SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOCDEPARTMENTS OF COMMERCE, JUSTICE, AND STATE, THE JUDICIARY, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS FOR 1999
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 1998.
UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE
HON. MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT, SECRETARY OF STATE
Mr. ROGERS. The hearing will come to order. It is a pleasure today to welcome Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in her second appearance before the Subcommittee as Secretary of State. In addition, Madam Secretary, you have appeared on several prior occasions in your former position of U.N. Ambassador, so your appearance here is an annual event for us and a happy one, I might add.
When you appeared last year, you had just finished your first trip overseas as Secretary, to favorable reviews, we might add. Now, a year later, you have experienced firsthand the challenges of being responsible for the nation's foreign policy as well as leading a Department that has some 23,000 employees, and 250 embassies and consulates overseas. It seems to me the challenge facing you is to use American leadership to solve crises, not just contain them.
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Over the past year, in addition to travel overseas, you have done some domestic travel, of course, as well, and I think you have discovered that some of the toughest audiences might be here at home.
It is, of course, the fiscal year 1999 budget request for funding to operate the Department of State as well as assessments for international organizations that brings you before the Subcommittee today and it is our job to examine that request in the context of the need to assure a balanced budget.
In addition, there are important developments with respect to Iraq and other areas of our foreign policy that may provoke a question or two, as well, or comments from you.
There is one point I need to bring to your attention. I do not know if you are aware, but your statement was not provided by the Department to the Committee until this morning. Normally, we ask for copies of the statement three days in advance and to try to accommodate special circumstances. The statement, of course, provides members the basis to prepare for the hearing, so we would hope that maybe we could have the statement earlier.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I apologize.
Mr. ROGERS. Madam Secretary, your statement will be made a part of the record, and if you would like to summarize, we would be pleased to hear from you.
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Secretary Albright's Opening Remarks
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I believe this is my sixth time that I have had the opportunity to testify before this Subcommittee. It is always interesting and almost always fun, and if there were an Oscar or Grammy for diligent bipartisanship, this Subcommittee would be at or near the top of the list.
Mr. ROGERS. I do not think we have anybody here from Ohio State.
FRONT-BURNER FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES
Secretary ALBRIGHT. We could talk about that.
I am delighted to be here to present the President's 1999 budget request and I do apologize for the fact that my statement did not get here soon enough, but I encourage you to review it because it does deal with some of the vital issues and parts of the world that I cannot include in my oral remarks and still honor your time.
THE CURRENT SITUATION IN IRAQ
Before discussing the specific accounts, Mr. Chairman, let me review with you a couple of front-burner foreign policy issues. First is our effort through diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, to see that Iraq complies with its obligations to the world community. That effort is ongoing. Yesterday, the Security Council was briefed by Secretary General Annan on the agreement reached last weekend and that agreement promises immediate and unrestricted access to U.N. inspectors to sites in Iraq, including those from which they had been previously excluded. I think that is a very important point to note, because it does show that Saddam has reversed course. We attribute the Iraqi commitments not only to our own firmness but to the strong international pressure brought to bear on Baghdad by nations from around the world.
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I am aware that some in Congress have said that we should reject this agreement. We believe the wiser policy is to test the agreement.
In the days ahead, we will be working with the Security Council and the U.N. Special Commission, or UNSCOM, to see that the agreement is implemented in a way that reflects the core principles upon which we have insisted, that Security Council resolutions be obeyed, that the integrity of UNSCOM be preserved, and that there be no artificial time tables or linkages that would prevent UNSCOM from doing a full and professional job.
Now, I have spoken to the Secretary General a number of times in the last four or five days and we have had a number of excellent conversations which I think are working towards the clarification of some of the questions that you all have had up here, and let me just give you a few of those now and then maybe you will want to talk more about them.
He assured me of the following points. He has the highest respect for the work of UNSCOM and Chairman Butler, who will continue to lead the commission. Butler will remain very much in charge under the terms of the new agreement and he will continue to be as independent as he has always been.
What is going to happen is that there will be one additional UNSCOM commissioner appointed, bringing the total number under Butler to 22 and the relations of the new commissioner and Butler will be the same as the existing arrangements. The team leader of the Special Group, which will be within UNSCOMthere is going to be a special group for presidential sitesthe team leader of that will be an UNSCOM technician. The diplomats that will be going along will be observers only with UNSCOM retaining operational control, and there is absolutely no equivalence between UNSCOM and Iraq and the Secretary General knows that. I would be happy to take more questions on that.
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With our support, we think that UNSCOM will be testing Iraq's commitments thoroughly and comprehensively, and as President Clinton said Monday, our soldiers, our ships, and our planes will stay there in force until we are satisfied Iraq is complying with its commitments.
The events of the past few days have not changed our fundamental goal, which is to end or contain the threat posed by Saddam Hussein to Iraq's neighbors and the world. A solid U.N. inspection and monitoring regime backed by sanctions and enforcement of the no-fly and no-drive zones is our preferred means of achieving that goal, but we retain the authority, the responsibility, the means, and the will to use military force if that is required.
Mr. Chairman, during my visits last week to Tennessee, South Carolina, and most audibly Ohio, I heard two somewhat different but understandable desires voiced by the American people. The first was a strong desire to see the Iraq crisis settled peacefully, the second to see Saddam Hussein removed from power.
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a peaceful outcome without opening the door to yet another round of Iraqi cheating, which we will not do. But if we must use force, why not go all the way and remove Saddam from power? The answer is that it would necessitate a far greater commitment of military force and a far greater risk to American lives than is currently needed to contain the threat Saddam poses.
This leaves us with a policy that is, quite frankly, not fully satisfactory to anyone. It is a real world policy, not a feel-good policy. But I am convinced it is the best policy to protect our interests and those of our friends and allies in the Gulf. It embodies both our desire for peace and our determination to fight, if necessary. It takes into account current realities without in any way ruling out future options. It presents the leaders in Baghdad with a clear choice and it reflects principles that are vital to uphold, not only in the Gulf now but everywhere always.
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Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, the recent focus on the situation in Iraq should not divert our attention from other important decisions we must make this year. For example, we will see in Bosnia a major test of our commitment to create a Europe whole, peaceful, and free. Around Christmas, I went to Bosnia with the President and Senator Dole and a number of members of Congress. We found a nation that remains deeply divided but where multi-ethnic institutions are once again beginning to function, economic growth is accelerating, indicted war criminals are being tried, more refugees are returning, and perhaps most important, a new Bosnian-Serb government has been elected that is committed to implementing the Dayton accords.
More slowly than we foresaw but as surely as we hoped, the infrastructure of Bosnian peace is gaining shape and the psychology of reconciliation is taking hold. But if we turn our backs on Bosnia now, as some urge, the confidence we are building would erode and the result could well be a return to genocide and the war.
Accordingly, we have agreed with our allies that NATO will continue to lead a multi-national force in Bosnia after SFOR's mandate expires in June. Without expanding that mandate, we will ensure that the new force has an enhanced capability to deal with the task of ensuring public security and we will review the size of the force periodically as part of our strategy to gradually transfer its responsibilities to domestic institutions and other international organizations.
Mr. Chairman, quitting is not the American way and we should continue to play an appropriate role in Bosnia as long as our help is needed, our allies and friends do their share, and most importantly, the Bosnian people are striving to help themselves. That is the right thing to do and it is the smart thing for it is the only way to ensure that when our troops do leave Bosnia, they leave for good.
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ASIA-PACIFIC COMMUNITY ISSUES
One of our most important foreign policy objectives is to build an inclusive Asia-Pacific community based on stability, shared interests, and the rule of law. To this end, we have fortified our core alliances, crafted new defense guidelines with Japan, and embarked on four-party talks to create a basis for lasting peace on the Korean peninsula. We have also intensified our dialogue with China, achieving progress on proliferation, security cooperation, and other matters while maintaining our principles on respect for human rights, and we have been working with the IMF to respond to the financial crisis in East Asia.
Our approach is clear. To recover from instability, the nations affected must reform, and if they are willing to do so, we will help. East Asia is home to some of our closest allies and friends, such as South Korea, whose new President, Kim Daejung, is being inaugurated today. The region also includes some of the best customers for U.S. products and services.
Moreover, since the IMF functions as a sort of intergovernmental credit union, its efforts to assist East Asian economies will not cost U.S. taxpayers a nickel. Still, there are some who say we should disavow the IMF and abandon our friends, letting the chips or dominoes fall where they may. It is possible if we were to do so that East Asia's financial troubles would not spread and badly hurt our own economy and that new security threats would not arise in the region where 100,000 American troops are deployed. This is possible, but I would not want to bet America's security or the jobs of your constituents on that proposition, for it would be a very, very bad bet.
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Even with the full backing for the IMF and diligent reforms in East Asia, recovery will take time and further tremors are possible. The best way to end the crisis is to back the reforms now being implemented, approve the supplemental IMF funding requests submitted by the President earlier this month, work to keep the virus from spreading, and develop strategies for preventing this kind of instability from arising again.
UNITED NATIONS REFORM AND PAYING OUR UNITED NATIONS PEACEKEEPING BILL
Mr. Chairman, there is much that America can accomplish unilaterally, bilaterally, or in cooperation with close allies. Many problems can best be dealt with through broad international action, and that is why we participate in international organizations, including the United Nations. Last year, as you recall, we worked together to develop a three-year plan to encourage United Nations reform while paying our overdue U.N. bills.
Unfortunately, that spirit of cooperation broke down towards the end of the session when a small group of House members blocked final passage of this and other key measures. I testified before the authorizing committees about my concerns with the tactic used and will not belabor the point here. Certainly, your Subcommittee did its part by appropriating the $100 million called for in the first year, Now we have to find a way to free up that money and to gain approval of funds for years two and three.
Mr. Chairman, I have been discussing the U.N. and America's role in it with this Subcommittee since 1993, as you pointed out, and together, we have helped the U.N. to achieve more reform in the past half-decade than in the previous 45 years. We have seen the U.N. staff cut and its budget brought under control. We have seen assessments for peacekeeping drop by 80 percent. We have seen the Inspector General's office grow from conception to infancy to the development of a full set of increasingly sharp teeth, and we have seen a new generation of leaders take the helm.
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Slowly but surely, a culture of accountability, transparency, and results is taking hold at the U.N., and as you know, Mr. Chairman, this progress has not come easy. We have faced opposition every step of the way and the job is far from finished.
But let me tell you frankly that if we are not able to pay our U.N. arrears soon, our legs will truly be cut out from under us at the U.N. We are told daily by our best allies and friends that U.S. credibility will be sadly diminished and that will hurt America and cost Americans.
Let me just cite one example. Last December, the General Assembly voted on a plan that could have, and I believe would have, cut our U.N. assessments by roughly $100 million every year. Our diplomatic team had worked long and hard to make this possible, but when the U.N. arrears package was killed, support for that proposal disappeared. It took a heroic effort to keep alive the chance for a new vote during the first half of this year, and if we do not seize this opportunity, we will not have another one until the year 2000.
So we have a choice. We can fail once again to act, to undermine our own diplomatic leadership and deprive our taxpayers of savings we might otherwise be able to achieve, or we can pay our arrears, restore full U.S. influence, and make possible a reduction in our assessments that will save U.S. taxpayers money for as long as we are in the U.N. I know this choice will not be made by this Subcommittee alone, but I ask your support for prompt action not tied to any unrelated issue on our supplemental appropriations request for U.N. arrears and I am convinced it is the right choice for America.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFY 1999 STATE DEPARTMENT OPERATING BUDGET REQUEST
Mr. Chairman, there was a time not that long ago when our managers at the State Department could afford to be guided by a just-in-case philosophy. Planning, acquisitions, and training could be based on what might be needed. Today, we are compelled by the pace of change and the tightness of budgets to practice just-in-time management. That requires putting personnel, resources, and infrastructure where they are required when they are required and being prepared to reposition them rapidly and flexibly when they are not, but we still need to make some well-placed investments.
This year, our request for State Department operating funds is $2.2 billion, barely above last year's, but we are also seeking an increase of $243 million in our security and maintenance account to upgrade our facilities, especially in Germany and China.
MOVE OF THE GERMAN CAPITAL FROM BONN TO BERLIN
Next year, the Germans will complete the move of their capital from Bonn to Berlin and we need to make the same move with our diplomatic personnel. Remember that this move is not simply a matter of convenience or geography. It is a reflection of one of the great events of this century, an event in which America played a central role. For behind Berlin's establishment as the capital of a united and democratic Germany is a half-a-century's partnership between the United States and that country, a partnership cemented with the Berlin airlift 50 years ago this summer and which ultimately helped defeat communism and bring down the wall, and it is unthinkable that the United States should not be well represented in the capital of a nation with the world's third-largest economy, which is host to the single largest overseas contingent of U.S. troops, and which is one of our closest friends.
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We estimate the new U.S. embassy in Berlin will cost $120 million. We are requesting $50 million this year and expect to raise the rest through the sale of excess U.S. property.
POSTS IN CHINA
In China, the U.S. presence is large, growing, and vital to our interests. Undoubtedly, as the Department's Inspector General has confirmed, our posts in China are in terrible shape. We have developed a plan to remedy this beginning with new housing in Shanghai and including a full new embassy in Beijing for which I hope very much we will have your support.
With respect to information technology, our needs are basic. We want to install late 20th century computer technology at every post before the 21st century begins. We need to replace overloaded phone switchboards before they experience what is known as catastrophic failure. We need to implement new information security features and we want to ensure that when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 1999, our computers do not crash and send us back to the age of quill pens and scribes. So I hope you will support us in acquiring communication systems that are secure, reliable, and expansive enough to meet the demands of the information age.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, as Secretary of State, I can tell you that Americans can be very proud of the people, whether Foreign Service, civil service, or foreign nationals, who work every day, often under very difficult conditions, to protect our citizens and our interests around the world. They are great. But if we are to maintain the high standards of diplomatic representation we need, we must continue to emphasize high standards in recruiting, training, and managing our personnel and we must understand how much the world has changed.
I think that, as all of you know, there are a whole set of entirely new skills that are needed by the Foreign Service and we need to be able to train our people in these skills. We also need to make sure that we have diversity in our hiring and we are making progress. I am particularly proud of the large number of women competing successfully to enter the Foreign Service this year, but there is much more that we need to do and we need your help in this.
REORGANIZATION OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
We also need to be able to back many of our initiatives in particular countries and regions, such as build prosperity, fight international crime, protect the environment, and work on global terms. I think that we have worked very hard, as you know, to try to develop a plan to reorganize our foreign affairs agencies to reflect that arms control, public diplomacy, and international development belong at the heart of our foreign policy and I hope we will have the Subcommittee's support for early action on reorganization legislation this year.
SUPPORT FOR THE ACDA AND USIA BUDGET REQUESTS
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think we have to make sure that arms control remains in the center of our foreign policy and ACDA is already, with the Director of ACDA acting double-hattedly, also serving as the State Department's Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. I, therefore, ask your support for the ACDA as well as the USIA budgets.
I think, Mr. Chairman, we have a huge opportunity this year at the 50th anniversary of the time when so many of our post-World War II institutions were started to be able to set up many new types of relationships between a Democratic President and a Republican Congress and I look forward to working with you. Nobody would have ever imagined that in this day and age that our diplomats would be dealing not only with grain and steel but with bits and bytes and movie rights, or even, for that matter, that a female Secretary of State would one day meet with a black president of South Africa. So we have a great deal to do and I am looking forward to working with you as we look at the challenges ahead. Thank you very much.
Mr. ROGERS. Madam Secretary, again, you have demonstrated why you are in the position you are in. That is an excellent statement and we appreciate the fullness of it.
We have a vote on the floor, and I think it might be the best if we took a short recess so that the rest of us can run and vote and return immediately. There is only one vote, if you can bear with us a few minutes.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I would be happy to. Thank you.
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THE SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS' AGREEMENT WITH IRAQ
Mr. ROGERS. Madam Secretary, we have apparently a series of votes coming up very shortly, so some of the members, I think, are waiting on that vote, but I think we can proceed for at least a while here and try to save your time.
Madam Secretary, there is one major difference in the relationship between the United States and the U.N. in the 1991 crisis and this one. In 1991, the U.N. helped the U.S. carry out its policy. In 1998, the U.S. is helping the U.N. Secretary General carry out his policy. Can you tell me, did the United States ask the Secretary General to negotiate an agreement with Saddam and is this agreement reached between Kofi Annan and Saddam Hussein the agreement that the United States asked the Secretary General to negotiate?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Mr. Chairman, first of all, let me put the question that you asked in some context. Clearly, the issue of Iraq has been on the table since Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1991 and we have been dealing with it, first through the Gulf War and then after it, through a series of Security Council resolutions, the purpose of which were to make sure that Saddam Hussein got rid of his weapons of mass destruction, having set up this commission called UNSCOM to do the job, and our policy has been one of containing Saddam Hussein.
When I was at the United Nations and during these periodic sanctions reviews, we were always looking for ways to keep the international coalition together to keep these sanctions, the toughest sanctions in the history of the world, in place. As you know, sanctions do not really work well unless they are multilateral sanctions.
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Saddam Hussein periodically has tested the commitment of the international community, and every time when we have shown will, he has backed down. This time again, there was the question as to whether he would allow the inspectors to do their job. This is not a battle between the United States and Saddam. It is between Saddam and the world, and therefore it is appropriate for the international community, through UNSCOM, which is the eyes and ears of it, to do the inspection, and for various attempts to be made to resolve the situation peacefully through diplomatic means. I found in my talking with members of Congress as well as out on the road that most Americans would like to see this dealt with peacefully, and so that was what we were doing.
Now, the Secretary General himself felt that it was appropriate for him to take on the role of going to see if he could get some kind of a solution to it. In the course of that, we believed that it was important for him to go with the right guidelinesthat is what would be our own guidelines as to what would make a useful agreement.
So he was having discussions on behalf of the international community. He has followed many of our guidelines. We are trying to clarify the extent to which this agreement does, in fact, meet our guidelines, but the most important thing here, Mr. Chairman, is to test whether the agreement works.
So my answer is that he is the Secretary General. We provided him with what would be appropriate guidelines. We are now clarifying and we will test the results.
Mr. ROGERS. The newspaper account, the New York Times account, of this morning, essentially said that you met with him on February 15 at his residence to provide the American requirements if this mission were to proceed, but that over the next several days he insisted that he needed some room to negotiate and would not be a mere messenger. There was some wiggle room that he had, if you will. Is that negotiating room the reason that you have been struggling to get the ambiguities in the agreement clarified to see if it meets American requirements? Is that essentially correct?
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Secretary ALBRIGHT. First of all, he did not go with instructions. I mean, he is the Secretary General of an organization and we are, while the most powerful member, not the only one. The other members of the permanent five also had some ideas and the permanent five actually got together to give him advice and he was following that, but he very clearly, and the others agreed, was not just a messenger but he was Secretary General.
I think that what we are trying to clarify are some of the relationships and some of the aspects of the guidelinesthat we provided. But as I have said, and as I said in my opening remarks, so far, the clarifications that he has been providing have, in fact, met what we have wanted to see, but the most important point here is to test it. I think Saddam Hussein has been known to agree to things and not fulfill them. This is the first time that he has actually signed this kind of a paper, but I think this is an issue of test and verify. There is no trust involved in this, and so that is what we are about now, testing to make sure that whatever the Secretary General agreed to is clarified.
CLARIFICATION OF DETAILS IN THE U.N. IRAQI AGREEMENT
Mr. ROGERS. So these matters that are now being clarified were matters that he did not have clearance before he went with the five Security Council members, is that accurate?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Well, I think that there were details that he probably did not have. As I said, he did not have instructions. Plus, I have to tell you, frankly, our guidelines for this are the toughest. We and the United Kingdom are the ones that are being the toughest on this and we are asking for these guidelines and clarifications.
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But it is very hard, Mr. Chairman. He is a respected Secretary General of the U.N. and I think that a lot of the details also are the kinds that ultimately experts have to work out. So I think our sense on this is that we are gladI mean, we welcome the fact that he went on this mission. We felt that he needed some guidelines. We appreciate what he has done, but we are not swallowing it hook, line, and sinker. We are asking for clarifications and the most important thing, as I said, is to make sure that as these relationships are worked out, that UNSCOM will be able to do its work that it has done so very well up until now in an independent and unconditional and unfettered way and that we test it.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, who will provide the clarifications?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. They are coming as a result of discussions between the Secretary General and Chairman Butler. We are asking questions. The Secretary General appeared before the Security Council yesterday. He was very, very tired. He had been on the road negotiating, so I think there are additional discussions going on in New York today.
Mr. ROGERS. So you are attempting to clarify from the Secretary General what was meant by provisions that are in the agreement, is that generally correct?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Well, yes, and the experts have to work out the details. This is not a negotiation with Saddam Hussein. I mean, this is basically a way that this group is going to work.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. What I am trying to get at is the clarifications that we are trying to work on now. Who is a party to ironing out those details? Are the Iraqis involved in that process?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. No. No. No, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. Just the U.N. and
Secretary ALBRIGHT. The U.N. and the various other countries, but mostly us. We are pushing to clarify the relationships between UNSCOM and the diplomats and various parts of this and to make absolutely clear that when it says unfettered, unconditional, that that is what it means and these presidential sites, the maps and all those things. But there are no negotiations with Iraq on this.
Mr. ROGERS. When do you anticipate our final decision?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I think that we will see when the inspectors go. I mean, our sense here, Mr. Chairman, is that the inspectors need to go as soon as possible and test it.
Mr. ROGERS. When will that be?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. As soon as possible. I cannot give you a date on that.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. Will you wait for clarification, the clarifications you have mentioned on the final details, before they are dispatched?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I think that they need to have some clarification, yes, I do, but I think this is all happening very rapidly.
Mr. ROGERS. So can we expect them to go in the next couple of days?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I cannot give you a specific time. We want them very much to go soon, and as the President said, our forces will remain on high alert throughout this time.
Mr. ROGERS. I do not need to tell you, but time is of the essence here, and I am sure you agree. We do have considerable forces on station at great expense and at some cost in the other parts of the world where we have been drawn down to accommodate this buildup. If Saddam is not going to live up to the agreement, we will not know it until the inspectors go back and we cannot send them back until the final clarifications are done, so time is running here. Do you agree that time is of the essence?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Absolutely, but let me just say that I am thinking about where we were a week ago. There was a sense of inevitability about using an air strike where we were building up a coalition, but as you know, there were many who were opposed to what we were doing. We now have what we believe is a good basis for going forward, and if, indeed, Mr. Chairman, the inspectors are not able to do what they want to do or Saddam breaks his word in any way, then we are much better off internationally and domestically, frankly, I believe, to then follow through on a military force option. But I do agree with you that time is of the essence and we are working it very fast.
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Mr. ROGERS. How much time will be required to test the agreement, do you think?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I cannot speak to that. I think that we have to allow the inspectors the independence to work their professional way on this. We are asking the other members of the Security Council to allow Richard Butler and UNSCOM to determine the pace as well as the location of future inspections, and I can just assure you that he is a very determined chairman of UNSCOM.
Mr. ROGERS. My fears have been confirmed. We do have another vote in process with only about four minutes remaining, and then we have, I think, maybe a couple more quick ones.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. That is fine. I am okay.
Mr. ROGERS. I apologize for taking the time, Madam Secretary.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I understand.
ACCESS TO ALL IRAQI SITES
Mr. ROGERS. Madam Secretary, we deeply appreciate your abiding as we carry our other responsibilities.
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The standard set by the President for the agreement is that it would have to assure free, unfettered access by the U.N. monitoring team. What we have seen thus far is, one, that there is a special procedure for eight of the presidential palaces where diplomats will be appointed, and specific procedures for inspection of these sites remain to be worked out, presumably with Iraq.
Two, no one seems to know how many buildings are considered to be part of the eight sites.
Three, according to the U.N. spokesman yesterday, Iraq will continue to be able to declare sites sensitive, which is the mechanism that Iraq has used in the past to carry things out the back door while the inspectors waited at the front door.
And four, where the Secretary General himself has said that inspectors will have to be less pushy and more respectful of Iraq.
Are these generally accurate assessments and how does that meet the test of free, unfettered access?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Well, first of all, Mr. Chairman, let us be clear about something. For many years, Saddam Hussein has not allowed access to all places and what this agreement, if we decide that it is properly tested, does, in fact, is allow access to all sites, which we have never had before. So it is a step forward in that way.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We do not yet, as I said earlier, have the survey maps of what these presidential sites are like. That is something that they were working on today and I have not been in touch with New York this afternoon to know what exactly they have gotten, but that is one of the issues.
There have been previously a variety of arrangements that UNSCOM has found satisfactory. But the special arrangements have to be worked out, not with Iraq but it is UNSCOM that is going to have to decide how the operational control of this is going to work.
I just have to tell you that as far as the United States is concerned, we are not going to accept an agreement that does not suit the purposes of unfettered, unconditional access and the proof of this will be in the testing and that is what our next steps are on this. As I said, if we do not find sufficient answers for this, we still will have the option of using force.
So all this has done is to allow there to be the possibility of dealing with this issue by using UNSCOM, and UNSCOM, frankly, has been more successful than the Gulf War was in getting rid of weapons of mass destruction, so we will see.
Mr. ROGERS. Are there any places or sites or locales in Iraq that under the agreement are off limits, that we cannot get in?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. No. There are none, the way this is set up now.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. The Presidential palaces supposedly are all open?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. They are, as far as this agreement is concerned, they are a part of this. That would be what this group does. And this is all very technical, and I can take a lot of time explaining this to you, but basically, UNSCOM itself has a group of experts that work for Butler. They themselves have been divided into groups already, those that are experts on chemical weapons, on biological weapons, and they operate in groups.
So what is now going to happen is that there will be another group under UNSCOM whose job it will be to do these presidential sites. What has to now be worked out are the procedures for this.
Mr. ROGERS. Procedures?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Procedures for how this group works. But it will be Chairman Butler and the people that are part of the group. The lead inspector of this groupI talked to the Secretary General this morningwill be an UNSCOM inspector. So there will be diplomats that are going along, but they are observers. They will not have any role in inspecting and they will not have the capability of in any way undermining or lessening or diminishing the role of UNSCOM.
Mr. ROGERS. But to clarify, there is no place in Iraq that is, under the agreement, that we cannot go in and inspect?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. According to this agreement, all sites are open for inspection, but there are different procedures for them, and that has been the case up until now, generally, that there has been a division between sensitive sites and regular sites. But this is the first time if, and this is a big if, as the President said, if this works where all sites are now open in an unconditional and unfettered way.
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Mr. ROGERS. The agreement has language that the U.N. will ''respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq.'' What does that mean, and can that be used to impede inspections?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. That has, Mr. Chairman, been in previous language used by the Security Council. We ourselves have said that we respect the territorial integrity of Iraq because we want it to stay as one country. It is our understanding that that language in no way impedes the access.
WHAT CONSTITUTES A BREACH OF THE IRAQI AGREEMENT
Mr. ROGERS. What would constitute a breach of the contract, the agreement?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. If they do not allow these inspections to take place.
Mr. ROGERS. Unfettered, uninhibited.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Right.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Mollohan.
PAYMENT OF UNITED NATIONS ARREARAGES
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Madam Secretary, welcome to the hearing today as we review the State Department's budget request for fiscal year 1999, including a 1998 supplemental to pay off our debts to the United Nations.
I agree that it is time to reassert U.S. leadership in the U.N. and quit the role of the U.N.'s biggest debtor nation. I have always been supportive of paying the U.N. what we owe as a member nation. However, Madam Secretary, I do question the mechanism of using advance appropriations to accomplish that goal.
Your budget for fiscal year 1999 in the aggregate is almost eight percent more than the 1998 appropriation. I am happy to see that this amount provides for overdue restoration to your infrastructure, for inflation and other mandatory increases, and for the beginning of construction of the new embassies in Berlin and Beijing. U.S. facilities in China are in deplorable condition, so I am pleased that this funding request addresses that problem.
In addition, this budget request includes funding to proceed with the modernization of your information systems. It is absolutely critical that the computer systems that tie Washington to U.S. embassies all around the world make the change to the 21st century without crashing.
In addition to your 1999 budget of $2.2 billion, you have requested advance appropriations of $475 million for fiscal year 1999 and $446 million for fiscal year 2000, totaling $921 million for the payment of the arrears to the United Nations and related agencies.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This amount, plus the $100 million in the 1998 appropriation, will pay off the over $1 billion in debts to the U.N. and put the United States back in good standing. As I said, while I am not convinced that advance appropriations are the only way to do it, I am convinced that these arrears need to be paid.
At a time when the Security Council of the United Nations is playing a vital role in, hopefully, averting the U.S. bombing of Iraq, it seems to me that the least we can do is to pay our debts to the U.N. In addition, I noticed that over half of this debt is for peacekeeping operations throughout the world, many operations of which have been undertaken at our request.
Madam Secretary, the Administration has been negotiating with Congress for some time an agreement with regard to U.N. arrearages. Would you please advise the Committee of the status of the administration's negotiations with the Congress regarding these arrearages and U.N. reforms?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Yes, Congressman, and thank you very much for what you have said in terms of the importance of paying up our U.N. arrears.
First of all, let me say that what we have tried to do is make sure that the United Nations reformseven those of us that are very supportive of the U.N., believe that it needed some very serious reforms. I know also that there have been a number of you that have felt that we should not be paying our arrears if we do not get the appropriate reforms. So we are trying to balance those two needs. The U.N. has, in fact, already undertaken some reforms. The Inspector General is one that is working well. There have been cuts in staff. We are able to get a cap on the budget that has never happened before. Secretary General Kofi Annan has put out a whole reform program that has worked administratively and we can provide you with all the details of that.
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We now have a problem because one of the reforms that we were trying to achieve was to get a reduction in our assessment rate. As you know, the U.S. has been paying 25 percent of the regular budget and we have agreed that it would be good to get that down to 20 percent. One of the reasons, Congressman, that we wanted to have the advance appropriation is that it is kind of a bone fide that we will pay our arrears. The payment out of them is conditioned on a set of benchmarks and reforms, but in order to get a lower assessment rate, which it is a three-year negotiation, it would have helped our negotiation with other U.N. members in order to get that reduction.
The fact that we were not able to do that last year means that we were not able to negotiate a new assessment rate and one of the benchmarks that has been asked for in the bill cannot be met because we are not able to get the money in advance.
So we are stuck. That is the problem. Our leverage in getting more reforms is dependent on the fact that they know that we will ultimately pay.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. What is the status of this agreement in the Congress? Have you achieved bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate on the reforms?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Yes, sir. We had a bill where there was a bipartisan agreement in both houses, frankly, and what happened was that at the end of the session, this was held up by language to do with Mexico City.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Can I suggest to you that there have been some expressions of concern on the House side, at least, by the authorizers that they were not really a part of that agreement and did not agree with some of the reform provisions?
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Secretary ALBRIGHT. I think that they were part of the discussions. There are some members who believed that we were asking too much of the U.N. in terms of reform and believed that we were undercutting the United Nations. So for the most part, the objections to it from the authorizers were that they felt that we were unduly harsh about the United Nations.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Are you communicating with those authorizing members who expressed those concerns and trying to address them?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Yes. We have been trying, yes. But I tell you that it is not easy, given the fact that the preponderance of opinion is on the other side.
IMPLEMENTED REFORMS AT THE UNITED NATIONS
Mr. MOLLOHAN. How many of the so-called reforms are already being implemented at the United Nations?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Well, a huge amount of them
Mr. MOLLOHAN. And how many are not?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Pardon?
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MOLLOHAN. And how many are not?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Well, I cannot give you an exact list at the moment. We will provide you with a list. But what I can tell you is that
Mr. MOLLOHAN. You have made significant progress?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Absolutely. There is no question that they have worked their way through a large proportion of the reforms and Kofi Annan himself has been one of the leaders in making this happen. So they have worked their way through it, but they have not been able to do some of the ones that are dependent on our providing money, such as the assessment rate.
REQUEST FOR ADVANCED APPROPRIATIONS TO FUND U.N. ARREARAGES
Mr. MOLLOHAN. What about this advance appropriation you are requesting as a part of the agreement scheme, if you will? You did not get it last year. The Congress was not very receptive to the idea last year. What makes you think that it might be more receptive to an advance appropriation this year?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Well, I think that what we are hoping is that the members will understand the validity of what we are doing and understand
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Can I rely on your persuasive powers to come up here and convince them?
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Secretary ALBRIGHT. I do believe that the U.N. is fulfilling an important role and that the possibility that it is there for us will become more and more evident. Also, the fact that we have lost now about $100 million a year to our taxpayers as a result of not having been able to appropriate arrears the money might be persuasive, because I think that there are many reforms we need, but one that would really be very evident would be a cut in our assessment rate and we cannot get that.
What we managed to do, Congressman, was to, by dint of sheer force, keep the issue of assessment rates somewhat open so that we can re-vote on that in New York this year. But if we do not have any money in our pocket, then it is going to be very difficult to do that. So we need that money, and as you know, in the legislation as currently set up, it is not just paid out automatically. They have to meet a bunch of benchmarks before the money can be paid out.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. We know that you have a lot of problems with this legislation, the legislation that is carrying this agreement, or you hope will carry this agreement. Aside from that, if you do not get this advance appropriation, are you prepared, are you thinking of another way of dealing with the assurances to the U.N. that they are going to get paid?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Well, except for our good word, I do not know how to do that. I mean, we have been
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Will our good word carry?
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary ALBRIGHT. Pardon?
Mr. MOLLOHAN. At the end of the day, will our good word be enough?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Well, we are losing steam. I mean, I can tell you from when I was ambassador there, it was difficult. I am sure that if you ask Ambassador Richardson, it is very difficult every day to be faced by other countries up there who are basically saying, you want us to reform, you want us to jump through these various hoops. Where is your money? And even our best friends, the British, are making those points to us, and it is very hard to get what we want. It is like in any system, these are not bills, Congressman, they are dues. It is like being in a club and simply deciding that you are not going to pay the dues.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I am on your side with paying them. I think we need to, perhaps with regard to the method, think of another scheme.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Madam Secretary.
U.S. DIPLOMATIC POLICY TOWARDS IRAN
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Regula.
Mr. REGULA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Madam Secretary, even from Ohio.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary ALBRIGHT. We have a lot of people here from Ohio today.
Mr. REGULA. You know, Columbus is used by most major companies as a test market.
It is supposed to be a microcosm of America.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Well, they are loud.
Mr. REGULA. That probably depends on the issue.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. It was great. It was great.
Mr. REGULA. You all did well. I watched it.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Thank you.
Mr. REGULA. The policy on Iraq, as we wait to see if Saddam Hussein will abide by the U.N.-Iraq agreement, in addition to the military presence that will remain in the Gulf, there will be other measures taken by you and other administration officials to keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein to force compliance with the U.N. directives on weapons inspections. In particular, I am interested in any efforts that are being made with regard to recent overtures by the new president of Iran, Mohammad Khatami, who appears to represent a more moderate political wing within Iran. Washington and Teheran appear to be in agreement in urging Saddam Hussein to fully comply with U.N. resolutions. Is it time to build upon this apparent agreement of views and move toward a relaxation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran?
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Secretary ALBRIGHT. Congressman, we have been very interested and intrigued by the election of President Khatami. It clearly is a departure in terms of the way that they have been operating. President Clinton when he was first elected made that point. President Khatami made a statement in which he made a number of points. President Clinton responded in a way. He sent a message at the end of Ramadan to Islamic countries and then had a particular paragraph directed to Iran indicating also our respect for their history and in some ways mirroring some of what President Khatami had said. As you know, our wrestlers have just been there and we are looking at how to look at various possibilities of some exchanges.
Our problems are that the Iranians have been supporting terrorism, trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and they have not been supportive of the Middle East peace process. We have wanted to have a government-to-government dialogue, because while the people-to-people things are good, ultimately, the only way to solve problems is government-to-government dialogue. In the message that the President sent, he indicated that the best way to overcome these three problems, was by engaging in government-to-government dialogue.
But we are following this very, very closely because we are very interested in what is going on, and I am very glad to see that you are interested in this.
IMPACT OF USIA BROADCASTS TO IRAQ
Mr. REGULA. I think it is an intriguing set of circumstances, and I noted in your opening remarks that you said very positive remarks about our relationship with Germany, which in my day and age was not quite that good. So I think there are always possibilities.
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The isolation of the Iraqi people, it appears that the people are isolated and receive most information through a media controlled by Saddam Hussein. I understand that USIA has been broadcasting into Iraq in both Arabic and English six hours a day and this has been increased by one half hour during the crisis. Do you have any idea what impact the U.S. broadcasts have had and what other measures could be used to communicate directly with the Iraqi people?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Congressman, Dr. Duffy is going to be coming to testify and he can give you more detailed accounts of this, but we do believe that it is important for USIA to do what it is doing. One of the ideas that people are circulating is about the possibility of supporting a radio free Iraq. These and a number of other ideas, we are also looking into.
I think that there is no question that the people of Iraq do not know enough about what is going on because they are totally controlled, and when Saddam can bring people out into the streets or make them human shields or contemplate making them human shields, it is a sign of a society that does not know what its leaders are doing. So I think that Dr. Duffy can address more closely for you what you asked, but we believe that we need to do whatever we can to let the people know what is going on.
STATUS OF NATO EXPANSION
Mr. REGULA. My last question, where are we in the process as far as NATO expansion to the three countries, and as part of that, there has been a confusing estimate of costs. NATO says it is between $1.3 and $1.5 billion over ten years. The Administration's estimate is $27 to $35 billion over roughly the same period. The previous CBO estimate was a range between $60 and $125 billion. It is quite a confusing range. I just wondered, where are we procedurally and how do you address this great variance in cost estimate?
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Secretary ALBRIGHT. Well, first of all, procedurally, what has happened is that the President has submitted the protocols of ratification to the Senate, and yesterday, Secretary Cohen, General Shelton, and I testified to that. The countries were invited. We are now waiting for Senate ratification on this. There are two countries in Europe that have already ratified them and all members of NATO have to, through their parliamentary procedures, also agree to it.
The countries themselves are already very actively participating through Partnership for Peace activities with us, and it should be noted that when the three foreign ministers were here a couple of weeks ago and I spoke to them about Iraq and the necessity of us all being together, they did, in fact, immediately say that they wanted to be of assistance and they consulted with their governments and in various ways they were allies even before they were allies really. So they have been helpful, and we hope that the Senate will advise on the ratification sometime next month.
As far as the budget numbers, the confusion came from the following problem. Originally when the Defense Department set up its numbers, they had talked about having four countries in NATO, new countries, and a number of other variables that then turned out to be quite different.
What then happened was that NATO itself has had a procedure whereby they have analyzed how much it would really cost. They sent out questionnaires to the countries. It is a very complicated procedure. They then came back with some numbers and we now have what people think is a definitive number, which is about $400 million over ten years.
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Mr. REGULA. That is per year or a total of $400 million?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. A total of four hundred million additional. I mean, there is a chart which explains what is part of the common budget.
But the other part, Congressman, that I think is very important is the countries themselves, those three countries have upped their own defense budgets to make themselves viable. They have already done a number of things in terms of having interoperability. So I think that it is moving quite well.
Mr. ROGERS. The Secretary's staff has indicated that she has to leave about 4:15, so we only have about 20 minutes. Can we live with five minutes apiece for the remaining members?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I will make my answers briefer. I am sorry.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Skaggs.
ADMINISTRATION'S VIEW OF MEXICO CITY POLICY
Mr. SKAGGS. We have got almost 20 minutes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I probably owe you royalties because in discussion of the U.N. dues issue at home, I frequently recall your quip about interactions with the Brits in which they accuse us of representation without taxationI am not even sure that was original with you, but
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Secretary ALBRIGHT. No, it was with them.
Mr. SKAGGS. But I heard it from you. Anyway, I hope we can improve on that.
Pertinent to that, I was at a dinner a few weeks ago in which the speaker was asked about why we cannot get this solved. I want to be fair and accurate in representing his answer, but it was essentially, well, if the Democrats in the Administration would relent on a relatively trivial concern about this population policy, we could have IMF and the U.N. and everything else on the floor tomorrow. I thought it would be important to give you an opportunity to explain more fully why this is not a trivial matter when we are talking about the Mexico City policy and the disagreement that I know the Administration and many of us on our side have about this.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Yes. Thank you very much. I think, clearly, this is an issue that has to do with family planning and questions of whether one is pro-life or pro-choice. This is a very basic issue that the Members of Congress and the American public have a lot of questions about. I think it is not a trivial issue. It has to do with a question that this country is seized with.
I have said that I happen to be on one side and Congressman Chris Smith, who is so interested in this, is on the other, and I in no way dispute his right to have his view. I think there are an awfully lot of very good people on both sides of this issue and people think we ought to compromise about it.
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I do not think it is possible exactly. First of all, I think there is a lack of clarity on something. There are no Federal funds used for performing abortions or lobbying for that. There is a misunderstanding about that.
What we were asked to do was to limit what lobbying could be done. Now, lobbying is such a broad term that it meant that organizations, international organizations that even attend conferences at which there is a discussion of their abortion laws, whatever country they are in, they could not be there. So it is basically an international gag order and limits the abilities of these organizations to function, despite the fact that they do not use American taxpayer funds.
I think it is hard to compromise on an issue of such importance. It is a really important issue. Why do we not have a debate and a vote up or downthat is the democratic wayand separate it from what is national security legislation. What is happening here, Congressman, is this is shutting down our foreign policy.
INTERNATIONAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL LAWS THAT ALLOW THE U.S. TO INITIATE MILITARY ACTION AGAINST IRAQ
Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you for your comments on that.
I wanted to talk about the Iraq situation, but perhaps with a slightly different twist to it. I think it is very important for the United States to be as firm an adherent of the rule of law in these circumstances as we are able to be, and so I am concerned both about the international law and the domestic constitutional law questions with regard to the adequacy of authority for the United States to initiate a major military action against Iraq. I would assume that as to the international law issue, anyway, your Department would be the authoritative source of analysis for the United States Government.
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I do not know whether you also wish to tackle the constitutional law issue or pass that one on to one of your colleaguesthis is not really to ask you to make a comment orally this afternoon. I think we need a level of precision and written concreteness to be adequate to the task and I just hope that the Department, whether the legal advisor or other appropriate authority could supply for the record a definitive statement of the government's position on these two questions.
[The information follows:]
OFFSET FOLIOS 183 TO 184 INSERT HERE
Secretary ALBRIGHT. If I could just say generally, though, as far as the United Nations is concerned, we believe that we have the authority in existing resolutions to use the force that we need to, and while it would be nice to have an additional Security Council resolution, we do not need it. Our sense is also that the President does have constitutional authority within our own system to do so, and again, it would be nice to have a resolution of support.
Mr. SKAGGS. Many of us hold up a different point of view on both of those questions and I hope we can take some of the time that is now made available to us to really get that straightened out. Thank you.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Yes. We will do that.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCORGAN HARVESTING EFFORTS IN CHINESE PRISONS
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Forbes.
Mr. FORBES. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Madam Secretary, thank you again for your indulgence and your time today. In the country report that the State Department released last year, there was reference made to the government of China and the positive actions that the Department believes have been accomplished in human rights, particularly that there has been some movement in human rights.
I just wanted to touch on an issue that I know is one that has come up over the last several years. Harry Wu particularly, the human rights activist, and Amnesty International have played a large role in trying to expose the so-called organ harvesting efforts that are going on in some of the Chinese prisons. It is most poignant because just yesterday, I think, a Federal undercover operation in New York City revealed that two Chinese nationals, one claiming to be a former Chinese prosecutor, were involved in the actual sale of organs, kidneys, corneas, and other organs, and that, in fact, this has been going on for quite a while, and notation being made of some 50 of 200 prisoners who have been executed, their organs have been involved in something of this nature.
I know there was a report from the Chinese central government that was released in 1990I guess it goes back to 1984that acknowledges that there is this activity, and I know that you have been asked about this before and expressed some frustration on the difficulty in trying to get the Chinese government to clamp down on this most heinous activity.
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I just bring it to your attention again because I think that the State Department has made some positive movements, as you said, in human rights and some other areas and had some influence with the Chinese government. We see by what happened yesterday, the revelation in New York City of the sale of these kinds of organs. I would ask if you have some plans for the Department to take a more aggressive posture in clamping down on the sale of these organs that are apparently coming from prisoners who are executed, and as I understand it, the culture in China just would not suggest thatthey would not approve of this and there has been no evidence that any prisoners have actually approved of it. I would ask and plead with you, frankly, that the State Department take a more aggressive posture on this issue.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Congressman, you have stated everything clearly, that there were two Chinese citizens that were arrested for these alleged violations and the Chinese government was notified of those arrests on February 23, in accordance with our consular obligations. We are still trying to ascertain more facts about this and it is an ongoing investigation, so the U.S. Attorney's Office has really been working on this.
But basically, as you know from our human rights report, we do consider this practice abhorrent and we have been very concerned about all of this. I can also tell you that we are taking these allegations seriously. We have repeatedly raised this issue in meetings with senior Chinese officials and we have asked for results of any investigation in the matter.
The Chinese have responded that there have been no criminal charges filed or cases opened. Therefore, as far as we know to date, there are no Chinese investigations or reports of arrests for illegal trafficking by the People's Liberation Army in human organs or anyone else in China. But I can assure you that we will continue to pursue these issues with the Chinese authorities, because it is an abhorrent practice.
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MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
Mr. FORBES. Thank you. I just had one final question. Is the United States planning to offer its own peace plan to get the Middle East peace process moving? Are you planning to offer some kind of plan to Arafat and Netanyahu to try to get this moving?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. We have spent a great deal of time. I have to say, 1997 was not a great year for the peace process, and I met with both leaders a number of times already this year. We have been in touch with both of them. They had envoys here last week, where, I am afraid, that not a great deal was accomplished. We believe that, as I have said to them individually, the U.S. can act as a catalyst and as a mediator and as an honest broker, but ultimately, they are the ones that have to make the hard decisions and that is what we keep pushing them to do. We are in the midst of a process of going back and forth between them to try to make that happen.
ADEQUATE MILITARY RESOURCES FOR CARVING OUT FOREIGN POLICY
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Latham.
Mr. LATHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to see you again and have you back before the Committee.
Madam Secretary, as you know, the President has now committed more than 35,000 soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen to the Persian Gulf region. In addition, the United States maintains a force of more than 35,000 troops in South Korea, 40,000 in Japan, 45,000 in Germany, and 13,000 in Bosnia. In fact, according to the Army Chief of Staff, General Dennis Reimer, the U.S. Army is deployed in 100 countries throughout the world. Actually, I think it may be more than that. If you count some details to embassies, it is up around 135 countries right now.
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That being said, do you think we need to seriously question the Administration's foreign policy, which seems to be that unlimited military resources are at their disposal and yet the resources that the Administration provides for national defense, they actually decline, and some would say are certainly inadequate. Are there enough military resources available and coordinated well enough for the foreign policy commitments that you have, and are you concerned that the Administration may be overextending the military personnel and undermining, really, our credibility as far as enacting your foreign policy?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Congressman, I sat yesterday with Secretary Cohen and General Shelton as they were asked about readiness and various issues and they obviously have concerns and will be discussing that with their appropriate committees. My own sense is that the partnership between diplomacy and the use of force and even the military is working very well. The budget for the State Department is quite small, frankly, less than one percent of the entire Federal budget.
So while the military is vital to us and I applaud it and we need to work with it and we do, I am very concerned about my own budget and hope very much that we can get full funding for that.
But let me also make very clear that if this particular agreement meets all the tests that we are putting down for it, then it will be a result of what is a classic case of diplomacy and the threat of the use of force working together. I have been a professor. If this works, this will be a brilliant case study because it is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. I am very proud always to be able to stand by it and to have the military with us on these kinds of issues.
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Kofi Annan himself said diplomacy is fine, but when it is backed by the threat of the use of force, it is better. The Russians have made that clear. All the countries that I have dealt with now in the last 48 hours, while they might have not wanted us to use force, certainly understand the value of that partnership, and I hope that we can continue that without actually using it.
Mr. LATHAM. Did the fact that we have limited resources available and the reality, as far as if we were to go into Iraq, that we do not have the personnel available to occupy the country, did that limit the options that you had as far as negotiation or as far as our policy, the fact that we simply do not have enough resources?
I have got an Army National Guard unit who could not go to mandatory training exercises because they did not have enough gas in the budget for the buses. I mean, it is to the point where I think it really does affect your ability to carry out foreign policy.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Well, let me say that on the Iraq question specifically, the options that we had on this particular issue were to do nothing and let this go forward, to have an invading army, the role of which would be to overthrow Saddam Hussein
Mr. LATHAM. Did we have that option?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Well, I think we decided, all of us, that when there were half a million American troops there in 1991, the decision was made not to do that and that there is no way of proving, even with that number, that you could have achieved that result. So I do not think, sir, that
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Mr. LATHAM. I am just questioning, excuse me, is that option available.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. But I do not think that the problem here was not enough resources. I think it is more a policy question of wondering whether even a large number could do the job or whether that was the right national security decision, because our national interest on this is to try to diminish his weapons of mass destruction threat and his threat to his neighbors. While this position may not be aesthetically pleasing, it is strategically sound. And I have also said that we are ready to deal with a post-Saddam regime, but I do not think, sir, that it has to do with the lack of resources.
Mr. LATHAM. I would also like to submit some questions to you for the record.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Thank you.
U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN MIDDLE EAST PROCESS
Mr. LATHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Could I clarify something, Congressman Forbes, on the Middle East? We do not have a plan. We have ideas that we are working with in terms of trying to get them to make their own decisions, but there is no such thing as an American plan for the Middle East peace process.
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Mr. FORBES. Will there be one?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I do not think so. I think the important point here is for the parties themselves. They are the ones that have to make the hard decisions.
U.S. AUTHORITY TO DECLARE A BREACH OF THE U.N. IRAQI AGREEMENT
Mr. ROGERS. We are going to try to get the Secretary out of here momentarily because she does have other engagements, as difficult as that is for us to believe.
Madam Secretary, the agreement, I assume at some point in time, will be submitted to the Security Council for resolution of approval, is that correct?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. They are, as we speak, working on a resolution that would embody parts of the agreement.
Mr. ROGERS. And assumedly, that then would contain all the clarifications that you have spoken of earlier?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I am not sure that they will be in the resolution itself, but there will be a way for us to assure ourselves of the clarifications. But it is the testing of them that is the clear point here.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. Now, the question arises, suppose we, the U.S., decide that there has been a breach or a non-compliance with the agreement. Do you have to go back to the Security Council to have them declare breach or can you unilaterally, can the U.S. unilaterally declare there has been non-compliance or a breach and proceed with whatever actions you wish to take?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I do not have the President's words in front of me, but he did say when he appeared to discuss this that the decision was going to be ours and it would be at a time and place of our choosing and we were not waiting for anything. We believe we have authority, as I said to Congressman Skaggs, so we are not waiting for anything.
But I do think, sir, that it is very important for us to test whether this system works, and it is not something that is going to be able to be determined in one single test. It is very hard. I think we are going to have to make sure that this system works, and if it does not work, we will make the decision, which is in America's national interest.
WHAT SADDAM HUSSEIN RECEIVED FROM U.N.-IRAQI AGREEMENT
Mr. ROGERS. The question is, what did Saddam get out of this deal? He had to get something in order to come to the agreement. Did he get something in return?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I think that the record of Saddam is that he has changed his mind a number of times when there has been determination and unity, and what he did was reverse course and allow this unfettered access. I think that my sense of what he got out of it was some attention, basically, from the world, and there are those who believe that sanctions ought to be lifted. We do not believe that.
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LIFTING OF U.N. SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAQ
Mr. ROGERS. Well, what he wants eventually, I assume, is the lifting of sanctions. Is there anything in the agreement or in the understandings or in the clarifications that relate to the lifting of the sanctions?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I do not have the exact wordsbut basically it calls for bringing to the attention of the Security Council the fact that sanctions ought to be lifted. Now, I can tell you again from my experience there that somebody brings that to the attention of the Security Council every time there is a sanctions review, and every time that that review comes up, the British and the Americans and sometimes others will say he has not fulfilled his obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions and we will not lift sanctions. That continues to be our position, that he has to fulfill the relevant Security Council resolutions.
Mr. ROGERS. But he does have a fairly powerful voice now speaking for lifting the sanctions in the Secretary General, is that not correct?
Secretary ALBRIGHT. No. I think previous Secretary General Boutros-Ghali had the same opinion, so there is nothing different in that. And believe me, we do have a veto in the Security Council and this is an issue that we are watching very carefully.
Mr. ROGERS. The Secretary needs to leave forthwith. Does the gentleman have a quick question?
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Mr. OBEY. I have just one comment and one question. With respect to Columbus, I would simply say that as a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, I deeply resent that anybody even mentions Ohio State. They beat us 17 straight times at Columbus. And so if I were you, I would deny I ever was in Columbus.
Mr. ROGERS. Madam Secretary, let me just say, in response to that, I am sitting between Ohio State and Wisconsin here, but I am just going to tell you, if you will come to Lexington, to Rupp Arena, we will be real quiet.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. I will be happy to.
Mr. OBEY. I just wanted to say, Madam Secretary, that I am happy with the way things turned out in Iraq. As you know, I had some concerns about long-term consequences of our engaging in an air attack on Iraq. I think it is obvious that the Secretary General would not have come away with anything significant had the administration not sent a substantial military force to the area, and I think that was a very useful thing to do.
I am somewhat amused by those who seem to say, well, the administration ought to raise its targets and have a more ambitious and expansive plan for dealing with it. I think those who are blithely saying that we ought to raise our goal to simply get rid of Saddam ought to be frank enough to say that what they are talking about is injecting 200,000 or 300,000 troops into the area. It is nice to mouth the soft language, but people need to understand what it would take to actually accomplish that.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would simply say with respect to U.N. arrearages, I hope that the Congress supports the Administration request because I think that, especially at a time like this, it would be very useful. I know how I would feel if I were a member of the club and somebody else had not paid up their dues and yet they were trying to tell the club what we ought to be doing on a day-to-day basis as the big guy on the block. I think I would have minimum high regard for that reaction and I think we unnecessarily handicap ourselves in the United Nations if we do not finally take care of those obligations. I thank you for coming.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Congressman, it is absolutely true and one feels it every day up there, and I think the fact that the United Nations is working effectively for us in many ways, and especially on the Iraq issue where the Secretary General has at least provided the possibilities of dealing with this in a diplomatic way.
As I have said to the Chairman and others here, this is not over. We have to test this, and I have been asked by others whether I feel relieved. Not particularly. I mean, I am taking this one step at a time and I think we have to test it, and there is no question that our force presence there has made a difference. But I think we have to try to clarify what has been agreed to and test it and we always have that option.
As for a large ground force, there was a large ground force there and it did not proceed. There is no guarantee even that a large ground force could accomplish this.
Mr. OBEY. Right.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. So I think we are doing the right thing. I do think that we have to continue to test it and, Mr. Chairman, on the question of sanctions and the Secretary General, he is not himself calling for lifting of sanctions. What he has said is that he would raise the issue in the Security Council, and others have done that. So that is something that is not his to be decided. It is to be decided by the member states.
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Mr. ROGERS. In wrapping up the hearing, in a timely fashion, let me attempt to close here briefly.
The counterweight to the argument that we are on the right path here is a fear that, as captured in the recently-released CIA paper on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs of February 13, which the President referred to in his address at the Pentagon, ''Saddam's strategy in dealing with UNSCOM is unchanged. He is actively trying to retain what remains of his weapons of mass destruction programs while wearing down the will of the Security Council to maintain sanctions.''
This agreement could very well play right into that strategy, leaving Saddam in place until he again can test the coalition again that we had so much trouble holding together in this crisis. He has not been punished. He has been encouraged. He has been treated like a world leader. And now he has the Secretary General as somewhat of a counterweight to our willingness to bring the issue of the end of sanctions to the attention of the Security Council.
So Saddam, a threat to the world, remains even more firmly in place as a result of this agreement. In fact, one could argue he has been somewhat strengthened by this process. You can comment if you would like.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Mr. Chairman, I do not believe that he has been strengthened by it. I think that what he has done is allowed, if we test it, unfettered, unconditional access to all sites, something that we never had before. And my own sense about this is that UNSCOM has done a great job in the seven years, but they clearly were getting close to things that he wanted to hide. He has now submitted to the fact that those sites will be open for inspection by, and this is what we have to assure ourselves of, a professional group of experts under the direction of UNSCOM, this same group. So we have to test that.
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So I do not think he is strengthened. I think that he will play it. Obviously, we were talking about the fact that he has control of media and I think that he will play that to the hilt. There is no question about that. But in my mind, he has not been strengthened, and if he does not change his behavior, we will act. We are no less intent on acting than we were a week ago, but I think that it is useful for this diplomatic opportunity to work to get a peaceful resolution. If it does not work, it will be evident to the entire world that this person who signed an agreement with the Secretary General who represents the international community, has reneged and it will give us even more validity in acting, not that we needed it, but it will, I think, do that.
So I think that this is not the end. We are going into a very intense period here now where I will continue to work diplomatically. Our forces will stay there and the inspectors will test, and I am sure that we will have lots more questions about it. I do believe that the Secretary General performed a useful function. It is now our time, as members of the Security Council, to do our job and for the United States to remain ever vigilant that the tests are properly carried out and prepared to act if they are not.
Mr. ROGERS. In that respect, I think you will find unanimity in the Congress, as well.
Thank you very much for your time and your attention.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Thank you.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. Let me say to you in closing, we are still under the same spending caps that we were under last year. The budget agreement tells us what we can and cannot spend in terms of numbers. We are still squeezed, even though there is talk of surplus out there on the horizon somewhere.
I am very much concerned along with you that the State Department has been shortchanged for the last dozen years. This current year, we attempted to begin to rectify that problem. I know how it hurts and we are very much aware of your needs and we are going to do all that we can to help you.
I am very much also aware of the need for embassy facilities both in Berlin and Beijing, among other places. I am somewhat concerned about the dollar figures that we have seen on those projects. We have had a preliminary discussion with your staff. We will have more. We want to work with you on trying to rectify those problems, among others. But there may come a time when it will be necessary, hopefully, for you to discuss a matter or two with the government of Germany about the project in Berlin. Nevertheless, we will be working with you from here on those projects and we assure you we will in good faith try to help to resolve the difficulties.
Secretary ALBRIGHT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate not only what you have said but the way that we have been working together on all this. You are the best friends we have and I really appreciate it and I look forward to working with you throughout the session.
Mr. ROGERS. Godspeed to you.
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Secretary ALBRIGHT. Thank you.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Wednesday, March 18, 1998.
STATE DEPARTMENT ADMINISTRATION OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
BONNIE R. COHEN, UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR MANAGEMENT
RICHARD GREENE, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
Mr. ROGERS. The subcommittee will come to order.
Today we have with us Bonnie R. Cohen, Under Secretary of State for Management of the Administration of Foreign Affairs. She has established a good track record of supporting both the resources necessary to project our diplomatic presence around the world and the reforms that can be made to make the Department a better and more efficient operation.
We would expect that you bring an outsider's perspective to the Department with an ability to look at what is, and ask why, and to look at what could be, and ask why not?
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary Cohen, this is your first appearance before this Subcommittee. We look forward to working with you. I would expect that all of us will have a good working relationship with you.
Before we turn to you for your statement, I just wanted to take a moment to recognize the person at the table with you, Rich Greene, Chief Financial Officer of the Department. We are told that Rich might be soon moving on to another assignment after many years of fine service. He has been helpful to this Subcommittee, to our staff, and to all of us for many years now. We wanted to congratulate him and wish him well in his future endeavors.
Mr. GREENE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Secretary Cohen, we will make your written statement a part of the record and invite you to summarize it if you would like.
Under Secretary Cohen's Opening Statement
Ms. COHEN. Thank you very much.
I would like to thank you and Congressman Skaggs and the rest of your Committee for the support that you have shown the State Department, especially for your support of the budget in FY 1998. In fiscal year 1998, for the first time in five years, the Department's financial picture brightened. We already see positive results which I want to share with you today. I seek your support now for the Department's FY 1999 budget request.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Three weeks ago before this Committee, Secretary Albright outlined the foreign policy challenges that lay before us today, in Bosnia, Kosovo, Indonesia, the Great Lakes of Africa, and the Middle East. We face an array of foreign policy issues that call for American participation and leadership. The accounts funded by this Subcommittee provide the diplomatic tools to keep our citizens safe, uphold our values, advance our interests, and protect our borders. To achieve our goals, we need a trained, skilled, flexible workforce, timely and accurate information, and secure operational facilities.
As you have said, I am an outsider to this agency.
During my six months at the State Department, I have been struck by the scope and complexity of our operational requirements. We have provided you some data on this chart here.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
To carry out our global responsibilities, the Department of State maintains, as you have said, over 250 diplomatic and consular posts. It employs a workforce of about 14,000 Americans, and 9,000 foreign nationals in more than 140 different personnel systems worldwide. It does business with world leaders in over 60 foreign languages. In 1997, the Department processed over 8 million visa applications, issued 6 million passports, and sent and received 9 million pounds of mail.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC However, over the past few years, cost cutting has had serious consequences for our ability to carry out our mission well. For example, the Department has more than 300 vacancies for American positions worldwide, especially in critical areas like information management and consular operations. The gaps result in an over-worked and an insufficiently trained staff.
The Department processes 3 million cables and 40 million electronic mail messages per year but as you are well aware, our communications systems in the majority of posts are slow at best, and often break down. While we have begun to turn the corner with your help, we still have a long way to go. Overseas, approximately 50-percent of our telephone systems, 50-percent of our radio equipment, 70-percent of our classified computers, and 35-percent of our unclassified computers would have been obsolete by 2000 without your help.
Americans would be surprised, if not appalled, at the disrepair of many of our buildings overseas. For example, our posts in China are overcrowded, technologically starved, and seriously in need of improvements in safety and security. At our embassy in Beijing, sewer gas leaks through the building. Yet, in the past year, American staffing from all U.S. Government agencies increased by 15-percent in China. It is likely to increase more.
Thanks to your support in 1998, we have been able to undertake several initiatives to improve our operations.
For instance, our fiscal year 1998 hiring plan allows us to fill vacancies by hiring to, not below, the attrition rate, for the first time in years. Even this modest effort will have a positive impact on our staffing needs.
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With the doubling of our information technology investments in fiscal year 1998, we have installed modernized computer systems at 53 posts abroad, and are on target to complete the installation of the remainder by the end of 1999.
Work is also underway to replace, convert, or repair our 78 mission-critical systems to be year 2000 compliant. We hope for it to be completed on schedule, though, we, like every other government agency and private corporation, will not know how successful we are until we test the revised systems.
With your support, we have consolidated information technology programs under the leadership of the Chief Information Officer and have intensified our efforts to recruit qualified information management specialists.
Computer training at the Foreign Service Institute increased by 30-percent in FY 1997. Internet comes to the State Department building this month.
Last year, we sold $112 million of real property overseas. With proceeds from property sales, we are planning to design and construct new facilities in Shanghai, Abuja, and Sofia, for example.
The Real Property Advisory Board is fully operational. We have segregated the accounting for sales as GAO requested, and we are in the middle of a study with the Harvard Business School bench-marking our disposal practices against the best of U.S. multi-national private industry to see where we can improve.
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In addition, we have signed an MOU with the Inspector General's Office to have them independently verify surplus property overseas on a scheduled basis for each post.
Border security is obviously an important issue. Every visa issuing post now can perform automated name checks with the MRV system. We now process half of our total non-immigrant visa applications with modernized systems. We are on track to install year 2000 compatible systems in 100 posts in fiscal year 1998, and in additional posts in fiscal year 1999. We want to thank you for your foresight and support in continuing our ability to retain these critical fees.
In Mexico, we are also implementing, beginning in April, in cooperation with the INS, the Border Crossing Card Program mandated by Congress. In FY 1999, the Department expects to receive more than 1.5 million applications for either first-time cards or re-adjudicated cards. This project will continue for several years as we re-adjudicate the estimated 5.5 million Border Crossing Cards now held by Mexican citizens. This requires significant expansion of our consular facilities. All costs will be recovered from fees charged to the applicants.
U.S. citizens' passports fees have been reduced from $65 to $60 for first-time applicants and from $55 to $40 for renewals.
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The security area is obviously of concern to us all. Americans have a right to assume that our first priorities in security are their safety, the protection of sensitive information, and the safety of those who travel overseas or choose to work for the government. We have undertaken specific initiatives to improve computer network safety, including security network monitoring, which we will be glad to share with you at a separate meeting.
We also plan to establish an Anti-Terrorism Emergency Fund that would be used for extraordinary, unbudgeted security requirements. I want to thank you and your colleagues for supporting these security improvements.
Ultimately though, security is an individual responsibility. We will be increasing training for all staff of the State Department in this key area.
We are implementing the overseas staffing model, using its results to guide decisions about the Department's hiring plan and the distribution of positions.
With the strong leadership of you, Mr. Chairman, and the Committee, we are in the first full year of the International Cooperative Administrative Support Services, or ICASS, system at 162 posts. ICASS provides an equitable and transparent system for distributing the costs to all agencies involved. We have now started to analyze the data to improve service delivery. This will be a very valuable planning tool.
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CONSOLIDATION OF THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS AGENCIES
As part of the reorganization effort, the Department has been working closely with ACDA and USIA to plan for consolidation. Progress in this area continues in ACDA under ACDA Director, John Holum, who is also our State Department's Acting Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and Nonproliferation.
We are not as far along with the integration of USIA, although we are cooperating in administrative areas. Much work was done last year under the guidance of the reorganization steering committee to prepare. Significant future progress depends, however, on the passage of legislation. Your support of this proposal is very important.
FY 1999 BUDGET REQUEST
Let me now highlight the major elements of our budget request. We are requesting an additional $101 million to fund mandatory pay raises and to cover overseas and domestic inflation. That represents an increase of about 4.8-percent.
We must continue to improve our information technology infrastructure and work towards year 2000 compliance, and we must deal effectively with information security. Our budget request seeks an increase of $32 million in information technology investments from $86 million to $118 million.
We must maintain an inventory of overseas facilities that are safe, secure, and operationally efficient. We are requesting an increase of $242 million primarily to fund the new embassies for China and Germany.
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As U.S. vital policy interests in China grow, we have an urgent need in Bejing for an appropriate secure workplace with modern infrastructure and communications. As I indicated, the present chancery is overcrowded, poorly configured, and has fire, life-safety, and security problems.
In 1999, the Germans will complete the move of their capital from Bonn to Berlin. We need to build a new embassy for the new capital. The Department is requesting $50 million, in part, to design and then construct and furnish a new Berlin Chancery. We will finance the balance of the $120 million capital costs with proceeds from property sales in Germany.
In closing, I would like to emphasize that effective leadership in foreign policy requires a close connection between the management of resources and the development of policy. If we are going to maintain a world class diplomacy, we need to ensure that our diplomats and our facilities are world class.
Mr. Chairman, we need the Subcommittee's continued support. If you give us the tools we need, we will do the job well. Thank you. I will be glad to answer your questions.
[The statement of Ms. Cohen follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
STATE DEPARTMENT MANAGEMENT
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. Well, thank you, Madam Secretary.
Let me talk in a general sense quickly here about the Department. This is your first hearing here and you have only been on the job for six months or so.
Do you find the State Department to be a well-managed, efficiently-run department?
Ms. COHEN. I did not have a background in the State Department or its operations before. I can just tell you what I think. Based on these six months, I have been surprised at the extent to which the Department's resources are stretched very thin.
We do not have the information technology resources we need. We have personnel vacancies. Because we have vacancies, we are sending people into positions for which they are not fully trained. As a result, we have morale problems.
I do not see a lot of fat in the State Department, but I see that we are going to have to make, even with your help in additional funding, hard choices.
Mr. ROGERS. I guess what I am looking for here are some very broad management goals that you have set for yourself and the Department. So that a year from now we can measure your progress on your scale of measure. Give us your broad goals.
Ms. COHEN. I have goals in four areas. The first comes from the Secretary and that would be the consolidation of the other agencies with the State Department. That obviously is delayed from lack of enabling legislation.
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PERSONNEL AND TRAINING
I took the first two months after I got here as an opportunity to learn as much as I could. Based on that, I have goals in the following areas. In the personnel area, I have two major concerns that I think are shared by most of the people in the Department and the Secretary. The first is the composition of the workforce. That is, are we recruiting, training, keeping, motivating the people that we need for the challenges in the next century? We are going to be taking a close look at that. We will be glad to report back to the committee on that.
Secondly, I am very concerned with training in the Department. At the support level and in the computer area, we have not had the resources to train people appropriately for the job that we then ask them to undertake. We have to work very carefully to be sure that we provide that kind of training for people.
In addition, as I have traveled, I have heard from mid-level managers, people who came into the Foreign Service for different kinds of jobs, then find themselves in management positions. They have asked for management training.
Those kinds of personnel issues are the ones that I anticipate addressing this year. I think you will see progress in that area.
In the information technology area, with the resources you gave us, it would be hard not to make progress from where the State Department was. It had obsolete equipment and a structure that, at least from my point of view, had the policy for information technology and the operations separate. With the support of the Committee, we have combined those.
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With the work done by the people in the Department over the past couple of years, we have set standards. We are in the process of getting out modernized equipment. I think that there will be a real difference in the tools available to people in the State Department.
As I have said, we will be providing Internet to the State Department starting this month. I had Internet at the Interior Department, so I was shocked that they did not have it at the State Department where information is their business.
In the buildings area, which would be my third operational priority, there are not enough resources to do everything, as you all know better than I do. We have to establish priorities and then implement them.
We have begun to do that. We now, with the regional bureas and the Office of Foreign Buildings Operations, have established a two-year building and maintenance priority program. We have had joint meetings with the policy side and Under Secretary Pickering to gain their agreement. That, I think, is an important first step because it says to everybody in the Department, these are the resources and this is what we can do. This is what we will have to do later.
So, on an operational basis, I trust that you will see real progress in personnel, information technology, and the buildings area.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCINFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Mr. ROGERS. Well, those are laudable goals; particularly the information sharing. In an age of CNN with world wide instantaneous public communications, and an age of world wide Internet with instantaneous personal communications, I am almost surprised that we do not see in your budget request sand for ink blotting. Maybe we can get some free for you.
The State Department has a history, and maybe it is the State Department culture, of doing things the old way, which is admirable in one sense, but in this age of instant communications that everybody else has, the State Department is still in the 19th Century, and maybe that is being liberal.
We have thrown money at this for years now from the Subcommittee for computerization and communications in the Department. It just seems to go down a rat hole somewhere. Can you help me out?
Ms. COHEN. Yes. It will not go down a rat hole. For the last year, pre-dating me, people have worked very hard in this area. They are taking very aggressive steps. Just the idea that we now have standards so that people will not be using different systems that cannot communicate with each other is progress.
I, myself, have seen the progress that the consular area has made. I just came back from a trip to Berlin. They can instantly look up a visa applicant in Berlin on a database in Washington and see whether that person has a problem that means they should be denied a visa.
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I think that as the whole Department starts to see what information technology can do for them, we will have more enthusiasm.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, speaking of that visa record, can you also tell when that visa expires and whether or not the person who was granted a visa is still in the U.S. and have overstayed their visa?
Ms. COHEN. I know the visa exit issue is of concern to the Committee and the Department. We are working with INS on that.
Mr. ROGERS. I have heard that for 13 years. Still, after 13 years and $13 zillion, neither INS or State can tell me that they have some way to detect visa overstays. Consequently, how would you like to have the whole shebang?
How would you like for us to be able to say to you, we are going to give you, State Department, not only the visa application process, but the visa overstay process and all that INS now does with visas? How would you like that?
Ms. COHEN. I think the Administration has heard your offer and is concerned with the operations of that program. We, as an Administration, are going to be working very hard with the INS to improve their ability to do their part of the function.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. Good luck.
Ms. COHEN. They have, I think, a very good study underway by Booz-Allen. We look forward to seeing those recommendations and working with them.
Mr. ROGERS. I want you to know the Barbara Jordan Commission studied the matter for years and, in a bipartisan way, came up with a recommendation last year. They concluded that INS is unmanageable.
It is no one's fault. It is just an unmanageable bureaucracy with conflicting visions. One of which is to track visas and enforce the overstays, among other things, and to evict illegal aliens.
We could go on all day about this, but it is not working. So, there is a very serious effort to try to remedy the INS problem. I spent 13 years on this Subcommittee. We have tried everything known to human kind; money, pressure, twisting arms, threatening, being nice; everything we can think of. It just gets worse.
I am throwing up my hands. So, I want you to think about this. Think about what you would do if you take over all of these things.
We would not ask you to do the Border Patrol. We have a separate Border Agency run under the Justice Department. Labor would do their job on enforcing the laws against illegal aliens. So, any way, think about it. Mr. Skaggs.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCENERGY EFFICIENCY
Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I understand that you all have developed a plan for improving your energy efficiency at the State Department. Not that this is going to change the course of western civilization, but if you have some good news about some cost savings there, I wondered if you would share them.
Ms. COHEN. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about this.
We have given attention to this, particularly under the leadership of Tim Wirth, who had been the Under Secretary for Global Affairs and had been concerned about this for a number of years. We now are working to have our embassies overseas be a platform for the best in energy efficiency.
We have started in Mexico City with a contract similar to the contracts that have been let by the Federal Government domestically, where the company that helps you achieve the energy efficiency shares in the savings. You pay them out of the savings.
We think that is a very positive program that we can operate elsewhere using American contractors and American equipment. We anticipate that we could see energy savings in the 30-percent range.
Mr. SKAGGS. Because you have not been in this position before, you have not been subjected to my annual plea that, through Tim's good offices or otherwise, appears to have taken what you have already described of really getting your colleagues, the Department of Energy and the Department of Commerce, to exploit this opportunity as well, to move into commercial application some of the things that Energy has supported through its renewable and solar programs.
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Through your colleagues at Commerce, perhaps you can enable that technology which has much more attraction in the developing world, really even than in our own, to have a chance to be demonstrated on the ground; that may help our marketing some.
So, I am glad for the news. How is ICASS doing?
Ms. COHEN. It is doing very well. I think that it offers great promise. I know this Committee was instrumental in its formation.
It went live the first of October. About two or three weeks ago, I saw the first data out of it. One of the things it does is allow us to collect data across all embassies so that we can make comparisons, very effective comparisons. So, it will be a very useful central management tool.
In the few trips I have taken, I have met with the ICASS Council. Also, ambassadors come in to see me before they go overseas. So that when they go overseas, they can call back up and ask for something. I have said to each of them that where I have seen the ICASS Council be successful, which is three out of four places, it is because the ambassador has taken a personal interest and shown some leadership. That kind of leadership has brought the embassy together to make very good decisions.
I think it will just become more and more useful. Obviously one of the tensions will be when additional resources are required, not just from State. I think it is off to a very good start. I know from other people that you all were behind it.
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Mr. SKAGGS. I am curious about the one in four where it has not played out according to script, given that I would think it would be in every ambassador's enlightened self-interest to fully implement the philosophy behind ICASS. So, what is wrong?
Ms. COHEN. This one place did not have an ambassador. This is my initial impression. It takes some real leadership from the ambassador to say we are going to work together. There are going to be areas where one agency thinks they are over-paying or State is over-charging or some historical tension rises up. When the ambassador is there supporting it, it really seems to work very well.
I have been impressed by the people from other agencies who have willingly undertaken to chair the ICASS committees. I do not have a very good sample, having only been to four or five places. There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm. There are issues because it involves money, but people are working together.
Mr. SKAGGS. Well, it is, as far as I know, not discretionary. It is a mandate and a requirement. So, it is not as if there was a lot of leeway for play on this; right?
Ms. COHEN. It is in operation. I am addressing whether it has gone into operation easily or with some difficulties.
Mr. SKAGGS. Well, if it would be of any help to you, you can say to your folks in the field that this Subcommittee is more than a little interested, and is breathing down your neck, and is concerned about full and forthright implementation, and any other good rhetoric you want to throw in.
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I think we are very committed to this because it really represents a fair portion of costs around your tenants that have been free-loading to some extent. Under these budget circumstances its real important to rationalize all of that as much as we possibly can.
Ms. COHEN. Thank you.
Mr. SKAGGS. I understand that the new class of foreign service officers who have just started training represent real progress in your efforts to recruit women and minorities. In fact, the spouse of one of my staffers is in that class.
I know she is a very promising young professional. I just wanted to recognize that. If you want to say anything about it, terrific, but I think it is a good step.
Ms. COHEN. I think that we have been increasingly successful in terms of reaching out to a diverse population. We have been very active on minority college campuses. I would like to tell you that the minority exam takers were up by 437, which is a 25-percent increase. Minorities passing the exam were up by 168, which is 114-percent increase.
While the number of women taking the exam has remained unchanged, their pass rate has shown a significant increase from 706 in 1992, to 937 in 1996, which is a 34-percent jump. The same is true on the oral exams.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You will start to see foreign service officers who are more representative of the American population.
Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you.
Briefly, to follow-up on that. Representative Cynthia McKinney testified here last week. She said she had asked for a report from State that would include such things as the percentages of all minorities taking the entrance exam, the number who have passed entering the junior class, promotions and the like. Would that information be available to her?
Ms. COHEN. Yes. We would be pleased to submit it.
Mr. ROGERS. You have her request, I think, in your files. She was puzzled why State did not furnish this. I was too. I promised her I would follow through with you on it.
Ms. COHEN. I do not know any reason why we cannot. I only saw her request yesterday. I will be sure we follow-up.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. Fine. Before recognizing Mr. Kolbe, we are pleased to have with us today the former Chief of Staff of this Subcommittee, John Osthaus who is sitting in the back of the room. John, welcome back to your place. We have not changed the pictures yet. We have gotten a lot of proposals. Mr. Kolbe.
Mr. KOLBE. Maybe Mr. Chairman, we move about the speed of the State Department with the pictures, to follow-up with your last line.
EMBASSIES IN BERLIN AND CHINA
Ms. Cohen, I am going to confine my questions to one area and make just one other remark. I am pleased that the State Department is requesting funds from the Capital Program for the embassies in both China and in Berlin.
I feel kind of a priority sense on both of these having just been to both countries in the last few months. I was in China a year ago and just a few months ago in Bonn. Certainly in China, one of the largest countries in the world, I do not know second or third largest, the embassy staff abroad is certainly a very, very major post.
It is the center of our Asia efforts today. Frankly, the embassy there, as you know, is a disgrace. It badly needs to be replaced. I am pleased to see that we are moving ahead on that. My request to you would be to urge you to do it as quickly as possible. I think this has got to be a priority.
I would similarly caution you in the case of Berlin with the move that is taking place in the German Government. We need to be there to be on the scene and be ready as soon as possible. I know our embassy will not be done by the time the German Government actually makes its move there, but we at least need to be showing that we are making the effort to get there.
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Ms. COHEN. I appreciate your support. These are two critical priorities for us. China, obviously, is an important relationship to the United States, a growing relationship.
I have not been there, but I do not know anybody who has been who does not feel the same way about the embassy. One of the difficulties we are having as a result is recruiting people to work in the embassy. We give people two years of language training to go over there and then they only stay two years. When you talk to them afterwards you find that it is partially because of the difficulties that we put them through in working there, especially perhaps in the consular area.
Mr. KOLBE. Right.
Ms. COHEN. The second that I would like to support is the program for Germany. I did go there last week for just two days because I knew it would be of interest to the Committee.
This is a very important relationship to the United States; a very important ally in almost all of the other activities we undertake around the world. They are an important economic partner of the United States. They invest heavily here. They buy heavily here. We have 80,000 troops stationed there. We have a very symbolic and important site to the German Government right by the Brandenburg Gate. We think it is very important to get that embassy, and an appropriate embassy, underway. So, thank you for your support.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KOLBE. Thank you.
BORDER CROSSING CARDS
As I said, let me confine my questions to one area that has to do with Section 104 of the Illegal Immigration Reform Act, the Border Crossing Card area.
Under that act which we passed in 1996, you are supposed to begin taking over the responsibility for adjudicating the Border Crossing Cards on April 1st of this year. That is just two weeks away.
It is supposed to be completed by October 1st, meaning nobody is supposed to cross the border without one of these cards after that date. That means we will have to replace all of them by that time.
My first question is, are you prepared? Are you ready to begin the process of adjudicating new Border Crossing Cards on April 1st?
Ms. COHEN. We are ready to begin that process. As we discussed before you came in, I have only been at the State Department for six months. I have been very impressed with the professional can-do attitude
Mr. KOLBE. Now, you are talking about the replacement. How many new cards did you expect to issue a year? Maybe Ms. Ryan needs to step up here and answer a couple of these questions.
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Ms. RYAN. There are approximately 800,000 new cards per year that are issued. We did a survey and found that there are about 5.5 million cards extant now.
Mr. KOLBE. Does the 800,000 includes ones that you are replacing on a routine basis? Those are new people that have not had one before?
Ms. RYAN. New people who did not have one before.
Mr. KOLBE. Do you expect to have to have 800,000 new ones in the next year to issue and then you have to replace another 5 million cards?
Ms. RYAN. That is right.
Mr. KOLBE. First of all, what have you done to notify people along the border in border communities about this change over of the new responsibilities of the State Department? Are they going to know where to go on April 1st?
Ms. RYAN. Yes, they will know where to go. In fact, two of my staff are in Douglas, Arizona right now discussing this with the mayor. We have an aggressive public affairs campaign underway.
Mr. KOLBE. Excuse me. My time is limited. I know you have a reprogramming request that the Committee is considering. At least temporarily, you will not have facilities. You will not have consulates immediately along the border there.
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Ms. RYAN. No, we will not immediately.
Mr. KOLBE. Nogales is one of the places you are going to have them. Where will they go initially?
Ms. RYAN. Nogales, at the moment, would go to Hermosillo. What we are hoping to do is to have processing facilities which would be run by a contractor with U.S. Government employees in numerous areas.
One of the other things that we are looking at is mobile units that will be able to take the fingerprints, take the photographs, and then bring those applications back to a consulate for adjudication.
Mr. KOLBE. I am just thinking, because for example, Nogales is a five-hour, 200-mile ride by bus from Hermosillo and that is quite a distance. So, you are not saying everybody is going to have to track down to Hermosillo for that.
Ms. RYAN. No. We are not saying that. Initially, perhaps, those people would have to do that. We are trying to get these temporary processing facilities up by August. Then these mobile units would be set up after that.
Mr. KOLBE. Okay. Let me just very quickly because I know my time is up. I just want to follow-up before we lose our train of thought on this. You cannot realistically complete the 5 million replacement by October 1st.
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Ms. RYAN. No, realistically we cannot do that in 18 months.
Mr. KOLBE. When are you going to ask the Congress for a change in the law on that?
Ms. RYAN. I have discussed this informally with the Chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee. He wants to see what kind of a beginning we make to decide whether to support any request for an extension.
So, we will begin on the 1st of April. I hope to have something to show him by the middle of the summer on how well we are doing. Even with the best faith effort, we cannot do it in 18 months, so we would be hoping to bring a request forward.
Mr. KOLBE. INS continues to manufacture the cards. They tell us they have one machine that is operable at the moment, two in renovation, and two on order. So, they really have one machine starting April 1st.
Ms. RYAN. They have promised us that they will meet the demand.
Mr. KOLBE. For the new cards.
Ms. RYAN. For the new cards.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KOLBE. Not the replacements.
Ms. RYAN. Well, for anybody who shows up to have this.
Mr. KOLBE. So, the problem is not INS, the actual production of the cards. It is your adjudicating them in the process.
Ms. RYAN. It is our own ability to adjudicate and then their ability to produce. Now, they promised us that they will be able to produce
Mr. KOLBE. How ever many adjudications you handle, they will produce the cards.
Ms. RYAN. Yes. That is what they said.
Mr. KOLBE. That is a tall order. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Another collaboration between State and INS. Good luck. Let me very quickly follow-up briefly on that point. Now, INS, they issue border cards at 25 locations along the border.
To followup, you have only 8 consulate posts, 3 along the border in Mexico and a new one about to open in Nogales. You are saying that you think you can compensate for your lack of locations by the mobile units?
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. RYAN. We hope so, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. How many units will you have?
Ms. RYAN. I am not sure yet. We are still working on that. Once we get the temporary processing facilities, we will be able to see what we are going to do in terms of getting these units to move around the border.
Mr. KOLBE. Mr. Chairman, would you yield for just a comment?
Mr. ROGERS. Yes.
Mr. KOLBE. I try generally with my questions in this Subcommittee and the others that I serve on to make my questions of general and not parochial interest.
I am vitally concerned about this because along the border, this is the lifeline of the border. If we cannot issue those border cards commerce collapses along the border.
Ms. RYAN. That is right. We are very well aware of that, sir.
Mr. KOLBE. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Dixon.
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USE OF MACHINE-READABLE VISA FEES
Mr. DIXON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Under Secretary Cohen, regarding the MRV issue, as I understand it, the State Department retains the fees for two years, last year for 1998 and 1999. What impact will it have if you are not allowed to retain the fees for the visas and the cards?
Ms. COHEN. It would have a draconian impact. As you can tell from Ms. Ryan, we have vastly increased challenges, including increased demand for passports, increased demand for visas, and the Border Crossing Card Program. In FY 1999 we have approximately 1,700 people who are paid and work in this area and an estimated $296 million in new fee collections. We would not be able to make that up out of the regular appropriation.
Mr. DIXON. So, it is vital?
Ms. COHEN. Vital.
Mr. DIXON. Vital that you exchange the other cards and keep these fees within the State Department.
Ms. COHEN. Yes.
Mr. DIXON. Last year, we phased out section 245(i). What impact will that have on the 19981999 feesas far as the consular services are concerned?
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Ms. COHEN. That also will have an impact. I think in this particular area, it would be probably be best to hear from Mary Ryan directly.
Mr. DIXON. Ms. Ryan, my question really is that I notice that you are only asking for an additional five consular officers. Is that in anticipation of an increase in the number of people that will have to go out of the country?
Ms. RYAN. We think there will be approximately 200,000 people who will have to leave the country to get their visas. That will have an impact on our overseas operations clearly.
Mr. DIXON. Then why have you only requested five new positions on page 22 of the budget? I may be reading from the wrong line on the budget. As I understand it, you are only requesting an increase of five positions in the 1998 budget. If there are going to be over 200,000 people, is that an adequate increase to cover what you anticipate?
Mr. GREENE. I think our assumption is that the bulk will really start kicking in, in the year 2000. It could be revocation of 245(i). That is the year that you will put it forward and hopefully go in for a previously mentioned budget increase to support this.
Mr. DIXON. Ms. Ryan says it will be at least
Mr. GREENE. The budgeting strategies will distort the figures for the BCC.
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Mr. DIXON. Okay. I know from the newspaper, Under Secretary Cohen, that there was some breach of security at the executive level. I am not interested in the particulars of it. Has there been an evaluation made of the security that we are presently operating?
Ms. COHEN. Yes. An extensive evaluation was made. Changes in procedures have been implemented. In addition, Under Secretary Pickering and I will be having an open forum with the State Department personnel tomorrow to reemphasize the importance of security procedures. We are putting increased emphasis, as I have mentioned in my testimony, on individual responsibility for security in the building and everywhere. We have taken very decisive steps.
Mr. DIXON. On March 9th, you indicated that it has not been determined what documents were removed. Have you now made that determination?
Ms. COHEN. That is still being studied.
Mr. DIXON. Well, that would indicate to me rather lax security, if some nine days later you are not sure what documents were taken. I am not asking you to tell me what documents were taken.
Ms. COHEN. As I understand the procedure, there are certain documents that are inventoried, specified, and other documents that are batched. We are now in the process with the FBI of analyzing exactly what was involved in that situation.
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Mr. DIXON. Your answer would indicate to me that there is a serious lack of security. Would it indicate that to you? I do not want to press it, but only to the extent that, certainly I would think that the security procedures in place at the moment, as it relates to documents, allow you to know immediately what documents are taken.
I understand that there may be batches of documents. If I ask you, do you know what individual documents were taken, could you say that you have identified that there were a substantial number or not? Do you get my point here? I mean, the fact that nine days later we are not sure what was taken would indicate that perhaps security has not been well-structured.
Ms. COHEN. Security, I think, for everyone in the Department is of paramount concern. It is for the Secretary. It is for me. Any breach of security is unfortunate and really not to be tolerated.
We are looking into this with the FBI. We feel that we have a fix on the number of documents. I do not want to say conclusively. That really is in the hands of the FBI. Let me say this though, immediately after that incident we took steps to correct what was the specific weakness in that case.
We are taking additional steps to ensure that security is of paramount concern of everyone in the building and that everyone understands their roles and their responsibilities. We have the appropriate security procedures in place.
Mr. DIXON. Thank you, Madam Under Secretary. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. ROGERS. Thank you. What was the specific weakness that was corrected?
Ms. COHEN. I would be glad to discuss this with you in a closed session.
Mr. ROGERS. That is fair. Mr. Taylor.
EMBASSY FACILITIES IN RUSSIA
Mr. TAYLOR. Madam Under Secretary, I appreciate our efforts in BeijingBerlin last year. If you saw the planning, we are over in the left area near the plans you are performing.
Berlin, as you know the whole city is under construction. I am concerned right now about Russia. I will limit my remarks to that area. There is a window of opportunity I think the world has in increasing democracy in Russia and the market system.
History would show that would be the best thing. The people are very much interested in Russia in that benefit. Your Department is key. I appreciate the efforts that the Under Secretary made and you have started.
You mentioned in your comments that there are a variety of activities all the way toI would like to, if you could, give me some of the specifics across Russia. I agree with you. There is an enormous amount of work that could be done, and maybe a general indication of what costs are going to be in the near term, at least in this Congress and perhaps the next.
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Ms. COHEN. As you know, I did visit Moscow. We are in the process of rebuilding our embassy there.
Mr. TAYLOR. Sure.
Ms. COHEN. That is currently on budget and on schedule. The cost of that is $240 million now.
Mr. TAYLOR. We could sell that many in bugs. What about outside of Moscow in the countryside? You know we have 11 time zones in the country. The trade groups, the business visas, the students, individual Russians, it is an enormous task and yet it is so well-deserved right now.
Ms. COHEN. I have talked with Ambassador Pickering about the demand for the deployment of personnel. It is of concern to us. We also have limited resources. We are looking at innovative ways that we can try to meet some of the demands.
We have an example that came up. It was the example of adoptions, where there has been a great increase in U.S. citizens adopting in Russia. To make people come into Moscow is very difficult with new babies. We do not have proposals currently on alternatives, but we would be glad to discuss that further with you.
Mr. TAYLOR. What about Vladivostok? There have been costs there. Now, I am particularly interested in that, but also with other locations, assuming there are those on this Committee who would make it a priority for funds to be available, given the things you just outlined.
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Ms. COHEN. Our priority in Russia is to get the Moscow embassy opened and fully operating. Currently, that is where our attention is going in terms of resources and personnel. We are aware, however of the demand in other places.
Mr. TAYLOR. You are not doing anything in the East? I had language in our bill two terms ago. I understood we were going to make some efforts. I know Moscow has 10 million people.
The real concern I have is given the infrastructure. Anyone else who is trying to get involved with American business, travel, and that sort of thing have an enormous task to come all the way to Moscow. As bad as our facilities might be, they are not terrible, but will be welcome. We do have a presence there.
Ms. COHEN. We do. I have been briefed on that presence, security issues, and other issues around it. We have limited resources. We are giving the priority currently to Moscow.
Hearing of your interest, I would be glad along with people from the policy side, to sit down with you and explore opportunities.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Latham.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDEFENSE DEPARTMENT IN FOREIGN POLICY
Mr. LATHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome, Madam Secretary. I have maybe been a little frustrated. We are about to pursue the supplemental bill and report on our spending for Defense to carry out the policy which is an act through the State Department. I really very frustrated. We have about 300 soldiers in El Salvador building clinics and schools, drilling wells, building roads; and 500 soldiers in Honduras doing much of the same thing.
We still have 70 or 80 that, may still be picking up garbage off the beaches and directing traffic. I just wonder how does the State Department's policy that the Department of Defense is trying to enact, how do I go back home and justify to the people in my district that additional resources are needed for Defense in this supplemental, when we are doing all of these things that should be in the Peace Corps operation? I mean these are not roles for the military.
Ms. COHEN. First, let me say
Mr. LATHAM. You probably do have an interest. There is frustration by the State Department in the Administration. We have people in the military on active duty in 130 different countries. And some are in two or three embassies, active.
We are asking for supplementals all of the time. In fact, this is the fourth year that I have been in Congress in which a supplemental is needed for Defense and yet the Administration is willing to cut Defense every year. Go ahead, please.
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Ms. COHEN. I was going to say first, I do the management of the State Department.
YEAR 2000 COMPLIANCE
Mr. LATHAM. We will re-dress that. How are you doing on the year 2000 compliance problem?
Ms. COHEN. I understood the question. We are addressing it. We have 78 mission-critical systems. We, like others, I think really everybody in the Federal Government and in private industry, have a process that first you assess the problem and then you decide how to address the problem. Then you begin to address the problem.
You actually do not know where you are until you test. We are not at the testing. We have a pretty good handle on where we are now. We have revised schedules so that these 78 systems are accepted to be in compliance a year from now, and that we will not be finding out at the last minute whether or not we have been successful.
I think we have a very good management system in place. People are giving it the kind of priority it deserves. But this is a big problem.
Mr. LATHAM. As you are aware, Congressman Horn, the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee, rated all of the departments, including the State Department. They do not expect it to be in compliance until the year 2014. Do you dispute that?
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Ms. COHEN. I would say that was done before I got to State. We are really working very hard on this. I do not think that we will show up like that again.
I have talked to a lot of people in private industry. I just caution everybody that people who were scored from A to E really do not know where they are until they test these systems. You are correcting so many lines of code, that if I sit here and tell you we are in the midst of all of these corrections, that you can count on us to be there, no one can tell you that with confidence. We have given it high priority.
Mr. LATHAM. For how long?
Ms. COHEN. For how long have we given it a high priority? I think the Department has been working on it right along. I have given it my highest priority since I got there. There are very few things that have a deadline like that, where you will know whether you have made it or not.
Mr. LATHAM. I am curious, you issue a lot of time sensitive documents; passports, visas. What happens with them? If you have a ten-year passport issued in 1998, does the computer think it is 1908?
Ms. COHEN. The consular area is the farthest of all the State Department in becoming year 2000 compliant.
Mr. LATHAM. So, do you think it is going to be around 2006?
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Ms. COHEN. No. I do not believe that. I think that they will be ready.
Mr. LATHAM. What would happen?
Ms. RYAN. They are issuing passports now for ten years. We are issuing visas now for five to ten years.
Mr. LATHAM. I am just saying, in the system, from the time of their expiration, will the computer find that then if you are not in compliance? If someone tried to use an expired passport, say, you are in the year 2005. Your passport expired in the year 2004 and you tried to use it. Would the system say that it was expired?
Ms. COHEN. Yes.
Mr. LATHAM. I just was curious.
In your testimony, and probably something of greater interest or concern is that you say that your global classified area network will not be in compliance before 2000. What happens then as far as the security?
Ms. COHEN. The classified network will be in compliance in the year 2000. What we may not have by that time is classified networks to people's desktops, but we will have a classified network that is compliant.
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Mr. LATHAM. What was the purpose of the system if you cannot load to a desktop?
Ms. COHEN. The first step is to make sure that every location has the ability to receive and send classified information. Geting it to the desktop increases the convenience to people. We will have a compliant classified system in the year 2000.
Mr. LATHAM. But in your testimony on page 9, you say it is not feasible before the year 2005 runs out. ''However a complicated transition of such a system may not be feasible before the year 2005 runs out''.
Ms. COHEN. Yes. We will have a classified network compliant.
Mr. LATHAM. Your network?
Ms. COHEN. Yes. We will have a computer network that is compliant.
Mr. LATHAM. Obviously the Oversight Committee gives the probability of the worst variable now of
Mr. GREENE. Mr. Congressman, I think we are joined by many other agencies. I just want to assure you, to back-up a little bit, of the amount of attention, effort, budgeting, staffing that goes into it. There is not a day that goes by without high level interest, high level attention, meetings, progress reports, details, time lines. We are all going through our 78 mission-critical projects.
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Mr. LATHAM. I appreciate that. I am just saying that I do not have any reason to not believe what the Oversight Committee says. They have said the State Department will not be ready until around 2014 and Department of Defense in the year 2009. I mean, that is their evaluation.
Mr. GREENE. That is their evaluation.
Mr. LATHAM. That raises a real concern.
Mr. GREENE. Their evaluation I think is aimed at focusing attention to the issue.
Mr. LATHAM. Good. I have grave concerns that the security system is going to break down. There are a lot of time-sensitive issues.
Ms. COHEN. It is a top priority. It is getting constant attention. We have brought in additional expertise, brought in leaders in this area to work with us. The State Department is not alone, not that that is comfort to anyone.
Mr. LATHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Madam Secretary, to follow-up on that, you say you have delayed upgrading your classified network in hopes of finding a transition from current systems to an upgraded version. GAO says that the manufacturer of the current system admitted he is not planning on providing an upgrade.
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Ms. COHEN. This is also a system that is used by one of the military units. We have coordinated with them. We have coordinated with the company that provides it. We now have been assured that they will have their system upgraded and ready to run year 2000 compliant in the next two months.
Mr. ROGERS. Is that written on a piece of paper?
Ms. COHEN. Yes.
Mr. ROGERS. Perhaps you could furnish us with that correspondence, either for the record, or if you would prefer privately, which would be fine. Ms. COHEN. We would be glad to.
Mr. ROGERS. If it is sensitive, feel free to submit it to us outside of the record.
[The information referred to follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
USE OF FUNDS FROM SALES OF SURPLUS PROPERTY
Mr. ROGERS. Now, quickly to the embassies. The biggest increase that you have asked for, of course, is security and maintenance abroada net increase of $273 million or 59 percent.
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That includes $250 million for the two embassies that you mentioned: $50 million for Berlin at a total cost of $120 million; and $200 million for Beijing. Yet, due to this Committee's directive of no new money for capital projects, the Department has started an aggressive surplus property sales effort, which expects to bring in $440 million over the 1997 to 1999 time frame. If Berlin and Beijing are your top priorities, I have no quarrel with that.
If they are, why are you not financing those embassies completely out of the money that you expect from the proceeds of property sales? You could finance them plus more; could you not?
Ms. COHEN. We have needs that far outstrip our ability to realize timely sales in the foreseeable future. In addition, the funds that we predict from sales are obviously sensitive to what is happening to the world economy. A number of our sales, even as we submitted this, were anticipated to be in Asia. They are now problematic as a result of the Asian financial crisis.
These two embassies are of such a scale that if we tried to fund them out of the existing budget, we would be unable to fund the other critical priorities of the Department. That would include Nigeria where the capital is moved from Lagos to Abuja. We need to have an embassy there. Sofia, where we now operate in seven unsatisfactory locations. We have a long list of things that we will be funding out of the proceeds that we do receive.
Mr. DIXON. I am wondering if the Chairman would yield on that point?
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Mr. ROGERS. Yes, briefly.
FUNDING FOR BERLIN AND BEIJING EMBASSIES
Mr. DIXON. As I understand it, you are requesting full funding for the Beijing Embassy of $200 million and only $50 million of $120 million for Berlin. Why are you requesting full funding for one and only $50 million for the other?
Ms. COHEN. We actually are not requesting full funding for China. Our needs in China will be in the neighborhood of $400 million.
Mr. DIXON. For construction of the embassy?
Ms. COHEN. For construction of all of the facilities that we need in China.
Mr. ROGERS. Let me get back to the main point here. We directed you and you are doing it. You are selling off your surplus properties. You expect that you are going to get $440 million of those funds in the next two years. Now, what are your top priorities to spend for buildings overseas? I thought I heard that Berlin and China are your two top priorities; are they not?
Ms. COHEN. They are our highest priorities, but we have significant other priorities that we have to fund.
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Mr. ROGERS. I understand that. What I am trying to get you to do is write your priorities and then spend your money that you have from sales of buildings on your top priorities.
My understanding is that you are going to spend the property sales money, if I am reading your justifications correctly, for an ambassador's residence in Slovenia, among other things; staff housing in Korea; staff housing in Vladivostok and so forth.
What I am saying to you is if your top priorities, and I understand that they would be your top priorities, Berlin and China, I have no quarrel at all with that. I do question your logic of taking your sales monies and spending them on non-priority items, hoping to get us to give you some money, which we do not have.
I will be frank with you, $200 million for an embassy in Beijing, at this time, we just do not have the assets. I do not say you are squandering, because you are not. These things are needed. I doubt the priorities.
Ms. COHEN. As you know, we are funding $70 million of the $120 million for the Germany embassy, out of sales proceeds. Quite frankly, if we incorporated the $200 million of China in the budget, there are a whole series of other critical needs that would go unmet. We would be glad to share with you our priority lists and exactly what we will be funding.
Mr. ROGERS. I would like to see that.
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[The information referred to follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Mr. ROGERS. Neither the Berlin embassy nor Beijing have been designed yet, correct?
Ms. COHEN. The Berlin embassy has had an architectural award.
Mr. ROGERS. Conceptual.
Ms. COHEN. Yes.
Mr. ROGERS. You could not begin construction in Berlin until June 2000 and Beijing until June 2001. Would it not make more sense to fund the design of these buildings, find out the real cost, the actual cost, and then fund the construction monies closer to the time that construction would start, rather than try to get the money upfront than later, two or three years?
Ms. COHEN. Following through on the example of Berlin, we anticipate that the architectural and engineering drawings are in the neighborhood of $10 million. It is not the policy of OMB to undertake doing that kind of work unless we are confident that we will have the appropriations to then go to contract and to build.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. Well, this Subcommittee funds the Bureau of Prisons, for example. I do not mean to say that prisons are like embassies. I will leave that judgment to others. What we do is one year we fund the design and the engineering awards. Then the next year we fund the one-year construction monies.
Then the next year we do the next year's construction monies and everybody is happy. We do not have money laying unused out there. Yet, they know from habit and custom that we will follow through year-to-year if they do it the proper way. Is that not a reasonable way to go about these buildings?
Ms. COHEN. That has not been the policy. It is very distinct relative to construction.
Mr. ROGERS. I know that. How well we know that. Can we talk to you about change? I know that word does not exist at the State Department, but can we spell it for you? C-H-A-N-G-E.
Ms. COHEN. We, of course, will be glad to talk to you.
Mr. ROGERS. I think that would be a good idea.
Now, on the Berlin embassy, the plan for many years, ever since I have been around here, has been that we would pay for the embassy there out of the proceeds out of the sale of property in Germany in which we are wealthy.
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The major reason there is now a request for $50 million because you say the Department is not being allowed to sell one site, the Radio in the Allied Sector Site, an antennae site in Berlin at its maximum economic value which can be as much as $70 million, we are told. Instead, that Berlin zoning limitations may limit the sale price to $10 million or so. It seems to me that Berlin needs to let us sell that property at its proper value and we would have no problem. You would have your money and you could do all of this. What do you think?
Ms. COHEN. You and I had a chance to meet on this before my trip to Berlin.
Mr. ROGERS. Did it do any good?
Ms. COHEN. I communicated to the mayor and the chancellor's representative on Berlin our concerns and your concerns. We have not heard back yet. I certainly expressed your feelings, as I understood them.
Mr. ROGERS. I am glad that you did. My feelings expressed to you to convey to them was if they want the nice, beautiful American embassy building there, then they need to welcome us with open arms rather than try to rob us of our money.
When they insist upon zoning that property so as to reduce its price from $70 million to $10 million, it does not sound like a very welcome, open-armed invitation. We are not about to go ahead with this thing until they are more reasonable in their practices. I am not asking for a response.
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MACHINE-READABLE VISA FEES
Now, machine readable visas. When the 1998 budget was presented, you anticipated $140 million in fees. Of course, the original proposal was to require that those fees be appropriated. Because the fees have since been increased to reflect the true cost of delivering the service, the fees are now anticipated to bring in $235 million. Why should not that additional $95 million be considered a windfall in 1998?
Ms. COHEN. I think the workload demand on the consular area is such that the growth in machine readable visa fees is being well-used by us. I would ask Mary to come forward.
Ms. RYAN. We have a very elaborate border security program which is funded totally from MRV fees. Every post in the world has automatic look-out capability, name check capability.
Over half of the visa workload at posts utilize the modernized visa system. Every visa issuing post has the MRV system installed. We have developed more sophisticated
Mr. ROGERS. My question is you anticipated at first the fees would bring in $140 million. Now, they are going to bring in $235 million. You got a bonus of $95 million. Is that not a bonus and what are you going to do with it?
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. RYAN. In a way, you can say it is a bonus. Then we were given this requirement in Mexico to issue the Border Crossing Cards, so we figure that is going to be another about $20 million.
Mr. ROGERS. That leaves you $75 million.
Ms. RYAN. The entire added cost of MRV2 of $20 million is funded this way. We hope to award a contract in April for digitized passport photographs. That is $17 million. We need another $8 million for higher passport workload.
The workload is constantly going up. We are spending about an additional $5 million on the class system to improve our ability to identify people on the look-out system.
Mr. ROGERS. The question was not are you able to spend $95 million. The question is, is it prudent to spend that money this year or wait and see what 1999 brings to be sure that you are not crunched next year.
Ms. RYAN. Some of these costs we are going to have to cover this year. We did not get anything additional for Mexico for the Border Crossing Cards, so we are going to have to spend that money. That $20 million is an estimate. We will begin on the 1st of April and then we will see.
Mr. ROGERS. I understand. That is the one new set of costs that could not have been anticipated, but the others?
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. RYAN. We want to keep up with what we think we need to do in terms of funding. We do not think it is wise to hold onto the money and hope that we will take in enough so that we do not need to spend this now; that maybe we will need it in 1999. I think when we know what we need or what we recognize as additional costs, that we should spend this on that now.
Mr. GREENE. Mr. Chairman, it shows our commitment to having a superior security program; trying to stay up with technologies, trying to stay up with people, making investments as necessary. I guess you could look at all of the other components, employee security
Mr. ROGERS. Well, you are assuming when you do this that you are going to get all that you ask for, for 1999. I cannot assure you of that. We are still under the same spending caps that we were under last year's budget arrangement.
We are going to have to cover some offsets from other expenditures, Bosnia, disasters, and all of that. This means that we are not going to have as much as we had last year to spend on our agencies.
I am just saying to you there is a balanced budget only in name. The balanced budget requested by the Administration assumes a lot of things: that we are going to settle the tobacco question and get $100 million; that we are going to raise fees on the Coast Guard; that we are going to raise fees on this, that, and so forth for hundreds of millions of dollars. I am here to tell you that those things are not going to happen, which means that we have got to find money from somewhere to even keep you level with last year.
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Anybody who is spending now in anticipation that you are going to get rich next year, be careful. Even before you get the $95 million windfall, your border security program has been increasing robustly. The fiscal year 1996 actual dollars were $84.5 million. It went in 1997 to an estimated $150 million. Your 1998 request was for $198.8 million. It is now $274 million.
Ms. COHEN. Mr. Chairman, being at State for such a short time, I am not familiar with the intricacies in the programs. I have had numerous discussions with Mary and her people on what they are spending their money on. It is an investment program. They are getting ready for, and trying to service, what is an ever-increasing demand, both in terms of American citizens for passports and foreigners for visas, as well as a dramatically increasing demand from Congress for greater border security and more checks on people who get visas.
One of the agencies that people would have rated on a report card four or five years ago very low would have been the consular area. Now, people are proposing to give them some of the functions from INS. I think that is because they have made these kinds of investments, but they are really critical. If they cannot make those investments, you will be facing a system that could break down and cause enormous delays in people applying for visas, or people applying for passport renewals, Border Crossing Cards, all of those.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, while on that subject, machine readable visa fees have been increasingly used to cover operating costs for consular affairs. From funds in fiscal year 1995 to $99 million in fiscal year 1998 to a proposed $137 million in fiscal year 1999.
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Yet, my understanding is that these funds have simply substituted for appropriated funds. They have not been used to provide any increases for consular staffing, despite crushing workloads in many of the posts overseas.
Why have not any of the increasing machine readable visa fee revenues been used to increase staffing for consular operations to relieve what appear to be an overwhelming workload?
Ms. RYAN. We have spent the money on infrastructure and technology because we were so far behind on that. Before Congress gave us this authorization on the MRV fees, we were automating an average of six to eight posts per year. We are able to do 100 in a year now.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, let me ask the Secretary this. Isn't one of the main problems that the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, who reports to you, has no control over consular staffing at post? Those staffing levels are set by the regional bureaus, and they generally put consular matters at the very bottom of their priorities. That is the real story here, isn't it?
Ms. COHEN. There is a tension there. There are compromises reached. There are enormous demands on staffing in the State Department for the other functions of the State Department as well.
Ms. RYAN. Mr. Chairman, we have not been able to hire junior foreign service officers in sufficient numbers for the past four years. So, we are facing that type of shortfall. This year, we are going to hire at attrition level. That will be a real benefit to consular sections because most of the entry level positions are in consular work.
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The other thing that we are doing is working on overseas staffing, where the consular is a discrete figure. We are working post-by-post to determine what the optimum staffing level is at each post. Then we will be going to the Under Secretary and asking her for appropriate staffing.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, to get back to the computers; last year the Department provided a strategic plan for computer modernization that said that you needed $2.7 billion for the four-year period from 1997 to 2001.
If anything, the overall cost is going up. We have increased funding tremendously$21 million above the budget request in 1998. But with modernization funding amounting to about $300 million a year, that still would leave a gap, a big gap, in funding. How can you get there? What are the funding gaps between what we have provided and what you feel you need?
Ms. COHEN. We feel that if we can get the FY 1999 request level that level of request on an annual basis it will allow us to modernize the Department. We will not have the gap.
Mr. ROGERS. The point I am making is you say that the total cost was going to be $2.7 billion over a five-year period. We are only funding $300 million a year. Five times $300 million is $1.5 billion. Does that not leave you a billion or two short?
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Ms. COHEN. We're using different numbers. We, in total, show that our computer expenses, including people, are in the neighborhood of $500 million.
Mr. GREENE. Mr. Chairman, when you include our ongoing operations of our worldwide information technology programs, plus the additional amount we have asked for in this capital investment fund, you get up to the level of about $575 million in FY 1999. Take that and multiply it times 5 and that gets you out to the $2.7 billion level that we were talking about over the five-year period.
Mr. ROGERS. Yes. Does your strategic plan that you gave us last year, does it provide a request together with baseline funding that would get to the $2.7 billion over a five-year period?
Mr. GREENE. Provided we get appropriated our request.
DIPLOMATIC SECURITY AND THE FBI
Mr. ROGERS. How is the Bureau of Diplomatic Security working with the FBI on the law enforcement front? Are you getting along okay?
Ms. COHEN. Yes. They seem to be working quite closely together.
Mr. ROGERS. Is the Bureau participating in the discussions about the FBI expansions overseas?
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Mr. GREENE. Mr. Chairman, there is very close cooperation on the staff. In fact, we had conversations on that this morning.
Mr. ROGERS. Any significant jurisdictional issues between the role of State and the FBI at any post?
Mr. GREENE. Not that was brought to our attention. We think it is working.
REINVENTING THE STATE DEPARTMENT
Mr. ROGERS. Now, as part of the planning for consolidation of the Foreign Affairs Agencies, one of their eight major tasks is the re-invention of the State Department. How are you planning to reinvent yourselves on the part of that effort, briefly?
I say that because the Department has a Secretary, a Deputy Secretary, five Under Secretaries, 29 Bureaus, 32 Assistant Secretaries, and 81 Deputy Assistant Secretaries. Is that an efficient management structure?
Ms. COHEN. The Secretary has been very involved with the Under Secretaries in an effort to reinvent the State Department. We obviously have a number of different management reform initiatives, including the ones that you have asked us about today, which are ICASS, the computers, the overseas staffing model. We are doing things in FDO. Obviously we are doing a number of things in the consular area. We also are involved in planning for the appropriate allocation of functions and high level people in connection with the consolidation. There is a group working on that. They will be moving forward.
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Mr. ROGERS. Well, Madam Secretary, we thank you for your attention. This is your first voyage with this Subcommittee and I assume the Senate the same way.
When I first started practicing law, I went to a small town to practice law. I learned that the circuit judge, the trial judge, who was an elderly gentleman at that time, and a wise old man, had a practice and a custom.
The lawyer who was trying his first case always won in his court. I did not know that when I won my first case. I walked out of the room very proud of myself. But then I learned that later it was not my talents that got me through. That it was the judge's custom. We do not have such a rule here.
We are going to try to help you every year that you are here to do your job because we have common constituents. We work with the same people. So, we want to be helpful rather than critical or harmful.
We want to be constructively critical in a positive way. So, we want you to understand our frame of mind that when we ask you questions, we are trying to be helpful. I know the State Department has been underfunded now for 12 years or better.
We tried to make up some of the lost ground last year. We still have a ways to go. We understand that we are limited on what monies we are able to get to spend. We do have some agencies within our coverage like Justice, the War on Drugs, and so forth that also have funding needs.
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So, we trust that you will understand our predicament. We want to work with you day-to-day and month-to-month. As you run across difficulties that you think we can be helpful on, we trust you will pick up the telephone and let us know. We will try to be helpful as best we can.
Ms. COHEN. I want to thank you. I know from the people I work with and from the Secretary that you are a very good friend of the State Department, as is your staff. I look forward to working with you more closely.
There are important issues. We have been underfunded. I, in particular, look forward to hearing from people who know a lot about the State Department who have been working on its issues for a number of years. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you. Good luck to you.
Ms. COHEN. Thanks.
Mr. ROGERS. The hearing is adjourned.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Thursday, April 23, 1998.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND PEACEKEEPING
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AMBASSADOR BILL RICHARDSON, U.S. PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
AMBASSADOR PRINCETON LYMAN, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Mr. ROGERS. The committee will come to order. We are pleased to welcome Ambassador Bill Richardson and Ambassador Princeton Lyman to the subcommittee. Mr. Ambassador, it is good to welcome you back to the friendly confines of your old stomping ground on the Hill. We are pleased to hear your testimony briefly.
This hearing is about the funding by this Subcommittee on the assessments for international organizations and peacekeeping activities, including the United Nations. We have tried to be helpful in a number of ways, including your efforts to address the United Nations arrearage issue in return for real and substantial reforms in an organization in need of fundamental reform.
The United Nations is an important institution. We need to maintain our standing in it, provided there is a willingness to make the necessary changes to remedy its weaknesses. We can't solve all of the problems, but we have tried to be helpful within the context of what is achievable as we operate under tremendous financial constraints here.
However, with respect to peacekeeping, there are growing concerns that the process of consultation is not being taken sufficiently seriously. We do our best to assure that taxpayer funds are being spent wisely. That is the role the Constitution has assigned to us. We hope to discuss with you issues relating to arrearages and peacekeeping and I am sure the Members of the Subcommittee will have a number of other issues to raise with you.
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We will make your written statement a part of the record. We would be happy to have you summarize it for us. Ambassador Richardson, the floor is yours. Ambassador Lyman, we are pleased to have you as well.
Opening Statement of Ambassador Richardson
Mr. RICHARDSON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Skaggs. Let me first say what a pleasure it is to be back on Capitol Hill among my former colleagues. As you said, Mr. Chairman, I will be submitting a longer, more detailed statement for the record. I would like to take a few moments now to outline the key elements of the President's funding request for international organizations and peacekeeping for the upcoming fiscal year.
As both President Clinton and the Secretary of State have made clear, America's active engagement in the United Nations and other international organizations is a fundamental element of our foreign policy objectives at a time when transnational multilateral issues from environmental degradation, weapons of mass destruction, to the spread of infectious disease and the global drug trade are increasingly taking center stage in the international arena, the role of the U.N. system and its affiliated agencies performing on a daily basis, and they are furthering America's national interest.
I just returned from a trip to the Middle East, to the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. In nearly every country I visited, there are tangible examples of the important work that the United Nations and its affiliated agencies are performing on a daily basis. In the Middle East, U.N. weapons inspectors are preventing Saddam Hussein from maintaining or rebuilding his weapons of mass destruction. And in Afghanistan where I just returned, UNICEF and other U.N. agencies are caring for refugees, saving lives and defending women who are being denied their basic human rights by that nation's Taliban rulers.
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I would also add, Mr. Chairman, that it is the U.N. peace effort led by Ambassador Brahimi of Algeria that is right now in the process of conducting peace talks that may bring peace to that troubled land. Of course these examples only scratch the surface of what the U.N. does on a regular basis to maintain international peace and security and further America's national interests. If I may cite just a few examples.
U.N. war crimes tribunals in Bosnia and Rwanda are bringing those charged with crimes against humanity to justice. In North Korea, the International Atomic Energy Agency is protecting Americans from the dangers of nuclear proliferation. The World Health Organization is containing and preventing disease. In fact, it is estimated that the WHO's efforts to eradicate smallpox can save the American people more than $17 billion. The Food and Agriculture Organization is enhancing international trade and agricultural products, which benefits our highly competitive and export driven agricultural producers.
But, Mr. Chairman, first, nothing in recent months has so graphically illustrated how the United Nations serves to advance America's interests as the work of the U.N. Special Commission in Iraq. UNSCOM, or the U.N. inspectors, is clearly key to eliminating the threat posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the production facilities for such weapons, indisputably a major national interest of the United States. It has carried out its work forthrightly and courageously, despite repeated intimidation on the part of Saddam Hussein, and it has met with considerable success. Executive Chairman Butler frequently reminds us that more Iraqi weapons of mass destruction have been eliminated, thanks to UNSCOM's efforts, than during the Gulf War.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I recognize that the arrangement Secretary General Annan negotiated in Baghdad for access to sensitive sites have been subjected to criticism in some quarters. We do not agree with this criticism because, as Richard Butler has stated, the agreement fully preserves UNSCOM's authority. This criticism of the Secretary General's diplomacy also tends to obscure the main point here, that without the UNSCOM mechanism established by the Security Council and operating under its authority, we would have had no means in the first place, even with massive military action, for eliminating Iraq's threats to its neighbors and to ourselves. Here truly we are enlisting the help of others in pursuit of goals that we support.
Mr. Chairman, we are requesting for this year $931 million for contributions to International Organizations in fiscal year 1999. In my view, this represents a minimal investment towards furthering and promoting American interests around the globe, and it is of paramount importance that the Congress fund this request in full. Any appropriation less than this amount would cause the United States to incur new arrears in addition to those we have already accumulated.
Mr. Chairman, the administration is also requesting $231 million for international peacekeeping activities. This request represents the absolute minimum we will need to pay our share of the cost of ongoing U.N. peacekeeping missions. It will allow us no room to respond to evolving world crises. For example, the situation in Kosovo continues to threaten peace and stability in the Balkans and could increase the importance of the UNPREDEP mission. In addition, as I said, I have just returned from Afghanistan where we made a significant breakthrough in achieving peace, or potential peace, for that war torn nation. I cannot rule out the possibility that the United Nations may be called in the future to solidify this opportunity for peace.
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The essentially unpredictable nature of international peacekeeping underscores the critical importance of fully funding this account. Unexpected crises or conflicts could easily arise and the United Nations must be able to respond. Moreover, the United States must also be able to bear its fair share of the cost, particularly at a time when U.N. peacekeeping is serving vital U.S. interests and may do so again in the near future.
Over the past several years, U.N. peacekeeping has undergone significant reform, in large part due to Members of Congress. The cost of U.N. peacekeeping has declined from $3.5 billion in the mid-1990s to less than $1 billion today. In addition, the number of troops in the field has dwindled from 78,000 to under 15,000. Moreover, peacekeeping proposals today are more systematically reviewed for size, mission, exit strategy and appropriateness. For example, for the U.N. operation in Central African Republic, we negotiated a tight, limited mandate. We secured extra, nonreimbursed funding from France. Finally, we enabled peacekeepers to continue containing the situation that if allowed to fester could plunge the volatile central African region into greater violence and bloodshed.
Peacekeeping operations such as the one in the Central African Republic are in America's financial and political best interests. They help prevent wider conflict, and they defend American interests. For example, when Rwanda self-destructed in a wave of genocidal killings 4 years ago, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, were killed. In the wake of the violence, the United States spent $700 million in humanitarian relief, an amount equal to a year's worth of development aid for all of sub-Saharan Africa. The aid we spent in Rwanda represents a pound of cure for problems that potentially could have been solved with an ounce of prevention.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With limited international investments, peacekeeping operations from El Salvador to Namibia and Guatemala and Mozambique have brought peace to war torn lands while protecting America's national interests. With similar investment we can help bring a lasting peace to people of the Central African Republic. I urge the Congress to release funding for this peacekeeping operation.
Mr. Chairman, while I have this opportunity to discuss U.N. peacekeeping, I would like to correct a lingering misperception that I continue to hear emanating from the Congress, the notion that the U.N. somehow owes the U.S. money for international peacekeeping operations, such as Bosnia and even the Persian Gulf, that we undertook on our own in order to protect America's national interests. The fact is that if the United Nations ceased to exist, American soldiers would still be working to bring peace to Bosnia and would today continue to be patrolling the no-fly zone over Iraq. Of course, because the U.N. does exist, U.N. inspectors, UNSCOM, are preventing Saddam Hussein from maintaining his weapons of mass destruction. And because the United Nations exists, a new civilian police is being trained to patrol the streets of Sarajevo.
While many U.S.-led operations have been given an international stamp of approval in the form of a U.N. Security Council resolution, they were not U.N. peacekeeping operations which were organized and budgeted by the Security Council. Simply because the U.N. endorses an operation does not mean it has to pay for it as well. If such a precedent were broadly accepted, nations, including America, would be forced to cover costs that they never agreed to bear.
In fact, U.S. taxpayers could be asked to reimburse other nations for their non-U.N. peacekeeping operations, such as the recent Italian-led effort in Albania or operations in Liberia. I cannot imagine that any member of this committee would endorse such a costly financial arrangement for American taxpayers.
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Mr. Chairman, while I recognize that this hearing is not designed to address the question of U.N. arrears, I would be remiss if I didn't take advantage of this captive and influential audience here today to stress the importance of this issue. As you all well know, the United States has been in arrears to the United Nations for years. The continued failure to pay these outstanding debts has led to a significant weakening of our position and our international credibility in New York. When I go to my fellow ambassadors and ask for their support or votes on resolutions or agenda items, my position is weakened by America's debtor status. In addition, for several years the United States has sought to lower the percentage of our annual dues to the United Nations. Our efforts were fundamentally undermined when this legislation was defeated last year. Now, the United Nations has recently given us a second chance by agreeing to reopen the issue. If we have no appropriation by May, the window of opportunity to lower our assessment will close until the year 2000, potentially costing the American taxpayer more than $100 million per year.
Mr. Chairman, I know that you have proposed paying a portion of our arrears, $505 million, in the emergency supplemental. That is an honest effort on your part. However, our friends and partners in the U.N. will not agree to lower our assessment or meet our benchmarks if we don't pledge to pay our full arrears throughout the U.N. system. A payment of $505 million fails to pay arrears for those U.N. agencies that most directly impact the lives of the American people, such as the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and International Labor Organization. It would be unwise to address our interests in peacekeeping in a U.N. headquarters while at the same time turning our back to the interest of American farmers and workers.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, it is essential that the President's arrears request be fully funded and it must not be tied to any unrelated domestic issues. Of course on a larger level, I don't think any American believes that the United States should abdicate its international credibility and leadership position at the U.N. by failing to pay our dues. Other nations that America depends on for military, economic or political support have good reason to doubt our sincerity and commitment to the ideals we articulate when, as the world's richest and most powerful nation, we are unable to muster the resources to maintain a strong and vibrant United Nations.
America remains the world's indispensable nation, but as the calls for our active engagement grow, we know that we possess neither the resources nor the wherewithal to be the world's policeman. We cannot guarantee a world that is stable and at peace by flying solo. By working through international organizations such as the U.N., America will be able to more effectively meet the vast international challenges of the 21st century.
In my view the U.N. enjoys the support of the American people, it deserves the support of the Congress, it has been reforming itself, and it demands the full force of American leadership and engagement.
Mr. Chairman, as I mentioned, I have a statement for the record. I would ask Assistant Secretary Lyman to be available to answer some of the questions that perhaps need to be supplemented by the committee.
[The statement of Mr. Richardson follows:]
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Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Lyman, do you care to make an opening statement?
Mr. LYMAN. No, that is fine.
ARREARS OWED TO THE U.N.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador, for your statement.
This is the second year that we are grappling with the issue of paying arrearages at U.N. and other international organizations in return for substantial reforms. For the past year, we have been given charts and graphs and testimony indicating that the amount that the administration believes we owe the U.N. for arrearages, the amount you are seeking, is $712 million, $54 million for the U.N. regular budget and $658 million for U.N. peacekeeping. Let me get it straight. Is $712 million the amount that State has indicated we owe the U.N.? Is that the correct figure?
Mr. LYMAN. Mr. Chairman, the U.N. system includes more than headquarters and peacekeeping. That is where I think the distinction comes. All the nations who are at the U.N. headquarters are also members of the Food and Agricultural Organization and WHO. So our arrears to the U.N. system are more than $712 million. But you are correct about the figures for peacekeeping and U.N. headquarters. But if you are speaking about the U.N. system, one has to also add the arrears related to the U.N. specialized agencies.
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Mr. ROGERS. But as I understand it, the Secretary General indicates that the arrearage he expects us to pay is for the U.N. operation headquartered in New York, is that not correct?
Mr. LYMAN. The Secretary General does not have direct operational control over the specialized agencies even though they are part of the U.N. system.
Mr. ROGERS. I want to get at the United Nations arrearages. We will deal with other international organizations in another session here. Another question, if you will. I want to try to nail down what figure it is we are trying to come up with. Is it $712 million arrearages to the U.N. itself?
Mr. LYMAN. I don't want to get hung up on a semantics question.
Mr. ROGERS. Understand, we deal with dollar figures here. We do not deal with semantics or policy. We deal with dollar figures. Give me a figure.
Mr. LYMAN. I want to give you a very accurate figure, because there are agencies that are part of the U.N. system, and so I want to be careful. When you talk about the U.N. regular budget, you are absolutely correct, $54 million is the arrears. If you talk about U.N. peacekeeping, that is correct, $658 million. There are other U.N. agencies which have additional arrears. That is the best way I can describe it.
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, let me see if I can answer your question, because I think you did attempt in your supplemental to address this issue. You recommended $505 million to be appropriated in FY 1999 for U.N. arrears. We feel we need $921 million. This is why. Because when you add the $100 million that was appropriated but not available for arrears last year, this totals $1.02 billion. The United States claims we intend to pay international organizations, including the U.N. system, $1.021 billion. Now, this is taking into account U.S. legislative restrictions and policy withholdings. In other words, this is what we say we plan to pay because of a lot of policy initiatives by the Congress, many of which we agree with, including the lowering of the rate of assessment. The United Nations claims we owe $1.3 billion in arrears as of December 31, 1997. The discrepancy, and as we agreed in the congressional legislation in the authorizing bill, the so-called Helms-Biden bill, there is $418 million for U.N. headquarters which would be placed in a contested arrears account, which would not count against the possible loss of vote. What is happening, Mr. Chairman, is that unless we deal with these arrears, we are in danger of losing our vote at the U.N.
Let me just conclude with the $505 million appropriated for U.N. arrears. The House Appropriations Committee recommendation includes funds, as you said, only for U.N. headquarters, and not the U.N. agencies and other international organizations to which the United States owes money. We participate in them. They help us. They work for our interests. The $505 million does not also take into account the $107 million which, according to OMB and CBO, must be appropriated in order to allow the U.N. to credit U.S. arrears to peacekeeping. So there is a need for at least $612 million to be appropriated for the U.N. What we are asking for in the supplemental, Mr. Chairman, is $921 million. The $505 million only takes care of our debt to U.N. headquarters and not to these other agencies where we participate.
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. The point I wanted to make wasI have not spoken to the Secretary General. He has not spoken to me. But I read in the newspapers that he demands of us the arrearage for the U.N. dues. I am having some difficulty keeping up with the shifting shell game here. But we provided, unlike the Senate, who gave nothing in the supplemental, we made up the $712 million. We gave you $505 million as an advance appropriation, which is unheard of around here. You will have to admit that. This place just does not appropriate moneys for 2 years in advance. But we did that, in an honest effort to try to get the matter resolved, $505 million. That is toward the arrearages. Of the $505 million, $475 million is for fiscal 1999, $30 million of that is for the year 2000. So a portion of the $505 million was advance appropriations. Why? Because we want to show good faith to the U.N. so that in May, when they do their budget, they will feel good about reducing our contribution rate.
That is an advance appropriation. I don't think the United Nations understands that this body just does not do advance appropriations. But we did it in this case in an effort to demonstrate some good faith. So we provided $505 million. When you combine that with $100 million that we gave you in '98 and $107 million that the U.N. owes us that would be made available by the authorization bill, that totals $712 million. That is what we, say that we owe. Where are we wrong?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, let me just say that the $505 million, if I try in May to get the U.N. to lower our assessment from 25 to 22 percent, I will get zero votes. What the U.N. members, it is 184 members, they see the debt to the U.N. as including the specialized agencies. Kofi Annan may not have ultimate jurisdiction over the World Health Organization and others. But these are all part of the U.N. system. What I am trying to stress to you is that you made a good effort. You have been helpful to the U.N. This committee has. The Senate gave us nothing, as you mentioned. But if I am going to go to the United Nations and say we want to pay off our debt to international organizations of $1.021 billion, which they claim is too low, they claim we owe $1.3, these are all member states, the British, the French, these are our allies too, and I come and say that I am now going to pay $505 million, when if you add the numbers, at least that we have and that we need, as $921 million, I am not going to get a vote to lower our assessment, and we are going to continue to be in arrears.
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So what our hope is, Mr. Chairman, is that you consider increasing the amount of $505 million, especially since the Senate, as you put it, did not deal with this, although we think there is hope in their process that they do deal with a strong amount. We also are a little concerned about the provision in the $505 million that links the issue to the population issue. That is of concern, too. That is being settled in another bill. We want these issues separated. But we know the will of the Congress is such that it is moving in the direction of linking the issue.
But, Mr. Chairman, I am not here to say that this committee has not been responsive. It has. You have been good. But what you are giving me is not enough to get out of the arrears, to retain our leverage and to adequately represent our interests in a U.N. that is becoming more important to us.
Mr. ROGERS. The money that we are talking about, the $712 million that we provided in the supplemental appropriations bill, understand, was a supplemental emergency appropriations bill. It was not the regular annual bill. We put it in the emergency bill in order to get the money hopefully before the May U.N. budget setting time. That is the only reason for it to be in an emergency supplemental bill. Otherwise, it would have been in the regular 1999 bill. We can deal with the other 45 organizations that have been brought up here by Ambassador Lyman in the regular process. There is no emergency there. There is no May deadline for us to meet there. So we can deal with them in a more regular basis. What we were trying to do in the supplemental emergency appropriations bill was to try to get those moneys out there to take advantage of the May U.N. deadline.
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Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, if I might. In order to reopen the scale of assessment in May, it is like the Congress. I have got to get votes from 184 countries. These countries say that we owe a certain amount, and they include the specialized agencies.
U.N. ASSESSMENT SCALE
Mr. ROGERS. That did not prevent them, though, from voting themselves a reduction in contributions rate last fall. For example, while they were criticizing us for paying a mere 25 percent of the United Nations budget, 25 countries had their assessment rates reduced to 3 decimal points instead of just 2. That means that 25 countries now pay .001 percent, one thousandth of 1 percent, $13,000, instead of .01, which would be $130,000. Twenty-five countries took advantage of that little loophole, all the while criticizing us for not paying more than 25 percent. Britain dropped, India dropped, Russia went from 4.27 to 2.87 percent. China will now pay a whopping .9 percent instead of a .77 percent, not even a percentage point, by the world's most populous nation. While other countries were vilifying the United States, they took care of themselves. Thank you very much. Is that not true?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, if you had given me my money last year, if the Congress in a bipartisan fashion, which it did and you participated and the authorizers participated in giving me that Helms-Biden bill that would have paid off 94 percent of the U.N. arrears, I could have won us a better deal at the U.N., where we would have gone down to 22 percent and I bet you to 20 percent by the year 2000, which had been our common goals. We would have changed the scale to make it more equitable. We had our own scale proposal. But what happened, Mr. Chairman, was the bill died in the waning days of the Congress because of the population issue, and I went to the scale debate with nothing in my pocket. So a lot of countries took advantage of the scale situation.
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Mr. ROGERS. You are not kidding there. They really fed at the trough. You talk about the highway pork bill in the United States Congress. For God sakes, this was the biggest pork bill in United Nations history.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, there are some reforms that we have pushed in the scales. We have a scales proposal that, for instance, says China has to go to 2 or 3 percent. It is becoming a world superpower. The European Community under our plan and Japan would be at a comparable level. There are some reforms needed there. We think that if we come back in May, if you give me enough weapons and resources and I can say the United States is going to pay our arrears and, by the way, we want a new scale of assessments that is fairer to us and to everybody else, I have got some leverage. But with $505 million, it is not enough, Mr. Chairman. I have to be candid with you, even though you have made some very good faith efforts.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, the figure is $712 million. We will talk about the 45 internationals separately.
Mr. LYMAN. Mr. Chairman, there is a connection for these other countries. It falls to the 14 countries that pay 80, 85 percent, who will pay more if we go down. That is the European Union and Japan, basically. They know that the rules of the U.N. normally are that if you lower the assessment at headquarters, a year later you are supposed to follow through with the same in all these other specialized agencies. What they are going to say to Bill in May is, wait a minute, how do we know if we set in train this reduction to 22 percent that you are going to cover the arrears in the specialized agencies when we go to lowering the assessment rate there. We already have the commitment of one of the specialized agencies to follow automatically from New York and we are trying to get that with the others. So there is a political and financial connection for the countries who vote in May to these other agencies.
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U.N. ASSESSMENTS TO OTHER COUNTRIES
Mr. ROGERS. How did they justify Britain dropping the contribution assessment rate? How did they justify India dropping their contribution rate? How do you justify Russia voting to drop their contribution rate and how in the dickens can they justifyhow did China get their rate so minimally changed? And poor old uncle sucker here who pays 25 percent of the place's operations and these arrearages are for many years past, not current, how in the dickens do they get that and we get slapped in the face?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, China did go up. They were paying even less than that ridiculous amount. They did go up.
Mr. ROGERS. From .77 to .9. That is still less than 1 percent.
Mr. RICHARDSON. But, Mr. Chairman, this is a great legislative body. I can tell you the U.N. thinks the same way we do, we used to do, or I used to do.
Mr. ROGERS. That is scary.
Mr. RICHARDSON. That is, that they say bring the money, pay your debt and a billion dollars is a lot for the U.N. system, and we will respect you, we will give you leverage, we will listen to your reduction from 25 to 22 percent. But if I went to the debate on the scales with nothing in my pocket, zero.
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. Russia went there owing money, did they not? Don't they owe arrearages?
Mr. RICHARDSON. They owe, but not as much as we do.
Mr. ROGERS. But they are not as big as we are.
Mr. LYMAN. But they have made a proposal for paying off their arrears and are doing so.
Mr. ROGERS. But they have not paid it yet and they got reduced.
Mr. LYMAN. They paid about two-thirds.
Mr. ROGERS. But they still owe a substantial sum of money.
Mr. LYMAN. As Ambassador Richardson said, there is a lot wrong with this scale and we were not obviously in a position to get what we wanted, but it is roughly based on GNP and the Russian GNP has in fact declined.
ASSESSMENT RATE REDUCTION
Mr. ROGERS. I only mention Russia in passing. There are 45 countries that owe the United Nations arrearages, is that right or wrong? 45 countries, a good number of which got their contribution rate assessment reduced. Is there anybody else who owes the U.N. money who did not get their assessment rate reduced other than uncle sucker?
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Mr. LYMAN. I have to look at the figures. I don't know.
Mr. ROGERS. I can tell you. I can save you time.
Mr. LYMAN. Okay.
Mr. ROGERS. There was not a single one, other than the United States.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, let me just say that the administration has been trying to reflect the congressional view that we go down from 25 percent to 20 with an intermittent stop at 22. We think that that makes sense. We don't want there to be one country predominantly paying. We believe there should be more equity in the dues argument. But for us to advance our proposal, Mr. Chairman, for us to push for this reform, which we think is a good reform, we need to pay our arrears. And when member states saw that the U.S. didn't pay their arrears and still owed a billion dollars, yet we want to lower our assessment from 25 to 22 to 20 percent, that doesn't give us much leverage.
Mr. ROGERS. It didn't hurt Russia. It didn't hurt 45 other nations from getting theirs reduced because they owed.
Mr. RICHARDSON. We are viewed differently, Mr. Chairman, you know that. We are the most powerful nation in the world. There is a little resentment towards us. We use the U.N. a lot. When nation states saw us using the U.N. with the U.N.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCinspection team, with Iraq, with Korea, on peacekeeping, the U.N. does a lot of things for us. And then we ask them to reform and we ask them to cut staff, we ask them to run more efficiently. That is good. We backed a Secretary General that is a reformer, and then we don't come up with our share of paying our arrears, our credibility is not very strong.
What I am simply asking, Mr. Chairman, I know you are very serious and thorough about this, is give me enough money to go back to the U.N. and try to reform the scale of assessments. This is going to happen in May of this year. If I go back
Mr. ROGERS. That is the reason we provided money in the supplemental appropriations bill.
Mr. RICHARDSON. I can tell you, Mr. Chairman, I won't get it with $505 million.
Mr. ROGERS. You get $712 million. In that bill you got $712 million, which is what you asked for by our calculations. But I don't think it matters, to be frank with you, because 45 countries owe the U.N. so much money from unpaid dues, peacekeeping assessments, that they should have lost their voting rights in the General Assembly like they threatened us, but they haven't. Arrears of the 75 delinquent nations as of December 31, 75 nations are delinquent, those arrears were more than double their yearly assessments. That is the threshold established by the U.N. charter for being bounced as a voting member of the General Assembly. But in January, only 30 nations had been stripped of their vote for the current session, according to U.N. officials.
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are trying to be helpful. But I have got to tell you that the way that these other nations went in there and got their contribution rate assessment reduced, owing money all the while just as we had, and then turn around and lambaste us for not paying 25 percent while they are paying less than 1 really chafes, I have to tell you.
I am exceeding my time. I yield to the gentleman from West Virginia.
EFFECTS OF PAYING ARREARS
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to join the chairman in welcoming the distinguished guests here this morning.
Mr. Ambassador, we have a chicken and egg problem here. Your testimony is that failure to pay the arrearages has prevented you from negotiating reforms or a reduction in our assessment rate. What would you like to see happen? You have got negotiations in June with the United Nations. What would have to happen in the Congress to put you in a strong position in regard to those negotiations?
Mr. RICHARDSON. If you give me an appropriation of $921 million in this supplemental and you do that before June, I would be able to go into a new scale of assessment debate, which we could reopen, whereby we could credibly say to the U.N., all right, here is our money that we owe, we think the scales should be reformed, we think we should go down to 22 percent as the Congress wants us to, and as we, the Clinton administration, thinks is fair. We want to see some of your scales, as the chairman mentioned, readjusted also so that there are countries paying more of a share.
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We do think, Mr. Mollohan, that there have been some reforms. Now, the Secretary General of the U.N. has come to the Congress in informal meetings and basically said, look, I came in a year ago, I said to you, give me my arrears that the U.S. owes me, and I will reform the U.N. I can credibly tell you that in the last year there have been some serious reforms at the U.N. which the Secretary General has brought, which we have pushed for, and which many in the Congress have demanded. A lot of good ones. We now are in a position with the U.N. where the U.N. has said to the U.S., look, we have reformed, we have cut staff, we are living under budget, we have consolidated, we have taken a lot of steps that involve a better managed U.N., not perfect, yet you still have not paid us our dues. You want us to lower our scale of assessment to the Americans, pay your dues and we will lower it. I won't say I would win that vote, but I would be in a good position.
Mr. ROGERS. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Yes.
ARREARS OWED BY OTHER COUNTRIES
Mr. ROGERS. What argument did Britain, China, and Russia use when they were faced with the same problem we are, they owe arrearages and yet they got their reduction in due course of time? How did they do that? What did they say that you didn't?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, they didn't owe a billion dollars. Britain, I don't know what they owed. Russia, as Mr. Lyman says, they have paid two-thirds of it. I don't know if Britain owes any money. But Britain claims that we owe them money through peacekeeping, Britain and France. When we don't pay our peacekeeping, it is money that they have funded.
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Mr. ROGERS. But what did Russia say? They owe $140 million?
Mr. LYMAN. Mr. Chairman, if I could clarify, the way the scale is set up, it roughly reflects your share of world income. Our share of world income is already more than 25 percent. So what they do in the scale is in effect by capping it, give us, quote, a discount. Everybody else below that pays roughly, and there is a lot of variations in this, roughly according to their share of GNP. That goes up and down. Britain's slipped, Russia's went way down. Other countries adjusted. Japan, as you know, will exceed 20 percent in the new scale. They will go up as high as 20.5 percent by 2000. Some countries went down, some countries went up. We are asking that our discount, if you want to call it that, we call it a cap, be reduced to 22 percent. In other words, whatever our share of world income is, we go below it. That means for the European Union as a whole, that they will be paying well above their share of world income because somebody has got to make up that difference. Japan and the European Union will be called upon to make up most of that difference. That is the politics of it.
AUTHORIZATION FOR ARREARS
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I think that puts it in a very nice perspective, actually. Your testimony is that you need to be able to come to the table with some strength, at least having the arrearages contingently in your pocket. You have told us what you want in terms of the dollars from this committee. We don't have an authorization associated with that funding, however you are going to get it, supplemental or otherwise. How do you propose to address that problem? And what are you seeking from the Congress with regard to an authorization, or from us with regard to an authorization?
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Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Mollohan, what would be helpful is that in the supplemental that you give us that you not tie it, as you did, to the abortion issue. That would be helpful.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. We didn't do that.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Well, I understand that there is language.
Mr. ROGERS. Not in our bill.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I am asking what you want us to do?
Mr. RICHARDSON. What we want this subcommittee to do
Mr. MOLLOHAN. You have got a problem, you are here to testify before this subcommittee that you have money but you don't have an authorization. So what would you be requesting this committee to do? You have got a very short time frame here and you have got an authorization bill that isn't satisfactory to you and will probably be vetoed by the President. So you are before this committee. What do you want from this committee? What would be the best result coming out of this committee to solve your problem?
Mr. RICHARDSON. What it would be, Mr. Mollohan, would be if you put in $921 million in the supplemental appropriation, which is what the administration requested. This takes us to $1.021 billion when you add to the $100 million appropriated but not available for arrears that you gave us last year.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. And with regard to the issue of authorization?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Well, with the authorization, we are attempting to negotiate with the authorizing committees. It is a difficult process. It involves the Mexico City issue. We are trying to resolve that. There is apparently a vote in the Senate today on the authorization. We are trying to deal with that. But you are asking me specifically, what you can give me is $921 million. I think that would enable me to go in May to credibly lower the rate of assessments. It would enable me to retain our objectives on the Iraq issue and peacekeeping. It would enable us to deal with more reforms at the U.N., which I know are very important to you, make the U.N. run more efficiently. It would permit me to have an American on the Budget Committee.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. The bottom line is if you don't have an authorization by this time period and our appropriation is subject to an authorization, it is not going to do you very much good. You need an appropriation that is not subject to an authorization, correct?
Mr. RICHARDSON. That is correct. That is correct.
ASSESSMENT RATE REDUCTION
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Do you really believe if you had these arrearages in some way contingent or otherwise, that you could be successful in negotiating a reduction in our contribution?
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Mr. RICHARDSON. Yes, I believe I would, Mr. Mollohan.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Do you have any indication of that?
Mr. RICHARDSON. We had a very strong campaign that our mission was launching in cooperation with the administration and the State Department. I traveled around the world. I was lining up votes.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. So you feel good about that?
Mr. RICHARDSON. I would have felt good about it. But we got to the vote and the bill died. So I lost all my gunpowder.
IMPACT OF NOT PAYING ARREARS
Mr. MOLLOHAN. So this delay is costing us tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars?
Mr. RICHARDSON. It is costing us a $100 million a year, the taxpayer.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. How much?
Mr. RICHARDSON. $100 million a year.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. That is a lot of money. Just to give us some sense of beyond the dollars and cents consequence, what impact did the lack of U.S. arrears payment have on our ability to obtain consensus among our allies during the recent confrontation with Iraq when we were trying to put together an international coalition?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Mollohan, let me just answer that very carefully, because this involves American national security. Our objectives with Iraq are very clear. Iraq is a threat to American national security. I believe that America's credibility in the Security Council, because we didn't pay our arrears, was affected. Was it manifested tangibly in certain votes? Maybe not directly. But I can tell you, in the atmosphere of the debates, that several times during our debates several permanent representatives, ambassadors from our strongest allies, mentioned the arrears in the context, okay, you want this U.N. inspection team to be strong, you want it to be well-funded, how about you guys paying your arrears? That did come out in some of the internal debates of the Security Council. Did it manifest itself in a vote? We got pretty much unanimous support for a lot of resolutions. But did it diminish our influence? I think it did, Mr. Mollohan. I think our credibility at the U.N., because we have not paid our arrears on a wide variety of fronts, on national security issues, on issues relating to peacekeeping, to refugees, to reform, is being hurt.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Is this undermining your ability to perform at the United Nations and your influence around the world?
Mr. RICHARDSON. It is undermining my ability to represent this country at the U.N., where we have a lot of interests.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. It has gone on too long?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Much too long.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. The committee, Mr. Ambassador, reported a bill that provides $505 million for payment of U.N. dues only, subject to an authorization. The fiscal year 1998 bill contains $100 million for U.N. dues, subject to an authorization. No funds have been appropriated to pay the arrears owed to affiliated organizations of the United Nations. Explain the reforms being sought in those organizations and the impact of not paying arrears to them? What impact will that have on effecting those reforms?
Mr. RICHARDSON. This is more under the International Organizations Bureau, so I would ask Ambassador Lyman.
Mr. LYMAN. Thank you. Two aspects of that. On the reforms, we have succeeded in this last budget cycle in getting no growth budgets in virtually all of those specialized agencies. We are getting internal oversight systems being built into all those specialized agencies, as we have done in New York. We are getting better management in FAO, and now we have just elected a new Director General for WHO. I think it is an open door to really reforming that organization. In ILO, we are working very hard this summer to get core labor standards, which both our business community and our labor unions are jointly supporting. So we are moving on those agencies.
Now, where it hurts us in the arrears is in two places. A lot of these agencies make decisions that impact on us economically. Our allies are our competitors when it comes to agricultural standards, et cetera. Our hormones that we put in beef, are they unsafe? The Europeans say yes, but the FAO says no, and that has been our basis on our winning cases on this. Over time, we could lose positions of influence in areas that impact directly on our economic interests in those specialized agencies. It will also impact on their ability to undertake new health initiatives, like these infectious diseases that show up in Hong Kong and places that could spread. Those are the danger points that we see. But on the reform front, we are pushing hard.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you.
LOSS OF VOTING RIGHTS
Mr. KOLBE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ambassador Richardson, Ambassador Lyman, thank you very much for being here. Obviously as indicated by the questions, this is an issue which gets a lot of not only attention but a lot of emotions and feelings going. I want to try to just ask some questions that hopefully defuse just a little bit of that. Some have already been answered in part. These may be redundant to some extent, but hopefully I am just clarifying some very specific information here.
There are, as I understand it, a total of 45 countries that are in arrearages, including ourselves? Is that right?
Mr. LYMAN. About that. It jumps up and down depending on when they pay, but you are right.
Mr. KOLBE. Obviously payments are coming in at all times but it is roughly 45 countries. You have to be in arrearages double the amount of your annual dues in order to risk losing your vote, is that correct?
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Mr. LYMAN. Double the amount of the previous 2 years.
Mr. KOLBE. Double the amount of the previous 2 years?
Mr. LYMAN. Let me get that straight. 200 percent of your annual dues. So it is 2 years in arrears.
Mr. KOLBE. Your arrearage is a total of the previous 2 years. How many of those countries are in that category?
Mr. LYMAN. Thirty-one have actually lost their vote. What happens is
Mr. KOLBE. When you say actually lost their vote, does that mean they really do not cast their vote in the General Assembly?
Mr. LYMAN. That is correct.
Mr. KOLBE. Does that have to be done by resolution or is it just an automatic thing?
Mr. LYMAN. What happens is that the United Nations notifies countries usually around October or November that by January 1 if they don't pay under that 200 percent, they will lose their vote. What happens is as the General Assembly resumes in January, a number of them will pay just to get under that amount and retain their vote. That is why there is a difference between the number of countries notified and those who actually lose their votes. But if they don't get under that, then they automatically lose their vote.
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Mr. KOLBE. But there are countries that are not voting today, is that correct?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Yes.
Mr. ROGERS. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. KOLBE. Yes, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Of the 185 members of the United Nations, how many of those nations owe more than 200 percent of their annual assessment?
Mr. LYMAN. Mr. Chairman, I understood that the notice that went out this last year covered 70 countries, but I don't know how many then turned around and paid to get under that amount and I am trying to get that information.
Mr. ROGERS. The latest information I have is 75 as of December 31, 75 of the 185 members of the United Nations owe more than 200 percent of their annual assessments.
Mr. LYMAN. As I say, some of them once they get that notification will then pay to get under that amount. I will have to get the figures.
Mr. ROGERS. In order for them to vote us out of a voting voice, they have to have a lot of votes of people who owe more than we do, is that right or wrong?
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Mr. LYMAN. It isn't done by vote. It is done at the time that you go to voting. You haven't come under that amount, you lose it. So it doesn't take a special resolution.
Mr. ROGERS. We are one of 75 nations out of 185 that owe arrearages that would disqualify us?
Mr. LYMAN. We haven't reached that point yet, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Of the 75 who were there.
Mr. LYMAN. Who were there as of December 31. But again what I want to know is how many then turned around and paid to get under it. That happens often.
Mr. KOLBE. Our arrearages amount to what proportion of our dues, as you calculate the arrearages at least, as the administration calculates the arrearages?
Mr. LYMAN. What we believe will happen by the end of this year, and it depends exactly on the amount of peacekeeping billing that comes in, we will be somewhere within $11 to $44 million of that 200 percent.
Mr. KOLBE. So very close?
Mr. LYMAN. Yes.
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Mr. KOLBE. It doesn't depend on your determination, it depends on what the United Nations' determination is as to whether we lose our vote, is that correct?
Mr. LYMAN. The exact amount depends on how much peacekeeping bills come in during the year. That is how they calculate the 200 percent. We figure that by the end of this year, by our estimates of the bills and if we don't have legislation authorizing us to pay arrears and appropriating it, we could be as short anywhere from $11 to $44 million by the end of December.
Mr. RICHARDSON. We would lose our vote as of January 1, 1999.
Mr. KOLBE. You believe you would lose your vote at that point?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Oh, yes.
Mr. ROGERS. Would the other 75 lose their votes as well?
Mr. LYMAN. If they don't then turn around and pay back under that, yes, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. You really believe that?
Mr. LYMAN. Only that I know that a lot of countries do lose their votes.
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Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, I believe if we don't pay up, we will lose our vote. And we won't have the votes at the U.N. to stop that. And I don't think that is in our interest.
EFFECT OF PAYING PARTIAL ARREARS
Mr. KOLBE. Reclaiming my time, you are asking for $921 million in this supplemental. But you have said that in addition to that, you are counting on the $100 million that has been appropriated that is subject to authorization. But that is not very realistic; you are not going to get that authorization. I mean, I think it is highly unlikely given the impasse that we are at. So where does that leave you, if you are $100 million short, you are still $100 million short and it is as good as having zero, isn't it, in terms of having any leverage?
Mr. RICHARDSON. We don't have any leverage for the $505 million. We have zero leverage unless
Mr. KOLBE. Do you have any leverage with $900?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Yes, with $900 million we could credibly go to U.N. system and lower our dues and take other steps to
Mr. KOLBE. I thought you said you needed the $100 million that was subject to authorization.
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Mr. RICHARDSON. We need that too, obviously.
Mr. KOLBE. Let me assume for a moment that that is not going to happen, which seems like a very strong possibility. How much jeopardy does that put you in when you get to these negotiations, the fact that you don't have that last 100 million?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Considerable jeopardy.
WITHDRAWAL FROM INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Mr. KOLBE. On the component parts of the United Nations, is it possible for the U.S. to withdraw from those organizations and not pay dues at all if it chose? We have not done so, I believe. Let me get to the point of my question. At one time didn't we simply announce we were not going to pay any money for UNESCO?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Yes, that is correct. We have withdrawn from international organizations within the U.N. system that we think are not working. We withdrew, as I recall, from three in the last 5 years.
Mr. LYMAN. Yes.
Mr. RICHARDSON. We tried to withdraw from another one, but there was a lot of congressional reaction, the Cotton Council. But we believe, Mr. Kolbe
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Mr. KOLBE. We owe money to the Cotton Council? Never mind.
Mr. RICHARDSON. There are some that claim we owed them money when we got out, UNIDO, when we got out.
Mr. KOLBE. When we withdraw, do they continue to say, no, you don't have the right to withdraw and we are going to continue to add that money to the arrearages? Unpaid dues to those component parts that we are not a member of is not included in the arrearages?
Mr. LYMAN. Well, each organization has a set of rules. Generally speaking, you have to give a year's notice to withdraw and you are supposed to pay for that year.
Mr. KOLBE. For that year.
Mr. LYMAN. That is the dispute over UNIDO, but after you are out, you don't get billed anymore.
Mr. KOLBE. Do they add interest to our arrearages, Ambassador Lyman?
Mr. LYMAN. No, they don't in most organizations.
Page 147 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCOTHER COUNTRIES' ASSESSMENT RATE
Mr. KOLBE. So the buildup in the arrearages is the amount each year that we are going, that is not getting added to it.
A couple of final questions. You said that Japan was scheduled to go up to 20.5 percent. Ambassador Richardson, if you were successful in negotiating a reduction in our payment to 20 percent, we would actually be below what Japan is paying. Is that likely to happen?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, we are asking now for 22 percent.
Mr. KOLBE. 22 percent, you said but a step in the goal was to get down to 20.
Mr. RICHARDSON. That would be probably quite difficult to eventually get down to 20 percent. We would try to do that. But Japan would obviouslyit would cause them problems.
Mr. KOLBE. Ours would be 22 percent, Japan's as much as 20.5 percent. Their GDP as a portion of the world income is about half of what ours is, is that correct?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Yes. If we abided by GDP, we would be, I think, at 26, 28 percent.
Page 148 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KOLBE. Has Japan fallen in arrears with its current problems?
Mr. LYMAN. Sometimes they pay a little late, but they usually by the end of the year, they do pay up.
Mr. KOLBE. I think that is all the questions I have right now. Thank you very much.
Mr. ROGERS. The gentleman from Wisconsin.
IMPACT OF NOT PAYING ARREARS
Mr. OBEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Ambassador, I would like to try to put this in context. We have a Federal budget of about $1.7 trillion. This dispute involves an amount which is about .3 percent of that entire Federal budget. The big picture, as I see it, is that the United Nations was createdby the United States primarilyat the end of World War II because we wanted an international instrument that would help us exert our leadership on key policy issues around the world in the most effective way possible. What you are trying to do is to position ourselves in that body so that we are in the strongest possible position both to shape the internal operations of the United Nations and to shape the external actions of the United Nations in matters which are consistent with the national interests of the United States. Yet we are stuck in an accounting debate over whether in its great wisdom Congress will provide the amount that is in the congressional bill or the amount that you say is necessary to give you some real leverage in improving our position.
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We also have a side debate going on apparently about whether or not we ought to be considering in this context what we owe to the associated agencies of the United Nations. The last time I looked, I thought they were important to us. The World Health Organization, for instance, that is one of the lead agencies in trying to deal with the worldwide epidemic of AIDS. To the extent we don't succeed internationally, the health of our own people can be threatened, not just with AIDS but a lot of other diseases. That has been a basket case of an organization, given the confused leadership that that organization has sometimes demonstrated. We have been successful in getting Gro Brundtland, one of the best politicians in the world, one of the best reformers on the planet, to be the next head of that agency.
We also suffered a setback, as I understand it, when we wound up in negotiations having to give up the number 2 slot at the UNHCR because of the dispute over arrearages. I can tell you from personal experience the impact on my district when refugee flows get out of hand. I have got one-third of the people in my district use schools right now which are mobbed because of refugee flows. This is a result of policy decisions that allowed those folks in the United States. So those agencies are important to us.
I would like to ask you seven questions and I would appreciate very abbreviated answers so I can get them all in, because I want to walk through again almost ad nauseam what the situation appears to be. Last year the administration sought a major down payment on our arrearages in order to give you as our negotiator at the U.N. leverage to push reforms and to cut U.S. contributions, isn't that correct?
Mr. RICHARDSON. That is right.
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Mr. OBEY. By the fall you had opened discussions that led us to believe that we would have support for a reduction in the U.S. contribution from 25 percent to 22 percent of the U.N. budget, and from 30.5 percent to 25 percent of the U.N. peacekeeping budget when the 2-year budget was finalized. That would have saved the taxpayers in the U.S. about $100 million a year, counting reductions in the U.N., the related organizations and U.S. peacekeeping, isn't that roughly correct?
Mr. RICHARDSON. That is correct.
Mr. OBEY. But that didn't happen. The Congress failed to produce a down payment on the arrears, so we lost bargaining room. Other members refused to lower our contributions. So we have already lost $100 million and we stand to lose another $200 million before the U.N. takes another look at contributions as a result of that mistake, isn't that essentially correct?
Mr. RICHARDSON. That is correct.
Mr. OBEY. But we apparently do have an opening. You and your staff have indicated that you have obtained an agreement to reopen negotiations in May on the U.S. contribution level despite the fact that we are now already partway through the year assessment period, isn't that correct?
Mr. RICHARDSON. That is correct.
Page 151 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. OBEY. What will be the prospects for reopening those discussions successfully at a later date if we fail to provide the arrearage money now?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Zero.
Mr. OBEY. You say in your statement that the continued failure to pay these outstanding debts has led to a significant weakening of our position and our international credibility in New York, and you said when I go to my fellow ambassadors and ask for their support on resolutions or agenda items, my position is weakened by America's debtor status. Could this apply to an issue such as blocking access to materials needed by a rogue state for production of weapons of mass destruction? Could it apply to winning U.S. approval for taking military actions against rogue states that were threatening the U.S. with acts of terror?
Mr. RICHARDSON. It could.
Mr. OBEY. Is it not likely that our failure to win U.N. approval could reduce the cooperation of other nations in providing our forces with the ports, the airfields and the use of airspace in order to conduct operations?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Yes.
Mr. OBEY. Isn't it possible that this would not only reduce the effectiveness of those operations but in the process possibly even place American servicemen at additional risk?
Page 152 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RICHARDSON. Yes, they could.
Mr. OBEY. One last question. I think this particular subcommittee does deserve a lot of credit for pressing efforts over a number of years to reform a bloated and ineffectual and patronage-ridden U.N. bureaucracy. What is the effect of our deadbeat status on the reform agenda that was largely initiated by this subcommittee in the first place?
Mr. RICHARDSON. Thank you, Mr. Obey. It has hurt us. It has hurt us pushing our reform agenda. I can't even get an American elected to the Budget Committee of the U.N. We are fielding a candidate, an American, to be on a Budget Committee where our candidate 2 years ago, because we had not paid our arrears, was decimated, lost. For the first time the biggest payer to the U.N. is not a member of the Budget Committee that dealsthat is called the ACABQ committee. On many other reform issues, such as keeping the budget capped, that the U.N. not go over budget, we almost lost it last fall because of our failure to pay the arrearage. We did win it. I think, as Mr. Lyman has mentioned and you mentioned, we lost an American slot at UNHCR. We could lose further slots in other of these specialized agencies where we have Americans in prominent positions. The International Civil Aviation Organization is good for us because it promotes airline safety and 40 percent of all the world's travelers are American. Farmers benefit from all of these agencies as you mentioned, and they are reforming. We need those funds for those specialized agencies that we owe to retain our leverage in those institutions.
Mr. OBEY. Let me just simply say, often the United Nations has driven me stark raving nuts, because I have just sometimes been thoroughly and totally frustrated by the baffle-gab that goes on in that operation. I have been frustrated by their knee-jerk reaction on the part of a lot of delegates for a lot of years on a lot of issues. But it seems to me that especially since the collapse of the Iron Curtain, that a lot of people are aware of the fact that we are the only major player left in the world, the only superpower certainly.
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You know the old song, ''You've got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.'' It seems to me that this is a time when we need to do just the opposite. We don't need to hold 'em anymore, we don't need to fold 'em, we need to lay down the cards because we have got a winning hand in reorganizing the United Nations and in reshaping that body so that it will be far more constructive in the future under strong American leadership than it has in the past. And I don't think the Congress of the United States ought to be institutionally responsible for shortchanging our ability to do so. That is really the issue that we face on this arrearages issue.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Thank you, Mr. Obey.
Mr. OBEY. Thanks for your leadership.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
ARREARS OWED BY OTHER COUNTRIES
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you. Forty percent of the delegates at the United Nations who are complaining to you about us not paying our bills themselves owe a larger percentage than we do, is that correct?
Mr. RICHARDSON. You mean they owe more than a billion
Page 154 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROGERS. They owe enough to disqualify them from voting. Two out of five of the people you are schmoozing with there trying to get them to agree to help us could have their vote taken away tomorrow because they owe more than 200 percent of their annual assessment.
Mr. RICHARDSON. We need to get you precise data. I think as Princeton mentioned, Mr. Chairman, the moment a notice comes out, a lot of countries pay up. In some cases they are very small amounts, $20,000 a year for some of the smaller states. So we need to get you precise data.
Mr. ROGERS. The only point I wanted to make is of these people that are complaining at you up there for us not paying our bill, two out of five of them, according to my latest figures, are in the same boat or worse.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, I don't mind them complaining about us. I want their vote. That is what I care about.
Mr. ROGERS. I understand. I am just saying that there is a little bit of hypocrisy going on here, it seems to me. That would shock you, I am sure, to know that in the United Nations but I think there is maybe a little bit.
The gentleman from Iowa, Mr. Latham.
RESOLVING ARREARS ISSUE
Page 155 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LATHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome. Welcome back.
First of all, I guess just going to something you had mentioned earlier, and I share Mr. Obey's concerns. I think there are a lot of things that we need to do in a positive manner with the U.N. A lot of good things can happen. But in your testimony earlier, you mentioned that basically the problem is that what some people believe is an extraneous issue, as far as using U.S. taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions overseas, and that that really is what the big hang-up is here. It would seem to me that if the administration wasn't as set in concrete, I guess, on their position as far as using U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund abortions that we could actually resolve this very quickly. And you said that there were negotiations going on. I just wonder, are there any? Because of the importance of what is happening at the U.N., I would think the administration could resolve the concerns from the Congress overnight.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Congressman, first, no funds for the United States, as you know, go to pay for abortions. I just want to state that for the record. We do have a difference of opinion on the international family planning issue. Our position is that let the chips fall where they may, let's deal with these issues separately. But as you know, what has happened is there has been a linkage with U.N. arrears and the international family provisions that to us seem to be separate issues to be debated on their own merits. This dispute caused the bill that paid off our U.N. arrears, the Helms bill, to die last year. What we want to do is see if we can resolve this issue separately, separate them, let them come up on their own. The prospects right now don't look good, to be honest with you. Our hope is that the issues can be separated and voted on in their own capacities.
Mr. LATHAM. That may be your hope, but I think you also have to be realistic. Again may I ask you, is there any proposal for compromise from the administration to resolve this? It sounds good that we should separate it from your point of view, but the fact of the matter is it is not going to be separated.
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Mr. OBEY. Would the gentleman yield on that point?
Mr. LATHAM. Sure.
Mr. OBEY. The fact is there are a number of discussions going on about compromises but they are going on in the right place, in the Foreign Operations Committee, which has jurisdiction over that issue. The proper place and the proper timing for that issue to be addressed is on the foreign aid appropriations bill, which will be before us in about 2 months, not on the supplemental, when the national interests of the United States are being held hostage by an internal fight on the House floor.
I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. LATHAM. I respect that. I am just saying the reality is we are in this situation. I think it is a fundamental question whether the administration wants to maintain their adamant position or if they want to do all of the good things that Mr. Obey referred to earlier that the U.N. can accomplish, that maybe there should be some flexibility in the position.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Congressman, America's interests, your interest and mine, are being hurt at the U.N. because we are holding this legislation hostage to a domestic issue. I say there should be compromise on your side perhaps. By compromise, I mean just separate them. Why hold one hostage with the other? They are not related issues. International family planning, as Mr. Obey said, is part of the foreign aid bill. It is a deeply felt issue. I respect that. But why are you holding our interests at the U.N., some national security interests, not you per se, hostage to this? Why can't we settle this in another arena? Why have this linkage that is hurting our interest?
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Mr. LATHAM. We could have this debate go on forever. I am just saying the reality of the situation is where we are at. It is a fundamental question of whether the administration actually wants to cooperate or get some help. It is not just Members who are morally opposed to abortion, it is Members who honestly believe that U.S. taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for abortion. You can say they are not being used but everyone knows that the funds are fungible. That is the reality of the situation.
I would hope that there would be some flexibility, that we could get it resolved, because I think it is very important what you are trying to accomplish as far as reform. I don't want to be a deadbeat any more than anyone else does. I really don't. But it is the reality of the situation.
I want to go just very briefly to a different subject. Regarding Bosnia, apparently there is no timetable now as far as having our troops withdrawn?
Mr. RICHARDSON. The President will make that determination. It is not going to be an eternal presence. We are shifting into civilian police. We believe that we have made progress there on various fronts, the single unitary state issue, on the refugee issue, on the war crimes issue. We believe our troops there are playing a very constructive role. We have reduced our presence there. We want the Dayton Accords to be implemented and enforced. That is happening. But the President did, as you know, agree to keep the troops a little longer.
Page 158 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LATHAM. Isn't it basically an open-ended commitment at this point?
Mr. RICHARDSON. It is not an eternal presence.
Mr. LATHAM. There is no date certain right now, where there has been several times before, that they would be taken out and then extended. Could you tell us, would you encourage the administration or do you know if there are plans by the administration to actually request for funds for Bosnia rather than have to come back every year for a supplemental appropriation, knowing full well that the troops are going to be there but then they don't include it in the budget to begin with and then we in Congress are stuck with having to come up with a supplemental appropriation every year?
Mr. RICHARDSON. I think Mr. Raines would probably want to answer that question.
Mr. LATHAM. Would you encourage the administration to just put it in the budget rather than every year come back and ask for more money?
Mr. RICHARDSON. I think a lot of these issues, Congressman, and I sympathize with what you are saying. Foreign policy involves a lot of very sudden contingencies. We know there is an appropriations clock. Sometimes you have to have the flexibility to perform your policy functions. Like with Iraq, we have asked for a supplemental. The Congress has been responsive there. We did anticipate that we would have to keep our forces there so we asked for a little flexibility. But I know what you are saying.
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Mr. LATHAM. As you know after the June 30, it costs about $100 million a month to keep our troops in Bosnia. It just seems strange that we never realize they are there and then expect to come back to the Appropriations Committee and ask for more money, when there is an open-ended commitment.
Just in closing, I see a gentleman in the rear back there, the former chairman of this subcommittee, the gentleman from Iowa, Mr. Smith, I want to welcome him here.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Thank you. I too had noticed that Chairman Smith had entered the room and was waiting for an appropriate moment to ask him to come and join us here at the dais. I want him seated at my right this time. That would be a change. Chairman Neal Smith, of course, the long time chairman of this subcommittee and long time Member of Congress from the great State of Iowa, rendered great service to our country not only in the Congress, but as a bomber pilot during World War II and is a personal friend of everyone in this room. We are glad to welcome him to these ramparts again. It is a nice feeling to have Chairman Smith seated here with us.
Mr. SMITH. It is a great pleasure to me to see that you are doing this instead of me. Especially with this witness, because you know you could never get the best of him. I know that.
Mr. ROGERS. We are finding that out anew here.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman, if I might, let me just extend my greetings to the chairman. It is good to see him and nice to see him back here.
Mr. ROGERS. We are going to try to wrap up here briefly because it is approaching the noon hour. You have obligations, as do our Members. Let me ask you some quickies here. If we could get a quick response, it would be nice.
Richard Butler, the U.N. inspection team leader in Iraq, is apparently presenting a report to the U.N. stating that there had been virtually no progress in the past 6 months in verifying that Iraq had destroyed any remaining weapons of mass destruction. He is quoted as saying, ''We gave them the opportunity and they blew it.''
What does that mean with respect to the course of action the U.N. will pursue in Iraq or the U.S.?
Mr. RICHARDSON. First of all, Mr. Chairman, we agree with Ambassador Butler's analysis of the situation, that there has been, on the disarmament front, virtually no progress. There has been slight progress in the access to presidential and sensitive sites.
What is this going to mean in terms of U.S. policy? Our policy is not going to change. Next week in the U.N. Security Council, there will be an effort by the Iraqis and some of their supporters to lift sanctions. We will oppose it on the grounds that they are not fully complying with Security Council resolutions. And, secondly, there will be efforts to weaken the disarmament provisions of the Security Council resolution, and we will also oppose those, too.
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Mr. ROGERS. On peacekeeping, I am again becoming concerned that the administration is abandoning both working with the Congress on peacekeeping in a cooperative fashion and the lessons that we learned so painfully in the first years of this administration on Haiti. Ambassador Lyman, you and I made an agreement last year that the peacekeeping mission in Haiti would transition to a voluntary basis by last November. Instead, the administration decided to keep the mission going for at least another year. How do we work together on peacekeeping when the administration doesn't honor the agreements we reach in the course of trying to work these things out with you?
Mr. LYMAN. Mr. Chairman, I confess to being embarrassed about not being able to keep to that agreement. The situation in Haiti just was such that the feeling was that we needed to continue the kind of peacekeeping operation that the civilian police under the U.N. was operating. As you know, the Secretary wants to get together with you based on her recent visit to Haiti and discuss that situation further.
We are very conscious of the fact, Mr. Chairman, and we are very bothered by it, as you are, that we have had a number of differences on peacekeeping. You have objected to the reprogramming on some. It bothers us frankly as much I think as it bothers you. We face votes in the Security Council that had we voted no and constituted a veto, we felt would have created unstable situations. It would have stopped the operation in Haiti, it would have not allowed Mr. Baker's efforts in the Western Sahara to proceed as he was recommending and most recently, and I know this is one that there was a lot of disagreement over, in the Central African Republic, as Ambassador Richardson mentioned in his opening statement. We felt that we had an opportunity there to prevent a kind of situation in which the American taxpayer would be paying relief again like in Sierra Leone, et cetera. It was a very careful and restricted mandate. I think, and Ambassador Richardson I am sure agrees, that we are not happy that we have had these differences. I know the Secretary would welcome a chance to sit down with you and discuss them at length and, Bill, perhaps you, too.
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Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, I know you care deeply about these two issues. Mr. Chairman, let me conclude. Give me a little help on these two, on the Central African Republic. We have made the mission better. It is 3 months. The French are doing most of the work. It is important to them. It also enables us to avoid a humanitarian crisis in the Central African Republic that would affect our trade, our investment, our interest there. I know it is not on your radar screen, but we have made that mission better. I would hope you might consider taking the hold off on our payment. I need the support of the French on a lot of issues. This is their baby. We also think it is a good and better mission now, largely through the efforts of many like yourself.
But with Haiti also, it is a very tenuous political situation. We are pushing the sides to resolve their political crisis. The training of the Haitian police is almost complete. We just want a little more time to make sure it happens. I knew that you were in Latin America, I didn't know if you were in Haiti, also, but we are near resolving, I believe, that problem where we can come back to you and say this is it. We are not ready yet as Princeton is basically saying, but close.
Mr. ROGERS. I think the problem that most of us have here is that it started out in the early years of this administration where the Administration overextended into too many peacekeeping operations and sent us the bill, and we were not able to keep track of everything. We insisted that there be some advance consultation with Congress so that we could anticipate the need to pay for them and hopefully put some discipline on entering too many peacekeeping operations. That has worked fairly well. But I am a little bit concerned here lately that we are drifting back into the old ways, and that is going to hurt everybody. On Western Sahara, for example, we offered to give that ill-fated, horribly expensive $300 million U.N. mission a second chance and to release funding for the start-up of the registration process, to see if it could be fixed. We only asked for one simple thing. We wanted a State Department official on the scene in the Western Sahara to watch the operation and make sure the taxpayer's money was not being wasted the way it had before, by everyone's admission. But you have been unwilling to take even that small step, a very small step, to help ensure that moneys would be spent properly and restore confidence on the Hill. I am puzzled by that.
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Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, on that we have Dunbar, an American, as the Secretary General's Special Representative. We know your concern about the permanent presence. Secretary of State James Baker, as you know, did this negotiation. He did a good job. It is working. But again we will try to address your concern. I assure you that on the consultation, if you are sending a signal that it needs to be better, we will upgrade that. Maybe we did fall a little short on some of these issues you mentioned.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Mr. ROGERS. The Central African Republic is the best example I can think of lately. March 17, myself, Ben Gilman, and Mr. Royce objected to the notification that the U.S. would vote for the new mission in the CAR as not meeting the agreed upon basic requirements of the peacekeeping mission, but rather merely bailing out the French, who didn't want to support the coalition of African troops that they had put together to quell a mutiny anymore. Senator Helms objected, Senator Gregg objected, I objected, Ben Gilman objected. On March 27, 10 days later, you voted for it anyway. It makes a mockery of the 15-day advance notification and consultation provisions in the law.
Mr. RICHARDSON. Mr. Chairman, I would only ask that we have better consultation, because you did make a lot of good suggestions. We trimmed it down. We made the peacekeeping operation a lot more efficient. Its mandate is limited. We will continue to address those concerns. But for us to veto it in the Security Council when every other country in the council felt it was needed, when the Secretary General of the U.N. felt it was needed, when we for our own objectives felt it would stop a humanitarian crisis, that you give us a little bit of the benefit of the doubt, but at the same time we are putting in a lot of the good suggestions you have had. I would simply ask that we talk a lot more frequently on some of these missions, perhaps at the principals' level. Maybe we don't do that enough, but I assure you we will do better.
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Mr. ROGERS. You were doing pretty good for a while, but are backsliding these days. On Bosnia, other countries are apparently supporting adding judicial reform to the political training mission of the peacekeeping force in Bosnia. That would be an unprecedented use of peacekeeping forces for nation building. What is the U.S. position on that matter?
Mr. LYMAN. We are working very hard to find alternative sources of financing for it. It was at the multi-country oversight of the Dayton agreement; they assigned this function of judicial monitoring to the U.N. The U.N. had proposed, because they didn't have other funding sources, putting it in peacekeeping. We are urging the U.N. to look for other sources. We will have to get back to you on this. Our position has also been this isn't appropriate for peacekeeping. We were part of that meeting in Bonn, Germany, of countries that oversee Dayton, which said that this needed to be done and we turned to the U.N. and said do it; we didn't say how you were going to fund it, and we of course supported a budget cap in the U.N. So they are struggling to find other resources. We are urging them to do so. We will get back to you on that.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Mollohan.
APPROVAL OF PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Ambassador, besides the operations that the chairman has discussed, are there any operations that you are willing to undertake in which you need additional communications with the Congress to get approval?
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Mr. RICHARDSON. Thank you very much, Mr. Mollohan. On Sierra Leone, I think that we have had good communication on that. I am just simply asking that when we have some of these peacekeeping operationswe haven't had that manythe Central African Republic, Haiti, the renewal, that we find a way to work these issues better, that if we disagree, that I not be placed in a straitjacket of not having the funding to carry out the mission. Because when you are in the Security Council, apart from the policy merits of the Central African Republic, we think it makes sense to go ahead with this mission in a legitimated fashion.
I also have to answer to my colleagues on the Security Council. We have other concerns with them. Sometimes an issue like the Central African Republic is very important to an ally of ours that has a veto. I just want to have a little flexibility when I deal with them. Let's disagree, let's find ways to make the mission better, but don't take the money away from me where that causes ripple effects in other areas. That is all I am asking.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. The chairman sounded like he was inviting a higher degree of dialogue with you on some of these issues. Do you have some suggestions? Do you agree with that or do you have some suggestions of how that might be occasioned?
Mr. RICHARDSON. I would make myself available to members of the subcommittee perhaps on a frequent, regular basis. I don't want to overstay my welcome to talk about pending issues at the U.N. Maybe that would help. I would be willing to undertake that. I think it may be necessary, because we have had this communications problem on a couple of key peacekeeping issues that I would like to avoid, because our relationship with this subcommittee has been very good. It is hopefully going to get even better after you give me my money.
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AUTHORIZATION BILL IMPACT
Mr. MOLLOHAN. It is all there. The pending authorization bill contains a number of provisions other than some of those to which the administration objects. One of them is the requirement for negative growth in FAO and WHO and ILO budgets versus no growth budgets. Even one of them, ILO, has had a reduced budget.
Could you comment on that requirement in the authorization bill and its impact?
Mr. LYMAN. Thank you, Congressman. The requirement that is now in the authorization says in the next budget cycle, after this one, the ones you described where we got no growth in two and a reduction in one, that we get a reduction in the next budget cycle. We frankly think that politically we will not be able to do that, that we were very successful, but against tremendous opposition, to holding the line. I think getting an actual reduction, a nominal reduction the next time around is a bridge too far.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I thank the witnesses, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Latham.
Mr. LATHAM. No questions, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Ambassador, both of you, thank you for your testimony. We are sorry to keep you a little bit long here. We are proud of our former colleague, still friend, who has gone on to greater and higher glory in the job that he is doing as our ambassador to the world organization. In spite of some of the critical, what may sound critical questions or conversations, we are on the same team and we want to see the same result. We are a little bit cynical perhaps at some of our allies and friends in the United Nations that like to complain at us, all the while perhaps having bigger warts than us. But this subcommittee is trying its best to arm you with enough ammunition to allow you to do your job properly and to pay our dues. We obviously under the House rules, as you well know, and under the congressional rules have to defer to the authorizers for substantive matters. So we are trying to provide the moneys and pressure the authorizers to do their job, and that is to pass an authorization bill to free the money up, doing all that we can in that direction. It is true this subcommittee has been over the years the engine of the Congress in pushing for reform in the U.N. and will remain so. We recognize we have got to pay our way as we go, however, all the while trying to negotiate in good faith reductions in the assessment rates as best we can.
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We are with you. We will do all we can to help you do your job well. You are one of us. We feel a special obligation in that respect. Ambassador Lyman, it is always good to have you here with us as well. Thank you very much for your testimony.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Thursday, February 26, 1998.
UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY AND BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS
JOSEPH DUFFEY, DIRECTOR
DAVID BURKE, CHAIRMAN, BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS
TOM KOROLOGOS, GOVERNOR, BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Mr. ROGERS. The committee will come to order.
Today we will hear about the international public diplomacy programs and activities of the United States Government in the United States Information Agency. With us today are Dr. Joseph Duffey, Director of USIA; David Burke, the Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors; and others.
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Would you care to introduce the others that are with you, Mr. Burke?
Mr. BURKE. I will be happy to introduce them. As you know, the Board is a bipartisan group, and Tom Korologos is the lead and ''senior''and he sometimes doesn't like thatRepublican on the Board.
Mr. ROGERS. And, we also have Stan Silverman at the table. Now, the fiscal year 1999 budget request totals $1.119 billion, a decrease of almost $6 million from the 1998 enacted level. Fiscal year 1999 promises to require yet more fiscal restraint and discipline. Even though we are told there might be a surplus, we are still bound by the balanced budget agreement and its spending caps. We will want to hear today about how USIA is maintaining quality programs in a climate of diminishing resources. We would like to know what program and administrative efficiencies are being achieved and what you see as the major opportunities and challenges facing USIA in the coming year.
We are pleased to have all of you with us today. We will begin with Dr. Duffey and his opening statement, and Mr. Burke and others as you see fit.
And, Dr. Duffey, would you would like to proceed with your opening statement? We will make your written statement a part of the record and you can summarize it for us. We also have a written statement from the National Endowment for Democracy, which will be a part of the record.
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Mr. ROGERS. So Dr. Duffey, you may proceed.
Mr. DUFFEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to come before you in support of the administration's request for the continuing work of the U.S. Information Agency.
Just as we ended the hearing a year ago, Mr. Chairman, you said the following: ''We are in a brand-new world that none of us have ever experienced. It is a new era.'' And then you asked me what USIA's mission and message were in that era and what we needed for that mission or message. That has been on my mind not only because it was a very apt question, but it is the question with which I began my responsibilities 5 years ago at USIA. I asked my colleagues about each thing we do and about the nature of our mission in the current climate and the new set of conditions.
Most of us who have visited major cities of the world have observed the following: Increasingly, there is an American presence larger than it has ever been before, much of it in business, a good deal of it in education. In the government presence there are men and women working on a whole range of issues. They may be working on issues of law enforcement, the international economy; they may be from the Department of Treasury or Commerce, or State Department representatives who are working on traditional diplomatic questions that have to do with our relationships to other governments.
Page 170 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In most of those posts around the world, both capital cities and other cities, there is a small group of American men and women and foreign nationals, working in the embassy or in a center on a very unique mission that is important to everything else we are trying to do with the American presence, both public and private. That is, they are trying over an extended period of time the differences in culture and perception in the local public arenaand to inform not simply public opinion, but public perception and understanding of the United States.
That is what public diplomacy is about, and I am persuaded that it is as vital now to our national security and national interest as it ever was.
The most fundamental task of USIA these days is to try to make possible a greater understanding of this country, of what its policies are, what those policies are based upon, what our values are, what we think, why we think it. This is the job of public diplomacy. There is no American foreign policy goal, no national interest that is not served or advanced by the application of intelligent, focused and coordinated public diplomacy efforts. This small group of people I am describing, does not have a government-to-government mission. Instead, the mission of USIA personnel is to know the society in each country to identify over a period of time the emerging leaders, to understand how opinion is made, and to get a sense of the perceptions of the U.S. within each country.
Whether our objective is the reduction of land mines or weapons of chemical and biological warfare, the enlargement of the NATO alliance, a more secure future for the people of the former Yugoslavia, the question of intellectual property rights, or the encouragement of free trade, in any of those areas public diplomacy is not simply an issue of distributing another speech by a public policy maker. That is important, having those policies available in a timely fashion, or announcing a policy statement. It takes the strategy of creative, experienced people who work with the language and the culture over time to determine how to convey a clear understanding of our interests and policies.
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This is done by identifying the right individuals and the right audiences, by understanding the country's or region's language, its values, and culture, and by making sure that the American message is clearly conveyed. We try to understand what the obstructions are to that message, to establish relationships not simply with journalistswhich are importantbut over a period of years, with the men and women who teach and will teach and shape the minds and perceptions of the future leaders of the country, as well as with those who are emerging in leadership, not simply in government, but in the unions and education and civic organizations. We do this so that not simply with respect to the day-to-day exchange of information and portrayal of this country's values or its objectives, but, when the difficult time comes, we will be able to deliver with greater understanding the messages that are less popular with respect to our country's intentions or purposes or the ways in which we are attempting to assert leadership.
I would say that USIA today is using in a more strategic way a wider range of resources to try to address this task. If it calls for a more sophisticated use of emerging technologies, we have tried to stay abreast, I think perhaps more than any other agency in the American foreign affairs community, with electronic and digital communication. Whether it involves identifying and sending speakers from this country to talk about developments in the United States, or identifying individuals or groups in other countries, and bringing them here to meet with American experts, it really has to do with making those decisions about the most appropriate instruments for pursuing this mission.
I see USIA as a tactical operational unit that is prepared to work with any agency in our government that is seeking to get a message across, move public opinion in another part of the world, explain this country, which as I said a year ago, is sometimes very difficult to do with our friends.
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That is essentially the mission we address, and what you have before you in this year's submission is a record of changes we have made. After 5 years, the budget of USIA, in total, is about 30 percent less in real terms.
I begin by saying that I am proud that USIA early began to contribute to what makes it possible for us to be far more confident about our national budget this year. I felt 5 years ago that the deficit was a problem, that government needed to be smaller, and that the Cold War was over. I think we have shown that we understood all of those things in the way we have tried to downsize our operations and make economies over the last 5 years. This has not been an easy task. We actually are coming before you this year with a budget that is more stable and more related to current expenditures, even though it will require some additional reductions. Quite frankly, it is a contribution that I think we all have made in trying to get control of the deficit that, as I have said several times from this platform, has really been a part of American leadership and responsible leadership in the world economy as well.
I would be very pleased to respond to questions that you or the committee may have with respect to specific aspects of the proposed request you have before you.
[The information follows:]
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Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Burke.
Page 173 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BURKE. Mr. Chairman, I will be brief.
I would remind this committee that funding for international broadcasting has been reduced drastically since the International Broadcasting Act of 1994. Our fiscal year 1999 request represents a 20 percent reduction in appropriated funding and a 29 percent reduction in positions since 1994. We have been able to consolidate broadcasting services, add new services for China and strengthen our engineering and transmission capabilities, all with fewer resources, and we come before you again this year with an operating budget for fiscal year 1999 with a request level just somewhat under 1 percent above fiscal year 1998 funding levels.
We on the Broadcasting Board of Governors are indebted to you, Mr. Chairman, and this committee for heeding and listening to our call last year that the cutting at some point has to stabilize, and you stabilized us; and so we have foundin light of that stabilization, we have still been able to go forth with $4.3 million of further program reductions in FY 1999.
Budget aside, the most important thing that has happened to us and shows the wisdom of the act of 1994, besides consolidation in the budget term, the international broadcasting organization that now exists is like nothing that you will remember from years past in the days when the Voice of America would not talk to Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. They were all broadcasting at the same time and overlapping over each other. They each had their own engineering departments. Those days are gone.
We now have, thank goodness, a far more flexible, far more intelligent use of resources to respond to the kinds of difficulties that we have to respond to in a world that is no longer bipolar, and as a result of the consolidation that was forced upon international broadcasting, we now have a tighter and, I think, a ''leaner and meaner'' organization.
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Since this is new for most of our team, I thought I would just take one moment to introduce folks that we have.
In December 1996, President Clinton named Evelyn S. Lieberman to be the Director of the Voice of America. Evelyn, who assumed her present duties in March of last year, had previously served as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for White House Operations, and I want you to know that Evelyn Lieberman is more than a breath of fresh air in our organization. She brings a vitality and an energy level, and we are really quite fortunate.
Mr. ROGERS. Would she raise her hand?
Mr. BURKE. Evelyn.
In January 1997, we named Kevin Klose, then the President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, to serve as the new Director of the International Broadcasting Bureau, which includes the Voice of America Worldnet Television, Radio and TV Marti, and the Office of Engineering and Technical Operations. Kevin is well-known and should be well-known for his performance as the President of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, saving enormous sums of money and doing it in a very professional fashion.
Mr. ROGERS. Where is Kevin?
Mr. BURKE. In March of 1997, President Clinton named Herminio San Roman to be the new Director of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. Herminio is a well-known lawyer in the Miami community, and he brings to the Office of Cuba Broadcasting professionalism; he brings a maturity. He is a man well-known for political activities in that City of Miami, but I tell you, he is objective and fair and a different form of management in the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. Herminio is part of our team.
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And so, as I explained to you when I first began, I would not be able to be introducing a team like this without this committee, to tell you the truth.
Finally, in May of last year, we were very fortunate indeed to recruit Tom Dine to replace Kevin Klose as the head of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. As you know, Tom had previously served as Assistant Administrator for Europe and the Newly Independent States. Tom is well-known on Capitol Hill; he is the former head of AIPAC, and I recall at one time when I was running CBS News and I did something that got AIPAC upset, and it rained on me for a lot of days, I didn't know Tom Dine, but I said to myself, if I can ever hire him, I will, and I did.
Finally, the veteran of the group is Richard Richter introduced to you before. He was someone who worked with me at ABC News, and during his time as Executive Producer of Washington Week in Review. Dick Richter runs Radio Free Asia. He has, in a year and 6 months, put together Radio Free Asia, almost unheard of in this town for the creation of an institution, and with the level of credibility that RFA now has and with the acclaim that it receives. In fact, it is such a stable base that he built, Mr. Chairman, that Congress saw fit, the Speaker made a point of that, to add more money for enhancing our broadcasts to China, and we put it into Radio Free Asia, as well as the Voice of America; but it is only because of what he has done in that institution.
So that is the team that we have.
Now, I am old enough to know that you would understand that there are great tensions in a team like this, but it is not like before. They are not institutional tensions. People disagree, but they work together. For example, Congress said we should be enhancing our broadcasting to China and the Far East, and Dick Richter and Evelyn Lieberman and Kevin Klose sat down and they determined how to allocate those funds in a grown-up, professional way.
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So that is the team, and we are very proud of them.
As I told you, I go nowhere without Tom Korologos. Let me quote something that Tom said that I think is important: ''With a reaffirmed mission built on this foundation of editorial integrity, U.S.-funded international broadcasting will remain a low-cost, high-yield foreign policy asset well into the 21st century.''
Thank you, sir, for allowing me to make this opening statement.
[The information follows:]
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Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Korologos.
Mr. KOROLOGOS. I just echo what the Chairman said and thank you for all you do for us. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, we will abide by the 5-minute rule on this first round.
RATIONALE FOR REDUCTIONS IN PUBLIC DIPLOMACY
Your 1999 request is modest, particularly in light of past reductions and in comparison with some of the increases requested elsewhere in the foreign affairs account. What is your rationale, in 25 words or less, for further cuts in public diplomacy programs, while increases are requested for many other aspects of foreign affairs?
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Mr. DUFFEY. Well, Mr. Chairman, I suppose we all long a bit for the time when, both because we operated around the world out of fear and with a sense of a great crusade against communism, there seemed to be almost no limit to the resources we could have. We could all find ways to spend more resources, but there are a number of the economies that I think have been possible in public diplomacy.
We no longer publish magazines, for example, as we once did. That was a very large expenditure. It took about 9 months to produce copy. They were wonderful magazines during the period of the Cold War; we continued them for a few years afterwards. It is much more important now, rather than preparing a slick magazine for 9 months, when frankly you can buy almost anything you can buy in DuPont Circle in Red Square, it is much more important to be able to turn around and in 24 hours translate an article that responds to an issue of concern to a citizen or a leader or a journalist in another part of the world.
We are operating in a world, quite frankly, in which there is much more information, and even in the parts of the world that we sometimes describe as ''shut off,'' they are not information starved. So with greater selectivity, we think that we can operate in the current budget effectively. Are there more things we could do? Sure, there always are.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, let me ask any of you, is it time for a Radio Free Iraq? I ask that sort of half seriously.
RADIO FREE IRAQ
Page 178 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BURKE. I think it is time for there to be enhanced broadcasting to Iraq, utilizing the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. I would not want to use that title that you just used, Mr. Chairman.
If you read in The New York Times this morning, there was a story saying that the Central Intelligence Agency has prepared a plan to put before the President to deal with Saddam Hussein, and part of that plan included a thing called Radio Free Iraq.
Mr. ROGERS. I wasn't aware of that.
Mr. BURKE. The reason I raise that, and I would like to have this discussion with the committee on this, is the fact that that story appears damaging to the credibility of international broadcasting. We are only good when we are believed; we are only good when we are credible, and we can't be credible if people around the world assume that we are returning to the days that used to exist when the CIA or somebody else promoted a ''radio this'' and a ''radio that.''
If the CIA is going to undertake something like that, if the President approves that plan, that is none of our business. That is not the business we are in. We are in the business of broadcasting.
Do I believe we should enhance our broadcasting? Yes, I do, to Iraq, and I believe we should do it now.
Mr. ROGERS. Are we doing any now?
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Mr. BURKE. We broadcast nowin our Arabic service now, I believe it is 6 hours a day, and we can move that up another 2 or 3 hours, and we can use both the Voice and Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty to be far more specific in the broadcasting to Iraq, as opposed to broadly broadcasting to the Arabic-speaking world.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, I understand, Dr. Duffey, that the 1999 budget request does not assume that the consolidation with State will go forward. I am sure that does not mean that you aren't actively preparing for such a consolidation. But have USIA and the State Department come to an agreement on a consolidation plan?
Mr. DUFFEY. A great deal of time has been spent by the men and women of all the organizations involved in the proposed consolidation of the foreign affairs community looking at what a new entity would look like. They worked on it last summer and prepared a very large report.
Not all of the issues have been resolved by consensus. There are some questions that remain open, and if we move ahead with consolidation, they will have to be addressed. They have to do with the cohesiveness of public diplomacy and the ways in which we would do what Secretary Albright. I think appropriately, has declaredthat is to preserve and strengthen public diplomacy as an area of greater recognition across the Department.
So we have not resolved all of the questions. We have worked on a number of logistical matters.
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Mr. ROGERS. The Washington Times last November sounded an alarm about USIA's public diplomacy resources getting lost in, as they called it, ''the great diplomatic Cuisinart.'' Are you satisfied that your programs will be improved as a result of consolidation, or at least not harmed?
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, we would all have to work on that as we move into consolidation. My concern has been that the personnel and budget resources which the Congress appropriates for overseas public diplomacy work remain with those programs in a cohesive way and not be simply another sign on the wall or part of a mission of an organization that has a number of objectives.
So that would have to be worked out, Mr. Chairman, if and when we move ahead with some consolidation. It hasn't been resolved at the moment.
Mr. ROGERS. Is it a real concern that we should be aware of that USIA's resources would be redeployed in order to sell our foreign policy to domestic constituents?
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, it has always been a concern of the Congress. Congress has expressed its concern in amendments over the years. I think the American citizens would be concerned about it. I think I would rather approach it in a more positive way.
If the experience of the last few months has taught us anything, it is that, increasingly, our ability to operate as a Nation in certain parts of the world depends upon our capacity to understand and affect foreign public opinion. Let me here just comment on your question with respect to broadcasting, if I may. Broadcasting, I think, is enormously effective, but there is also a very subtle temptation, as in any area, to think simply sharing a message, is the task.
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We are all concernedI know that our broadcasters are, as well as people engaged in other aspects of public diplomacybecause overseas public diplomacy requires greater contextual sophistication than U.S.-based public affairs. As an example I would say, with respect to the future of Iraq, with respect to our policies in Iraq and whatever we may have to do in the future, it may be more important to step up our broadcasting to other parts of the Middle East even in friendly states where we clearly have major public opinion problems and the leaders of those states have problems understanding United States' objectives. It seems to me that we need far more subtlety and calculation when we communicate overseas which is different from that required to communicate in this country.
So I would rather approach the question you ask by saying that public affairs and public diplomacy are two quite distinct operations and they ought to be kept distinct. They are not the same, and obviously the Congress is going to appropriate more resources for the task of public diplomacy overseas than they are, I think, for public affairs in this country, as important as that may be.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Mollohan.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
USIA is the only one of the foreign policy agencies that is requesting a reduction. Does that have something to do with any reorganization and why are you doing it?
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, first of all, I would like to believe that we have understood the problem of containing government expenditures and trying to balance the budget, and this understanding is reflected in our request.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. One would think, because you have done that in past years, that it would put you in a good position.
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, I would hope it gives us some credibility. It has not been the most popular thing to do.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Well, why are you?
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, from the point of view of the Administration, you have a whole range of needs in a time of tight resources.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. What about in your view?
Mr. DUFFEY. In my view?
Mr. MOLLOHAN. What was your request to OMB?
Mr. DUFFEY. Stan will give me the figure. Actually, the final budget is significantly larger than our initial pass-back.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Did you request an increase?
Page 183 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUFFEY. Yes, we requested an increase of
Mr. SILVERMAN. A total of $1.237 billion.
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, that is how much of an increase?
Mr. SILVERMAN. It was about $120 million over the 1998 enacted level.
Mr. DUFFEY. A very modest increase of $120 million.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Where did you request increases?
Mr. DUFFEY. We can give you thatexchanges, I think was probably the largest.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Which is where you got
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, what we got is a shifting. In other words, one of the concerns I have, frankly, is that we all wanted to increase the Fulbright budget because of its importance as a flagship exchange program. But it was increased at the cost of some other very valuable programs, international visitors and others. So that is an area which weI feel some concern about for next year.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Well, talk about that a little bit. Help the committee understand.
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You requested increases, OMB ends up giving you a decrease, and you are the only one of the four foreign policy agencies that got that. You got increases in the Fulbright and exchange section, correct?
Mr. DUFFEY. We decreased other exchange programs in order to provide an increase in the Fulbright program.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. So from your request you got decreases. How does that impact your agency? What concerns do you have for that?
Mr. DUFFEY. I mentioned earlier the important task of trying to identify leaders in other countries at an early stage and not always bringing them here at our expense. Sometimes we tack our program on to a trip they are taking at their own expense or from other resources. Our program is a concentrated effort to introduce them to American values. This program will be reduced in the next year. Other programs in the exchange areaeverything other than Fulbrightwill take some reductions. We can give you the details.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. And that concerns you?
Mr. DUFFEY. Yes, it does, because I think they were at a level that was already
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Pretty rock bottom, and you have said that before, right?
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Mr. DUFFEY. Yes.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. In what other areas are you experiencing reductions or not enough increases that concern you?
Mr. DUFFEY. In personnel, we have a reduction of about 138 positions. I think that we ought to try to absorb some of that because of the demand for reducing personnel costs.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. You have done a pretty good job of that in the past, as I recall.
Mr. DUFFEY. Yes, we have.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. At some point, that has to start affecting your programs.
Mr. DUFFEY. I would say the other area that most concerns me is technology. Just about an hour ago I looked at my computer; I had two e-mail messages. The first one was from a young woman in Armenia who sent an e-mail directly to me about coming to the United States to go to school. I think that is remarkable. I don't know if you are getting those kinds of e-mails from your constituents, but the other came from Argentina, where we are engaged now in experimenting with a new two-way high spped method of communication. It has been a little controversial, I think, with our colleagues at the State Department.
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We need as sophisticated technology as possible for exchange of information with posts. We don't thinkbecause we work in a very open system, that we always have to go out and buy that technology; we think it is a lot better to lease over a period of time because the technology is changing all the time. So we have an experiment, Mr. Bruns talked about it here last year, I think it was originally with five posts.
Mr. SILVERMAN. Four.
Mr. DUFFEY. It is a limited experiment, but the e-mail I got today from Buenos Aires described the absolute impact that 128 kbps bandwidth can have. It has enabled the post to exchange technical information, to have videoconferences, to increase transmission speed, and to provide access to a number of Washington-based data bases.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. So what would you like to happen? How is that reflected in your budget?
Mr. DUFFEY. Our current request is for $1.7 million for twelve more posts, a very modest request. I feel with the reaction I am already getting from people who have had a chance to look at it, that I would like to do it a little faster.
We had asked OMB for $14 million more in technology. But I was at the office the other day and Mr. Gibbons, the White House science advisor, had come over to the agency and just like that, he could have with one of our posts, the kind of exchange of information that they had requested.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. You would like to enhance that?
Mr. DUFFEY. So I think it is proving its point.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Kolbe.
Mr. KOLBE. Thank you very much.
Thank you for the chancefor coming today and the chance to listen to you.
I want to follow up on something that Mr. Mollohan started here. I am looking over your budget numbers, and I am a little puzzled by some of the items in there, and I think the subcommittee is going to grapple with trying to understand some of these things. I specifically want to talk about the exchange programs.
He mentioned the increase in the Fulbright. There is about a $1.29 million increase overall in your exchange programs, but there is a large increase in the Fulbright program and a decrease in all of the others. Why?
Page 188 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUFFEY. You know, when Senator Fulbright died a couple of years ago, I sent to President Clinton and I think maybe some Members of Congress a collection of the editorial comments from around the world that appeared the following week; and I said to the President, I have not seen as much appreciative, enthusiastic comment about a U.S. program.
Now, what is the reason for that? It has a binational quality to it. It is not something we pay for alone. Increasingly, foreign governments pay a larger share of the costs of the Fulbright program. For example, an agreement was signed last year to create a new Fulbright Commission in South Africa. We expect the South Africans to pay a portion of the program.
When Mr. Frei came here from Chile and spoke to the Joint Session last year, he announced an increase in funding on behalf of the Chilean Government for this program.
So I think because of the 50th anniversary, and that the program has had such acceptance in other nations, we were reaching a point of embarrassment because there are other nations whose contributions are exceeding ours. Therefore, we decided to try to increase our contribution.
Now, the unfortunate thing, if our budget stays where it is, is that that results in the
Mr. KOLBE. Well, that is the thrust of my question.
Have you evaluated and decided that Fulbright is a more valuable program than the other exchange programs; and the others are not doing what we intended, or not doing as well, at least, as Fulbright? Is that your conclusion? Or we are doing this because it is the 50th anniversary?
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Mr. DUFFEY. I think it has more to do with the latter.
Mr. KOLBE. Is that a fair thing to do with the other exchange programs, just because it is the 50th anniversary?
Mr. DUFFEY. As I expressed earlier, I have concern about those other programs. I think, first of all, the Fulbright program is protected from the discretion of the Director of USIA. It has its own appointed board. However, at my request, the Ford Foundation funded a basic study of the program, and one result of that was a recommendation to increase funding. There is nothing wrong with that.
The point you make is a great concern.
Mr. KOLBE. Fulbright is a great program. I have many friends that have been on Fulbrights, and I think it is a terrific program. But what you are really saying is, you are going to do it at the expense of some of the others.
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, perhaps what I am saying is if Congress felt this is a good thing to do, but not at the expense of other programs, I would be delighted. That would be my first choice.
NED AND ASIA FOUNDATION PROGRAMS IN CHINA
Mr. KOLBE. Let me, if I might, just ask one other question on a similar kind of thing, actually about the Asia Foundation. We know the President made a point of talking about, as a result of his visit there, an increase for civil society service projects in China, and that is reflected in a $7 million increase requested for the Asia Foundation. That is a very substantial increase. But Asia Foundation isn't the only one that does civil programs.
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We had an opportunity on our visit to China to see some extraordinary things being done by NEDin this case, it was both the IRI [International Republication Institute] and the National Democratic Institute on Election Observingand it just seems to me thatI mean, I am wondering why you think the Asia Foundation is better attuned to deliver on these social programs and civil programs, in China than NED would be.
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, I don't mean to imply that. There is an increase in NED of $1 million.
Mr. KOLBE. About a 3 percent increase as opposed to a 50 percent increase.
Mr. DUFFEY. NED has worked around the world, very good work. The Asia Foundation request is not part of the USIA budget, is it?
Mr. SILVERMAN. No, it is in the Department's budget.
Mr. DUFFEY. But there is an effort to try to strengthen the Asia Foundation.
Mr. KOLBE. I realize it is not USIA, but I was just wondering whether or not
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, I think their function and their programs pursue different objectives, and I have great admiration for what NED does. I hope its programs in China are increased and in no way diminished.
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Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Skaggs.
Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good afternoon. Dr. Duffey, I just wanted to give you the opportunity to be expansive, if you choose to be, about the state of morale and personnel contentedness, or not, at USIA. At least in some of the travel I have done over the last year, I try to stop by and see some of your people around the world, and sense a certain unease. To choose my words carefully, they are particularly looking forward toor maybe not looking forward tothe integration of their careers with the State Department. If that comes about, what should we be mindful of as we deal with your budget in this regard?
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, I thank you for the question. First of all, I think it is fair to say that in the whole foreign affairs community, there are questions of uncertainty that particularly affect people in the foreign service, whether they are connected with USIA or the State Department foreign service, simply because of our budget reductions and new questions being asked about efficiencies. One of the remarkable things, great tributes, I think, to the people of USIA is that my notion a few years ago that people can be retrained in government, just as they can be retrained in business and industry at the age of 45, maybe even 50, is something USIA people have been prepared to take on. In fact, we have a lot of examples of people being retrained.
Page 192 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SKAGGS. I am hoping for retraining at 55, myself.
Mr. DUFFEY. I am hoping for it at 65. So there is some anxiety all the way around, but obviously the uncertainty, the question of what happens to public diplomacy as a function is a concern.
I have to say, David, you have the same experience I do. Every time I sit down with an ambassador who has worked in a post, the first reaction I get is that the public diplomacy resourcesthe foreign nationals and officers at poststhat are the most valuable to them. So there is a deep appreciation.
But within the State Department milieu, where you have the immediacy of policy about which controversial questions are now being asked, public diplomacy is one of a number of tasks.
This is what I would propose. I do think we need a hard look at the whole foreign service. It ought to be one foreign service. We now have five or six. It ought to be one service; there ought to be greater training of people in all the range of what it means to represent this country these days, so that people don't get the feeling at some early stage that they are political officers and therefore they don't do public affairs. Good political officers know how to do public affairs.
Finally, I have to tell you that I think the answer to this is someplace within the profession itself, so that I would hope that we could look carefully at the reform of the foreign service, the revision or reinvention of an integrated foreign service, and then, in the service itself, professional understanding, so that people will change.
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Frankly, I am having a problem now. We have a number of jobs around the world that I need to fill, and I talked to a senior foreign service officer and he said, well, that is a job a little lower in grade than where I think I am in my career.
And I keep saying, but we need to fill that job. Well, he said that if I take it, my colleagues will punish me in the review process.
We need to change that atmosphere and some leadership could help a great deal.
BROADCASTING TO IRAQ
Mr. SKAGGS. Chairman Burke, you spoke favorably of boosting our broadcasting to Iraq. My sense is that we have a window of opportunity presently that we ought to take advantage of in that regard and not wait for fiscal year 1999 budgets to be completed or appropriations to be completed. Are there any pots of money within your domain that you might point us to for consideration of shifting resources to Iraq broadcasting that would evolve as a net overall gain for our international broadcasting activities? We have a supplemental appropriation coming up soon, and maybe there is a chance to make something happen.
Mr. BURKE. If I can address that, Mr. Congressman.
On the broader range, in response to a question that the Chairman asked: When you asked, Mr. Rogers, about Radio Free Iraq, there was one thing that we are very concerned about in international broadcasting, and that is whenever a ''radio free'' is proposed or accepted, we get no fresh money to do it. What we are doing is decimating the Voice of America, if we continue doing that.
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So the cause of the day isI don't consider Iraq to be just the cause of the day. It is a very serious piece of business. So clearly, if we could find within our budget, as you say, a pot of money, we would like to find it; but the difficulty that we have is, some pots of money are tied up and can only be used for one thing and nothing else.
Mr. SKAGGS. Let me put it this way. Are there restrictions that we ought to lift?
Mr. BURKE. Yes. Well, an example of that is Television Marti. Now, I know you have addressed this issue before and I feel very strongly about it. The story of that, I think, is not a good one. We have been broadcasting a VHF signal to Havana that no one can see, no one can; and that has been going on for years at $10 million, $11 million, $12 million, $14 million a year.
Just when reasonable people are at their wit's end, how can they possibly justify and rationalize it for one more year, someone comes up with a good idea: Why don't we try a UHF signal? Now, if you are in the television business, and I was for many years, and if you are in a network, the last affiliate you want is the UHF affiliate because no one can see a UHF signal.
So why anyone in their right mind would think that if a VHF signal can be easily jammed, a UHF signal could get throughit can't, it won't; however, we are going to be called upon to spend $10 million a year for nothing again, and another $1 million to buy a balloon to send a picture to nowhere.
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If I had that $11 million, and if we were allowed to have the freedom, as the International Broadcasting Act says we should have, to reallocate resources and keep them within the foreign policy interests of the United States, I would certainly like those resources to go to our broadcasts to Iraq. That is a wonderful example of, if we could be freed up and not have money earmarkedfor example, Congress suggests to us that there should be a ''Radio Free Iran.'' Give us no money to do that, but ask us to take $4 million of our existing budget and earmark it for that, meaning we can't do anything else with that money.
So we arewhen I opened my statement today, I was trying to describe a new international broadcasting institution that is flexible and moves with the events of the day. This world is as dangerous as any bipolar world ever was. But if we are hamstrungand that $11 million is a good example of how we are hamstrungwe just have to spend it for broadcasts that no one sees.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Regula.
Mr. REGULA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Dr. Duffey and your team. A couple of observations. One, I personally feel strongly that you remain independent and not be part of the State Department. I think you have a different function, and this agency should remain independent. I know that is not exactly our purview here.
Secondly, I think TV Marti is a waste of money.
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REDUCTIONS IN OTHER EXCHANGES
In terms of two items on the Fulbright issue, which has been pretty well covered, I have some problems with that, reducing your education or professional and culture exchange programs by $3.2 million. It seems to me Fulbright students tend to be graduate, even postgraduate, and they have their resources to help themselves and more outside sources, more substantial than those at the secondary level, or the kinds of exchanges that would be covered by the professional and cultural exchange programs.
You may not want to comment any further on that, and I recognize the President likes the Fulbright. But that is just one opinion.
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, I take the point you make. I will just repeat again, one of the attractions I think in increasing the Fulbright is that it appears to attract money from other countries.
Mr. REGULA. That is right.
Mr. DUFFEY. I was just on the phone with the ambassador from a country that is very important to the United States, a couple of days ago; that government is thinking about cutting back its Fulbright contribution. At the same time, we are trying to get added private contributions.
One of the reasons they are cutting back is that our program has been diminished. But I don't think it is one of those areas where I can compare Fulbright to other exchange programs. They are all very important, and to cut is a tragedy; I am hoping that maybe by the end of the year we can find a way not to have to make those cuts.
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Mr. REGULA. I think the exchange programs are very valuable. I was in Baltic States on NATO business, and many of our new young leaders were products of exchange programs; and it has a big, big payoff. They think Western, they are familiar with that culture. It is remarkable how the three Baltic States have just totally refocused in such a short time, in both entrepreneurship as well as in government; and that is one of the
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, you know, it is important for our allies as well. When Prime Minister Blair was here, I pointed out to him that he had been here as a visitor. And he said to meit was a couple of days we added to another trip he was taking if it hadn't been for that, it would have just been a vacation. Margaret Thatcher also came as a young leader.
So the ability of our people in the field to find these potential leaders so that we can give them an experience with some engagement on issues that is not just a tourist experience in the United States is very important. I think that is as important today, by the way, in the business sector as it is in government, maybe even more important.
BROADCASTING TO THE MIDEAST
Mr. REGULA. Well, that was obvious in our conversation.
The other, I guess a comment more than anything, would be that Radio Free Iraq, maybe it ought to be broad so that we get the story of the U.S. and all of the Middle East. It is a volatile area, and I wouldn't want to focus just on one country.
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Mr. BURKE. When I was talking earlier about Arabic states, that is, what you would enhance to get all of the nations in the area, as we said, in Arabic, and you would enhance that by increasing the hours; but also we would try to program in a far more direct manner that focuses on the situation in Iraq. Everyone feels very strongly that we should have done this or that. Because one thing I think we all agree on; the people of Iraq are prisoners, and they deserve the fresh air of the truth and honesty and objectivity coming their way; and we should be allocating resources to that right away.
Now, the Voice of America is very active and does that very well right now, but we need more resources to do it even better. Thus, the Congressman's question of what we could free up to do that, and I think it is the time to do it. I think it is time to allow the Board of Governors and the people of international broadcastingin consultation, of course, with Congress and the Administration, which has the constitutional responsibility for conducting the foreign policy of this countryto allow us to be flexible and to get away from some of the old structures that we are boxed into. I think that is very important, and it becomes increasingly important every day and week that goes by.
We would like to be able to respond, and I tried to make the point that I think we have put together a team of people who work together and are willing to respond; and this is as close as you are going to get to a private broadcasting operation in the public sector in terms of the enthusiasm and the level of energy and the intelligence of these people I have introduced.
Mr. REGULA. Are you reaching China?
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BROADCASTING TO CHINA
Mr. BURKE. We are reaching China. The Voice of America has for some time been reaching China. Radio Free Asia is very effective, I believe, in reaching China. There is jamming, of course. An interesting thing has occurred that suddenly the Chinese feel that Radio Free Asia is rather acerbic, so the Voice of America is their favorite now. But that is the way the world is.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Latham.
Mr. LATHAM. I am going to be amazingly brief. I know it is unusual, but I have the same concerns I think expressed by Mr. Regula and I would like to associate myself with his remarks and the same concerns. And with that, thank you. Trying to get you home early.
Mr. ROGERS. Let me follow up, Mr. Burke, with the China question. You received 35 million dollars in 1998 for the China operation. We have just this week received your statement. We have not had time to analyze it. I am pleased that we have a plan. My concern is that we did provide a very significant amount of money for the increase of hours in China. I want to make sure that we are doing everything possible to achieve the high level that, highest level we can and in a timely fashion. Tell us about the jamming. What is happening?
BROADCAST JAMMING IN CHINA
Page 200 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BURKE. Maybe the folks who live with it on a daily basis, Dick Richter, he can tell you how Radio Free Asia is being jammed.
Mr. ROGERS. Identify yourself.
Mr. RICHTER. Richard Richter, President of Radio Free Asia.
We have been jammed in China since August 15, since this past August 15. Before that we were not jammed. For all of that, our signal is getting through. We come in five or six different directions on different transmissions. It is one of the classic ways to try to get around jamming. We have gotten hundreds of letters from listeners indicating that they have heard our broadcasts despite the fact that they occasionally have been unable to because the signal has been blocked.
However, since the jamming began, we have gotten letters, for instance, from every sector of China. And they have increased, more frequent and more relevant to the precise nature of what we are broadcasting than before. We also just this week started a program which is not on the air yet but it will be on the air next week. It is a call-in program where people call an 800 number, and the calls have been piling up, and we have a great deal of difficulty even just dealing with it all by ourselves. Of course, in order to do that, they have to know where to call and they get that from our signal.
Mr. BURKE. Mr. Chairman, if I can just add one thing. Again, we wish to thank the committee for its support. We have money and negotiations are under way to buy new facilities in Saipan, and Dick Richter is involved in those negotiations and also construction, we expect by the end of January to be outlined, January of 1999. That will help significantly on the jamming problems. The more power you have on a signal, the better you are.
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Mr. ROGERS. Are they jamming VOA as well?
Ms. LIEBERMAN. Mr. Chairman, they jam us less frequently than they do RFA but they also began, have begun to jam our Internet site. As a result of that, we broadcast on the air our e-mail address and the response to that has been overwhelming. The first 2 days we broadcast the address, I think we received 400 e-mails.
Mr. ROGERS. Why are they jamming RFA and not necessarily VOA?
Mr. BURKE. I believe RFA, before there was an RFA, there was talk about an RFA. And everyone came to believe what RFA was going to, it was going to be far more aggressive than VOA. That is not totally true but its broadcasting was going to be different. They feel it is more threatening because besides telling you the news of the world in general, it behaves as a surrogate should, as though it were a local broadcasting entity in the nation that allowed it. So they just find it more acerbic, I believe.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, in the '98 conference report we included $4 million for the development of the Farsi service to Iran. We still don't have your plan. I understand there are some concerns within the administration that have delayed the submission of that plan. Can you help us out here?
Mr. BURKE. Yes, I think I can. We on the board know full well what our responsibilities are under the U.S. International Broadcasting Act of 1994. We have an obligation to carry out the law that was passed by Congress. We also, however, under that Act have a responsibility to effectuate to the extent that we can the foreign policy interests of the United States. So we, in a situation like this, we feel we have to go to the National Security Council for some guidance as to how to proceed, what the plan should be. We have done that. Mr. Chairman, yesterday I had a conversation with Undersecretary of State Tom Pickering and he has allowed me to make reference to that conversation, to say that the administration would like to rethink, given the current state of affairs in Iran, as well the current state of affairs in Iraq and so on and so forth, they would like to rethink that. Ambassador Pickering wants me to assure you that the Administration will do nothing as far as whatever instructions we on the Board of Governors receive, without full consultations with the Congress and both parties.
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Mr. ROGERS. Dr. Duffey, any comments?
Mr. DUFFEY. None.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, we will have a chance to talk about that.
Mr. BURKE. Yes. And as you can understand, the Board of Governors of international broadcasting, we stand in the middle. We can and will provide a very effective service to Iran if directed to do so, we can and do provide a very effective service to Iraq.
REDUCTIONS IN INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION PROGRAMS
Mr. ROGERS. Dr. Duffey, your International Information Program account includes program reductions of 8.4 million dollars and 61 positions. I understand your proposal is to take these across the board proportionately. Why didn't you propose those to be taken in more of a prioritized fashion rather than across the board?
Mr. DUFFEY. Mr. Chairman, for four years now, we have taken reductions in a prioritized way. We have been very selective. We have eliminated programs and I think maybe we are the only foreign affairs agency that has actually stopped some things we used to do. This is something that I think we all ought to ask, the what-do-we-in-fact-stop-doing kind of question that is being asked by industry and other institutions. We have asked that question, and it has resulted in some fairly dramatic cuts.
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Late in December, when we had to accommodate, against our request, the budget that we were authorized, I asked to have the reductions laid out across the board in terms of the planning request so that I could look at the impact. That is not the way we are going to implement it, Mr. Chairman, at the end of the year, after we have seen the will of Congress and other studies that we are carrying out. My anticipation is we would not be making those cuts across the board. But it was an exercise we needed to engage in initially, very quickly at the end of December, in order to prepare a budget and meet the deadlines.
Mr. ROGERS. Maybe as we go along, we can help you refine that process.
Mr. DUFFEY. I would hope you would. I would like for some guidance.
Mr. ROGERS. Well, it just seems to me that if you have some cutdowns, you shouldn't weaken all your programs, you should weaken those that need to be weakened.
Mr. DUFFEY. Well, I would ask for at least some credibility on the basis that that is the way we have operated for four years.
Mr. ROGERS. You just didn't have time to do it is what you are saying?
Page 204 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. DUFFEY. We didn't have time. I was also quite curious to see what in each division would be sacrificed against the requests that were being made. We don't have reorganization legislation. We could have that before the end of the year. There are a number of uncertainties.
Mr. ROGERS. We want to help you target your low priority programs and keep the good ones healthy.
Now, based on the statistics you have given to us, international exchanges is a big business for the government with 39 agencies involved, total cost of $2.4 billion a year. USIA of course chairs that agency working group to coordinate those efforts. Have you had any success in improving coordination and identifying overlap and duplication?
Mr. DUFFEY. Let me let Mr. Loiello comment on that. He chairs that effort. This effort has just begun. I think one of the things Mr. Loiello has discovered is that getting the accurate information in a format that will be useful to you and to us in making a comparison is the first task we have to do. We have to find out what is actually there. We know more than we did a couple years ago but we still are not quite there.
Jack, you have assembled the staff.
Mr. LOIELLO. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, the process moves ahead fairly well. We have, first of all, 6 agencies specifically mentioned in the executive order that are participating but we have been very pleasantly surprised, indeed, by the involvement of more than 20 agencies on a regular basis. The working group has met three times. There are a number of working groups underneath it which are now collecting an inventory of all exchanges and training, a much broader one than had been developed under the previous executive order. We, under that executive order, have to report by July 15th of this year to the President on a strategy, a coordinated strategy for exchanges and training for the year. But what differentiates this particular review and study compared to the previous executive order is the fact that there is a staff that reports not to the United States Information Agency per se but to this Interagency Working Group. Secondly, a year from now, in July of 1999, we are required by the executive order to lay out performance measures and parameters for looking at exchanges across government. And so I think the process has been an arduous one but it is going quite well at this point. I think we are on target because of the cooperation of the other agencies of government in addition to USIA.
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Mr. ROGERS. How often does the working group meet?
Mr. LOIELLO. The working group meets four times a year. We have just met for the third time the week before last.
Mr. ROGERS. Do you think it is an appropriate mechanism to address the duplication problem?
Mr. LOIELLO. Yes, I am glad you mentioned that. One of the other specific requirements of the executive order is to address the issue of duplication and of leveraging private sector support.
COMPETITION IN FULBRIGHT SENIOR SCHOLAR PROGRAM
Mr. ROGERS. Dr. Duffey, finally, on the Fulbrights, you said that you intend to compete the administration of the senior scholar program at the end of this fiscal year; right?
Mr. DUFFEY. Yes.
Mr. ROGERS. A significant portion of your exchange appropriations is awarded in the form of sole source grants for both Fulbright and international visitor programs. Could you bring us up to date on how you plan to introduce competition to these programs?
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Mr. DUFFEY. There is a proposal which has been preparedagain, Mr. Loiello's office has done this and he may want to comment on itto begin in a staged way to offer competition for some of these. Mr. Chairman, as you are aware, I have some concern about making this transition. USIA, unlike some other organizations, does not generally deal with organizations that are contract organizations. Our largest partner with respect to the Fulbright, for example, is the Institute of International Education, an organization that raises funds on its own, that really operates to supplement the program. It is not out looking for contracts. I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, but I want to keep us from becoming an institution that is simply concerned with the contractual process. I think there needs to be some real competition to see who can do the programs well, but we also need the concept of sharing and some stability in the program. So what has been proposed is a phasing, which would begin in 1998, with that program and with a certain share of the other programs. This is in response to the expressed concerns of Congress about greater competition and opportunity. I think it is a good idea that we look at those programs and open them up and see how they can be done better and keep the organizations accountable. It is going to be difficult for some organizations. We need to try to keep the quality of the programs as we go through that process.
Mr. ROGERS. All right. Mr. Mollohan.
RFA 1998 ENHANCEMENT
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Last year Congressman Royce's Radio Free Asia enhancement legislation passed the Congress by 401 to 21. Congratulations. That is a really good vote. It increased or proposes to increase funding. I don't think you got your money yet for that, $31.2 million in Fiscal Year 1999. I don't think the Senate has done anything with that. Does that legislation have a status over in the Senate?
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Mr. BEARD. Counterpart measures have been introduced but they have not acted on them. Your bill (FY 1998 CJS Appropriation Act) did include additional money for RFA, as you know.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. But it did not include that much.
Mr. BEARD. Almost $35 million in 1998, including Radio Construction and IBO accounts.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Well, what is the Administration's position on that legislation?
Mr. BURKE. I believe that the Administration position on that legislation is quite favorable.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. They support that legislation?
Mr. BURKE. Yes.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. And they support the additional increase of 30 something, $31 million in Fiscal Year 1999.
Mr. BURKE. I believe so, yes.
Page 208 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MOLLOHAN. Is that reflected in your request?
Mr. BEARD. Full-year costs of the enhanced broadcasting to China approved in FY 1998 are annualized in 1999.
Mr. SCARDINO. The full cost of the increased broadcasting is in 1998 but not in addition to that.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. That was my question. My question is, as I understand this legislation, it proposes an increase of funding of $46 million for 1998, of which, as you point out, part of that is funded in 1998 and then another $31 million in 1999. My question was, is that part of your budget request?
Mr. BEARD. No, sir, it is not.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. What you have in there is annualizing the first
Mr. BEARD. Annualized from this year's appropriation, yes, sir.
Mr. BURKE. I remember why you were concerned in the past. Your concerns in the past were, will the presence, I believe, will the presence of RFA and anything that RFA does be eating away at the Voice of America and the strength of the Voice of America. When this legislation came, and I remind you that we had not at that time, we did not ask you this, it was the Speaker of the House who led the charge on this, on returning from a trip abroad. The first thing that we did, just so you understand how we operate, the first thing we did is that Evelyn Lieberman of the Voice of America and Dick Richter and Kevin Klose, who is head of International Broadcasting, they sat down and in areas, because clearly it was your concerns about robbing Peter to pay Paul as you go ahead in the future. The Congress had decided that they wanted a Radio Free Asia and we have to carry it out to the best of our ability. But I will tell you, they are here and you can ask them, we are here to make sure that we carry it out in such a way that each service is satisfied and we take advantage of every dollar.
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Mr. DUFFEY. Could I just, on the privilege of age, make a suggestion. I think the Congress would well serve the American people by looking, and I am describing all our programs, at their effectiveness.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. I didn't hear you.
Mr. DUFFEY. At how effective what we are now doing in exchanges and broadcasting is. We are trying to ask the question, and I know the broadcasting people work very hard at it. I am impressed by the polling I see such as we are able to get. It is not insignificant that young people, for example, in China do not respond in the same way to the United States they once did. They don't look at us as some sort of great kind of saviour out of the West. They look with some skepticism, sometimes in an irrational way. For example, a large number of young people in China still blame the United States for their not getting the Olympics when it went to Australia. It is strange how that sort of hangs on. In Kentucky and West Virginia, we know that sometimes memories like that affect perceptions for a long time. I have been looking at some data from the Mideast. We sent over some people to talk about our position in Iraq. Part of the problem is we needed to explain it in greater detail, explain the history, use photographs and graphs. We prepared a videotape last week and someone went over to start the briefings. But as I read the notes, I see that there is enormous resistance among a younger generation of journalists and leaders regardless of what we say. So it is an impertinent suggestion, but it might be very interesting for the Congress to run some hearings that looked at the two parts of the world we are now most frustrated with communicating with. The Middle East and China are two parts of the world where our intentions, though very noble, were based on a missionary attitude that is irrelevant now. It has changed. We need to reconsider what is effective in communicating. I know we will try to do our job and I know the broadcasting people work very hard at trying to understand their audiences. But it would be very refreshing if the Congress actually took up that question as well. It might give some guidelines, what really is working for us and what frankly is still a romantic, sentimental notion of what we used to do during the Cold War.
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Mr. MOLLOHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROGERS. Mr. Skaggs.
EFFICACY OF TV MARTI
Mr. SKAGGS. I have gotten a signal from the Chairman that we don't have too much time. Keep your answers brief for me, please. Just so both your and my evenhandedness are on the record, Mr. Burke, would you compare and contrast, as they say in college exams, the efficacy of and importance of Radio Marti with that of TV Marti?
Mr. BURKE. Yes.
Radio Marti I think has a bad rap. I think it does a wonderful job. I think it is doing a better job now, especially with Mr. San Roman where attention is paid not so much to office politics but running it like a professional news organization. Radio Marti did extraordinary coverage during the Pope's visit. Radio Marti is a valuable asset to the United States of America. I have already expressed myself on TV Marti. I think the constant spending of money for something that just will not work simply because it is a political problem, to cut it off is shortsighted. At a time when there are other problems facing us in the world, by God, in tight budget times we can use that money.
Mr. SKAGGS. Mr. Korologos, is this an opinion you share?
Page 211 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. KOROLOGOS. Yes, sir, Mr. Skaggs.
Mr. SKAGGS. Is there anything you can think of technically that can be used to fix this problem to assure that a TV signal on whatever frequency cannot be jammed or can be received?
Mr. BURKE. Congressman, there is nothing that I know of that would fix this problem.
Mr. SKAGGS. Since we have a test period coming up here shortly, how should we and our colleagues judge the success or not of this switch to UHF?
Mr. BURKE. The Congress has been very specific in the kind of information that they want. And they don't want political speeches and they don't want hemming and hawing and beating around the bush. You want to know if anyone on the Island of Cuba can see television that we send through UHF signal.
Mr. SKAGGS. Will you be able to tell us that?
Mr. BURKE. I have instructed the staff and they know full well, and they say that by April 15 you will know the answer to that question.
Mr. SKAGGS. Thank you.
Mr. ROGERS. Does the Director wish to say anything to that?
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Mr. SAN ROMAN. Obviously, Mr. Chairman and Members of Congress, obviously we disagree. I, coming from a Communist country, I was born in Cuba, I obviously feel that the opportunity to disagree is one of the great advantages of this democracy. I do think that TV Marti plays a very important role in the foreign policy of the United States. It is very important for everyone in this room, including Members of Congress, to understand that from the factors we have, information, that the hierarchy of the Cuban government watches TV Marti because we open the signal and it gets down-linked by satellite dishes. It is also very important to understand that we are going to proceed within the mandates of this Congress with a UHF system, as the Chairman is saying. We will continue with the testing. We will come back to you, and obviously it is the prerogative of the Congress to come and dictate what shall be done with TV Marti. But I think that with an opportunity, at least I think I deserve an opportunity to make it work.
As my colleague, Mr. Richter, was saying, one of the problems with TV Marti is that we are only coming from one direction and that direction the Cuban government knows and they concentrate all the jammers along the northern coast of Havana. So it is something that we will have to look at, but we will follow, like I should do, follow the mandate of Congress and as well as that from USIA and the IBB Director and the BBG.
Mr. BURKE. That is the only thing that Mr. San Roman and I have a healthy disagreement about, and we knew that from the first day we met.
Mr. DUFFEY. Let me make one more suggestiona positive one. One difference between a Communist country and a free country is that free countries are not so obsessed with secrecy. An important contribution this committee and the Congress could make is to free the documents in the 1980s that described how we got into this situation. They should not continue to be classified, as they are now, because they would help us all learn something from our history. That effort, would reflect the real difference between a closed society and an open society.
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Mr. ROGERS. On that happy note, we thank you for your testimony and the staff that is here. I think you know that we are still under spending caps. Same caps that had been on us last year are still there, even though there is talk of a surplus. Don't hold your breath. So we still have austere years, albeit money rich years. We will do our best to accommodate your needs as best we can.
Mr. SKAGGS. Mr. Chairman, are questions for the record still open from yesterday for Secretary Albright?
Mr. ROGERS. Sure.
Thank you very much.
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."