Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, October 22, 2004

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For IMMEDIATE Release

9-11 Commission Chairmen Endorse
Foreign Policy Provisions in House Bill

Urge inclusion of House measures related to public diplomacy,
Afghanistan, counternarcotics in conference report

 

            (WASHINGTON) – In a letter sent late Friday to U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-IL), the co-chairs of the 9-11 Commission urged inclusion of a number of foreign policy provisions drafted by Hyde in the text of the House/Senate conference report currently under negotiation.

            Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the chair and co-chair of the 9-11 Commission, urged Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, to seek inclusion of provisions of the House-passed measure related to public diplomacy, Afghanistan, and counternarcotics in the final text of the conference report. 

            The Commission further wrote that, “…we believe strongly that our counterterrorism policy must incorporate all the tools of American power, including foreign policy and diplomacy…,” and commended Hyde for working “very closely on a bipartisan basis” to develop the House-passed provisions.

            In part, the Kean/Hamilton letter suggests that “the House bill provides important focus on Afghanistan policy with respect to disarming militias, expanding peacekeeping and security operations, and improving counternarcotics efforts.  The letter also suggests that “greater flexibility to disburse assistance funds in Afghanistan would also be beneficial.”  The letter further states, “We support…strong emphasis on public diplomacy training in the Foreign Service, and pilot programs for scholarships to American-sponsored schools in Muslim countries.”

            The Kean/Hamilton letter also urges support in the conference committee for provisions in the Senate-passed bill for “promotion of U.S. values through broadcast media, the expansion of scholarship and exchange programs in the Islamic world, an International Youth Opportunity Fund, and the Middle East Partnership Initiative.”

“Your attention to these matters, consistent with the Commission’s recommendations, provides constructive direction to the Executive,” Kean and Hamilton wrote in their letter to Hyde.

A copy of the letter was also sent to U.S. Reps. Tom Lantos (D-CA), Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), Jane Harman (D-CA), and United States Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT).

A text of the Kean/Hamilton letter dated October 22nd to Chairman Hyde is as follows:


Dear Chairman Hyde:

 

We write in response to your letter of October 20, 2004, asking our views with respect to the foreign policy and diplomacy provisions as contained in H.R. 10 and S. 2845.
 

First, we believe strongly that our counterterrorism policy must incorporate all the tools of American power, including foreign policy and diplomacy. We commend you and your Senate colleagues for your outstanding leadership in addressing the 9-11 Commission’s recommendations with respect to foreign policy and diplomacy.
 

Second, we are in agreement that the conflict in which we are engaged is more than a war on terrorism. We, like you, understand that this is a struggle that will be with us for a generation. We seek to address not only the immediate threat from terrorists today but also the sources of that threat, sources which are rooted in the social, political, and economic environment that supports the terrorists. We believe our foreign policy and diplomacy recommendations directly address this long-term effort and are critical to protecting the American people.
 

Third, we want to highlight provisions that we see as especially valuable in Title IV and Title X of the respective House and Senate bills in conference. Both bills contain very good language on findings and Sense of Congress provisions with respect to U.S. policy on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, terrorist sanctuaries, economic policies to combat terrorism, coalition strategies, exchanges programs, and the humane treatment of foreign prisoners. The House bill provides important focus on Afghanistan policy with respect to disarming militias, expanding peacekeeping and security operations, and improving counternarcotics efforts; greater flexibility to disburse assistance funds in Afghanistan would also be beneficial. Your attention to these matters, consistent with the Commission’s recommendations, provides constructive direction to the Executive.

 

We support the authorization of appropriations in Title X for aid to Afghanistan, the promotion of U.S. values through broadcast media, the expansion of scholarship and exchange programs in the Islamic world, an International Youth Opportunity Fund, and the Middle East Partnership Initiative. We support Title IV’s strong emphasis on public diplomacy training in the Foreign Service, and pilot programs for scholarships to American-sponsored schools in Muslim countries. (Emphasis added.)
 

We recognize that you worked very closely on a bipartisan basis in the development of Title IV, and we appreciate the constructive approach you are taking in the conference committee. We would also be pleased to respond to any additional questions you may have.
 

We commend you for your leadership in our common endeavor to make America safer and more secure.
 

Sincerely,



 

Thomas H. Kean                                Lee H. Hamilton

Chair                                                Vice Chair


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