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Public Papers - 1989 - December

Statement on Signing the Bill Authorizing the Compact of Free Association Between the United States and Palau


I am pleased today to sign H.J. Res. 175, which authorizes the entry into force of the Compact of Free Association between the United States and Palau. This legislation is the result of 2 years of effort by the Congress, the executive branch, and the Government of Palau. It makes it possible for the people of Palau to now determine their future political status through their democratic processes. In this regard, I am pleased to note that President Ngiratkel Etpison has signed an executive order setting February 6, 1990, as the date for a plebiscite on the Compact of Free Association in Palau.

Palau is the last remaining trust territory in the world. Like my predecessors, I believe that it is time to change a relationship that is no longer appropriate, for either Palau or the United States, to one that provides a sound foundation for the future of Palau. I believe that this Compact provides just such a basis.

The United States looks forward to a continued strong relationship between the United States and a sovereign, democratic Palau that can take its place in the community of nations. We take seriously our obligations for the security of Palau and will support the efforts of a sovereign, self-governing Palau to attain its full economic potential.

At a time when fresh breezes of democracy are blowing around the world, the commitment of the people of Palau to the democratic system is most gratifying. I hope that Palau's voters will fully participate in the upcoming plebiscite and exercise their democratic right to set their own course for the future.

House Joint Resolution 175 directs the President to negotiate an agreement to facilitate implementation of an anti-drug plan for Palau. Under our Constitution, the power to conduct negotiations with foreign nations is vested in the President. In keeping with past practice, I will interpret this provision as advisory in nature. The intent of the proposed plan is in keeping with our own national anti-drug abuse strategy. The Administration is committed to facilitating the implementation of such a plan for Palau.

George Bush

The White House,

December 12, 1989.

Note: H.J. Res. 175, approved December 12, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 219.

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