[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[February 13, 1998]
[Pages 225-226]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Signing the Holocaust Victims Redress Act
February 13, 1998

    Today I am pleased to sign into law S. 1564, the Holocaust Victims 
Redress Act. This bill enables the United States Government to provide 
further assistance to needy Holocaust survivors and also strengthens 
current U.S. efforts aimed at encouraging countries that possess gold 
looted from Holocaust victims to donate those assets to the Nazi 
Persecution Relief Fund. It further recognizes the need for long overdue 
archival research and translation services to set the historical record 
    My Administration has worked hard to bring whatever measure of 
justice might be possible to Holocaust survivors, their families, and 
the heirs of those who perished. We have pressed for restitution of 
property and for the full declassification of archives so that 
confiscated assets can be traced and restored to their rightful owners. 
To speed progress toward that goal, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum 
in conjunction with the Department of State will co-host in June an 
international conference on Nazi assets.
    As I sign this bill into law, I note that section 102(a), which 
purports to direct the President on how to pursue negotiations with 
foreign states, raises constitutional concerns. Article II of the 
Constitution confers on the President alone the Executive powers of the 
United States, which includes special authority over foreign affairs. 
Although I support the policies underlying this provision, it can be 
read to interfere with my discretion over matters of foreign policy, and 
I will therefore construe the provision as precatory.
    There can be no way to deliver full justice for the many millions of 
victims of Nazi persecution, and we know that the unspeakable losses of 
all kinds that they suffered will never be made whole. Yet it is my hope 
that with this bill, we can help provide some dignity and relief to 
those who were subjected to the ultimate barbarism of the Holocaust, and 
that it will hasten the restitution that they undeniably deserve.

                                                      William J. Clinton

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Note: S. 1564, approved February 13, was assigned Public Law No. 105-