This is excerpted from remarks by Sen. Danforth (R-Mo.) in the Senate Oct. 6:
I had the privilege today of attending a luncheon at the State Department in honor of the crown prince of Japan. As I was sitting around the dinner table conversing with various luminaries, including our ambassador to the United Nations and a former ambassador to Japan, I posed the question: How does the rest of the world read the foreign policy of the United States, given the keen desire of the U.S. Senate to speak out on absolutely every foreign policy issue all the time? Everything that happens, anywhere around the world, the Senate must be heard on.
The answer that I got to my question was that the rest of the world cannot make out what the policy of America is. We are forever tinkering with it.
Last week, the week before last, the week before that, day after day on the floor of the Senate, with respect to the defense authorization bill, we fiddled around with foreign policy. In one 24-hour period, we voted: to comply with the SALT II limitations, not to comply with the SALT II limitations and to comply with the SALT II limitations.
Now, I am told that a jeweler, a person with microscopic vision, the kind of person who makes Faberge eggs, could look at those three votes and make some sort of sense out of them. But to the ordinary person, certainly the ordinary person who is trying to get some bead on what the policy of the United States is, I would submit that it was totally incomprehensible.
Now we are having a debate on the floor of the Senate on whether or not the secretary of state is to be instructed to conduct negotiations with a bunch of guerrillas running around in Mozambique. And I think we are going too far.
I would suggest to the distinguished chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee that perhaps the time has come for some sort of review to take place in his committee on what the role of the U.S. Senate should be in foreign policy. Clearly, we have some role. I mean we do have the role of confirming ambassadors and giving advice and consent to treaties. But does the role of the U.S. Senate in foreign policy extend to constantly tinkering with everything, fine-tuning everything?
We had this big debate -- it still rages -- on the War Powers Act, the son of the War Powers Act. Now, I take it that this second version of the War Powers Act says to the rest of the world: we are not just going to take 60 days to tell the world what we are going to do in the Persian Gulf, we are going to take 90 days to tell the world what we are going to do in the Persian Gulf. And we are going to draw distinctions. We are going to say, yes, American ships can be there, but they cannot be escorting convoys.
We are going to be not only 535 secretaries of state, we are going to be 535 commanders in chief. Talk about lack of clear signals, lack of clarity from the position of the United States of America in foreign policy; we are a cacophony of confusion.
I would submit that no reasonable person anywhere in the world can predict how the United States stands on any foreign policy issue.
Now we are getting into it again in this bill: Renamo. I will tell you, I suppose there are people who really believe that Mozambique is some kind of a threat to the world. I have been there. I will tell you, Mozambique is pitiful. Mozambique is a basket case, totally depressed.
When I was there -- maybe things are better now -- people were literally lying on the ground dying in front of your eyes. That was Mozambique. No stores open. No food available. Scaffolding still on buildings that was there when the Portuguese left in 1976. It is totally ridiculous to believe that Mozambique is a threat to anybody.
Now we are instructing, as I understand this amendment, the secretary of state to conduct negotiations with a bunch of guerrillas supported by South Africa, who are terrorizing these poor souls in Mozambique.
Mr. President, maybe, occasionally, we should just allow the administration to function in foreign policy.
I am not just addressing this to my friend from North Carolina. I think that this is something that all of us in the Senate should reflect on. All of us in the Senate should reflect on, no matter what our issues -- if our issue is Mozambique, if our issue is the Persian Gulf, if our issue is SALT II negotiations, the ABM Treaty -- whatever it is. Surely there is some gain for the United States to be accomplished by predictability in foreign policy, and there is no predictability in foreign policy if the U.S. Senate must always mess around in everything.