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Public Papers - 1990 - February

Statement on Signing the Urgent Assistance for Democracy in Panama Act of 1990

1990-02-14

I have signed today H.R. 3952, the ``Urgent Assistance for Democracy in Panama Act of 1990.''

I would like to express my appreciation to the Congress in passing this legislation, which will allow us to proceed expeditiously on Phase I of our plan to foster economic recovery in Panama. We plan now to proceed with the broad range of activities that officials of my Administration have been discussing with interested Members of Congress in consultations that have taken place over the last several weeks. This program contains a range of AID, OPIC, Eximbank, and other assistance, as well as restoration of Caribbean Basin Initiative and Generalized System of Preferences trade benefits for Panama.

I am further appreciative of the provisions that will permit us to provide certain assistance for Panamanian law enforcement agencies on an expedited basis. This will facilitate our efforts to have the Panamanians assume the law enforcement responsibilities now being shouldered by our military forces.

I look forward to working with the Congress on the necessary legislation to implement Phase II of our economic recovery program for Panama.

Finally, I note that Section 104(b)(3) of the Act requires me to report on agreements with Panama ``in the process of negotiation.'' The Constitution, however, commits to the President the responsibility of negotiations with foreign governments and necessarily provides the President with discretion to determine whether and when to disclose information concerning agreements that are in the process of negotiation. Accordingly, I will construe this section consistent with my constitutional responsibilities.

George Bush

The White House,

February 14, 1990.

Note: H.R. 3952, approved February 14, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 243.

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