Statement on Signing the Special Foreign Assistance Act of 1986
I am pleased today to sign S. 1917, a bill that, among other things, provides for immunization and oral rehydration in developing countries, promotes democracy in Haiti through economic assistance and other means, and adopts measures to protect tropical forests and biological diversity in developing countries.
I must note, however, that section 204 of the bill states that the President shall exercise certain authorities -- defined by reference to the authorities granted under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act -- to assist the Haitian Government to recover the assets it alleges were stolen by former President Jean-Claude Duvalier and his associates. While I have no objection to assisting the Government of Haiti, I would have to object to such a provision if it mandated the specific actions to be taken by the Government because such a mandate would unreasonably detract from the flexibility necessary to formulate and conduct a sound foreign policy. Fortunately, the bill does not directly specify which of the many executive powers referenced by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act should be employed. Therefore, the President retains the discretion to select those powers that are appropriate to carry out the legislation's purposes.
Note: S. 1917, approved October 24, was assigned Public Law No. 99 - 529.