Statement on Signing the United States-Japan Fishery Agreement Approval Act of 1987


December 29, 1987


I am pleased to sign H.R. 3674, the ``United States-Japan Fishery Agreement Approval Act of 1987.'' The Act provides congressional approval of an important agreement concerning our fishery relationship with Japan, and it enacts a number of constructive marine environmental measures. I believe, however, that two provisions of the Act must be carefully construed  to avoid raising substantial constitutional questions.


Sections 4004 and 4006 of H.R. 3674 direct that the Secretary of Commerce ``shall immediately'' initiate negotiations with foreign governments that conduct driftnet fishing operations that result in the taking of the marine resources of the United States. In light of the President's constitutional responsibility to conduct diplomatic initiatives, including the responsibility to determine the timing of those initiatives, I believe that these sections must be construed as advisory.


Ronald Reagan


The White House,


December 29, 1987.


Note: H.R. 3674, approved December 29, was assigned Public Law No. 100 - 220. The statement was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 30.