International Organizations United States. Congress. House. Committee on Forei.

Japanese prison labor practices : joint hearing before the Subcommittees on International Security, International Organizations, and Human Rights and Asia and the Pacific of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session, June 10, 1994 online

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Online LibraryInternational Organizations United States. Congress. House. Committee on ForeiJapanese prison labor practices : joint hearing before the Subcommittees on International Security, International Organizations, and Human Rights and Asia and the Pacific of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session, June 10, 1994 → online text (page 1 of 12)
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JAPANESE PRISON LABOR PRACTICES

Y4.F 76/1: J 27/13 ^^^^^^^

Japanese Prison Labor Practicesi 10...

JOINT HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEES ON

INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, INTERNATIONAL

ORGANIZATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

A^fD

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION



JUNE 10, 1994



Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs







^&»»^



*»=^g^



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
85-079 CC WASHINGTON : 1995

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-046513-3



R<R.n7Q QS - 1



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JAPANESE PRISON UBOR PRACTICES

Y4.F 76/1: J 27/13 ^^^^^^^^^

Japanese Prison Labor Practicesi 10...

JOINT HEARING

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEES ON

INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, INTERNATIONAL

ORGANIZATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

AND

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS

SECOND SESSION



JUNE 10, 1994



Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs



/



^Utrmn^li






0, ..„.^.






U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
85-079 CC WASHINGTON : 1995

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Document.s. Congressional Sales Office, Washington. DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-046513-3



COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS



LEE H.
SAM GEJDENSON. Connecticut



HAMILTON, Indiana, Chairman

BENJAMIN A. OILMAN



TOM LANTOS, California

ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey

HOWARD L. BERMAN, California

GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York

HARRY JOHNSTON, Florida

ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York

EM F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American

Samoa
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHL\ A. MCKINNEY, Georgia
MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
ALCEE L. HASTINGS. Florida
ERIC FINGERHUT, Ohio
PETER DEUTSCH. Florida
ALBERT RUSSELL WYNN, Maryland
DON EDWARDS, California
FRANK McCI/)SKEV, Indiana
THOMAS C. SAWYER, Ohio
LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, Illinois

MlC}{AEL H. Van Dusen, Chie/' of Staff

RiaiARD J. Garon, Minority Chief of Staff

Jo Weber, Staff Associate

Mickey Harmon, Staff Associate



New York
WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
TOBY ROTH, Wisconsin
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
HENRY J. HYDE, Ilhnois
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
JAN MEYERS, Kansas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
DAVID A. LEVY, New York
DONALD A. MANZU1.LO, Illinois
LINCOLN DIAZ-BAIJVRT, Florida
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California



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International Security, International Organization and Human Rights

TOM LANTOS, California, Chairman

HOWARD L. HERMAN, California DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska

GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine

MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey

FRANK McCLOSKEY, Indiana DAN BURTON. Indiana
THOMAS C. SAWYER, Ohio

Robert King, Staff Director

Michael Ennis, Republican Professional Staff Member

Theodore M. HIRSCH, Professional Staff Member

BHTTH L. POISSON, Professional Staff Member

Andrea L. Nelson, Professional Staff Member



Subcommittee on Asl\ and the Pacific

GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York, Chairman
ENl F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa

Samoa DANA ROHRABACHER, California

MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California EDWARD R. ROYCE, California

ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey TOBY ROTH, Wisconsin

SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
ERIC FINGERHUT, Ohio
LUIS V. GUTIERREZ, Illinois

Russell J. Wilson, Staff Director

James McCormick, Republican Professional Staff Member

Robert M. Hathaway, Professional Staff Member

David S. Adams, Professional Staff Member

Lisa C. Berkson, Professional Staff Member

(HI)



CONTENTS



WITNESSES



Page

Mr. Christopher Lavinger 3

Mr. Michael J. Griffith, attorney, International Legal Defense Council 9

Mr. Richard Atkins, chairman, criminal law committee. International Bar

Association 14

Mr. Mark J. Kurzmann, attorney 17

Mr. Hideyuki Kayanuma, Japanese civil rights attorney 20

Mr. Thomas Hubbard, Deputy Assistant Secretary oi State, Bureau of East

Asian and Pacific AfTairs 37

Mr. JeffKovar, U.S. Department of State, Office of the Legal Advisor 46

APPENDIX

Prepared statements:

Mr. Christopher Lavinger 57

Mr. Richard Atkins 74

Mr. Mark J. Kurzmann 80

Mr. Thomas Hubbard, with attached supplementary testimony 84

Mr. Michael J. Griffith, supplementary testimony 124



(V)



JAPANESE PRISON LABOR PRACTICES



FRroAY, JUNE 10, 1994

House of Representatives,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
Subcommittee on International Security, Inter-
national Organizations and Human Rights, and
THE Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific,

Washington, DC.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:30 a.m. in room
2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Gary L. Ackerman
(chairman of the subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific) presiding.

Mr. Ackerman. Good morning. The subcommittees will come to
order. The Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific and the Sub-
committee on International Security, International Organizations
and Human Rights meet today in open session to discuss a very se-
rious matter.

Let me say for the record there is no one in this Congress who
places greater value on U.S. -Japanese relations. Indeed, the U.S.-
Japan bilateral relationship is one of the most important bilateral
relationships anywhere in the world.

It is for this reason that I was so terribly disheartened a week
or so ago when Mr. Christopher Lavinger, who had been my con-
stituent, came to my New York office and detailed his history of
being forced, along with approximately 35,000 other prisoners, to
produce commercial goods while incarcerated in Japanese prisons.
These prisoners are forced to work for as little as 3 cents per hour,
slave wages, 8V2 hours per day, 5V2 days per week producing com-
mercial goods bearing the names of such prestigious, internation-
ally recognized Japanese companies and Japanese subsidiaries of
international companies such as Burberry's, Sega, Mizuno, as well
as, Mitsukoshi and Daimaru, two of Japan's largest department
stores.

In a letter to Ambassador Takakazuk Kuriyama, I have de-
manded to know how widespread this practice is, how much has
been for export, which companies have been participating in this,
and the full and complete details of this program. When I spoke
with the Ambassador yesterday, he informed me that he believes
this practice is not against international or domestic Japanese law.
He also informed me that these products are, indeed, exported in
some cases out of Japan, but that the companies are told not to
ship them to the United States because of our prohibition concern-
ing prison labor. There is evidently from what we can gather at
this point no enforcement mechanism.

(1)



It is my firm opinion that not only is this practice morally rep-
rehensible, but also in direct contravention of international aCTee-
ments to which Japan and most other industrialized and civilized
nations have signed.

Forced labor such as this violates the general conference of the
International Labor Organizations Convention 29, which was rati-
fied by Japan on November 21, 1932. Quoting from Article 2, para-
graph 2 of that convention: "For the purposes of this convention,
the term, 'forced or compulsory labor' shall not include any work
or service exacted from any person as a consequence of a conviction
in a court of law, provided that the said work or service is carried
out under the supervision and control of a public authority and
that the said person is not hired to or placed at the disposal of pri-
vate individuals, companies, or associations." That is a direct
quote.

For years, China's prison labor — that is China's prison labor
practices, have been a thorn in the side of Sino-U.S. relations. We
have castigated China for this despicable practice. Astonishingly,
now we find out that it is being done by Japan, one of our most
important allies.

Using forced prison labor to produce commercial products is
nothing short of an outrage. Using such products for export further
complicates the outrage.

It is bad enough when governments use hidden subsidies to sup-
port domestic production. If, indeed, they do it in part with slave
labor, it is not onlv morally reprehensible, but a hoax upon the free
market concept. This egregious concept must stop.

Testifying before the subcommittees today will be Mr. Chris-
topher "Kip" Lavinger, a former inmate of Fuchu Prison; Mr. Mi-
chael Griffith, Attorney; Mr. Richard Atkins, President of the
Criminal Law, Committee of the International Bar Association; Mr.
Hideyuki Kayanuma, a Japanese civil rights law expert; Mark
Kurzmann, Attorney; and the second panel, Mr. Thomas Hubbard,
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Af-
fairs of the Department of State.

Now, for a statement by the co-chairman of this hearing and the
Chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and Inter-
national Organizations, Chairman Tom Lantos.

Mr. Lantos. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and let
me first commend you for bringing this matter to the attention of
Congress. My interest in this issue is clear as Chairman of the sub-
committee with responsibility over human rights. I am profoundly
concerned both with possible human rights violations and we will
hear in detail whether, in fact, there have been human rights viola-
tions in the treatment of prisoners, and secondarily, with the alle-
gation that products which are the result of work by prison in-
mates may have been exported and may have been exported to the
United States.

This will be a matter of utmost concern not only to us on the P^'or-
eign Affairs Committee, but to the Congress and to the administra-
tion.

I think it is extremely important that our Democratic friends and
allies and trading partners live up to the highest standards of
human rights and obey all laws in terms of exporting to the United



States. And prison labor is specifically excluded as an exportable
item to the United States.

I look forward to the testimony of our witnesses.

Mr. ACKERMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Will the
panel please stand and raise your right hands.

[Witnesses sworn.]

Mr. ACKERMAN. Thank you very much and welcome to our sub-
committees. Settle in and be comfortable. We are first going to hear
from Mr. Christopher "Kip" Lavinger, who will be the lead witness
at today's hearing. Kip.

STATEMENT OF CHRISTOPHER LAVINGER

Mr. Lavinger. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, mem-
bers of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, members of the Sub-
committee on Asia and the Pacific, ladies and gentlemen, my name
is Christopher David Lavinger. I am 28 years old. I am a citizen
of the United States of America.

On November 11, 1991. I was arrested in Osaka, Japan, for pos-
session of small amounts of narcotics. On that date, I was taken
to the Osaka Water Police Station, where I was interrogated for 14
hours a day, 7 days a week for 35 straight days.

While being interrogated, the Japanese officials questioning me
told me that the embassy did not want to come and see me because
they did not have the time. Eventually, I was indicted and on De-
cember 18, 1991, I was transferred from Osaka Water Police cus-
tody to the Osaka House of Detention, which is a prefectural, pre-
trial detention facility.

After 2V2 months in solitary confinement, I had my first hour of
my trial. The date was January 22, 1992. Court sessions are grant-
ed in 1-hour blocks usually 2 to 4 weeks apart. I should note that
many in Japan wait considerable periods for their trials. The trial
of one inmate with whom I spoke took 5 years. My remaining two
sessions and sentencing concluded on February 26, 1992.

On that date, the prosecutor recommended that the court place
me in a forced labor prison for 42 months. The court sentenced me
to serve 22 months at Japan's forced labor facility for foreigners,
Fuchu Prison in Tokyo.

I was given 2 weeks in which to decide whether to appeal my
sentence. The penalty for appealing one's conviction and/or sen-
tence is that the time served until the appeal is decided will not
be applied to — toward any eventual sentence. Appeals take months
to be heard and can take years to be decided.

My sentence officially began on March 12, 1992.

On March 18, 1992, I was moved from the preconvicted wing at
Osaka House of Detention to the convicted wing. Since there was
no available cell at Fuchu Prison, I would begin serving my sen-
tence at the Osaka House of Detention while I waited for transfer,
in a

Mr. AcKERMAN. Could you pull the microphone a little bit closer
to you? Speak a little bit more slowly.

Mr. Lavinger. Sorry. On March 18, 1992, I was moved from the
preconvicted wing at Osaka House of Detention to the convicted
wing. Since there was no available cell at Fuchu Prison, I would
begin serving my sentence at the Osaka House of Detention.



While I waited for transfer in a solitary confinement cell, I was
forced to produce clothes pins. This was the first time I was forced
to produce goods for the Japanese

Mr. ACKERMAN. I am sorry, what was it you were forced to
produce?

Mr. Lavinger. Clothes pins.

Mr. AcKERMAN. Clothes pins.

Mr. Lavinger. During my 1-month stay in this convicted wing,
I made 78,500 clothes pins. It has come to my attention that it is
probably unlikely that an advanced society such as Japan would
need clothes pins in the numbers being produced and it may be,
therefore, that I was making goods for export. I do not know for
sure.

On April 16, 1992, I was sent to Fuchu Prison outside of Tokyo.
At about this time, I was supplied with a booklet, written by the
U.S. Mission to Japan and given to me by the U.S. Embassy in
Tokyo. The booklet was titled, "Guidelines for Americans Arrested
in Japan."

According to this booklet, "all foreign men convicted in Japan
serve their sentences at Fuchu Prison." The Japanese prisoners at
Fuchu Prison are all offenders that remain 26 years of age or over
with prison terms of less than 8 years, who have past prison
records, lack the desire for rehabilitation, and are difficult to treat.
Many of the Japanese inmates are members of criminal organiza-
tions, substance abusers or vagrants. They are all repeat offenders.

The booklet explains that it was obligatory to perform, "assembly
work for outside contractors," and that "the income received by the
prison for the sale of goods produced by the inmates is treated as
government revenue."

I was incarcerated in Fuchu Prison with approximately 14 other
Americans, as well as citizens of Great Britain, France, Australia,
Israel, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Canada, Spain, China, Malaysia,
Thailand, Colombia, Peru, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam,
Nigeria, Iran, and Brazil, among others. In all, over 30 countries
were represented, bringing the foreign population at Fuchu Prison
to nearly 250 inmates.

There were also Koreans, probably a significant number, incar-
cerated in a different facility. I believe their segregation from all
prisoners to be due to the deep-rooted hostility between the two na-
tions.

Initially, I was placed in a solitary confinement cell block at
Fuchu where I was to work making high-quality paper shopping
bags. These bags had logos and designs of private companies, in-
cluding Burberry's of London, Mizuno Supporting Goods, Daimaru
Department Stores, and Mitsukoshi Department Stores, among nu-
merous others.

I was held in the solitary confinement wing/paper bag factory for
approximately one month.

Following this one month in the paper bag factory, I was trans-
ferred to another solitary cell. From that cell I was taken out each
day to work in an outside factory, training factory number 24. In
lectures

Mr. AcKERMAN. I am sorry. When you say an outside factory,
that is a factory off of the prison grounds?



Mr. Lavinger. No, this is a factory on the prison grounds that
was the first factory where you would be taken once you were let
out of the solitary.

Mr. AcKERMAN. That was part of the prison. A prison zone facil-
ity.

Mr. Lavinger. Correct.

Mr. Lavinger. In lectures conducted by high-ranking prison offi-
cials in this factory, it was explained that it was mandatory that
I, and my fellow 2,500 prisoners, work in the 24 factories dedicated
to the production of goods for private commercial companies. I was
told further that the Japanese Government had contracted out the
prisoners' labor and that I would be put to work in one of the 24
factories.

The factory produced, among other things, items such as toys, la-
dies' shoes and hand bags, electronic parts, smoke detectors, pot-
tery and ceramics, umbrellas and heavy construction equipment. It
was during these lectures that I was taught how to walk and mili-
tary march correctly, how to speak, eat, sit, sleep, and how to beg
for forgiveness.

Under the threat of the cruel physical and mental punishment,
I was compelled to produce goods for many private companies, in-
cluding Sega Electronics, Burberry's of London, Mizuno Supporting
Goods, Mitsukoshi Department Stores, Daimaru Department
Stores, and Walther Firearms.

Mr. AcKERMAN. That was firearms, you say?

Mr. Lavinger. I didn't. I will get to that shortly.

I was told that if I did not fulfill my obligation to perform the
required labor for these companies, I would be subjected to physical
beatings, incarceration in a punishment room called a chobatsu cell
for a minimum of 7 days, loss of good time, reduction of my daily
food rations, loss of privileges, such as using the toilet, moving my
bodv, reading, receiving and writing letters and physical exercise.
Failure to comply with nearly every rule, major or minor, was con-
sidered intentionally removing oneself fi^-om work, work which the
prisoner owes to the Japanese Government.

The chobatsu cell has dimensions approximately three-quarters
the size of a telephone booth. It consists of a hard wooden box on
which the prisoners — on which the prisoner must sit at attention,
ankles and knees together, back arched, elbows in, palms flat on
lap, staring straight ahead at a white wall motionless from 6:55
a.m. until 6 p.m.

During this time a prisoner may not get out of this position for
any reason. A bell sounds only twice during this interval to allow
the prisoner to use the toilet. Any violation of chobatsu rules result
in additional weeks in the punishment cell. All exercise is strictly
prohibited in the chobatsu cell. Any refusal or further noncompli-
ance with chobatsu rules will result in the use of the harness.

The harness is a belt that straps around the waste and binds the
left wrist in toward the stomach and the right wrist around the
back and in toward the spine. A prisoner must eat, sleep, and use
the toilet while bound in this harness. I personally witnessed sev-
eral severely scarred and malnourished prisoners, victims of the
harness for consecutive periods ranging from weeks to months.
Many prisoners placed in the harness would simply disappear.



All chobatsu cells are in the solitary wing of Building 4 of Fuchu
Prison. I was transferred from factory number 24 to factory num-
ber five also on the prison grounds. I was immediately taught how
to make electronic and other internal components for toys, games,
and small electronic devices.

Among the numerous products I was forced to make were: One,
children's ski poles and skis for a product called Super Ski. Later,
I was told to affix American flag stickers to the poles. In 3 months,
I made 120,000 ski poles alone. Significantly, this product was la-
beled in English. Goods in Japanese stores are nearly always la-
beled in Japanese, indicating that these goods marked in English
were likely bound for foreign markets.

I assembled thousands of Pachinko, which are Japanese pinball
machines. I produced thousands of tiny — of toy golf sets called
Super Mini-Golf I clipped hundreds of thousands of tiny plastic toy
and game parts from sheets on which they had been molded. I have
no idea what these parts were, but as I said, they appeared to be
toy parts.

I assembled tens of thousands of electrical contact switches for
toys. I made thousands of Walther P-38s water guns during the
summer months. Ironically, in this case I was not even allowed to
have a drink of water in the 90-degree Japanese summer heat
while making these water guns. I used a special tool to bend hun-
dreds of thousands of tiny copper parts for future use. I do not
know what these were. I assembled thousands of Godzilla and
Mothra mini-pinball machines. I assembled thousands of mini-slot
machines. I assembled thousands of whiffle ball bats and sets.

Upon finishing my specific task, I passed these products on to
other prisoners for completion. Upon their completion, I observed
these other prisoners packaging these products into cardboard
boxes for store displays and then in turn into larger boxes for ship-
ping. These boxes were stacked in a transit area of my factory for
shipment outside the prison. I regularly saw boxes in my factory
filled with raw materials and labeled "Made in China" and "Made
in Taiwan." The finished products would then be shipped in boxes
labeled "Made in Japan" or mislabeled "Made in China" or "Made
in Taiwan." Furthermore, there were hundreds of boxes which bore
the logo of Sega Electronics.

At other times, I would take raw materials from the Chinese or
Taiwanese boxes, enhance them, and then pass them on to other
prisoners to be packaged in boxes labeled, "Made in Japan," "Made
in China" or "Made in Taiwan." Every day there were quality con-
trol experts that would come and tour the factories and supervise
the production of goods. These quality control experts were not
guards. They had no handcuffs or billy clubs. They wore all civilian
clothing a special hats which distinguished them from the pris-
oners.

Prisoners wore ripped, dirty gray uniforms. The conditions under
which I was forced to work were inhumane, threatening and cruel.
I was a slave of the Japanese Government under the control of
guards with nearly unlimited authority to punish actual or fab-
ricated breaches of the rules. I was remunerated approximately 3
cents per hour for having worked 8'/2 hours per day, 5V2 days per
week.



Basic necessities would be purchased from the prison supply, but
the wages were usually insufficient to do so: I lived in continual
fear of punishment as the guards threatened me and on occasion
I observed the guards beating prisoners. When these beatings oc-
curred, all prisoners were forced to either migi mukai migi or
hidari mukai hidari, right face or left face respectively, meaning
turning away from the beating and then to mega shiro, close eyes,
so as not to witness the beating that takes place, frequently with
electrified, extended metal poles.

From July 7, 1992, until July 13, 1992 I served a sentence of 7
days in a chobatsu punishment cell for the offense of giving my
telephone number to an American that was being released. I asked
the American to call my family and tell them what it was really
like in the prison; that I was doing all right and that I loved them.
This was an offense punishable by chobatsu.

Halfway through my chobatsu, I was given a large, two-sided
piece of paper and told to fill it with a written explanation of why
what I did was wrong. If I did not write the self-accusatory essay,
I would not be considered for release from the chobatsu cell. I
wrote it.

While I served my chobatsu punishment from July 7, 1992, until
July 13, 1992, the temperature outside and inside was near 90 de-
grees Fahrenheit. I was forced to sit at attention, ankles and knees
together, back arched, elbows in, palms flat on lap, staring straight
ahead at a white wall motionless on the wooden box for 11 hours
a day. I had to wear full cold-weather clothing, including long-john
underwear on top and bottom, three-quarter long Johns over the
full length, long Johns, a T-shirt, underwear, socks, long pants, a
long-sleeve, button-down shirt, completely buttoned up to the neck
and arms, an acrylic vest and a long-sleeve jacket, also buttoned
completely up to tne top.

During this punishment in chobatsu the prison authorities also


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Online LibraryInternational Organizations United States. Congress. House. Committee on ForeiJapanese prison labor practices : joint hearing before the Subcommittees on International Security, International Organizations, and Human Rights and Asia and the Pacific of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session, June 10, 1994 → online text (page 1 of 12)