Declassified Papers Show Pattern Of Approval Of Export Waivers For China
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 11) - Newly declassified White House documents provided to Congress show that the Clinton administration had evidence China was providing ballistic missile assistance to Pakistan when it approved deals for China to launch U.S.-made satellites.
The documents show that President Clinton signed all eight waiver requests presented to him from 1993-1996, continuing the approach of his predecessor, George Bush. Months before his inauguration, Clinton criticized his opponent for being soft on "tyrants" in Beijing.
A National Security Council official reviewed the documents for CNN after details were published in Thursday's Washington Post.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings that open Thursday will look into suggestions by some Congressional Republicans that Clinton might have been influenced by Democratic campaign contributions in granting waivers to Loral Space and Communications. The chairman of Loral is Bernard Schwartz, the Democrats' biggest donor in 1995-1996.
There is no mention of financial-related political considerations in the documents, and waivers went as well to companies with strong traditions of supporting Republicans, including Motorola and Martin-Marietta (now Lockheed-Martin).
A senior White House official quoted in the Post said, "I see a lot of continuity between the Bush and Clinton approaches in these documents."
"Both have tried to use these satellite exports to give China incentives to honor their commitments," the official told the Post.
The memos do contain references of how the satellite deals would support U.S. aerospace industry jobs. According to the Post, Anthony Lake, then-national security adviser, urged the president to grant the waivers, saying in a memo, "unless you grant the waivers by 7/5, the U.S. contract for [the Motorola project] will be lost and the supplier will pay a non-performance penalty of $45 million."
And they detail the internal debate over how to react to evidence China was supporting Pakistan's missile programs. The official confirmed a Post account of one memo in which Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and Lake noted the "risks" of granting 1993 waivers, suggesting doing so might be interpreted as turning a blind eye to evidence China was violating promises to comply with weapons exports rules.
CNN White House Correspondent John King contributed to this report