SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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BOSNIA: THE U.S. ROLE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
NOVEMBER 7, 1997
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
WILLIAM GOODLING, Pennsylvania
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
JAY KIM, California
STEVEN J. CHABOT, Ohio
MARSHALL ''MARK'' SANFORD, South Carolina
MATT SALMON, Arizona
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
JOHN McHUGH, New York
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
LEE HAMILTON, Indiana
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD BERMAN, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGARY ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
PAT DANNER, Missouri
EARL HILLIARD, Alabama
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVE ROTHMAN, New Jersey
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota
JIM DAVIS, Florida
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
MICHAEL H. VAN DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff
JOHN HERZBERG, Professional Staff Member
MARK KIRK, Counsel
KIMBERLY ROBERTS, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
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The Honorable Robert Gelbard, Special Representative of the President and the Secretary of State for Implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords
The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, a Representative in Congress from New York, and Chairman, Committee on International Relations
The Honorable Robert Gelbard
Additional material submitted for the record:
Answers submitted by Ambassador Gelbard to questions asked by Representative Gilman
Answers submitted by Ambassador Gelbard to questions asked by Representative Campbell
Report of Staff Delegate Herzberg of the House International Relations Committee, Mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina
BOSNIA: THE U.S. ROLE
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 1997
House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 1:22 p.m., in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman (chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Chairman GILMAN. The Committee will come to order. Please, Members, take your seats.
Mr. Goss, you are welcome to join us up here.
We are being joined by the chairman of our Intelligence Committee, Mr. Goss, the gentleman from Florida.
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This afternoon, we welcome Ambassador Robert Gelbard, representative of the President and the Secretary of State for Implementation of the Dayton Agreements on Bosnia, who is here to inform us about the latest developments in U.S. policy concerning Bosnia. Ambassador Gelbard is well known to our Members because of his prior involvement in other issues, such as Haiti and U.S. efforts to stamp out the scourge of illicit drug trafficking. I think he is probably pleased that he has shed that responsibility momentarily. We hope you will not stay too far from that issue.
We are pleased to extend a hardy welcome to Ambassador Gelbard, who is appearing before our Committee in his new role as the Administration's point man in Bosnia. I think that's an appropriate title, point man, our man in Bosnia. It's regrettable that Secretary of State Albright has been unable to appear before our Committee to discuss this issue, but we recognize she has a number of important problems at the moment. We strongly believe that Secretary Albright as the President's principal foreign policy advisor, should come before the Congress to explain why the President's initial pledge that U.S. military forces would be out of Bosnia by the end of 1996 was not met, and what this may auger for meeting the current withdrawal date of June 1998. I know there's a great deal of discussion about whether or not we should be leaving by that date or hanging on.
It should be recalled that in 1995, President Clinton told the American public and the Congress that U.S. troops would be out of Bosnia by December 1996. In November 1996, the President also told us that although our mission, the so-called IFOR mission with NATO would end, a new mission with NATO called SFOR would begin. The President stated that that new mission would last 18 months or until the end of June 1998. This past September, Sandy Berger, the National Security Advisor to the President, speaking at Georgetown University, raised the prospect that U.S. forces might remain in Bosnia for an indefinite period beyond next June.
This past week I joined, along with our Ranking Minority Member, with other Members of the congressional leadership, in a meeting with the President at the White House to discuss our policy in Bosnia. While the President did not announce any decision on whether our troops will remain in Bosnia beyond the middle of next year, he did agree that he has not yet fully explained to the American public what he hopes to accomplish in Bosnia, and if he does decide to keep the troops for a longer date, then he has to educate the public on the need for that.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It therefore is our hope that Ambassador Gelbard, on behalf of the President and Secretary Albright, will utilize today's hearing to candidly discuss with us the aims of the Administration policy in Bosnia and the national interest that is supported by that policy. I think our American people deserve to hear the unambiguous truth about Bosnia, what's going right and what's wrong, and above all what our troops will be doing there and for how long.
Finally, I would like to thank Ambassador Gelbard and his staff, particularly Andy Bair and the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, for the support they provided to our Committee staff during their recent visit to Bosnia. We have tried to keep in touch as closely as we can by this Committee. Our Committee colleagues may find their report on the trip of interest. It has been included in the materials for this hearing that's now before you on our desks.
Before turning to our witness, I have asked if our Ranking Minority Member, Mr. Hamilton, has any opening statement or any of our other colleagues.
Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Hamilton.
Mr. HAMILTON. I am very pleased you are having the hearing this afternoon. We are delighted to welcome Ambassador Gelbard to the hearing.
Mr. Chairman, I have just been notified that there are three Balkan political leaders, one Bosnian, one Croat, one Serb, who have opposed the war and ultra-nationalism in the former Yugoslavia. They are recipients of NDI's 1997 Democracy Award. I wonder if it might be appropriate, Mr. Chairman, if we just recognized them. One is Salim Beslagic, the mayor of Tuzla. Second is Zlatko Kramaric. You'll have to forgive my pronunciations here. I'm doing the best I can. The third is Vesna Pesic, who is not here. Two of the three are here. We're delighted to recognize them and congratulate them.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Hamilton. It's a pleasure having some local officials here as we discuss this very critical issue. We hope that your visit will be worthwhile.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Campbell.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. Chairman, thank you. I asked to make a brief opening statement to identify the concern that I have with the failure of Congress to approve. I believe that the Constitution requires the Congress to be involved in a decision of using forces overseas. The War Powers Resolution is the mechanism that we have adopted for doing that. The trigger is whether we introduce troops into a situation where the possibility of hostilities is imminent. The words are hostilities and imminent and possibilities. At the time we introduced troops into Bosnia, I have no doubt that the possibility of hostilities was imminent. Therefore, under the War Powers Resolution, the President should have come to the Congress and obtained approval. That would be the same, whether it was President Bush regarding Kuwait-Iraq, or any President since we passed the War Powers Resolution.
Now I have tried with some frequency to ask the Administration why. If the Administration's point of view is the War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional, I can understand that. We'll have a very important debate on that it will eventually be resolved by the Supreme Court, I hope. But if they instead say this was not a condition where hostilities were imminent when we put troops in, they are playing with the facts.
So today, when it comes to my turn, I will again ask Ambassador Gelbard to state whether there are hostilities now, and whether at the time we inserted troops in Bosnia, there was a condition where the possibility of hostilities was imminent. If the Administration continues to say that Congress should have no official role, I believe that they are dis-serving the American public. If we should be in Bosnia, and maybe we should, then let's do it with the support of the elected representatives of the U.S. people. Then we will sustain our commitment. If we do not have the support of the American people, we run the great risk of cutting and running as we have in other places in the world.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Campbell.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for calling this hearing on Bosnia and U.S. policy. A few weeks ago 10 Bosnian Croats suspected of being responsible for the attacks on villages have voluntarily surrendered to the tribunal at the Hague investigating atrocities in Bosnia in Bosnia's 4-year war. Their transfer is a welcomed step toward bringing to justice those who are suspected of being responsible for the gross human rights abuses in the former Yugoslavia. Fourteen of the 18 Croats who have been charged are in custody. All three indicted Muslims are on trial.
Only the Serbs have failed to cooperate. Of the 78 accused, 57 are Serbs. Fifty one of those are still at large. Indicted war criminals right under the noses of NATO troops are still to be found residing in their home communities, protected by the local authorities. One of the eight men indicted for committing gang rape, systematic rape, sexual assaults, torture and enslavement of Bosnian women and girls was recently found in Bosnia Herzegovina dining in an outdoor cafe where two SFOR soldiers sat at a table in an adjacent restaurant. The other seven men are also said to be residing openly in the area.
Indicted war criminals must be brought to justice. As compared to the Goma, Zaire, now Congo issue, we need to reevaluate the extended role of the international community when it comes to big questions of bringing war criminals to justice. We can not sit idly by and watch people being slaughtered by the tens of thousands like in eastern Zaire, and letting war criminals run loose. I ask my colleagues to join me in strongly condemning some of the worst war crimes committed in Europe since the second World War, and the failure of many Balkan leaders to live up to their commitment, particularly on issues related to war criminals and refugee returns. The success of the peace process is subject to the successful implementation of the human rights provision of the Dayton Accords. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Payne.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would just say to my friend from California, Mr. Campbell, that we have obviously gone through this kind of discussion through the years with both Democrat and Republican Presidents. I would say that like most other rights and privileges in a society, you have to have an affirmative action to protect them. I think the Congress sometimes through cowardice, sometimes through wisdom decides that it is easier politically not to act on its power to affect the purse, if nothing else, that the White House does. I'm not sure that in the light of history that that's not a terrible approach. The danger is that the executive can usually get Congress in on the ground floor of anything, as the Gulf of Tonkin proved or any kind of incident where there's significant massive loss of American lives. We would have given President Reagan the authority to do almost anything after the American Marines were killed. Without having been in it, an opportunity to review it later.
One of the advantages in how our system works practically, I think, is when Congress wants to, it can obviously act affirmatively. If it is unsure, for whether political or substantive reasons, it can hold back.
What I would like to say to our witness today is that part of the problem we face is of your own making, in the sense of the Administration's making and our making by first setting a deadline. While I think the deadline certainly had some advantages in trying to press the parties on the ground to come to a conclusion, I dare say if Harry Truman in the earlier mid1940's had said we have a deadline to stay in Germany or a deadline of how many years we are going to resist Soviet expansion, and somebody said you have to put 50 years in there, I am not sure anybody in the Truman Administration would have approved it. Obviously the consequences of a deadline are clear for those who want to out-wait the policy.
I agree with my friend from California that we certainly have to bring the American people into this process, and not just when the torment and torture is so visible that CNN and the other news sources have it on the nightly news so that Americans get engaged for a week or two. Somehow in the post-Soviet era, we are going to have to engage the American public because I think there is a real fear that Mr. Campbell alluded to, that if there is a crisis and any loss of life of a significant nature for American personnel, this Congress will vote to immediately pull the troops out of wherever they are.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So we need to find a strategy that puts pressure obviously on the participants to come to a conclusion that makes them responsible participants. We also, I think, have to have some flexibility here that says we're going to stay to make sure this problem doesn't just keep exploding and only return when the mass graves are large enough that the revulsion that exists in society forces us to go there.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Gejdenson.
Mr. LANTOS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to commend you for holding this hearing. There are few things that I dislike any more than the rewriting of history. With all due respect to our distinguished witness for whom I have the highest personal regard, let me read the opening paragraph of your prepared statement, and let me take issue with you. This is what you are saying. ''The war in Bosnia has presented the most significant challenge yet to our post-cold war vision of Europe, a Europe undivided, at peace, and economically prosperous, a Europe that can strengthen America's security in the 21st century.'' Nobody can quarrel with that.
Now the second sentence. ''That is why we and our international partners committed ourselves not just to contain the conflict, but to help the people of Bosnia secure a real peace.'' Well, we sort of gloss over the years during which 200,000 innocent men, women, and children were slaughtered because Europe and the United States and NATO chose not to participate. We gloss over the fact that a million and a quarter people became homeless and refugees. We gloss over the fact that this phrase we use so often, that these hatreds are centuries old, are now not just historic hatreds, but these are hatreds because peoples' wives and daughters and mothers were raped and killed. Children were massacred because of the failure of the West.
Now in all candor, let me say, Mr. Ambassador, and not for the first time, and not with the benefit of hindsight because I said this publicly as it was happening, the bulk of the responsibility for that failure rests with the previous Administration, because it was during the Bush Administration that all this unraveled. But this Administration's early response did not contribute to the solution. It was only after the nightmare of seeing on television little infants being massacred, and old women and children and utterly innocent civilians being slaughtered, that at long last this Administration decided to take action. I want to commend the Administration for doing so, belatedly.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But we simply can not before the court of history claim that that is why our international partners committed ourselves to doing these wonderful things. The failure in Bosnia is the worst failure of the post-cold war world by NATO, the European allies and the United States. It was only after vast numbers of innocent civilians were massacred and that country was destroyed that NATO decided to move. I think that the history record needs to be straightened out. We can not gloss over the failures of the Bush Administration and the failures of this Administration in the early period to take effective action.
I also want to comment on Mr. Gejdenson's very wise observation. In this very room, Secretary Christopher, Secretary Perry and the former chairman of the joint chiefs, General Shalikashvilli testified before us when they first came to us that this assignment to Bosnia will last 1 year. I publicly challenged them to a bet, because I knew full well that it will last much longer than a year. Not long ago, Secretary Cohen sat where you sit now, and said this will last just another year. Now the Administration clearly is moving properly and with my support toward recognizing that this has to go on for a long time.
I simply don't think that the one remaining superpower on the face of this planet can play political games. I think we have got to level with the American people. I think if an assignment lasts a long time on the basis of any rational prediction, then a Republic Administration or a Democratic Administration has to say so clearly and publicly and without equivocation.
This assignment will not be terminated soon. You can not unscramble an omelet. There are hatreds and bitterness on the ground that will take generations to undo. I think it would be a tragedy if NATO forces would be withdrawn from Bosnia, and NATO forces without U.S. forces simply can not do the job, nor will they do the job.
So my plea to you, Mr. Ambassador, with great friendship and respect, is to level with this Committee and level with the American people. Bosnia was a tremendous failure of Western policy in 1991, in 1992, and in 1993. We are now on the right track. We should remain on the right track and not establish phoney deadlines to get out of Bosnia, because if we get out of Bosnia, we will go back into Bosnia with much larger costs in treasure and blood. The American people are adult enough to face up to realities. We have shown this throughout our history. I think the sugar-coating of unpleasant assignments demeans the stature of this great country. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Lantos.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Chairman, I wasn't going to have an opening statement, but I feel compelled now that my friend and colleague, Mr. Lantos, mentioned some things that I do really believe deserve some comment. First of all, let me note that during the time period that Mr. Lantos was discussing when these atrocities were committed, Mr. Lantos and I were allies and worked diligently together during that entire time period to try to draw attention to the genocide that was taking place and tried to do our best to make sure the United States was against it, and tried to stop it.
However, and the big however was, there are hatreds that run for centuries around the world. Different ethnic groups don't like different ethnic groups. They engage often in a brutality toward one another. This in no way excuses a dispatchment of American troops to the far reaches of the world, and a violation of our own law. As Mr. Campbell as pointed out, this ongoing operation in Bosnia could well be a violation of the War Powers Act.
In the beginning when this problem arose, there were some of us who suggested instead of sending American troops, that we simply lift the arms embargo that we ourselves imposed on the people of that area so that those who were victims of aggression could defend themselves. We did not do that. This Administration opposed it, as did the Bush Administration. So now we end up sending troops all over the world. I do not believe that a continuing operation is justified in Bosnia, nor is it justified in any other area of the world simply because people are killing one another.
I will leave it at that. But I am looking forward to the Ambassador's testimony to find out how long, and how much it is going to cost. I am afraid that what we have is an out-of-control mission that's going to continue costing billions of dollars, draining our resources, and with no end in sight.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Rohrabacher.
Mr. CHABOT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will be very brief. Many of us when the Administration and President Clinton discussed with the Congress his plan to send troops into Bosnia, many of us opposed the President. We predicted one of two things would happen. We predicted that the troops would be pulled out after 1 year because the President assured us that the troops would be out in 1 year. Either there would be bloodshed and the parties would go right back to killing each other after that 1 year period of time, or the troops would be in a lot longer than 1 year. One of those two things has happened, because the troops have been in there a lot longer than a year.
Now it is unfortunately typical of this Administration, and often times I have to admit government in general, is government doesn't level with the American people. That's wrong. I think it is important that the people have confidence and believe in the Administration and the people that are governing this country. This is an example of why people don't trust their government. Because the President clearly stated, 1 year we'll be out. We weren't out, and we are not out yet. There is no telling how much longer we'll be in and at what cost.
As Mr. Rohrabacher just mentioned, it is billions and billions and billions of dollars, and the cost continues to rise. Let's level with the American people and tell them up front what we are committing to, and for how long, and be straight with them. Then maybe they will start to trust their government, because they sure don't right now, and for good reason. I yield back the balance of my time.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chabot.
Mr. Ambassador, you may put in your full statement or summarize, whichever you deem appropriate. Please proceed.
STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR ROBERT GELBARD, SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DAYTON PEACE ACCORDS
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ambassador GELBARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My full statement is short, and I would appreciate it if I could read the entire statement.
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection.
Ambassador GELBARD. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Committee to discuss the current situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the status of our peace implementation efforts there. I too would like to welcome the presence of my friends, Mayors Beslagic and Kromoric, who along with Vesna Pesic are worthy recipients of the National Democratic Institute's awards on Wednesday evening.
The war in BosniaI am going to repeat the language, has presented the most significant challenge yet to our post-cold war vision of Europe, a Europe undivided, at peace, and economically prosperous, a Europe that can strengthen America's security in the 21st century. That is why we and our international partners committed ourselves not just to contain the conflict, but to help the people of Bosnia to secure a real peace.
NATO, with strong American leadership, responded effectively to that challenge. Our engagement in Bosnia has helped to revitalize the alliance, and is shaping the growing consensus on the nature of the new European security framework, and the role that Russia will play on that front. U.S. determination to protect our interests and to stop the bloodshed and terrible human suffering got NATO into Bosnia, and U.S. leadership at every level has ensured that the mission to date has been a tremendous success.
We are well on our way to achieving our vision of Europe, but our task will be much harder unless Bosnia is stable, and the peace self-sustaining. Such a peace can best be assured through the full implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords, and American leadership has proven critical to moving that implementation forward. The close cooperation between civilian implementation agencies and a U.S.-led SFOR, with guidance from a strong U.S.-led coalition of our European allies, has provided the right mix of assistance, know-how, and pressure on the parties to fulfill their end of the bargain. There is much that still needs to be done, but we have made real progress, particularly in the last 6 months.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dayton put in motion a military and political effort of extraordinary scope and complexity. IFOR took responsibility for separating the opposing Bosnian forces, supervising the exchange of territory, enforcing the cease-fire, demobilizing armies, overseeing placement of heavy weapons in storage sites, and creating a secure environment essential for political and economic recovery. It carried out its mandate with great skill and determination. SFOR has maintained that standard, preserving the stability necessary for the Dayton process to move forward day by day.
In these missions, NATO has successfully taken on the greatest challenge it has faced since the end of the cold war. Working with soldiers from Russia, Ukraine, and most of our other European partners, we have demonstrated NATO's indispensable role in assuring Europe's future security. In the last 6 months, we have intensified our own implementation efforts considerably, and have multilateralized our approach.
Since I met in the Senate at the end of July, there have been a number of important positive developments. Over 5,000 heavy weapons of a total of 7,700 at the end of the war are confirmed to have been destroyed by the parties in compliance with the arms control provisions of the Dayton Agreement. Final destruction figures for the October 31 deadline have not yet been confirmed, but informal reporting indicates that almost 7,000 heavy weapons will have been destroyed.
We successfully held municipal elections, the first since 1991. Over 2 million voters took part, and approximately 20,000 candidates ran in 136 municipalities. Voter turnout was over 80 percent. These elections lay the basis for legitimate democratic local government, and reflect the growing pluralism throughout Bosnia.
Returns of refugees and displaced persons continue, and the number of communities allowing ethnic minority returns is growing. Bosniak and Croat authorities in the Central Bosnia Canton recently agreed on a joint plan for returns. Over 350,000 Bosnians have returned home since Dayton, over 30,000 in July and August alone, and the United Nations estimates that 20,000 to 30,000 returnees are of ethnic minorities.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC An open, nonpartisan media environment is being created. A major cause of the war in Bosnia was irresponsible, nationalist media. The turnover Banja Luka TV and the SFOR seizure of Pale TV transmitters has totally changed the media scene in the Republika Srpska. The High Representative is currently working out new media regulations for the whole of Bosnia designed to break single-party control in each entity over radio and television.
Police restructuring and integration is accelerating in the Federation, and agreements were recently signed to begin restructuring of police in the Republika Srpska. Special police, the armed paramilitary militias, were recently classified as armed forces by SFOR and are now subject to the same strict arms control regime contained in Annex 1A of the Dayton Agreement as the military.
Progress continues on other fronts. The economy is growing stronger. Industrial production and GDP in the Federation have risen dramatically along with wages, while unemployment has dropped sharply. National and entity-level institutions are beginning to function, and with the stringent application by the International Police Task Force and SFOR of a ban on illegal checkpoints, freedom of movement has dramatically improved.
The most important development since the summer has been the drastic decline in power of the Bosnian-Serb hardliners operating out of Pale. The blatant corruption of the Pale hardliners and consistent international support for the democratic process in the Republika Srpska has led to the formation of a viable counterweight to Pale. Since Karadzic and his followers have been a major impediment to Dayton implementation, a weakening of their power bodes well for the future of Bosnian peace. We expect that assembly elections in the Republika Srpska scheduled for November 22 and 23 will further this trend.
A critical part of the strategy adopted after the spring policy review was to increase pressure on the two regional guarantors of Dayton, Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, to improve their cooperation on peace implementation. We made clear to both countries that refusal to cooperate on regional peace implementation would lead to international isolation.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Due to our efforts and frankly, pressure, the Government of Croatia recently made a fundamental policy shift to improve cooperation in building regional peace. This was dramatically demonstrated by the actions it took, as pointed out by Congressman Payne, to facilitate the surrender of 10 Bosnian-Croat war crime indictees to the Hague tribunal, something which I personally negotiated and arranged. This brings the number of war criminals brought to justice to 20, most of whom have been delivered to the Hague since April.
Croatian leaders have also taken steps to marginalize extremist leaders in Bosnia and Eastern Slavonia. Serbia has been less forthcoming, but we are beginning to see a shift away from blind support for Pale hardliners, and a willingness to cooperate on specific peace implementation issues.
Much has been accomplished, but the peace in Bosnia is still fragile. Forty six months of terrible war have left deep scars and lingering distrust. The greatest threat to peace continues to come from extremist leaders who derive direct benefit from a lack of effective government and an absence of the rule of law. Extremist leaders in both the Republika Srpska and the Federation, though weakened, continue to intimidate their own followers, continue to enrich themselves through illegal activity, and continue to stir up ethnic resentment and discord. The best anecdote to their poison is the habit of democratic elections, the creation of an open media environment and the establishment of the rule of law. These are precisely where we are focusing our efforts.
Just as American leadership was necessary to end the fighting in Bosnia, American leadership remains critical to lead the peace implementation effort. Our effort has been an extraordinary example of multilateral coordination and civil-military partnership that stands as a testament to what can be accomplished by concerted international action. Our allies welcome U.S. leadership and fully support our insistence on more rapid peace implementation. The Europeans continue to carry the bulk of the cost of peace implementation. The United States provides, for example, only 15 percent of the economic assistance funds and less than one-quarter of the troops, but it is American vision, know-how, and pressure that is shaping the effort.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To implement fully the Dayton Agreement requires a long-term effort. Bosnia must overcome the deep wounds of the war and its Communist past. They had had no experience with democracy or free-market economics. After almost 4 years of terrible war, Bosnia has had 2 years of peace, but there is much left to be done.
New institutions are still fragile, and persistent international pressure and intervention will be needed to ensure they represent all of Bosnia's citizens. Political moderates are gaining a voice in Bosnia, but extremists still hold many of the reigns of power. Police restructuring is progressing, but a true shift to democratic policing will require close international monitoring to ensure that the police are empowered by their political leadership to advance Dayton's goals rather than to obstruct them. Minority refugee returns have been increasing, but careful international management of the return process, and assistance to towns willing to accept returns will continue to be critical to building confidence in the process.
A final Brcko arbitration decision in March and its implementation over the remainder of 1998 and national elections in September 1998 will present additional challenges which the parties are unlikely to be able to face without significant international oversight.
Recently there have been a number of newspaper opinion pieces and public statements by prominent figures urging the United States to cut and run, to partition Bosnia and withdraw. I find this line of thinking short-sighted, dangerous, and the idea of partition fundamentally immoral. It would validate genocide. Partition would not bring peace to Bosnia. It would ratify the worst ethnic cleansing in Europe in more than half a century. It would send a message to ethnic fanatics everywhere that the international community will allow the redrawing of borders by force. Partition would lead not to peace, but to war. In short, to advocate partition is to accept and to support defeat.
While some extremists shout loudly that Bosnians cannot live together, polling data have repeatedly shown that the majority of Bosnians support Dayton overwhelmingly, and oppose partition overwhelmingly. International efforts to partition Bosnia would not only be a cruel deception, but would almost certainly lead to renewed violence and atrocities. The only effective means of ensuring a sustainable peace in Bosnia is to continue to press for full implementation of the Dayton peace agreement. We must commit ourselves to finishing what we started. With perseverance, a sustainable peace in Bosnia based on the Dayton accords is achievable.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Ambassador, if I might interrupt. We're on a roll call. We have just about 3 minutes left. I'm going to suspend the hearing until Mr. Bereuter returns. He went over earlier and he'll come back and continue. Then the rest of us will be rejoining you.
The Committee stands in recess.
Mr. BEREUTER. [presiding] Ambassador Gelbard, it's nice to have you with us today. I know you are in the middle of your statement. We are in the middle of the usual end of session; hectic, chaotic conditions, so I am sorry we are having to interrupt your presentation. I think we should continue with your statement. Members will be back shortly to begin the questioning period. So I appreciate your indulgence. Please continue.
Ambassador GELBARD. Thank you, sir. SFOR's mission will end in June. We have begun a process of consultation and dialog with Congress and the allies on how best to sustain the progress made in Bosnia to date. As a result of these consultations, we believe there is a developing sense that some form of international military presence will be needed after June, but no decisions about whether the United States should participate in a follow-on force have yet been made.
There was a frank exchange of views Tuesday night at which Chairmen Gilman and Goss, and Representatives Hamilton, Gejdenson and Lantos, who were all here before, among others, were present, which I know will help inform the President's ultimate decision. That decision also certainly will be shaped by how willing our allies and NATO partners are to shoulder more of the burden for NATO's operations in Bosnia, and for furthering programs now, such as police restructuring, training, and equipping, which will create a truly secure environment and ultimately will eliminate the need for an international military presence.
What is clear now is that we understand what it takes to make Dayton work and we are making good progress. We must sustain our momentum, building on the substantial progress already achieved.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A fundamental aspect of Dayton implementation is the capture of indicted war criminals. Despite our recent success facilitating the surrender of 10 tribunal indictees, many others are still at large. We will continue to use all our leverage available to press local authorities to bring these individuals to justice, as I did with the Croats, and will continue to explore other options if that pressure is not sufficient.
Before the end of the year, we expect to pass a number of important milestones in Bosnia. These include full implementation of the results of the September 13 and 14 municipal elections, special elections for the Republika Srpska Assembly on November 22 and 23, full reform of the Bosnian media environment to promote objective, nonpartisan information for all Bosnians, completion of the police restructuring effort under the guidance of the International Police Task Force, an initiative to focus attention on corruption, smuggling and organized crime and its connection with ethnic hardliners, accelerated progress on managed minority returns. By the beginning of next year, I hope to be able to report progress in all of these areas.
The peace we have achieved so far in Bosnia is a real peace, with real benefits for the Bosnian people. It gives them the chance they deserve to rebuild their society and join the rest of Central Europe in the post-Communist reform movement. But the peace in Bosnia is still fragile. By maintaining pressure for full Dayton implementation, we can put Bosnia and the larger Balkan region on the path to a peaceful and stable future. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Gelbard appears in the appendix.]
Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Ambassador Gelbard. We will begin the questioning period with Congressman Campbell of California.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to begin by correcting my earlier statement. The word possibility is not in the statute. I would like to read what the statute actually says. ''In the absence of a declaration of war, in any case in which U.S. armed forces are introduced into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances'' and now I am paraphrasing, the President must provide a report to the Congress.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now I am picking up again the actual text of the law. ''Within 60 calendar days after a report is submitted, or is required to be submitted pursuant to'' the section I just read, ''whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of the U.S. armed forces with respect to which such report was submitted or required to be submitted unless the Congress has declared war,'' I'm dropping a few words, ''or has extended by law such 60-day period or is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States.''
Ambassador Gelbard, when did hostilities end in Bosnia?
Ambassador GELBARD. Hostilities ended well before the onset of the IFOR mission, Congressman.
Mr. CAMPBELL. When did hostilities end in Bosnia?
Ambassador GELBARD. Officially, I would be happy to get you a date. But certainly with the signature of the Dayton Agreement on November 24, 1995, hostilities certainly were ended. The IFOR mission began after that.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Ambassador Gelbard, at the time the United States introduced troops into Bosnia, was imminent involvement in hostilities clearly indicated by the circumstances?
Ambassador GELBARD. I don't believe so, Congressman.
Mr. CAMPBELL. What was the condition of hostilities at the time the United States introduced troops into Bosnia?
Ambassador GELBARD. They had ceased.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Was there any likelihood of their recommencing?
Ambassador GELBARD. Well, Congressman, let me say, first of all, I am not a lawyer. I am an economist. I am not familiar with the wording of the War Powers Act. As I told you prior to the hearing, I will be happy to study it and I will consult with experts on this to examine the circumstances, and give you a formal reply to the questions which you have raised before, and which you are raising now. But I will just say this. I have been traveling to Bosnia starting in December 1995. I started to visit there less than 1 month after the Dayton Agreement started. I started traveling around the country at that time without security and never felt in any danger. Our troops have not been involved in anything that I frankly would consider to be hostilities. I don't think we have felt that anything was imminent.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our troops are obviously prepared for any eventuality. That is clearly within the rules of engagement. But as I said, part of their mission was to separate the parties. But I will certainly want to check on this because I would not want to mislead you, Congressman, my sense was that the fighting clearly had ceased and that there was cease-fire by the time the IFOR mission started.
Mr. CAMPBELL. In your judgment, as one charged with administering the U.S. policy in Bosnia, what would it take to constitute hostilities?
Ambassador GELBARD. I would have to look at the legal definition or even the dictionary definition of hostilities. But I haven't seen the forces fighting with each other, and I certainly haven't seen forces fighting with IFOR or SFOR.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Have the United States, IFOR or SFOR troops been fired upon?
Ambassador GELBARD. I can not recall at least now, that they have been.
Mr. CAMPBELL. If they were, would that constitute hostilities?
Ambassador GELBARD. Once again, Congressman, look, I don't want to respond incorrectly to any of your questions. I would have to look at the legal definition of this since you are referring to a legal document.
I am sure that under the War Powers Act, there is a specific well-defined meaning for the term hostilities. Once again, I am not a lawyer. So I don't want to mislead you. But I have been in a lot of areas of conflict in my life. I don't consider when I go to Bosnia now that when I travel around, whether it's in Brcko or Pale or Sarajevo or any other areas, that there is a climate in which hostilities prevail.
Mr. CAMPBELL. If U.S. troops, IFOR troops or SFOR troops were fired upon, is it your testimony to this Committee that that would not constitute hostilities?
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ambassador GELBARD. Again, I do not want to respond in a way which would delimit this in an incorrect manner, simply because I would imagine that under the War Powers Act, the question of the definition of hostilities is clearly explained.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Ambassador, you are taking my time and you are not answering the question.
Ambassador GELBARD. Congressman, I am trying to answer your question. If you would permit me, I would.
Mr. CAMPBELL. I will conclude with this question and the rest of the time is entirely yours. Are you looking me in the eye and saying that if an American soldier is fired upon that is not hostilities?
Ambassador GELBARD. Congressman, there are places around the world where police are fired upon. I don't think that requires that the police go to the Congress under the War Powers Act.
Mr. CAMPBELL. It's not a foreign country.
Ambassador GELBARD. We have other circumstances around the world where we have soldiers, but that has not necessarily meant that we require that the War Powers Act be invoked.
There are circumstances in which weapons could be discharged. Today a vehicle went over a landmine by accident. The landmine exploded. It wasn't a military vehicle. I don't believe that that means the War Powers Act should be invoked.
Bosnia is still without any question a place where danger is present and can occur. But I personally feel comfortable enough that I walk around in lots of these places on my own, I have been since December 1995, and I do today.
But as I said, I will be happy to get you a more technical and correct response.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your giving me the time.
Mr. Ambassador, you have a very difficult job. I wish you success in it. But I would be less than candid if I didn't say I'm severely disappointed in your answer.
Ambassador GELBARD. I'm sorry that you are, Congressman.
Mr. BEREUTER. Given my place on the list, I'll take my time at this point. Ambassador Gelbard, what is the end state we are seeking in Bosnia which would enable the international military presence to end?
Ambassador GELBARD. I'm sorry. I didn't hear the beginning of your question.
Mr. BEREUTER. What is the end state that we are seeking in Bosnia that would enable the international military presence to end?
Ambassador GELBARD. Well first, Mr. Chairman, the mandate for SFOR ends in June. That is quite clear. That was mandated by NATO by the North Atlantic Assembly. As you know, as I said in my opening statement, we are consulting with Congress, as the President began to do the other night, and with our allies about what we need to do to sustain the progress that we have made and keep the process on track.
We believe fully that we want to implement Dayton fully. I treat Dayton as a Bible. We don't want to vary from the provisions of that. When the President asked me to take this position almost 7 months ago, I established at his request a review of all our civilian implementation goals, program implementation. Clearly in terms of our broadly defined commitment and that of our allies, I believe that it will require a long-term overall commitment to achieve our basic goal, our succinct goal of achieving a single democratic prosperous country of Bosnia composed of two multiethnic States. That does not necessarily mean that it involves a military presence, but our goal overall is to achieve the provisions of Dayton.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BEREUTER. When, Ambassador Gelbard, should we expect as a marker that the international military presence would be gone? You didn't suggest that was a prosperous State. I would hope, you know, we're not going to be there necessarily until we have a prosperous democratic State.
Ambassador GELBARD. No.
Mr. BEREUTER. So when is it that we should here expect we have crossed the line and now our troops and other international troops can be free to come home and can be withdrawn?
Ambassador GELBARD. As I said, Mr. Chairman, we are in the process of trying to decide on what can be done. We are looking at the question and consulting with the Congress, with our allies, on these questions. We do believe that there is a developing sense that some form of international military presence will be needed post-June, but no decisions at all have been made about what form that should take or what the U.S. role should be.
I certainly believe that many of the fundamental goals of the Dayton process, such as the idea of economic prosperity and reform, can be achieved on their own. These are issues that we are in the process of trying to determine within the Administration, and then intend to consult fully with the Congress on before we take any kind of final decision.
Mr. BEREUTER. Ambassador, I am told that you have a formally classified book of end-State goals in which you measure progress. Will you or a representative of the Administration come to us in closed session and elucidate on those goals and give us an assessment of the progress?
Ambassador GELBARD. I would be happy to do exactly that. This is what I refer to, the policy and program review which I put together, working with other agencies of the government in April and early May. What we wanted to do was be able to measure our progress and develop timelines and action plans to know when we were achieving those goals. We feel when we established this plan in April and May, that fundamentally I felt it was critical to use a much more aggressive approach. This involved clearly putting together more pressure on the parties, using as much conditionality, leverage, and linkage as we could. As I said in my opening statement, we were then able to work with our allies to multilateralize that approach in Sintra, Portugal on May 30. We have been achieving considerable progress in many of those areas since that time. But I would be very happy to meet with you and other Members of the Committee to talk about that in closed session.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BEREUTER. It appears I can get one more question in. But then I'll turn to Mr. Brady. You should be able to make it to a vote for your 5 minutes.
So my final question at least at this round, Mr. Ambassador, would be that I understand NATO is looking at options for Bosnia post-June 1998. I can't ask you what those are in this kind of a session, but when will the North Atlantic Council make a decision on those options? What would be your estimate? How soon will they decide what options to pursue?
Ambassador GELBARD. I honestly don't know the answer to that, Mr. Chairman. This will depend in significant measure on our own process. We feel it's critical, as I said, to have a serious in-depth consultative process with the Congress. We are in the process ourselves of trying to think this through. I attended the meeting that the President held the other night. I found it very honestly extremely constructive. I got a lot of ideas myself out of that. We are hoping to try to accelerate this process in the near term.
Mr. BEREUTER. I assume you can assure us it will be before June?
Ambassador GELBARD. Yes, sir.
Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you. Mr. Brady. I recognize the gentleman from Texas for 5 minutes.
Mr. BRADY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Mr. Ambassador. I just arrived here a few moments ago, but I witnessed the earlier discussion. I hope that your irritability or short temper is not used as often in negotiating a peace over in Bosnia as it was today. It appears to me we need a little longer fuse there in trying to settle some of these honest disagreements.
Ambassador GELBARD. Actually, Congressman, I certainly wouldn't want to use that with my friend, Congressman Campbell, but I find a short fuse quite helpful in Bosnia at times.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BRADY. I was thinking that perhaps the ones who ought to be the most upset in all this are the parents of the military men and women over there who wonder if they are going to sacrifice the life of a child for this engagement. I would think that the only answer to that is to make sure that in the end, we really do create a peace and stable situation in Bosnia. My question to you is, while we are there and trying to lay the foundation for peace, it seems that building that peace and maintaining it will rely upon the desire and the strength and the will of the parties in that country. My question to you is in your assessment, how do you assess the viability of joint political institutions in the Bosnia-Croat Federation. To the extent you can talk about it today, what is our strategy to cement those political relationships?
Ambassador GELBARD. First Congressman, let me say that we have not through luck but through skill been the beneficiaries of extraordinary leadership on the part of our military, particularly right now led by General Wesley Clark, the supreme allied commander, someone whom I know very well and have worked with for several years. Our military leadership in Bosnia has been superb. I am sure that that accounts for the fact that we have not had any casualties due to hostilities.
Sadly, I must report though there have been a number of cases of loss of life for those who are implementing the civilian mission. Most recently, just 6 weeks ago five Americans died in a helicopter crash. These were valiant people who were particularly working on the issue of police reform, which is something fundamental to implementation of the Dayton process, including my close friend David Kriskovich.
The joint institutions, both in the Federation and throughout the country have proceeded unevenly. The Federation moved very quickly based on the Washington Agreement of 1994. We have seen some significant progress in the Federation. Economic reconstruction and development has proceeded extremely well. GDP growth last year was 60 percent and unemployment dropped from 90 to 52 percent. Our estimate for this year is that the trend will continue with economic growth around 40 percent, and unemployment dropping to about 30 percent. Real wages in Deutsche mark terms have quadrupled, and inflation is in the low single digits.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have seen now that the process of infrastructure reconstruction has moved extraordinarily well, and the United States has played a key role in this, especially given the fact that we only provide 15 percent of the economic assistance that is involved.
We have made belated but important progress in police restructuring. I keep referring to this because I believe that public security is not just a high priority, but it's a condition precedent to being able to achieve our other priorities. Four of the 10 cantons, and the canton is the base that they are using for police, have now restructured their police. Significant progress has taken place in Noretvka canton, where Mostar is, probably the most contentious in the Federation. We hope and expect, as I said in my testimony, to complete that process by the end of the year.
Refugee returns have now accelerated dramatically in the Federation. Individual communities have been coming to us, and to us working with the United Nations on wanting minority refugee returns back. We have also been very successful in working through the train and equip program, creating a Federation army which is functioning very well, and well within the guidelines of the Dayton Agreement.
Clearly some lack of trust still prevails between the Croat and Bosniak populations. We feel it is imperative, and I consider this to be one of my highest priorities, to move to try to improve that. We are tremendously concerned about the idea of separate education rather than an integrated education process. We feel that the reestablishment of a multiethnic society is the highest priority.
I am tremendously concerned about the action by the Bosniaks now to be much less than generous in creating the conditions to allow for the return of Serbs and Croats to Greater Sarajevo. The Bosniaks have more to gain and more to lose than any other group in having refugees return. They need to lead the way by creating the right conditions to allow people back, property, jobs. That is something upon which I am putting enormous emphasis right now.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In terms of the national joint institutions, our fundamental problem has been Pale, the hardline Bosnian Serbs. We have made some important progress in recent months, particularly on overall economic legislation to bind the country together, the first national budget, a national customs system, setting up a central bank. The new head of the central bank, a distinguished New Zealand economist, Peter Nicholl, is about to go to Bosnia. But Pale has continued to block some very important real and symbolic efforts to bring the country together. This is one of the reasons why we have put so much effort, along with the rest of the international community into supporting a democratic opening in the Republika Srpska. We hope that the upcoming assembly elections will show a significant change there.
Mr. BRADY. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. If I could ask, Mr. Chairman, in layman's terms on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the ability for Bosnia to maintain peace when our forces significantly withdraw, where are we right now?
Ambassador GELBARD. Five and moving up.
Mr. BRADY. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador GELBARD. Thank you, sir.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. [presiding] Mr. Ambassador, you were also involved in Colombia, I believe, in America's operation in Colombia?
Ambassador GELBARD. Colombia, Haiti, El Salvador, many other places.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. And when you were taking leave of that particular assignment, what odds were you going to give that Colombia would be not a chaotic situation as it is today?
Ambassador GELBARD. Well, Congressman, as I know you are aware, I have little or no confidence in President Samper and the environment that he has created in his government. I have enormous confidence in the police. I would not even want to hazard a guess on that.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROHRABACHER. So the chaos that we see down in Colombia today can't be attributed to the American policy that you oversaw?
Ambassador GELBARD. Well, I certainly have found it virtually impossible to believe that under the Samper Government it would be possible to have the kinds of results that are needed to achieve the kind of important efforts both against drug traffickers and against the Communist guerrillas.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. How much does it cost the taxpayers of the United States for our involvement in Bosnia at all government levels, whether it's DOD, AID, State Department and others, since 1995?
Ambassador GELBARD. Well, my understanding is that the total expenditures since IFOR was deployed, which is the end of 1995, is approximately $7.4 billion.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. $7.4 billion. How much is that a month, are we now currently paying?
Ambassador GELBARD. I am afraid I couldn't answer that.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. A hundred million dollars a month or something like that that we are paying for this operation?
Ambassador GELBARD. I couldn't give you an answer on that. I have some other totals if you are interested.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Go right ahead with some of the totals.
Ambassador GELBARD. The non-military civilian costs of Dayton have been between $900 million and $1.1 billion, including Eastern Slavonia and humanitarian aid.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. That's part of the $7 billion, right?
Ambassador GELBARD. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. So we spent $7 billion and when is it that we expect to have all of those troops out now? What is the latest?
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ambassador GELBARD. Well as I just said, somehow I have the feeling I will have the opportunity to say this again.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Yes. I'm sorry that we have to go back and forth here.
Ambassador GELBARD. At this point, the SFOR mission does end in June. That is a truism.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. The SFOR mission ends in June. That is not exactly what my question was.
Ambassador GELBARD. I wanted to say something else. As you know, Congressman, we are consulting with Congress. The President held a lengthy meeting on Tuesday night with many Members of the leadership and this was the beginning of this process. We are beginning to consult with our allies about what we need to do to sustain the progress that we have made, and to keep the process on track.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. So we're beginning to consult?
Ambassador GELBARD. We are beginning the process of consultation. What I certainly hear as I talk with Members
Mr. ROHRABACHER. What have we been doing for 2 years if we haven't been ongoing consulting with our allies on how to get the heck out of there?
Ambassador GELBARD. What I certainly hear when I talk with Members of Congress, and certainly over the last several months, is that they wanted to be consulted about the future. So we have certainly been trying, and begun to try to make an effort to do that in a serious way. This is why the President had this meeting on Tuesday night, and why we will continue to consult in serious ways about this issue.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. So you have a guesstimate for me as to is it going to be next year or the year after?
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ambassador GELBARD. I can not give you an answer on that, but I think there is a developing sense that some form of international military presence will be needed after June.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. So we have a developing sense
Ambassador GELBARD. The point is that we have made absolutely no decisions about what form that will take and whether the United States will be part of this.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. OK. There is a developing sense that there is going to be something that will be necessary after June, and no decisions have been made. We spent $7 billion already. We are probably spending $100 million a month. That's my guesstimate, not yours, because you don't have a guesstimate, yet you are the one who is supposed to know. Why should we have faith in this Administration's leadership capabilities to pull off their mission? They haven't done it so far. You can't even tell me how much the costs are.
Ambassador GELBARD. I think the answer is, Congressman, that the reason you should have faith is because this Administration has succeeded in stopping the war in Bosnia. We have succeeded in ending the genocide which was occurring, the worst genocide that had been seen in Europe since World War II. We have begun this process of civilian implementation, which is extremely difficult. We have taken a place that was never really a country, is now a country. It is now developing into a democracy. We're working with them to create democratic institutions. It takes a while to consolidate those democratic institutions.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Ambassador, that is a good answer. Being someone who is very concerned about the genocide that was going on there and hundreds of thousands of women and children were being murdered there. We know that. For years, as I mentioned earlier on, some of my colleagues and I pounded on the table to try to get a policy that would in some way stop that genocide. Mr. Lantos perhaps had in mind that we were going to send American troops in there and have some sort of never-ending commitment in order to stop that genocide.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Others of us, for years suggested that an arms embargo that prevented the victims from defending themselves was counter-productive, and this Administration as well as the past Administration opposed that effort. Ending the arms embargo might have prevented that genocide and might not have put us in a situation where we don't know how to get out now without reigniting all of this fighting. Frankly, if the fighting erupts again, perhaps many people will have seen all these billions of dollars as a waste of money.
Now let me put it in these terms. Tomorrow we will discuss fast track. People are saying just give this authority over to the President of the United States. Let him have the authority to negotiate these things, and give it to Congress in an up and down vote. The fact that the President of the United States has missed all of his deadlines, and now can't give us a definitive answer about when we are going to be getting out even now, and how much money is being spent each month, and how much more money it is going to cost us before we get out, why should we trust this Administration with all the powers they want on fast track?
Ambassador GELBARD. I am not here to talk about fast track, although I certainly support it.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. But you are here to talk about
Ambassador GELBARD. I will say, Congressman
Mr. ROHRABACHER. The trust of the people of this country and of Members of Congress, in this Administration.
Ambassador GELBARD. Congressman, what I will say is that there has been extraordinary progress made in terms of implementing the Dayton Agreement. There has been significant economic reconstruction, particularly in the Federation. We are building a democratic society. We have made major progress in taking the totalitarian Pale Serbs away from the instruments that they had used before, particularly the military, which is no longer under their control. The police have been fractured, and the paramilitary police under SFOR control. The media have been taken away from them, something they used in a way that would have made Goebbles proud.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROHRABACHER. But even with all of these things, you admit that we can't leave even after having been in much longer than we were told we were going to be in, you can't even at this time say we can leave and those things won't go right down the drain.
Ambassador GELBARD. Congressman, I think as you admirably pointed out, it was a horrible fact that an extraordinary number of innocent people were killed.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. That's correct.
Ambassador GELBARD. But we should not make the mistake of falling into the trap of thinking that quick solutions can solve these problems.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Nor should we think that just because people are being harmed anywhere in the world, that it is up to the people of the United States to spend billions of dollars that could be spent in bettering our lives in righting every wrong around the world, especially if it is a wrong that may not be easily addressed by just the introduction of American troops, and when the American troops pull out, it goes right back to the same situation.
Ambassador GELBARD. I couldn't agree with you more. We don't intend to be the world's policemen. But we have a fundamental interest in the security of Europe. NATO has been the central pillar of our security. As I was starting to say, I think you would agree. We should not make the mistake of thinking that quick solutions will solve these problems. We want to do it right. We want to make sure that this is something which will no longer be a focal point of instability in Europe, the area of our fundamental security concerns, particularly at a time in the post-cold war period where we have enormous interest about the consolidating democratic processes in Central Europe and in Eastern Europe. So we want to really get this right.
What is really interesting is
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Before you go on, I am going to yield in one moment to my colleague, Mr. Campbell. But remember this. Mr. Campbell, I understand (I unfortunately had to go vote and could not hear this exchange), brought up the War Powers Act. If there is any example in the post-cold war world, but even perhaps even since Vietnam, that demonstrates that we needed the War Powers Act, and I was one of the few Republicans that voted for a continuation of the War Powers Act. I believe Mr. Campbell was as well. Maybe you weren't here at the time. So I was one of the few Republicans that voted for a continuation of the War Powers Act. But if there is any example of that need, it is what is going on today.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This Congress was promised that we would have a limited operation in Bosnia, that we would be out by a date certain, and that it would be a limited amount of money that would be spent, and now we have a report where basically we still can't be told when the exit date is or how much money is currently being spent, and how much money will be spent by the time we have to get out. The American people don't have bottomless pockets. This $7 billion that we are talking about is coming right out of the hide of other things that we could be spending money for, military readiness, schools, education, you name it.
As I say, I would like to give you a chance to reply to that, and then we'll go to Mr. Campbell. But does this not underscore the need that Congress should set specific deadlines when there is a military commitment in this type of environment?
Ambassador GELBARD. Well, the point again, is that if we were to terminate our efforts in Bosnia precipitously, and if war broke out again, we would have made a dramatic mistake. We need to get it right through the use of civilian implementation, through the use of all the levers that we have.
IFOR and SFOR have been an enormous success. We have finally been able to figure out and achieve the kind of much more difficult civilian implementation that we need to. We have begun to make enormous progress toward a sustainable peace. Ending our effort too precipitously would be a tragic error because what we have seen through history, and Congressman, I know you are someone who is well acquainted with the history of Central Europe, history shows that the Balkans has long been an area where volatility can affect Western Europe, Central Europe, and Eastern Europe. That is why we want as part of this post-cold war peaceful revolution to work toward the kind of sustainable peace that is really necessary in Bosnia and in the neighboring countries.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. When I see a cauldron that's been boiling that long, I really don't get the impression that this is the place that the United States should start trying to put out the fire, because it's been going for such a long time. Perhaps we could make sure that people can defend themselves, and that's what I wanted to do all along.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would now yield to Mr. Campbell.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador Gelbard, in our earlier exchange there was a moment when you asked ''Let me finish.'' I therefore want to yield to you as much time as I have to add anything to what you previously said so that I have been hopefully fair to you. Is there anything? Here is the time. Go right ahead, it's yours.
Ambassador GELBARD. Well first, Congressman, as you know I have enormous respect for you and I apologize for being short. I don't want to make the mistake of giving you an answer to an extremely serious question which would be an incorrect answer. I want to go back and research this issue very carefully. It is the kind of question which deserves a considered answer. That is why, as I said to you before the hearing, I want to look into this with those who are knowledgeable about the history of the War Powers Act, and the meanings of the War Powers Act. Words here are important. That is why I hesitate to respond to the term hostilities, because this is a word which is laden with meaning. There must have been, in terms of the writing of this act, a certain definition used with that, no pun intended, a trigger point. So I fully intend to do this. I look forward to giving you both a written reply and to getting back to you by phone.
Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you. I accept your good faith pledge to do so. I look forward to receiving your letter. I would ask that in that letter you respond to the very difficult case that I put.
With this, I would conclude, Mr. Chairman. We can both go make the vote.
If you believe that shooting at an American who is serving in SFOR is not a hostility, my belief is you torture the meaning of the phrase. The reason why the act was defined as of the time of the insertion of troops, was to prevent what I considered a very dangerous result. Because if you think it through, if you don't do what the War Powers Resolution requires at the time of the insertion, then you create a very dangerous incentive for somebody to shoot at an American soldier. Because I think by anybody's definition, that is a hostility. So you would have the control of when the War Powers Resolution is triggered in the hands of very awful people.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So the better interpretation would be to make it at the time you insert the troops. On that score, I respectfully disagree. I think a reasonable interpretation is that hostilities were at least imminent.
With that, I yield back with my thanks, Mr. Chairman, and to the Ambassador. Thank you.
Mr. BEREUTER. [presiding] Thank you, Mr. Campbell.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much. Sorry I did not have an opportunity to hear all of the debate. I just would like to first of all commend you on the fine work that you are doing. I think this question of the War Powers Act is something that is going to be debated. It has been debated for many, many years. I think it will be debated many years in the future.
I think though that we are really as a Nation really treading on very thin ice. Most people disagree with me, but I think this question of date certain is probably the most ridiculous kind of a statement that could be made by any military force. There is no way that you can determine at what point it will be conducive for people to leave. As has already been indicated, the only reason that date certains have come up and it was first brought up in the Haiti instance, that we will be out by a certain period of time is because of the reluctance of sending American troops.
I don't want to see any American troops put in harm's way unnecessarily or injured. But I think that we have to make a determination as a Nation as whether we are going to have an armed forces that will in fact have to take casualties at some point in time. We have lost more planes in exhibitions or simply flying in the past 6 months than we have lost in the last two or three conflicts that we have had in this country. But no one is saying let's stop having our planes do maneuvers. I mean it's just a part. It's unfortunate and I hope they get to the bottom of it, but we have lost seven or eight planes during the past 4 or 5 months. We haven't lost that many planes in combat in the last 3 years, if you take Haiti, you take Bosnia, if you take the Persian Gulf, we haven't lost any planes.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I would just like to say that this whole question about the reluctance of having U.S. military at any place that is dangerous has to really be rethought. Either we are going to be the strongest power in the world or we need to take a look at how we create a military. Maybe in the 1990's, Americans want a mercenary type of a military where people just sign up. The Hessians did it during the Revolutionary War. They fought with the British. Maybe people should just be there for hire and no one go in other than those that are willing to go into harm's way. I think that there are some serious decisions that have to be made as to what type of military we have, what it will or will not do.
In my opinion, it weakens us rather than strengthens us as a military power when we put strings, when we have this total reluctance. No one wants to hear about casualties. I think though that we really have to get a redefinition of what a military force is, and the realities of a military force. I think this is a part of the whole question politically of where we are going in the future as a Nation.
So I just wanted to say that I support the Administration. I think we should stay there as long as it takes. I have never been in favor of having a date certain for us to come out.
I think it is time to vote. So thank you very much.
Mr. BEREUTER. I am going to call on the distinguished Member from Florida who is on leave from the Committee, and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee.
Mr. GOSS. I thank the chairman.
Ambassador, good afternoon. A pleasure to see you again. We have had as you know, a lot of conversation on this subject in the past week or so. I appreciate your time. I apologize for not being here for your full testimony, but I will read it very closely.
I am concerned that too many times these meetings, no matter what the countries seem to be when we're dealing with foreign affairs, are getting to be litanys of success rather than focusing on the problems and the solutions, the recommendations that you would like to persuade us that are the right recommendations and the right solutions for the problems afoot.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would refer back to the meeting we had earlier this week, many of us. You were there as well as I and many other Members, which was a great initiative at the White House to get together and talk about this. Unfortunately, it was again a bit of a litany of the successes and a ''what do we do now'' session. I noticed that it was somewhat exploited, as these things tend to be, as well by some, saying Congress is aboard with the Administration's policy to extend into Bosnia. I gather there was some retraction from that, at least the media sufficiently blurred it. So I don't know what anybody really thinks about anything.
The point I guess was an opportunity was missed to share with senior Members of Congress and some of the other of us more junior Members who you were nice enough to invite, that there needs to be a plan, and what is the plan. We don't have that. I understand the chairman has suggested that we get together and talk about the plan. If there is one single thing I could say, it is the sooner the better, please.
There is another thing I wanted to point out, and I realize this is a little delicate. We have spoken about it before. But I give you the opportunity to address it now. And that is that the Dayton Accords are very clear that the folks involved locally are going to solve their own problems. We are just simply going to provide a time out so they can do those things themselves. That was the basic premise of the Dayton Accords. Let the people involved work out their problems and give them a safe, stable, peaceful atmosphere to the best of our ability, to do that.
I believe, as I have expressed to you previously, that when we start taking out radio transmitters and picking sides in elections, and doing other things which to us seem right; we are picking sides. Clearly I think we picked the right side if we had to pick sides. But the question is, should we be picking sides? Do we understand all of the ramifications? Do we understand the ramifications of trying to go in and sort of put out what the right evening news message is or stop the other evening news message on the TV?
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now I understand the situation well enough to know that there was abuse of the airwaves, I think is a fair statement. But I am wondering again about the plan. Are we just doing this ad hoc? Are we going around the corner and finding out what is there and saying, oh, this one looks better than that one, let's go this way instead of that way? That is very disconcerting. That is why people who have the same good intent and the same hope for a positive outcome, as you do, are puzzled.
We are not in a position here of playing politics with this. This is much too serious. We have got men's and women's lives on the line. We all know that is a very dangerous circumstance. We have folks here who live with it every day, who understand the problem far better than even those of us who go and visit it and try and assimilate what the problem is.
I think there are two problems. We don't have a plan. And I don't think we have a realistic policy. As Mr. Lantos has said, there are hatreds there that make the omelet very hard to unscramble. I think right down the line those of us who have been there, the people we have talked to, the people we see come to us, when we go there, the people we talk to and the experiences we have. I am not sure we have a policy that's realistic right now. That's the second part of the problem.
I would hope that the next time we have a gathering at the White House or here or wherever it is going to be, that we will have at least some options and some specifics presented, because I know there are some and some we're not going to talk about in an open session today, that are being weighed that should be weighed, that are appropriate actions for us to think about.
I would like to hear at least a menu of choices that are specific so that you could get our input on something that is direct and meaningful rather than something that is somewhat abstract and easy to talk about and hard to be pinned down on. Because I would like to get on with this because time is running out for those folks, as well as it is for our troops.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you. That's my observation. I'll be happy to have any response to it.
Ambassador GELBARD. First of all, we do have a plan. It is a serious detailed elaborated plan. I was saying in response to Chairman Bereuter's question earlier, when I came into this job 7 months ago, I was asked by the President to do a review of where we stood on terms of both policy and program implementation. Yes, we do use Dayton in detail in terms of the need to implement this as it's written. Dayton, however, isn't an extremely detailed document all the way through. Some of it really provides a context or guidelines and requires a certain amount of interpretation.
In the course of doing this, I have elaborated a plan based on what we determined to be the fundamental priorities for implementation. We developed a series of action plans and timelines through the end of 1998. We are sticking to that, while looking at it obviously on a continuing basis to look at revisions, achievements, corrections that need to be made.
We were very gratified when we began to pull this together over the course of April and early May, following the President's approval of this long plan, that we were able to achieve a broad-based consensus for this among our partners in the Peace Implementation Council at Sintra, Portugal on May 30. Our allies and friends were very supportive of doing this, and in that sense, what we also agreed was we needed to use a great deal more conditionality, leverage, and linkage. We don't want to provide our aid for free. We will only support those who support Dayton. We have regular meetings within the Administration at the Cabinet level and with the President to review accomplishments in terms of implementation of that plan. In fact, I would be happy to give you the latest in terms of how we see this.
No question, we have a long way to go here, as I have said on a couple of occasions today. We are dealing in Bosnia with a place that was never a country, certainly not in the modern period. With the overlay of the fact that it was part of a Communist State, with the further overlay of the fact that they didn't have a free market economy, with the further overlay of the extraordinarily deep fractures and wounds from the 46 months of war. Given all those factors, I think we have made some important successes. They had 46 months of war, and only half of that, 23 months of peace. Considering these facts, new country, coming out of communism, changing the economy, we really have to go a long way to make this work.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would, as you know, be very willing to sit down with you, Mr. Bereuter, and others, to go through this at length. I am the first to acknowledge we have a long way to go in all these issues. As I was saying earlier in response to Congressman Brady's question, in terms of police restructuring, we were only able to really start restructuring the police at the beginning of this year in the Federation because it took the Federation about a year to pass the requisite laws. Now we have only been able to restructure fully four of the ten canton police forces. Yes, we have to play a big role, we and our allies. But that is something which is clearly stated in Dayton. Annex 10, article 5, for example, gives the High Representatives some very important authorities.
But obviously, the fact remains, U.S leadership is what the parties respect. The United States tries to play a very important role. In the less than 7 months I have been in this job, I have been in Bosnia 12 times. What we try to do is delineate goals each time to try to move the parties along in terms of the civilian implementation processes that we have in mind.
Mr. GOSS. Thank you very much. I would suggest that our relationship should be built on communication, which I believe will then lead to trust, which then will leave us the opportunity to build a constituency to hopefully support the solution that is in your plan. Thank you for your answers.
Ambassador GELBARD. Mr. Chairman, any time you want to invite me down to Sanibel to talk to your constituency, I would look forward to it.
Mr. GOSS. We have many interested constituents down there in the area, not only in Sanibel. You would be welcome at any time, Ambassador.
Mr. BEREUTER. Has the gentleman completed his questions? I am not calling the gavel on you if you have additional questions.
Mr. GOSS. The gentleman has completed his questions. I am most grateful for the opportunity.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BEREUTER. I'll call on Mr. Blunt in just a second, to give him a chance to catch his breath and look at things there.
I would just state one thing. I am happy to do it while Mr. Goss is in the room. I haven't been on the Select Committee on Intelligence for 3 years. There are advantages and disadvantages of that. One of the advantages is that I can ask the next question. There are rumors, as always, about the U.S. involvement in Bosnia. I want to ask you this question. Is the U.S. Government doing things in Bosnia that should require a finding for covert action for which you do not have a finding?
Ambassador GELBARD. No, the United States is pursuing exactly those programs, objectives, goals, in my view, or at least the ones of which I am aware, and I think I am aware of virtually everything. We pursue things according to the law. As Chairman Goss knows, I certainly have consulted with him in his capacity as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee on more than one occasion. I feel very comfortable with the way we are pursuing our programs, goals, and objectives.
Mr. BEREUTER. Of course, Ambassador Gelbard, I would not ask you if we have a covert action finding. I would not ask you the details if we did. But you understood my question and you answered no. I just think this is extraordinarily important that the Administration conform to the law and conform to the proper notice of the two intelligence committees and that if the Administration fails to do that, it is a serious breach of its responsibilities to the legislative branch, and contrary to law.
I say this to you as a representative of the Administration, not in any fashion as a negative statement to you because as I hope you know, I have admired the difficult task that you have taken on and the way that you have met those responsibilities with great credit to our country. I do hope the Administration looks very carefully, that it obeys the law in this respect.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The gentleman from Missouri.
Ambassador GELBARD. Excuse me. Can I just say one thing?
Mr. BEREUTER. Certainly. Please do.
Ambassador GELBARD. If there is one characteristic of working in the executive branch, it's that we consult extensively with our legal authorities. We are, I believe, quite prudent about all these kinds of issues regarding the law, regarding intelligence issues.
Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Ambassador.
The gentleman from Missouri. Do you have questions?
Mr. BLUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize for being late to the hearing. I appreciate the Ambassador being here. I will look at the testimony and will benefit from that.
Just a couple of quick questions. One is, did you have a chance to talk any about the elections and Mostar?
Ambassador GELBARD. I have not talked about the elections yet.
Mr. BLUNT. Could you talk a little bit about that?
Ambassador GELBARD. The municipal elections?
Mr. BLUNT. Yes.
Ambassador GELBARD. I actually was in Bosnia and Mostar for the municipal elections. It is my strongly held view that these elections were a significant improvement over last year's national elections. I thought the national elections last year went rather well, considering the environment in which they were held.
There was quite a bit of difficulty prior to the elections in Mostar and in the areas in which the Croat population live because the dominant Croat party, the HDZ party was originally planning on boycotting the elections. Ultimately, they decided to participate, in part because of our persuasiveness and in part because of the persuasiveness of President Tudjman of Croatia. Part of the environment involved some changes in the municipalities laws, something that the Croat leadership had resisted over time. It's worth noting that subsequent to those elections, three of the hardline Croat leaders in Mostar were removed from their positions by their own party. These are people who had resisted democratic change or change which I certainly considered to be democratic.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My feeling, my personal observation, the observation of the monitors who were there, was that the elections in Mostar first were peaceful. Second, were free and fair. It resulted in, if I remember correctly, a municipal council where the Bosniaks dominate 14 to 10.
Implementation of those results is being debated right now. We are concerned about the need to make sure that there is full implementation of these results. I know discussions are going on between the two parties.
I am also tremendously concerned though about continued demagogic behavior by the HDZ radio and TV in Mostar. They have made threats and statements which we consider to be going way beyond the bounds of normal behavior, and in countries which have fully developed libel and slander laws, I think they probably would have been fined by now.
Mr. BLUNT. And what kind of actions do you think need to be taken to remedy that?
Ambassador GELBARD. With the radio and television? Well, according to the provisions of the Dayton Agreement and the authorities given to the High Representative under the Sintra Declaration, article 70 on May 30 of this year, the High Representative has officially requested a retraction of some of the threats that have been made. We are literally right now awaiting a reading by the managers of these stations of their retraction and apologies.
We are quite concerned that overall in Bosnia there needs to be established the kind of environment for electronic media that has mechanisms that all countries have, such as we have with the Federal Communications Commission that established criteria for their behavior. But they have been warned that if they do not comply with these norms, there is certainly a strong likelihood that they will be taken off the air.
Mr. BLUNT. Warned by the
Ambassador GELBARD. High Representative's office.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BLUNT. By the High Representative's office?
Ambassador GELBARD. Yes, sir.
Mr. BLUNT. One last question. We see some information that indicates that the Federation Government is talking about separate education based on ethnic background. Is any of that reasonable? If it's not reasonable, what are we doing about that?
Ambassador GELBARD. We are strongly opposed in every way, shape or form to the idea of separatism. Our fundamental policy is predicated on the idea of restoring a multiethnic society. I am not going to say that under certain very small and isolated conditions people shouldn't have the ability to perhaps have extracurricular courses regarding their own culture. But overall, we can and will only support integrated education. Our ambassador, Ambassador Kalzloric has been absolutely adamant on this issue. I intend as part of the approaches I will make upon my next trip to Bosnia, to make this as we have already planned, a major thrust of our efforts.
We can and will, and our allies feel the same way, support and provide our economic support to those who are willing to implement the Dayton Agreement. We can not stand for the kind of practices and principles which our own society has gotten away from. We will totally oppose those.
Mr. BLUNT. OK. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Mr. Blunt.
Ambassador, we have come to the end of our hearing today. We thank you very much for your testimony, and especially for your responses to questions from the Members. I know Members would have been here in greater number with greater interest in questions for you if it had not been for our difficulties right now as we attempt to adjourn. I would hope that you might respond to written questions from the Minority and the Majority from the Committee here today.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ambassador GELBARD. I would be happy to.
Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you.
Ambassador GELBARD. Thank you, sir.
Mr. BEREUTER. The hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 2:55 p.m., the Committee was adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.]
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