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Mr. HABIB. When we go into executive session I thought I would give you the whole breakdown.
Mr. WOLFF. Can we get it just generally?
Mr. HABIB. Yes. There are the American Government officials, there are the American businessmen, there are press, there are transients. Mr. WOLFF. Contract employees?
Mr. HABIB. There are contract employees of the Government or any one of its agencies, yes, sir.
Mr. WOLFF. Now, have we put any restrictions on passports going into Vietnam now for Americans?
Mr. HABIB. No, sir.
Mr. WOLFF. Isn't the reason for putting restrictions on passports to eliminate the need of the American Government having a responsibility for Americans going into an area?
Mr. HABIB. That is not why restrictions are put on passports in a general sense. What we usually do when you get an area that is dangerous is that the word is put out that we advise people that unless they feel that they must that they should not go there.
For example, we put out an order to all our people telling people not to go there.
TRAVELERS TO VIETNAM
Mr. WOLFF. How about American tourists?
Mr. HABIB. You cannot tell journalists
Mr. WOLFF. Not journalists, tourists.
Mr. HABIB. You cannot tell an American not to go anywhere. For example, there are Americans in Phnom Penh who decided to stay even though they were offered the opportunity to be evacuated. That was their choice and they made it and of course it was honored.
Mr. WOLFF. If you look back into the law-you will find that the reason for the restrictions placed upon passports is because the United States could not provide the security.
Mr. HABIB. And the protective services.
Mr. WOLFF. It would seem to me if we are in danger of having to pull people out of an area, we would not permit them to freely travel into the area.
Mr. HABIB. That is an interesting suggestion, Mr. Congressman.
Mr. HABIB. Would you do the same thing for places like Cyprus and would you do the same thing for the Middle East? Would you do the same thing for Chad today? Would you do the same thing for all countries where it is dangerous to be? It is an interesting suggestion, because after all here we are trying to get the number of people down.
GOLD BULLION ISSUE
Mr. WOLFF. The President at the present time has not requested that we use military forces in order to bring people out of those other areas but he has requested the authority to pull them out of Vietnam.
One final question. I notice the transportation of some gold bullion out of Vietnam. Where does the expense for that come from?
Mr. HABIB. Let me just say this, that I don't know any more than you and I have read in the papers about it. But you can be darn sure I will be trying to find out and if I do I will sure let you know.
Mr. WOLFF. Thank you. I would verify. Then none of the funds requested will be used to transport gold as personal property? [The following statement was submitted:]
STATEMENT ON ALLEGED EFFORT BY THIEU TO TRANSFER $75 MILLION IN GOLD BULLION OUTSIDE OF VIETNAM
The gold in question is of course the property of the Government of Vietnam. In times of peril, governments have traditionally taken steps to safeguard their national reserves. It is possible that the Vietnamese Government is considering such steps. However, we note that the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington issued a formal denial on April 18 that the Vietnamese Government had negotiated with a Swiss airline to fly gold out of Vietnam.
CHANNELING AID INTERNATIONALLY
Mr. RIEGLE. Yes, sir.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity also to speak, not being a member of the subcommittee.
I just have one very brief question because I think it is important to get into the executive session.
Would you have any objection if the Congress were to decide to take the humanitarian aid moneys that it may decide to make available and specify that they be channeled through international relief organizations rather than what is left of the South Vietnamese Government?
Mr. HABIB. I think that what the President has requested is the program to permit us to provide the aid in the most expeditious and efficient manner we would deem conceivable.
Right now I can say to you if you are interested in getting that aid to the people, that the most expeditious and efficient way of doing it
Mr. RIEGLE. I understand that but my question to you is a different question.
Would you withdraw the aid request if the Congress were to stipulate that it were to be made available only through international agencies?
Mr. HABIB. The President has made a request and he has made it very clear. Now, it is up to Congress to decide how it wants to act upon it.
WOULD STATE OBJECT?
Mr. RIEGLE. So, in other words, if the Congress were to decide that it would be channeled through international agencies you would not object to that?
Mr. HABIB. What I am here to defend is what the President requested. Now, if the Congress decides in its own wisdom how it wants to provide assistance, the administration will then presumably follow the law.
What I am suggesting, therefore, is that what we consider to be the most expeditious and efficient way to provide this assistance is the way we have asked for it.
Now, if the Congress does not consider that the most expeditious and efficient way to do it and instructs the appropriation authority to do it differently, then the law is the law.
I know of no one in the administration that is willing to break the law.
Mr. RIEGLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The following information was supplied:]
STATEMENT BY SECRETARY GENERAL ON HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO INDOCHINA AT PRESS BRIEFING AT HEADQUARTERS ON APRIL 17
On the occasion of the International Conference on Viet-Nam in Paris in February 1973, I emphasized that the United Nations stood ready to assume its responsibilities wherever and whenever it was called upon to offer useful and realistic assistance. At that time I also made it clear that "should the Governments of the area so desire, the United Nations and its family of organizations could play a significant role in receiving, coordinating and channeling international relief and rehabilitation assistance to the Governments and peoples of the area. Such aid would, of course, be provided without discrimination of any kind."
Ever since that time the United Nations system has been operating on this basis, providing humanitarian assistance without discrimination wherever and whenever requested. It has persevered successfully in this task despite the military situation which obviously makes it much more difficult to help the victims of this War.
On 31 March, I appealed to all concerned to do everything within their means to relieve the plight of innocent persons, including those who have been displaced. I also earnestly requested the governing authorities on all sides of the fighting to do their utmost to limit the suffering of innocent people.
In the following week, I met in Rome with the heads of all United Nations agencies and programmes who fully endorsed and supported the initiatives I had taken to mobilize increased humanitarian assistance throughout Indo-China. At this same time, I appointed Sir Robert Jackson, whose long and comprehensive experience in this field is well known, to co-ordinate at United Nations Headquarters all efforts of the United Nations system to respond to this humanitarian emergency. In particular, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which have had continuing programmes of humanitarian assistance on both sides of the conflict in Indo-China, are intensifying their emergency operations in Indo-China.
The United Nations system has acted vigorously, positively and spontaneously to do all within its possibilities to be of assistance to the peoples of Indo-China. There has been no hesitation whatever, on my own part or on the part of any elements of the United Nations system, to take every possible initiative to provide the maximum assistance.
Although events in Indo-China during the past three weeks have evolved so rapidly that it has been virtually impossible to assess with precision emergency needs in specific areas, it is obvious that suffering is continuing and far greater humanitarian assistance is vitally and urgently needed. At this moment, personnel from the United Nations system are working, round the clock in the field and at Headquarters in order to ascertain what supplies are needed most urgently and to determine how supplies can best be transported to areas where it is possible to deliver them. As each day passes, we should get a clearer picture of just what is needed and where it is needed.
Various governments have asked me to state what I would consider, at this time, to be a reasonable target figure for essential needs in the foreseeable future. After careful consideration, I believe that in this immediate phase $100 million is needed to meet essential, and I repeat essential, requirements excluding bulk food supply.
I therefore urgently renew my appeal to all who may be in a position to help to do everything within their means to relieve the plight of the millions who are suffering in Indo-China. I shall never cease in my own efforts, to ensure that the United Nations play its essential role in healing the wounds of those who have been the victims of war and disaster.
CLARIFYING BILLS BEFORE CONGRESS
Mr. HAMILTON. Gentlemen, I want to make sure I understand the bills that the administration is submitting to the Congress for enactment on the recommendations of the President.
[The texts of the draft bills follow:]
To clarify restrictions on the availability of funds for the use of the United States Armed Forces in Indochina, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That nothing contained in section 839 of Public Law 93-437, section 741 of Public Law 93-238, section 30 of Public Law 93-189, section 806 of Public Law 93–155, section 13 of Public Law 93-126, section 108 of Public Law 93-52, section 307 of Public Law 93-50, or any other comparable provision of law shall be construed as limiting the availability of funds for the use of the Armed Forces of the United States to aid, assist, and carry out humanitarian evacuation, if ordered by the President.
To authorize additional military assistance for South Vietnam, and for other purposes Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That paragraph (1) of section 401 (a) and subsection (b) of Public Law 89-367, approved March 15, 1966 (80 Stat. 37), as amended, are amended by striking out "$1,000,000,000" each place it appears and inserting in lieu thereof "$1,422,000,000”.
To authorize additional economic assistance for South Vietnam, and for other purposes Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, in addition to amounts otherwise authorized for such purposes, there is authorized to be appropriated to the President not to exceed $73,000,000 to carry out the purposes of part V of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, for South Vietnam for the fiscal year 1975. Funds made available for economic and humanitarian assistance for Indochina shall be available after the date of enactment of this Act for obligation without regard to the limitations contained in sections 36 and 38 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1974, Public Law 93-559, approved December 30, 1974 (88 Stat. 1795).
Mr. HAMILTON. First of all, there is a bill to authorize additional military assistance for South Vietnam and basically the change that that makes is to strike the $90 million figure and in lieu thereof put $1.422 million.
I am informed that that bill has been introduced today and was referred to the Armed Services Committee.
Second, there is a bill entitled "To clarify restrictions on the availability of funds for the use of U.S. Armed Forces in Indochina and for other purposes."
That bill provides that despite language in several public laws there shall be no limit on the availability of funds for the use of the Armed Forces to aid and assist in carrying out humanitarian evacuation if ordered by the President.
That bill would permit the evacuation of anyone and it in effect sets aside a number of provisions of law which in one form or another restrict combat activities by American Forces in Indochina.
There is a third bill relating
Mr. HABIB. Could I ask a question? To which committee?
STATUS OF BILLS
Mr. HAMILTON. That bill has not been introduced yet and it has not been referred as of just a few minutes ago.
A third bill likewise has not been introduced and has not been referred.
In addition, another bill entitled "Economic assistance for South Vietnam and for other purposes."
That bill provides for the authorization of an additional $73 million and it also removes the limitations in the present Foreign Assistance Act with regard to the distribution of economic assistance funds.
Mr. GARDINER. The Indochina postwar reconstruction funds.
Now, those are three bills. Is that the total number of bills that are to be introduced?
Mr. HABIB. To my knowledge, yes, sir.
Mr. HAMILTON. Now, a few other questions before we go into execu
Mr. HABIB. Let me just check with all the experts here. I don't want to mislead the committee; that would be the last thing I would want. That is what we now have.
Mr. HAMILTON. That is the package?
Mr. HABIB. That is the package as it now stands. I don't know what follows on thereafter because the administration always has the right to propose new bills, but those are the ones I understand are to be submitted or have been submitted to the Congress.