Urgent Action Alert:

Speak Out Against The "Faux" Code Of Conduct


Bashing the "Unilateralness" of the McKinney-Rohrabacher Code of Conduct, Representative Sam Gejdenson (D-CT) has reintroduced his infamous "International Arms Sales Code of Conduct Act" on February 26th in the House International Relations Committee. Markup of what is known as the "faux Code" is scheduled in the HIRC on THURSDAY, MARCH 4. Please help us get the word out as soon and as loud as possible to members of the HIRC that Gejdenson's Code will not do.

Following this message are:

*The List of HIRC members;

*Sample letter for grassroots that can be used for talking points;

*McKinney's Dear Colleague and Oscar Arias' letter to Gingrich, Gejdenson and others about why he as the founder of the International Code movement opposes his Code.

 

HIRC MEMBERS

REPUBLICAN

1. Benjamin A. Gilman (R-NY)

2. William F. Goodling, PA

3. James A. Leach, IA

4. Henry J. Hyde, IL

5. Doug Bereuter, NE

6. Christopher H. Smith, NJ

7. Dan Burton, IN

8. Elton Gallegly, CA

9. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, FL

10. Cass Ballenger, NC

11. Dana Rohrabacher, CA

12. Donald A. Manzullo, IL

13. Edward R. Royce, CA

14. Peter T. King, NY

15. Steven J. Chabot, OH

16. Marshall "Mark" Sanford, SC

17. Matt Salmon, AZ

18. Amo Houghton, NY

19. Tom Campbell, CA

20. John M. McHugh, NY

21. Kevin Brady, TX

22. Richard Burr, NC

23. Paul Gillmor, OH

24. George P. Radanovich, CA

25. John Cooksey, LA

26. Tom Tancredo, CO

 

DEMOCRAT

1. Sam Gejdenson, CT

2. Tom Lantos, CA

3. Howard L. Berman, CA

4. Gary L. Ackerman, NY

5. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, AS

6. Matthew G. Martinez, CA

7. Donald M. Payne, NJ

8. Robert Menendez, NJ

9. Sherrod Brown, OH

10. Cynthia A. McKinney, GA

11. Alcee L. Hastings, FL

12. Pat Danner, MO

13. Earl F. Hilliard, AL

14. Brad Sherman, CA

15. Robert Wexler, FL

16. Steven R. Rothman, NJ

17. Jim Davis, FL

18. Earl Pomeroy, ND

19. William D. Delahunt, MA

20. Gregory W. Meeks, NY

21. Barbara Lee, CA

22. Joseph Crowley, NY

23. Joseph M. Hoeffel, PA


SAMPLE LETTER/TALKING POINTS

 

Dear Congressman/Congresswoman:

It has come to my attention that you will be participating in the House International Relations Committee markup of Rep. Sam Gejdenson's "International Arms Sales Code of Conduct Act" on March 4. I write to strongly urge you to vote against Mr. Gejdenson's bill in its current form, and support only the soon-to-be reintroduced McKinney-Rohrabacher Arms Transfer Code of Conduct.

While both of these bills call themselves "Codes of Conduct" on Arms Transfers, the many organizations united to curb military assistance to dictators and human rights abusers are convinced that only the McKinney-Rohrabacher version will have a positive impact on U.S. and international policy.

Mr. Gejdenson's Code of Conduct bill looks on the surface like a reasonable initiative, essentially lifting the language in the McKinney-Rohrabacher bill that would urge the President to conduct negotiations on an international Code with other supplier nations.

However, there two significant problems in Mr. Gejdenson's bill that you should be aware of:

1) The definitions as to what constitutes a "democracy" and "human rights abuser" are completely vague. These definitions would make any international negotiations bog down on definitional minutia rather than focus on the substance of the issue;

2) No U.S. first step: The United States is by far the largest arms dealer in the world, and continues to expand its lead by relying on non-democratic and human rights abusing nations. Without a first step toward restraint on the part of the United States BEFORE international negotiations take place, the United States will look hypocritical and disingenuous in its call for international restraint. Without genuine U.S. initiative toward restraint, the international negotiations are bound to fail and prove to be a significant setback to the International Code of Conduct movement.

Even Dr. Oscar Arias, the leader of the International Nobel Laureates Code of Conduct movement, has said that Mr. Gejenson's version would be a step backward, not forward, for international efforts toward restraint in global weapons transfers.

I therefore again ask you to oppose Congressman Gejdenson's International Arms Sales Code of Conduct and tell Mr. Gejdenson to work WITH Reps. McKinney and Rohrabacher on a Code of Conduct that will truly address this vital international security issue.

 


DEAR COLLEAGUE ON "FAUX CODE" BY MCKINNEY AND LETTER FROM ARIAS FROM "SUSPENSION LIST" DEBATE, SEPTEMBER 1998

 

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATE Supports H.R. 4545,

The Code of Conduct on Arms Transfers Act

 

Dear Colleague:

By now you have most likely noticed that there is a debate amidst on two bills that call themselves "Codes of Conduct" on arms sales--H.R. 4095 sponsored by Congressman Gejdenson and H.R. 4545 cosponsored by Mr. Rohrabacher and me.

Mr. Gejdenson's bill is titled, "The International Code of Conduct on Arms Sales Act," which would make one think that he would have the backing of those that developed the idea of the international arms sales Code of Conduct. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.

On the back page you will see a letter from Dr. Oscar Arias, the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and progenitor of the international Code movement. He states that the flaws in H.R. 4095 are significant enough to represent a danger to the growing international movement to curb the transfer of weapons to dictators and human rights abusers. Dr. Arias goes on to declare that H.R. 4545 is the ONLY current U.S. legislation that can help foster a worldwide regime on conventional weapons proliferation.

You can find the text of Dr. Arias' letter on the back. If you agree with Dr. Arias, please become a cosponsor of H.R. 4545. Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

 

Cynthia McKinney

Member of Congress

 

 

ARIAS LETTER

30 September 1998

San José, Costa Rica

 

The Honorable

Newt Gingrich

Speaker of the House

2428 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington DC 20515

Fax: (202) 225-4656

 

 

Dear Friend,

I write you concerning the current debate over H.R. 4095, the International Arms Sales Code of Conduct Act sponsored by Representative Sam Gejdenson. As chair of a commission of Nobel Peace laureates promoting an International Code of Conduct on Arms Transfers, I would be grateful if you would support the omission of Rep. Gejdenson’s bill from the legislation to be considered under suspension of the House rules.

While I applaud Rep. Gejdenson’s intentions to harmonize the arms export policies of different countries to guarantee respect for human rights, democracy, and norms of non-aggression, I find his bill to be in conflict with the progress which the House and its European allies have already made in this area. To begin with, Rep. Gejdenson’s bill does not provide the sort of precise definitions of arms export criteria that are included in the more comprehensive Code proposed by Reps. McKinney and Rohrabacher. In order for unambiguous moral benchmarks to be set for the granting of export licenses, it is crucial that concepts like ‘democracy’, ‘human rights abuse’ and ‘armed aggression’ be clearly defined. Unambiguous definitions are also essential to ensure real progress in the international negotiations which Rep. Gejdenson’s bill seeks to initiate.

In addition, I find it disheartening that Rep. Gejdenson’s bill does not seek to alter U.S. foreign policy as it currently stands, but only mandates future U.S. participation in multilateral efforts. Naturally I share Rep. Gejdenson’s conviction that a comprehensive and effective global arms control regime should be established. Indeed, the International Code of Conduct on Arms Transfers that I have sponsored with 16 fellow Nobel Peace laureates is intended to promote just such a regime. However, in the absence of such strong international regulations, and with an eye to hastening their realization, individual states must act unilaterally to restrict their own arms exports according to stringent humanitarian and democratic criteria. As the sole remaining superpower and leading arms merchant in the world, the United States bears a moral responsibility first to lead by example, and then reach out to other arms-exporting nations. The McKinney-Rohrabacher legislation does this; the Gejdenson bill does not.

I understand that the McKinney-Rohrabacher Code is not destined to become law in the current legislative session. Nevertheless, leaving that Code as the standing House position in preparation for the 106th Congress sends a stronger message to the international community than would supplanting it with Rep. Gejdenson’s weaker, more ambiguous version. In this time of global uncertainty, the United States needs to play a leading role in ensuring that those who do not respect human rights will never again be armed by those who do.

For these reasons, I hope you will consider leaving H.R. 4095 off of your suspension calendar for this year, and allow this vital human security issue to be fully debated and acted on in 1999.

Yours truly,

 

Dr. Oscar Arias


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