oversight

Comments on H.R. 8093, 6882, and Similar Bills

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-07-08.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                                                                           For Release on Delivery
                                                                           Expected at 3:45 p*m. EDT
                                                                           Thursday, July 8,- 19711

                     UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
                               WASHINGTON, D.C. 20548
                                    STATEMENTOF
            ELMER B. STAATS, COMPTROLLERGENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES
          BEFORE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SUBCOMMITTEEON EUROPE,
                              HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
                                         ON
                        H.R.'8093,   6882 AND SIMILAR BILLS
                       DESIGNED To PREVENT NARCOTIC DRUGS
                   FROM UNLAWFULLY ENTERING THE UNITED STATES


Mr. Chairman         and Members of the Subcommittee:

         We are pleased         to be here     today,     at the   invitation          of the Sub=

committee,        to offer      comments on H.R,         8093,   6882 and other          similar

bills     which    reflect      the concern     in the Congress          for    more effective

means of countering             the unlawful     entry     of narcotic         drugs    into   the

United     States.

         My comments are related            primarily      to the provisions            of the bills

bearing      directly        upon the responsibilities           of the Comptroller            General,

and specifically             to amend Section      620 of the Foreign            Assistance        Act

of 1961 to require             that:

         "(V)(llThe     Comptroller   General of the United States shall
         review and determine annually        (AI the effectiveness          df
         measures being taken by each foreign           country to prevent
         narcotic    drugs, partially     or completely     produced or pro-
         cessed in such country,       from unlawfully      entering      tbe United
         States,    and CB) whether that country has undertaken appro-
         priate    measures to prevent any such narcotic           drug from un-
         lawfully    entering    the United States.      Nat later      than March 31
         of each year, the Comptroller        General shall make a report            to
         the Congress of his review and determinations               for the pre-
         ceding calendar year."
          The bill        further             provides        that      a negative                 determination                   by the

Comptroller           General           would         set    in motion              a procedure              to stop           further

economic         assistance                 to that     particular             country,

          I am aware that                    the united         States         faces         an extremely                    grave      drug

problem,         and that             effective         ways must be found                         to eliminate                or greatly

reduce         the unlawful                 entry     of drugs         into         this     country.              We will            of course

make every         effort             to effectively                carry      out the intent                     of any legislation

that      is    enacted.              We have considerable                     question             as to whether                    as a

practical         matter         it     would         be possible             for      us to effectively                       carry out
the above provisions.

          I would        like         to discuss            these      matters             and then          suggest           for      your
consideration,              some alternatives                    which         I believe             would           contribute             to
a sound procedure                     for     more effectivq                controls.

          Two principal                obstacles            which      we believe             would          limit           the

effectiveness             of the present                    proposals          include             (1)     a problem               of avail-

ability         of information,                     and (2)     the need for                 criteria             as to what would

constitute           “appropriate”                   measures         by a particular                     country.             ‘Also,       there

is     the question             that         several        countries          involved             in the drug problem                          are

not recipients              of U.S.             assistance.

Availability             of information

          To carry        out the provisions                        of the present                  proposal            it     would        be

necessary         for     the General                 Accounting            Office          to make physical                       inspections

of the activities                     of various            foreign         countries,              and to have access                         to

and examine             the records                 of those        countries,              that         relate       to measures

taken       by such countries                       to prevent         narcotic             drugs         from       entering           the




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         .


United            States.   There is serious                    doubt     that     the General                Accounting
                                c:
Office            Gould obtainI;ev&n limited                    access       to, the data             of foreign

governments             which would             be essential            to permit        us to make an independent

determination                of effectiveness              or appropriateness                   of measures               taken         by

a country.              Only where there                is a mutual           agreement          between               the U.S. and

the recipient                country       would       there     by any basis            or right              for      our auditors

to make internal                    inspections         or examinations              of the activities                         of another

sovereign             country.

Establishment                of criteria

             For the General             Accounting            Office     to make a determination                              as to

whether            a country         has taken         “‘appropriate”            measures        it     will           be necessary

to give            consideration           to the social            and political               conditions               prevailing

in the particular                    country.          These,      coupled        with       the technical                com-

plexities             of the narcotics             drug problem,              suggest         that          criteria           against

which         any determination                 is made would            be subjective                and debatable.                    The

determination                of what would             be “appropriate”              under       the circumstances                       in

a particular                country,would              require      GAO to make foreign                        policy          judgments.
                                        1
             If    the 1egisLation’spelled                     out the general               criteria           and required

the Executive                Branch to establish                  specific        criteria            for      each country

for    which          determinations             are    to be made, GAO could                    make factual                   exami-

nations            as to whether           such criteria            have been met.                    I would           like     to point

out,         however,        that      even if      the law did           specify        criteria              such as “‘complete

cessation             of production             and shipment            of narcotics”,                as comprising                an

“appropriate”                measure,       the unreliability                 of available                  data       in many

countries             and the access             problem        mentioned         above would                in our opinion



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preclude        GAO from determining                  with      any reasonable                 assurance        whether

production         or shipments            were in fact               stopped.

Countries        not receiving             U.S.     assistance

          Countries         that      are not      receiving           assistance             from    the United          States

under      the Foreign             Assistance       Act      of 1961, as amended,                    and consequently

would      not be subject              to penalty,           may be involved                  in the production                 and

processing         or transportation                 of narcotic              drugs.          These would         include

Burma, Brance,              Lebanon and Hong !Cong to mention                             several        that     have been

reported        either        in testimony           or in the press                 as being         possibly          involved.

I make this           point        not to suggest             that     some form          of sanction            against

foreign      aid      recipients          could      not be effective                  but only         to point         out     that

this      proposal       would        not affect        some of those                countries          involved         in

narcotics        traffic.

Executive        Branch - central                 authority

          In my earlier             comments on H.R.                 6882,     transmitted            to the Chairman,

House Committee               on Foreign          Affairs        on May 28, 1971,                I suggested             that

the Committee            may wish         to consider            legislation             to require         the Executive

Branch      to clearly             establish       a focal           point     of responsibility                 for     adminis-

tration      and coordination                  of United         States        efforts         to stop      the entry            of

illegal       narcotics            including       the relationships                   with     other     countries             and

international            organizations.

          As you are aware,               the President               submitted          a message to the

Congress        on June 17 which                proposed         the establishment                   of a central

authority        with       overall       responsibility                for    all     Federal        drug abuse pre-

vention,        education,            treatment,        training             and research            programs          in all




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Federal      agencies.              This    authority,        to be located            within          the Executive

Office      of the President,                would       be known as the Special                   Action      Office

of Drug Abuse Prevention.                         The President          stated       that      this     Special

Action      Office       would       concentrate          on the      “demand”        side      of the drug           pro-

blem and “would               not    be directly          concerned         with     the problem3           of reducing

drug     supply,”        i.e.,       the international              aspect3         of drug abuse.             The

Committee         may wish          to consider          whether      legislation             on this     subject

should      not also          establish          leadership        authority         within       the Executive

Branch      for      planning,         policy-setting,             objectives         and priorities               relating

to the international                   aspects      of drug        abuse.

         As a possible              substitute        approach,        we believe             such legislation

might     be more effective                 from a viewpoint             of congressional                control        if

it   included         a provision           to require        annual        or other,periodic               reports          from

the Executive            Branch        to the Congress             on the measures              being     taken       in

concert      with      foreign         governments         to control           and eliminate            the production,

processing          and traffic            in narcotic        drugs;        specifying          those     countries           who

have not taken               appropriate          measures0

International            efforts

         The United           States       is currently        pressing            toward      strengthening            the

international            machinery          to gain       better      cooperation             in controlling

narcotic3         traffic.

         On March        18, 1971,          the U.S.       submitted           to the Secretary             General

of the United            Nations        a series         of specific         amendments           to the 1961 Single

Convention          on Narcotic            Drugs.        These proposals,             which      we understand               have

been urged          by the United            States       representatives,              are designed           to
     strengthen          controls           over      the cultivation                   of opium poppy and other

     narcotic          producing       plants,              and on the production,                       manufacture,          and

     export      of opium derivatives                        and other            narcotics.

               The amendments,               if     adopted,         would         enable        the international

     community          for     the first            time     to (a)           require        fuller       information           from

     the countries              involved           as to the cultivation                       of the opium poppy
                                                                                                             ,    and the

     production          of opium,           (b)      order      reduction              in cultivation             or production

     where there              is a significant                danger           of illicit            diversion       or where

     world      needs are already                    being      met,          and (c)        order      world-wide          remedial

     measures          to be taken,               including          a partial           or full         embargo on the export

     or import          of drugs           to or from an offending                           country.

               Although         the existing                Single       Convention            calls       for    certain        controls

     and sanctions              against           countries          not taking              appropriate          steps,      the

     responsible              implementing            bodies,           for     example,         the International                Narcotics

1’   Control-Board,              have lacked                effective           enforcement             powers.       We believe

     that      the proposed           legislation               should          include        provisions          that      would       pro-

     mote multilateral               pressure               under      a strengthened                  Single     Convention         or

     other      international               means.

     Inspector          General,           Foreign          Assistance

               The extent          of interrelationships                          between        foreign         assistance         programs

     and narcotics              control           efforts       is      clearly         a policy         matter      for     determination

     by the Congress.                 If     the Committee                    should     assert         that     relationship,               we

     would      like     to offer           some thoughts                as to the means of administering                                the

     control      mechanisms              and responsibilities                         for    audit.           The Committee         might

     wish      to give         consideration                to strengthening                  the Inspector           General           of



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Foreign       Assistance,           as an agency             established          by the Congress             for     an

independent           inspection           corps     to represent          U.S.     interests         in inspecting

all     elements       of foreign           assistance.

         The Inspector             General         of Foreign       Assistance        already         has broad

legislative           authority           to stop     a transaction            or a program.                That authority

might      be extended            to include         specifically          the narcotics             element.           The

authority       and responsibilities                    of the Inspector             General         of Foreign

Assistance           under    Sec.        624 of the Foreign             Assistance          Act of 1961,             as

amended,       now include               the making       of such reviews,             inspections,                and audits

of programs           as he considers               necessary,       not only        for     ascertaining             the

efficiency         and economy of their                   administration,            but also         for     the purpose

of ascertaining              the extent            to which      they    are      in consonance             with     the

foreign       policy       of the United             States.        He is charged            with     maintaining

continuous           observation           and review         to carry      out     these       responsibilities

and for       making       recommendations              and evaluating             the effectiveness                 of the

foreign       assistance           programs         in attaining         United      States         Foreign         Policy

objectives.

GAO responsibility

          Specific        legislation          would      not be needed for                GAO review         and

evaluation           of organizational               arrangements          and activities             of the Executive

Branch       to deal       with         the international           aspects        of drug       abuse since            our

present       authority           for     such reviews          is adequate.           Indeed,        the GAO has

work now under             way in this             regard.       For example , we have undertaken                            (1)

a review       of the drug               abuse problem         among military              personnel         to be performed

in the United             States         as well     as in overseas            locations,           (2) a review             of



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   .



         Department          of Justice            (Bureau         of Narcotics               and Dangerous              Drugs)         efforts       ’ -‘I

         to reduce         diversion          of dangerous                drugs      which       are     produced         domestically,                      11

‘I
i/ 811   and (3)        a review         of:the          domestic         Federal           narcotics          rehabilitation              program,
i’
         We now have under                consideration                  the possibility                of a review            of United

         States        efforts       to stop         the flow           of narcotics             into         the United         States,

         In this        connection           we have developed                    background            data      on the international

         aspects        of the problem,                  particularly             in relation            to Turkey.              I have w+th

         me a paper          dated       May 21,          1971,        prepared          by our       staff       containing            this

         information             which    I will          not     take         the Committee’s            time        to read         but whic’h

         I believe         would      make a useful                addition           for     the Committee’s                 record,

                   The present           language           of the proposals                  would      require         GAO to exercise

         foreign        policy       judgments            now vested             in the Secretary                of State,            thereby

         raising        a basic       question            of displacement                   of Executive             Branch     responsibility,

         Regardless          of the merits                of the issues,                 I would        not want         to see the C&AI

         in any way placed                in the position                      of attempting            to usurp         or assume the

         basic      management           responsibility                 that      rests       in the Executive                 Branch,                   1,;

         recognizing             the possibility                that      it     could       weaken GAO capability                      to render

         service        to the Congress                  as its        independent            auditor          of Executive             Branch

         activities.

                   I would         suggest        that     means be sought                   to have a better                 focused

         management          capability            established                 in the Executive                Branch,        with

         responsibility              and the necessary                    authority           to deal         with     this      subject

         in its        entirety.          I believe             the GAO efforts                 could     be most effective

         in reviewing              and evaluating               the Executive                Branch      performance,                and making

         recommendations              to the Congress.



                                                                                                                                                       -8-
Summary

      In summary,              I suggest         that:

      1.     A strong          and clearly           defined            management control               point

             be established               in the Executive                  Branch,      with       require-

             ment for          periodic          reports         to the Congress.

      2.     More effective               international                 controls      be encouraged.

      3.     The Inspector              General,         Foreign          Assistance        be assigned

             specific           responsibility             for      inspections          and audits            in

             this     area,       and

      4.     If     the Committee               believes         that     further       specific

             responsibility               needs to be assigned                      to the Comptroller

             General :

             A.      The Comptroller                General         be directed          to review         and

                     evaluate        the effectiveness                    of Executive           Branch

                     activities           for     carrying          out the purposes                of the

                     legislation           and to make reports                      including          recommendations

                     to the Congress;                or as an alternative,                      that     the Comp-

                     troller        General         be directed             to review       and evaluate

                     the reports           submitted             by the Executive               Branch,        and the

                     underlying           supporting             data,      and

             B.      The Comptroller                General        have access,           as he may require,

                     to all        records,         reports,            audits,      reviews,          documents,      papers

                     recommendations                or other            material      of the agencies               of the

                     United       States         administering              this     legislation,          or of the

                     Inspector          General,         Foreign          Assistance.

      That        concludes       my statement             Mr. Chairman.               We shall          be pleased      to

respond    to any questtons.
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