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Public Papers - 1990

Statement on Signing the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 1991


Today, I have signed H.R. 5803, the Department of Defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 1991.

This bill is generally supportive of Administration objectives and provides resources that will permit us to maintain a strong national defense.

I am concerned about requirements that could be construed to derogate from the President's authority under the Constitution to conduct United States foreign policy, including negotiations with other countries. Consistent with my responsibility under the Constitution for the conduct of negotiations, I will construe such requirements to be precatory rather than mandatory.

I note my construction of one provision of the bill. Section 8111(a) refers to a classified annex that was prepared to accompany the conference report on this bill and states that the annex ``shall have the force and effect of law as if enacted into law.'' Congress has thus stated in the statute that the annex has not been enacted into law, but it nonetheless urges that the annex be treated as if it were law. I will certainly take into account Congress' wishes in this regard, but will do so mindful of the fact that, according to the terms of the statute, the provisions of the annex are not law.

George Bush

The White House,

November 5, 1990.

Note: H.R. 5803, approved November 5, was assigned Public Law No. 101 - 511.

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