[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book II)]
[November 22, 1994]
[Pages 2122-2123]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Letter to Congressional Leaders on Bosnia-Herzegovina
November 22, 1994

Dear Mr. Speaker:  (Dear Mr. President:)
    I last reported to the Congress on August 22, 1994, on our support 
for the United Nations and North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) 
efforts to achieve peace and security in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I am 
informing you today of recent developments in these efforts, including 
the use of U.S. combat aircraft on November 21, 1994, to attack 
airfields and related facilities in Serb-held Croatian territory used by 
Serb forces to launch air strikes against the town of Bihac in Bosnia-
    Since the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 
(UNSCR) 713 on September 25, 1991, the United Nations has actively 
sought solutions to the humanitarian and ethnic crisis in the former 
Yugoslavia. Under UNSCRs 824 (May 6, 1993) and 836 (June 4, 1993) 
certain portions of Bosnia-Herzegovina have been established as safe 
areas, including the town of Bihac. Member states, acting nationally or 
through regional organizations, have been authorized to use all 
necessary measures, through the use of air power, in and around the safe 
areas, to support the United Nations Protection Forces (UNPROFOR) in the 
performance of its mandate.
    The air strikes conducted on November 21, 1994, were in response to 
Serb air strikes launched November 18 and 19, 1994, from Udbina airfield 
in the Krajina region of Croatia against the town of Bihac and other 
areas of northwest Bosnia. The United Nations has informed us that the 
Serbs dropped napalm and cluster munitions during their attack on 
November 18 in Bihac, placing approximately 1,200 UNPROFOR troops 
deployed in Bihac in jeopardy. We are further informed that the Serb 
attack on November 19 was against the town of Cazin, about 10 miles 
north of Bihac, causing between 9 and 15 civilian casualties.
    In response to the Serb attacks, the United Nations Security Council 
unanimously adopted UNSCR 958 on November 19, 1994, expressly deciding 
that the authorizations in previous resolutions also applied in the 
Republic of Croatia. Meeting the same day, the North Atlantic Council 
agreed to respond positively to UNSCR 958 and authorized the Commander 
in Chief, NATO Allied Forces Southern Europe (CINCSOUTH), in accordance 
with existing procedures, to conduct air strikes in response to attacks 
on or that threaten the U.N. safe areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina launched 
from U.N. protected areas of Croatia.
    The NATO strikes launched on November 21, 1994, included 39 aircraft 
from the Netherlands, France, United Kingdom, NATO, and the United 
States. The aircraft struck targets at Udbina airfield, including 
runways, taxiways, radars, and air defenses located at the airfield. No 
aircraft were lost or damaged in conducting the attacks. Initial battle 
damage assessments indicate that runways and taxiways were cratered and 
that an air defense radar was destroyed.

[[Page 2123]]

    I authorized these actions in conjunction with our NATO allies in 
order to carry out the U.N. and NATO decisions of November 19 and to 
answer UNPROFOR's request for assistance. As I have indicated in the 
past, our efforts in the former Yugoslavia are intended to assist the 
parties to reach a negotiated settlement to the conflict. I have 
directed the participation by U.S. Armed Forces in this effort pursuant 
to my constitutional authority to conduct the foreign relations of the 
United States and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.
    I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the 
Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I am 
grateful for the continuing support that the Congress has provided, and 
I look forward to continued cooperation with you in this endeavor. I 
shall communicate with you further regarding our efforts for peace and 
stability in the former Yugoslavia.

                                                      William J. Clinton

Note: Identical letters were sent to Thomas S. Foley, Speaker of the 
House of Representatives, and Albert Gore, Jr., President of the Senate. 
This letter was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on 
November 23.