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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 15, 1997


I am gratified that the Senate has given its advice and consent to the ratification to the CFE Flank Document and I look forward to the entry into force of this important agreement. It will reaffirm the integrity of one of the CFE Treaty's core provisions and will facilitate progress on CFE adaptation and, thus, NATO enlargement, key elements for advancing United States and European security.

I must, however, make clear my view of several of the Conditions attached to the resolution of advice and consent to ratification, including Conditions 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 11. These Conditions all purport to direct the exercise of authorities entrusted exclusively to the President under our Constitution, including for the conduct of diplomacy and the implementation of treaties. The explicit limitation on diplomatic activities in Condition 3 is a particularly clear example of this point. As I wrote the Senate following approval of the Chemical Weapons Convention, a condition in a resolution of ratification cannot alter the allocation of authority and responsibility under the Constitution. I will, therefore, interpret the Conditions of concern in the resolution in a manner consistent with the responsibilities entrusted to me as President under the Constitution. Nevertheless, without prejudice to my Constitutional authorities, I will implement the Conditions in the resolution.

Condition (9), which requires my certification that any agreement governing ABM Treaty succession will be submitted to the Senate for advice and consent, is an issue of particular concern not only because it addresses a matter reserved to the President under our Constitution, but also because it is substantively unrelated to the Senate's review of the CFE Flank Document. It is clearly within the President's authorities to determine the successor States to a treaty when the original Party dissolves, to make the adjustments required to accomplish such succession, and to enter into agreements for this purpose. Indeed, throughout our history the executive branch has made a large number of determinations concerning the succession of new States to the treaty rights and obligations of their predecessors. The ABM Succession MOU negotiated by the United States effectuated no substantive change in the ABM Treaty requiring Senate advice and consent. Nonetheless, in light of the exceptional history of the ABM Treaty and in view of my commitment to agree to seek Senate approval of the Demarcation Agreements associated with the ABM Treaty, I have, without prejudice to the legal principles involved, certified, consistent with Condition (9), that I will submit any agreement concluded on ABM Treaty succession to the Senate for advice and consent.



May 14, 1997.

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