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[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]


[Page i-ii]
 
Monday, June 23, 1997
 
Volume 33--Number 25
Pages 871-915
 
Contents

[[Page i]]

Weekly Compilation of

Presidential

Documents



[[Page ii]]

Addresses and Remarks

    Africa trade initiative, announcement--898
    California, University of California San Diego commencement in La 
        Jolla--876, 882
    Colorado, Littleton--903
    Democratic National Committee dinners--883, 890
    ``In Performance at the White House''--902
    President's Advisory Board on Race, meeting--871
    Radio address--875
    Title IX, signing of memorandum strengthening enforcement--894

Bill Signings

    Emergency supplemental appropriations legislation, statement--901
    Volunteer Protection Act of 1997, statement--911

Communications to Federal Agencies

    Strengthening Title IX Enforcement and Addressing Discrimination on 
        the Basis of Sex, Race, Color, and National Origin--896

Executive Orders

    President's Advisory Board on Race--873

Interviews With the News Media

    Exchanges with reporters
        Denver, CO--908, 912
        Oval Office--871

Joint Statements

    U.S.-Japan Enhanced Initiative on Deregulation and Competition 
        Policy--909

Meetings With Foreign Leaders

    Japan, Prime Minister Hashimoto--908, 909
    Russia, President Yeltsin--912

Statements by the President

    See also Bill Signings
    Middle East Peace and Stability Fund, announcement--900
    Mir Aimal Kansi, return to U.S.--903
    Northern Ireland, murder of policemen--883
    Oklahoma City bombing trial--874
    Senator Dale Bumpers, retirement--883
    Tobacco agreement--913

Supplementary Materials

    Acts approved by the President--915
    Checklist of White House press releases--915
    Digest of other White House announcements--913
    Nominations submitted to the Senate--914
  

Editor's Note: The President was in Denver, CO, on June 20, the closing 
date of this issue. Releases and announcements issued by the Office of 
the Press Secretary but not received in time for inclusion in this issue 
will be printed next week.


              WEEKLY COMPILATION OF
          ------------------------------
              PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS

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[[Page 871]]


<DOC>
[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]
 [frwais.access.gpo.gov]


[Page 871-873]
 
Monday, June 23, 1997
 
Volume 33--Number 25
Pages 871-915
 
Week Ending Friday, June 20, 1997
 
Remarks Prior to a Meeting With the President's Advisory Board on Race 
and an Exchange With Reporters


June 13, 1997

    The President. I'd like to begin by thanking this distinguished 
group of Americans for their willingness to serve on an advisory board 
to me to examine the state of race relations in America over the next 
year, to participate in making sure that the American people have facts, 
not myths, upon which to base their judgments and proceed to launching a 
nationwide honest discussion that we hope will be replicated in every 
community in this country and that will lead to some specific 
recommendations for further actions on our part as we move forward.
    I think this is the right time to do this, because there is not a 
major crisis engulfing the Nation that dominates the headlines every 
day. The economy is strong. Crime is down. Our position in the world is 
good. But if you look at where we are and where we're going, we will 
soon be, in the next few decades, a multiracial society in which no 
racial group is in a majority. And we are living in a world in which 
that gives us an enormous advantage in relating to other countries in 
the world since we have people from every country in the world here.
    Already, we have 5 big school districts in America with children 
from over 100 different racial and ethnic groups; soon we'll have 12, 
within the next year or so. And also, if you look at the rest of the 
world, all the wonders of modern technology are being threatened by the 
rise of ethnic and racial and religious and tribal conflicts around the 
world. We'll be in a unique position to show people, not just tell 
people but show people, they don't have to give in to those darker 
impulses if we can create one America out of this incredible diversity 
we have.
    So you all know this has been a big concern of mine for a long time, 
but I just believe that this is the right time for us to try to prepare 
for the new century and to take this time to look at it, and I have a 
very great group of people here, and there are hundreds, perhaps even 
thousands more who would like to participate in this debate, and we 
intend to give them the chance to do it.

State of Race Relations

    Q. How bad do you think race relations are in this country today? I 
mean, what are the real tensions?
    The President. I think they're much better than they used to be, but 
I think there is still discrimination. I think there is still both 
illegal discrimination and discrimination that may not rise to the level 
of illegality but certainly undermines the quality of life and our 
ability to live and work together.
    And I think there is still great disparity in real opportunity, 
particularly for racial minorities who are physically isolated from the 
rest of us in low-income areas with high crime rates and low rates of 
economic and educational opportunity.
    I also believe there are glaringly different perceptions of the 
fairness of how various aspects of American society operate, most 
clearly the criminal justice system but a lot of other areas as well.
    I also believe that we have not taken enough time to think about the 
implications of what it will mean when our racial questions are not 
primarily issues between African-Americans and white Americans, although 
still there is a lot of unfinished business there, but of the entire 
texture of American diversity.
    So I think that there are problems. I think things are better than 
they used to be, but I think that we a have a lot of work to do in order 
to be one America.
    Q. Mr. President, we have an interesting phenomenon in that a lot of 
Americans work in integrated work environments, but they aren't friends. 
I mean, they are colleagues

[[Page 872]]

at work, but they're not friends at home. They don't socialize together. 
They don't voluntarily associate with each other. Is there anything that 
you can do about this? Is there anything you should try to do about 
this?
    The President. It's certainly nothing you can legislate, but I think 
that one of the things that I would hope that the board and I will be 
able to do is to show America examples where people are working together 
outside the workplace as friends to build their communities, and to 
demonstrate that in cases where that has occurred, not only are 
communities stronger and social problems reduced but the people involved 
are happier people.
    I think that's one thing I hope we'll be able to talk about. It may 
be a little old-fashioned and Pollyanna, but I basically think that 
we'll all be happier as Americans if we know each other and we feel 
comfortable with each other and we're getting along together. I think 
that it will make--I think we'll have more fun. I think we'll feel 
better about ourselves, not just we'll feel like we're good or noble or 
anything, but we'll feel like we're doing what makes sense and what 
ought to be the better part of human nature.

President's Record on Civil Rights

    Q. Mr. President, given how you've been criticized in the past on 
how you selected an Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Lani 
Guinier, and how you've been criticized by your close friend Marian 
Wright Edelman on welfare reform and how she essentially said it would 
leave poor minority children out in the dust and also how you struggled 
to come to a position on affirmative action that brought some rather 
tense moments between you and the Congressional Black Caucus and, 
lastly, how you were criticized on being in Texas, giving a speech on 
race relations on the day of the Million Man March, how much credibility 
do you think you honestly bring to the issue of race relations, and how 
much do you honestly think you can accomplish in relation to your goals?
    The President. I think I ought to congratulate you. In 30 seconds, 
you've probably got 100 percent of the criticisms that have been leveled 
against me.
    Q. Oh, there's a new one today. The Speaker----
    Q. Besides the Speaker saying that's--[laughter]----
    The President. First of all, I was invited a long time ago to give 
that speech in Texas, and I think it was a very important speech. I've 
had--secondly, more importantly, anybody who looks at my entire public 
life can see that it's been dominated by three things: economics, 
education, and race.
    If there is any issue I ought to have credibility on, it is this 
one, because it is a part of who I am and what I've done, and I don't 
feel the need to defend myself. I think all you have to do is look at 
the way I constitute my administration, look at the way that we've 
changed the Federal bench, and look at the policies I've advocated. And 
I'm very proud of the process through which we went to develop the 
affirmative action policy with Mr. Edley here, was a part of that, and I 
think we did it right. After all, we not only had to come up with a 
position, we had to come up with a position in a way that we could 
defend it against those who thought we were wrong and who were 
determined to undo it, and we wanted to give everybody a chance to be a 
part of it. So I'm rather proud of that.
    And on the welfare issue, time will prove whether Marian Edelman is 
right or I am. That's all I can tell you. All I can tell you is, even 
before the welfare reform bill passed, we moved more people from welfare 
to work than at any time in American history, and the Council of 
Economic Advisers says that 36 percent of them--about 30 percent of them 
moved because of initiatives taken by States to help people move from 
welfare to work. We kept the guarantee for medical care; we kept the 
guarantee for nutrition for poor children; we kept the guarantee that 
the money had to be spent on poor people; we gave the States more money 
to spend on welfare than they would have today under the old system. 
They have 20 percent more money to spend on poor people today than they 
would have had if we hadn't changed the law--today. And we're going to 
get, under the budget agreement, $3 billion more to create jobs for 
people who don't have them. So let's--give me a couple of years

[[Page 873]]

to see whether--who is right on this. She was sincere and honest in her 
position, and I'm sincere and honest in mine, and time will see who was 
right.

Expected Results

    Q. Mr. President--[inaudible]--going to be worried that this is 
going to be all talk and no action. Are there going to be concrete 
proposals that are going to come out of this? In what areas?
    The President. I expect there to be concrete proposals. I also 
wanted to say there will simultaneously be concrete proposals that will 
be debated in the context of the budget that will directly bear on this. 
For example, one of the things that troubles me about those in favor of 
getting rid of affirmative action is, I don't recall any of them coming 
up with any alternatives, nor do I hear any voices assuming some 
responsibility for the apparent resegregation of higher education in 
Texas and California and some places as a result of it.
    So, yes, I think we are duty-bound to come up with some policy, but 
I also think we're duty-bound to try to mobilize the energies and the 
attention of the rest of America so that everybody can be a part of 
this.

California Proposition 209

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