reported, "the preponderance is related to developments outside China." Myth no. 4: China isn't ready for democracy. It is often said that China is not ready for democracy. That is Confucian traditions make it unsuitable for democratic rule. And so on. This is not only false, it is an insult to the Chinese people. One need look only to Taiwan, where the Chinese people have dismantled an authoritarian state and are building a multiparty democratic structure. Or to Hong Kong, where the Chinese people have voted overwhelmingly for candidates committed to greater democracy. As Professor Andrew Nathan, a China scholar at Columbia University writes, "the theme of China's backwardness as a limit on democracy is as old as the Chinese desire for democracy." One final concern often raised about the Radio Free Asia proposal is that no nation in Asia will permit the United States to use transmission facilities for these broadcasts. This proposition has yet to be tested. But when it is, I fully expect the State Department and the U.S. Information Agency to use their best efforts in seeking permission to use transmission facilities. In diplomacy, the medium is the message. If we send a low-ranking diplomat from an embassy to carry out a mission, we can expect the counterpart nation to treat our request accordingly -- as a lower priority. I do not expect that Congress will micromanage this process. But suffice it to say that I hope that senior officials from State and USIA will carry the message to our friends and allies. 47

Joe Biden

Very Positive
In closing, I want to underscore that Radio Free Asia must be a source of objective news and information. Accuracy must be its watchword. It must not be a source for propaganda. It must adhere to the highest standards of professional journalism. The standards and principles outlined in section 303 of the legislation are not makeweight, designed merely to fill the pages of the United States Code; they are designed to provide a clear mission statement for international broadcasting funded by the U.S. Government. 48

Joe Biden

Very Positive
Madam President, Radio Free Asia is but one piece of a Clinton administration initiative to consolidate U.S. international broadcasting under the umbrella of the USIA. I am gratified that after a year of debate and discussion, the legislation to implement the President's proposal -- which will transform our international broadcasting for the long-term, post-cold-war effort to promote democracy and U.S. interests around the world -- is nearing enactment. I urge my colleagues to support the conference report. 49

Hank Brown

Leans Positive
Madam President, as we move to adopt the State Department authorization conference report, I wanted to bring two points to the attention of the Senate. 51

Hank Brown

Very Positive
First, I wanted to bring the attention of the members of this body to the waiver provision included in the Anti-Economic Discrimination Act of 1994 prohibiting sales of defense services or articles to countries enforcing the secondary or tertiary economic boycott of Israel. It is the expectation of this member, and of other members as well, that this waiver would be used very sparingly -- if at all. If it were used, it is envisioned that it would only be used in instances in which a clear and convincing case can be made that use of the waiver will directly achieve progress in lifting the secondary and tertiary boycott of Israel. The waivers are generous so as not to tread too heavily on the President's ability to make foreign policy. But we expect the President, when and if he ever uses the waivers included in the legislation, to make a strong and unassailable case for their use that directly links the utility of his actions to ending the boycott. 52

Hank Brown

Very Positive
Second, concerning the language in the bill urging the President to send cabinet-level appointees to the Republic of China on Taiwan. The language of the amendment also urges the President to take "steps to show clear United States support for Taiwan both in our bilateral relationship and in multilateral organizations of which the United States is a member." Madam President, it is important that it be understood unequivocally that the members of the Conference and the members of the Senate, when passing this legislation, did not want simply to limit themselves to urging membership for the Republic of China just in the United Nations, or just in the GATT or just in any other particular international organization. But the United States is a member of all of these organizations. It was the intent of the authors of the amendment to put the Congress squarely on record behind United States support for bringing the Republic of China into all international organizations as a regular member. Specifically, that support includes membership in both the United Nations and in the GATT, as well as a host of other international organizations. 53

Hank Brown

Very Positive
Madam President, I would also like to thank Senator Jesse Helms, Chairman Pell, Senator John Kerry, and Senator Larry Pressler for their efforts on this important piece of legislation, and the support of their staffs. 54

Hank Brown

Somewhat Positive
Madam President, I thank my colleagues and yield the floor. 55