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Public Papers - 1989 - December

Statement on Signing the International Narcotics Control Act of 1989

1989-12-13

It is with great pleasure that I sign into law H.R. 3611, the ``International Narcotics Control Act of 1989.'' This Act authorizes Fiscal Year 1990 appropriations of 5 million for international narcotics control assistance and an additional 5 million for military and law enforcement assistance to Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia. This assistance to the three Andean nations, where most of the world's cocaine is produced and which form the front lines of the struggle against the drug cartels, is designed to help reduce the flow of illegal drugs into our country. The disruption and dismantling of the criminal organizations that support the international production, processing, and trafficking of drugs are essential components of our national drug control strategy.

The violence directed against the government of Colombia following President Barco's courageous decision to wage a full-scale war against the Andean drug traffickers shows that they are entrenched and powerful. International cooperation is essential if they are to be defeated, and the United States, in particular, must be generous in providing assistance. We will consult with the governments of these three countries on how to put our assistance to most effective use, and I look forward to reviewing our progress with the leaders of the Andean nations.

I commend the Congress for this timely response to my request. However, in approving this legislation, I must take note of a problematic provision contained therein.

Section 3(g) of the bill states that section 502B(c) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 shall apply to the provision of assistance under section 3. Section 502B(c) requires the Secretary of State to submit certain reports upon the request of either House or of certain committees, and, if no report is forthcoming within 30 days, ``no security assistance shall be delivered to such country except as may thereafter be specifically authorized by law from such country unless and until [the report] is transmitted.'' Section 502B(c) would therefore have the effect of allowing a single House of Congress (or even a single committee) to halt the provision of assistance. This section violates the constitutional principle, recognized by the Supreme Court in INS v. Chadha, that every legislative act of the Congress must be presented to the President in accordance with the requirements of Article I, section 7 of the Constitution. I shall treat the unconstitutional portions of section 502B(c) as severable from the rest of this legislation, and therefore they will not endanger the provision of necessary assistance in our war on drugs.

George Bush

The White House,

December 13, 1989.

Note: H.R. 3611, approved December 13, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 231.

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