Office of the Majority Leader,
Washington, DC, January 8, 1997.
Hon. William Jefferson Clinton,
President of the United States,
The White House, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. President: Following our phone conversation, I arranged a meeting later today with your Acting National Security Adviser, Sandy Berger, to discuss the Chemical Weapons Convention. Before that meeting however, I wanted to inform you personally of how your Administration's actions on critical arms control issues have complicated efforts to work cooperatively.
As you know, many Members of the 104th Congress have expressed concern over the security implications of certain arms control positions taken by your Administration. The security concerns are aggravated by your Administration's unwillingness to seriously consider our views on the appropriate Constitutional role of the Senate in providing advice and consent on treaties. I would point to three important issues: demarcation limits to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 (ABM Treaty); multilateralization of the ABM Treaty; and flank limits to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty of 1990 (CFE Treaty). In each of these cases, your Administration has negotiated substantive modifications of the treaties, and then taken questionable legal positions that render Senate advice and consent an option that can be ignored rather than a constitutional obligation that must be fulfilled.
Congress has legislated on the proposed demarcation limits and the proposed multilaterization of the ABM Treaty. Section 232 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995 (P.L. 103-337) addresses both issues. It states `the United States shall not be bound by any international agreement entered into by the President of the United States that would substantively modify the ABM Treaty unless the agreement is entered into pursaunt to the treaty making power of the President under the Constitution.'
Section 235 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 (P.L. 104-106) addresses demarcation and states `any international agreement that would limit the research, testing, or deployment of missile defense systems, system upgrades, or system components that are designed to counter modern theater ballistic missiles in a manner that would be more restrictive than the compliance criteria specified in paragraph 1 should be entered into only pursuant to the treaty making powers of the President under the constitution.'
The position of Congress concerning the substantive modifications your Administration has sought to the ABM Treaty is clear: Senate advice and consent is needed for their entry into force. Despite this clear position, your Administration continues to argue that Senate advice and consent is not necessary in the case of multilateralization, and is but one among several options you might choose in the case of demarcation. This is unacceptable.
With specific reference to the Agreed Statement on Demarcation reached last summer, section 406 of the Department of State and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1997 (P.L. 104-208) prohibits expending funds on the Standing Consultative Commission `unless the President provides to the Congress a report containing a detailed analysis of whether * * * the Agreed Statement regarding Demarcation agreed to by the Standing Consultative Commission on June 24, 1996 * * * will require the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States.' The report submitted on your behalf did not answer this question.
Finally, the May 31, 1996 Conventional Forces in Europe flank agreement contains negotiated amendments and significant changes to the 1990 CFE Treaty. Yet, again your Administration has taken the legal position that Senate advice and consent is not necessary.
Mr. President, I have pledged to work with you in a bipartisan fashion on a wide range of challenges facing our country. Nowhere is such cooperation more important than in foreign policy and national security. But bipartisanship must be a two-way street. Your Administration has now re-started a public campaign to gain Senate advice and consent for the Chemical Weapons Convention. As you seek bipartisan cooperation, you must understand our expectation for such cooperation on ABM multilateralization, ABM demarcation, and CFE flank limits.
Senate advice and consent arms control treaties after their negotiation and after their substantive modification is not an option--it is a requirement of our Constitution. I am sure you understand that it will be very difficult to explore the possibility of Senate action on the Chemical Weapons Convention without first addressing legitimate security and Constitutional concerns on other important arms control issues. I stand ready to work with you and your national security team in a comprehensive manner to address arms control issues in the 105th Congress. With best wishes, I am,