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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 28, 1998


               Expanding the President's Executive Order on
                        Weapons of Mass Destruction

Today, I am expanding existing Executive Order authority to enhance America's ability to deal with one of the toughest security challenges we face: the spread of weapons of mass destruction and missiles to deliver such weapons.

Two weeks ago, the Russian government announced it was investigating a number of Russian entities suspected of violating weapons of mass destruction export control provisions.

Today's Executive Order amendment will allow us to respond more effectively to evidence that foreign entities around the world, such as these Russian entities, have assisted in the transfer of dangerous weapons and weapons technologies. The United States will use the amended Executive Order, along with other existing authorities, to bar assistance to seven of the entities identified by Russia, as well as to bar exports to and imports from these entities.

The new Executive Order amends Executive Order 12938, issued in 1994, in key respects:

The amended E.O. ensures that our Government has the necessary flexibility in deciding when and to what extent to impose penalties. In the fight to stem the spread of dangerous weaponry, we must be resourceful and focus on doing what works. Being able to offer both incentives and disincentives enhances our capacity to deal with these threats. I will continue to work with Congress to ensure that America's policy provides tough penalties -- and also sufficient flexibility to give us the best chance to achieve positive results.

My Administration is working actively with our friends and allies around the world to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We are encouraged by recent commitments by Russia, by our European allies, and others to increase their efforts, and we will continue to press for even stronger commitments.