Save the Code of Conduct in Conference Committee!

last updated: 8 September 1997


Background: The Code of Conduct on Arms Transfers Act establishes four eligibility criteria for countries to receive American arms: democratic form of government; respect for the human rights of its citizens; non-aggression against neighboring states; and participation in the U.N. Register of Conventional Arms. The Code's requirements are all primary foreign policy tenets of past and present U.S. administrations. Nevertheless, 85% of U.S. arms transfers during 1990-95 went to states which do not meet these criteria. Check out the Customer Profiles page to see what is going on in some of America's leading arms clients.

Under the Code, the President could still export arms to governments that don't meet these criteria, if he certifies that doing so is a matter of U.S. national security interest.

On June 10th, the House of Representatives voted to accept the Code as an amendment to H.R. 1757, the FY1998-99 State Department Authorization Act. Several members from both parties made very strong statements in support of it. Read the text of the Amendment and the floor statements.

The Senate passed its version of the same bill on June 17th, but without including the Code of Conduct. Members of the House International Relations Committee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee started meeting during July in a "conference committee" to resolve differences between the two bills.

Both the Clinton Administration and the arms industry strongly oppose this measure; they want it removed from the final bill. We need to work on the conferees to ensure that the House of Representatives' position on the Code prevails.

Action Needed:

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
The members of the conference committee on H.R. 1757 met for several hours on July 29 and 30, but the negotiations made very little progress toward a final version of the bill. The conference postponed all further action, including a decision on the Code of Conduct, until after the August recess.

Congress reassembled in the days after Labor Day, but the conference committee has not yet decided on a course of action or a schedule for future meetings.

The members of the conference committee are listed below. If you are a constituent of one of these members, please contact and urge him to maintain the Code of Conduct in the final version of the State Department Authorization Act. The Senate conferees will need more background information on the measure, as they have not voted on it this year.

Representatives

Representative

Address

Phone/Fax

Key Aide

Benjamin A. Gilman
(R-New York)

2449 Rayburn Office Building, Washington DC, 20515-3220

202-225-3776 (p)
202-225-2541 (f)

Todd Burger

William F. Goodling
(R-Pennsylvania)

2263 Rayburn Office Building, Washington DC, 20515-3819

202-225-5836 (p)
202-226-1000 (f)

Tim Stadthaus

Jim Leach
(R-Iowa)

2186 Rayburn Office Building, Washington DC, 20515-1501

202-225-6576 (p)
202-226-1278 (f)

Amy Butler

Doug Bereuter
(R-Nebraska)

2184 Rayburn Office Building, Washington DC, 20515-2701

202-225-4806 (p)

Jodi Smith

Christopher H. Smith
(R-New Jersey)

2370 Rayburn Office Building, Washington DC, 20515-3004

202-225-3765 (p)
202-225-7768 (f)

John Coffey

Sam Gejdenson
(D-Connecticut)

1401 Longworth Office Building, Washington DC, 20515-0702

202-225-2076 (p)
202-225-4977 (f)

Jason Gross

Lee Hamilton
(D-Indiana)

2314 Rayburn Office Building, Washington DC, 20515-1409

202-225-5315 (p)
202-225-1101 (f)

Jonathan Friedman

Tom Lantos
(D-California)

2217 Rayburn Office Building, Washington DC, 20515-0512

202-225-3531 (p)

Robert King

Howard L. Berman
(D-California)

2330 Rayburn Office Building, Washington DC, 20515-0526

202-225-4695 (p)
202-225-5279 (f)

Richard Kessler

Senators

Senator

Address

Phone

Key Aide

Jesse Helms
(R-North Carolina)

SD-403 Dirksen Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-3301

202-224-6342 (p)
202-224-0836 (f)

David Whitney

Paul Coverdell
(R-Georgia)

SR-200 Russell Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-1004

202-224-3643 (p)
202-228-3875 (f)

Dan McGirt

Chuck Hagel
(R-Nebraska)

SR-346 Russell Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-2705

202-224-4224 (p)
202-224-5213 (f)

Ken Peel

Rod Grams
(R-Minnesota)

SD-261 Dirksen Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-2304

202-224-3244 (p)
202-228-0956 (f)

Morgan Brown

Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
(D-Delaware)

SR-221 Russell Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-0802

202-224-5024 (p)
202-224-0139 (f)

Jane Woodfin

Paul S. Sarbanes
(D-Maryland)

SH-309 Hart Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-2002

202-224-4524 (p)
202-224-1651 (f)

Robin Laird

Christopher Dodd
(D-Connecticut)

SR-444 Russell Office Building, Washington, DC 20510-0702

202-224-2823 (p)
202-224-1083 (f)

Janice O’Connell

SENATE
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), along with eight of his colleagues, introduced S. 1067, The Code of Conduct on Arms Transfers Act of 1997, on July 24. The original cosponsors are Byron Dorgan (ND), Russell Feingold (WI), Patrick Leahy (VT), Carol Moseley-Braun (IL), Paul Wellstone (MN), Mary Landrieu (LA), Edward Kennedy (MA), Tom Harkin (IA). Since then, Richard Durbin (IL), Ron Wyden (OR), Jack Reed (RI) and Tim Johnson (SD) have joined as sponsors.

Contact your Senators and urge them to support Senator Kerry and the Code of Conduct.

See remarks from Senators Kerry and Dorgan in support of the Code of Conduct act.

The Code of Conduct home page contains updated news and background information about the Code.


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