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[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page i-ii]
Monday, January 1, 1996
Volume 31--Number 52
Pages 2223-2238

Weekly Compilation of



[[Page i]]

[[Page ii]]

Addresses and Remarks

    Christmas Eve message to U.S. troops in Bosnia-Herzegovina--2230
    Federal budget negotiations, meeting with congressional leaders--
    Radio address--2228

Bill Signings

    Limited continuing appropriations legislation, statement--2227

Bill Vetoes

    National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996, message--

Communications to Congress

    See also Bill Vetoes
    Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), suspension 
        of sanctions, message--2232
    National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996, letter to 
        the Speaker of the House of Representatives--2235
    Russia, trade with the United States, message transmitting report--

Communications to Federal Agencies

    Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), suspension 
        of sanctions, memorandum--2231

Executive Orders

    Adjustment of Certain Rates of Pay and Allowances--2232

Interviews With the News Media

    Exchange with reporters in the Cabinet Room--2235
    Interview with Armed Forces media--2223

Statements by the President

    See also Bill Signings
    Airline tragedy near Buga, Colombia--2228

Supplementary Materials

    Acts approved by the President--2238
    Checklist of White House press releases--2237
    Digest of other White House announcements--2237
    Nominations submitted to the Senate--2237


Published every Monday by the Office of the Federal Register, National 
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[[Page 2223]]

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2223-2227]
Monday, January 1, 1996
Volume 31--Number 52
Pages 2223-2238
Week Ending Friday, December 29, 1995
Interview With the Armed Forces Media

December 22, 1995


    The President. First let me say that I have just come from a 
briefing here at the Pentagon with our senior military officials who are 
working on the mission in Bosnia. We've also had a teleconference with 
General Joulwan, getting the latest up-to-date briefing on the 
conditions of the deployment. And I would say--I should emphasize to you 
two things.
    One is that, notwithstanding some weather problems and a few delays 
occasioned by Christmas traffic on the rails in Germany, we're pretty 
much on schedule. And secondly, and even more important, the attitude 
toward compliance thus far in Bosnia by all parties has been quite good. 
Now, it's early in the mission, but so far the attitude toward 
compliance has been very good, and we're encouraged by that. And we 
think we can stay on schedule for the separation of the forces and the 
other elements of it.
    And also in this Christmas season, I'd like to remind the people who 
serve our country that we are doing this essentially for three reasons. 
First of all, because we can do it, and when we can do something like 
this, it's consistent with our values to stop suffering and slaughter on 
the scale we've seen it in Bosnia.
    Second, because it's very much in our interest to contain and end 
this war, to prevent it from spreading in a way that can involve our 
NATO allies on opposite sides and many other countries that are critical 
to the stability of Europe. It's also important for us to do what we can 
to promote a stable and democratic and free Europe. We, after all, have 
fought two World Wars because we did not have such a Europe; we had a 
long cold war because we did not have such a Europe. So it's in our 
    And finally, it is critical to our ability to lead the world for the 
next 10 or 20 years as we sort out what the security arrangements of the 
post-cold-war era will be. I can tell you that our leadership of NATO 
specifically, and in general our ability to lead in the world toward 
peace and democracy, is very much tied to our willingness to assume a 
leadership role in this Bosnia mission.
    I could see it on my recent trip to Europe, whether it was talking 
to Prime Ministers in Great Britain or Ireland or Germany or Spain or 
just to people on the street. It means a lot to them to know that the 
United States is still there working and leading and being a good 
    So for all these reasons, I think this is a very, very important 
mission to our country.
    Q. Thank you, sir. Mr. President, I'm Austin Camacho from the AFRTS 
News Center. After Operation Joint Endeavor, what do you see as the U.S. 
role in that area formerly known as Yugoslavia? What will be our role 
    The President. Well, I think, first of all, we'll still be there 
through NATO and whatever role that NATO assumes in the general area 
beyond our NATO member nations. But more importantly, I would expect, 
after this mission is over, we will continue to have American citizens, 
both people who work for and represent our Government and people in the 
private sector, going in and out of there helping in the reconstruction 
effort, contributing to that, supporting the political process in 
whatever way we can.
    But I think it is quite important that the NATO force not become an 
occupying army. We're not dealing with Berlin here. We're not--all we're 
trying to do is to give this peace agreement a chance to take hold. And 
we have a very clear and limited mission. In fact, I want to make sure 
that all of our folks know that, as far as I know, this peace agreement 
is the first one ever where the military annex to the agreement was 
actually written

[[Page 2224]]

by the military commanders who were going to be expected to implement 
it. That is, the parties actually asked our military people to fashion 
the military annex to the agreement that was initiated in Dayton so that 
there would be a limited, defined, strictly military mission.
    Q. Mr. President, do you agree with the premise that Bosnia is 
really the first test of post-cold-war policy?
    The President. Well, I think it's been tested in other ways, but 
it's certainly the most significant military test of our post-cold-war 
policy if you accept the premise that what happened in the Gulf at the 
Gulf war could have occurred during the cold war as well as afterward, 
that this is literally a post-cold-war problem. Then it is the biggest 
military test.
    Q. Does that mean that--what is the success or failure of this then 
mean to American foreign policy 10, 15 years down the line?
    The President. Well, let me just say I think the most important 
thing here is that the United States was prepared to lead and to work 
with our NATO allies. If you remember, in the beginning when the Bosnian 
war broke out, a lot of our European allies said, ``Well, we ought to 
take the leadership role here. We'll do this. We'll do it through the 
United Nations.'' And we've played a very strong supporting role through 
NATO. After all, it's important that the United States never forget that 
during these last 4 tough years, we led in the conduct of the largest 
humanitarian airlift in history; we led in enforcing the no-fly zone, 
keeping the war out of the air, and a lot of other things that were 
done, including NATO's willingness to use air strikes to, first of all, 
bring about a relatively peaceful 1994 and then to bring about the 
conditions in which a peace agreement could be made in 1995.
    But what I believe this means, if we make this effort and if we 
succeed in our military mission, even if, God forbid, after we're all 
gone the thing should come apart, at least we will be united in doing 
what we can do to promote stability in Europe and to take a stand for 
peace in the post-cold-war era.
    If you remember when I sent our troops into Haiti with a U.N.-led 
mission, and then when I left a smaller number there when the United 
Nations took over on schedule, I always said that we could not guarantee 
the people of Haiti a future; they would have to do that for themselves. 
The same is true for the Bosnians. We cannot guarantee for them a future 
without war. What we can guarantee for them is a year without war, 
during which they can implement their own agreement and in which time 
they can have elections, they can begin the economic reconstruction, 
they can begin to see the benefits of peace, and then some equilibrium 
within the country can be established from a security point of view.
    But I think it would be a mistake for the United States or for NATO 
to believe that we should be going around anywhere guaranteeing the 
results of peace agreements which have to be guaranteed in the minds and 
hearts of the people who are making them.
    So this will be a success for our alliance, for our leadership, just 
by doing the mission. Obviously, it will be a much, much greater success 
if the humanitarian relief, the refugee relocation, the economic 
reconstruction all are completely successful and Bosnia has a permanent 
peace. That is the real measure of success. But the main thing is we 
have to define together where we must try and where we must stand 
against chaos. And I think we've done a good job of that here.
    Q. Mr. President, Cindy Killion from the European Stars and Stripes. 
Under what circumstances would you order the U.S. forces to withdraw 
from Bosnia within the next year, before the one-year mark?
    The President. The only circumstance that I can imagine doing that 
is if the mission no longer existed. That is, keep in mind, we are there 
not to fight a war. We are there not to stop a war. We are there to 
implement a peace agreement. We anticipate that there will be violations 
of this agreement but that the leaders will not abandon it and that the 
vast bulk of the people will not abandon it. So we have to be prepared 
for some violations. We even have to be prepared for some casualties, 
although I think our people have trained and planned as hard against 
problems for this mission as they ever have for any.
    But that would not cause me to withdraw. I believe that NATO would 
determine, if all the factions decided they wanted to go fight

[[Page 2225]]

again, that there was no longer a mission to perform.

Defense Authorization Bill

    Q. Hi, Bill Matthews with Army Times. Switching a little bit to the 
defense authorization bill, you have said you are going to veto it. The 
bill includes a pay raise and a housing allowance increase for military 
people. Since some of them are headed off to Bosnia, are you concerned 
that not getting the pay raise, not getting the housing allowance 
increase would be detrimental to morale? And is there some alternative?
    The President. Very much. Yes, there is an alternative. The Congress 
could send me a separate bill with the pay raise and the allowances in 
it, and I would sign it in a heartbeat. I think, indeed I hope, that 
they will do one of two things: I hope they will either do that, or when 
I veto this bill, assuming my veto would be sustained, which I believe 
it would because there are some unconstitutional restrictions on the 
President's authority as Commander in Chief in this bill which compels 
me to veto it--so they can either send me the pay raise and the 
allowance increase in a separate bill or they could delete the offending 
portions of the defense authorization bill and send it right back to me. 
They can do either one of those things. And I would hope the Congress 
would promptly act to do that.
    I do not want any erosion of morale and spirit among not only our 
people in uniform but their family members. I believe that we are 
completely united in supporting the full pay raise and the allowance 
increase. And I have done my best to budget for these things over a 
period of several years.
    I have visited a large number of our military facilities, both in 
the United States and beyond our borders. I have talked to a lot of 
people in uniform about this. And I think it is a very important issue. 
If we want to keep the very best people in our military, we're going to 
have to see to the quality-of-life issues. We've allocated a lot of 
money for it over the next budget cycle, and I want to release it, 
starting with these two issues.

Defense Spending

    Q. Mr. President, Jim Wolffe, also from the Army Times. On a 
slightly longer term budget issue, the Republican 7-year budget plan, 
while it has more money for defense in the first couple of years, 
actually targets less money towards defense spending in the out-years 

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