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Public Papers - 1991 - December

Statement on Signing the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993

1991-12-05

Today I have signed into law H.R. 2100, the ``National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993,'' notwithstanding the reservations that I have regarding certain of its provisions. H.R. 2100 authorizes appropriations that provide for a national defense sufficient to meet foreseeable threats to the national security. It conforms to the Bipartisan Budget Agreement and generally supports the Administration's major defense priorities, including key elements of the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Several provisions raise serious constitutional issues. I am particularly concerned about a provision that derogates from the President's authority under the Constitution to conduct U.S. foreign policy. Section 1046 purports to require the President to begin negotiations with specified foreign nations to enter into agreements regarding defense cost-sharing. Consistent with my responsibility under the Constitution for the conduct of such negotiations, I will construe that provision to be precatory rather than mandatory. Section 1046 also purports to require that I report to the Congress concerning any such negotiations. I sign this bill with the understanding that this provision does not require the reporting of the details of diplomatic negotiations with foreign nations or other privileged information or detract from my constitutional authority to protect sensitive national security information.

Section 153 purports to restrict deployment and redeployment of certain intercontinental ballistic missiles. Section 2851 undermines arrangements with our NATO allies to establish facilities and deploy forces at Crotone, Italy. Section 1042 purports to impose a limit on the number of military personnel stationed in Europe. While I will respect the intent of these and similar provisions as far as possible, I sign the bill with the understanding that such provisions do not constrain my constitutional authority to deploy military resources to safeguard the security of the Nation.

Section 213 purports to restrict the authority of the Secretary of Defense to classify certain information regarding the A - (X) aircraft, and various other provisions of the Act require that specified reports or information be provided to the Congress. I shall construe all these provisions consistent with my constitutional authority to protect information that is privileged or that bears on the national security.

Sections 921 and 922 could be construed to restrict the flexibility of the Secretary of Defense to direct the management of the Defense Intelligence Agency, to dictate how intelligence information is to be processed, and to require intra-government consultations prior to nomination of officials to head the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. These are unneeded and constitutionally questionable intrusions into the management of the executive branch. I will construe these provisions consistent with the Constitution.

George Bush

The White House,

December 5, 1991.

Note: This statement was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 6.

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