Washington, 10 October 1998
Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I cannot help but think how things have
a way of coming about full circle. As a freshman Member of this body
20 years ago, the first bill I worked on was the Taiwan Relations
Act. I still believe that the legislation is one of the most
significant achievements of my career and certainly of the whole
period in which I have served in this Congress. Again, the gentleman
from New York (Mr. Gilman) was an integral part of that whole
Mr. Speaker, Members who have come to the House more recently may
wonder why it is that so many of us more senior Members from both
sides of the aisle are so concerned about Taiwan. Let me tell the
Members why. When President Carter broke off diplomatic relations
with Taiwan in favor of recognizing Communist mainland China, that
marked the only time in 210 years of constitutional history that our
government has broken relations with a treaty ally without
provocation and during a time of peace.
Whatever Members may have thought about the merits or the demerits
of recognizing mainland Communist China, Members from both sides of
the aisle at all points on the philosophical spectrum realized that
a profoundly important and potentially dangerous precedent was being
established by doing just that. Members reasoned that if America is
seen as being unfaithful to its allies, America will soon have no
allies at all. So the Taiwan Relations Act was enacted as a way of
assuring the people of Taiwan that America was not abandoning them
and that the representatives of the American people, we Members of
Congress, overwhelmingly stood solidly with them, regardless of the
fact that the President, having the constitutional authority to
conduct foreign policy, saw fit to derecognize them at that time.
The entire world, and especially our other allies in Asia, needed
that same reassurance.
In the years since then, many Members, myself included, have
served as watchdogs to make sure that the Taiwan Relations Act, and
that is the law of the land right today, Mr. Speaker, is adhered to
in both the letter and the spirit of law. The most important thing
to be concerned about is that nothing be done, nothing ever be done,
by omission or by commission, that can be construed as undercutting
Taiwan or pressuring Taiwan to yield to coercion from mainland
China. Mainland China is very good about doing that. They are great
Mr. Speaker, the Taiwan Relations Act was a creative response to
the unprecedented diplomatic challenge posed by the desire, in fact,
the need, to maintain and protect close ties with a historic friend
that found itself laboring under the burden of an ambiguous national
identity, and still does. One would have hoped that similarly
creative thinking would have been done in various international
institutions around the world, but that has not been especially
forthcoming, and again, the reason is through the direct
intimidation by the Communist Peoples' Republic of China.
Nevertheless, we have an opportunity today to do something
positive. The resolution before us expresses the sense of Congress
that Taiwan and its 21 million people, 21 million people, should
have an appropriate and meaningful representation in the World
Health Organization, and that the Clinton administration is urged to
pursue an initiative to that end. That is what this resolution is
Mr. Speaker, if there ever was a good place to start this, it is
the World Health Organization. Let me tell the Members why. The
World Health Organization is a humanitarian organization, as we all
know. It is one of the few important international organizations
that is not infected with what I call a political agenda. It is not
prone to the bureaucratic growth, as most of these international
Taiwan, and Members all should listen to this, Taiwan was a
charter member of the World Health Organization and, as the
resolution notes, made important contributions to the global fight
against disease before being deprived of membership in 1972. Taiwan
has continued progress since then in eradicating disease and in
establishing high standards of public health at home. That in fact
means that it can contribute even more to the world today if the
programs and cooperative forums of the World Health Organization
were open to Taiwan's participation, again, with 21 million people.
Let me tell the Members how significant 21 million people is. We
cannot pretend that a free and prosperous and advanced society of
that many people does not exist. Indeed, Taiwan, and this is a point
that I wanted to make, Taiwan has a larger population than
three-fourths of the Members of the World Health Organization. Can
Members imagine that? Mr. Speaker, the resolution calls for those 21
million people to have an appropriate and meaningful participation
in the World Health Organization. That is what it does.
Surely the imagination exists to find a way to do that. If there
ever is a problem, it would seem to be a matter of will. But let
this House make its voice heard, that Taiwan deserves to participate
in the important work of the World Health Organization, and their 21
million need and deserve to be the beneficiaries of that
organization. Taiwan has an awful lot to contribute.
Mr. Speaker, for this resolution I would just hope it would pass
unanimously. I would like to give great credit for the wording of
this resolution to my good friend, the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr.
Douglas Bereuter), a classmate of mine 20 years ago. We helped also
to write the Taiwan Relations Act. I would like to pay tribute to
him and to the gentleman from New York (Chairman Gilman) as I have
spoken of before for his consideration.
This probably is the last time that he and I will collaborate here
on this floor on a matter of common concern, and I thank him for all
of his help through the years, both the gentleman from Nebraska (Mr.
Bereuter) and him. Also, I think I saw the gentleman from Ohio (Mr.
Brown) come in. I would just like to also thank him for his interest
on this issue. He and I were in Taiwan not too long ago, and he
feels as strongly as I do about this measure.