Letters

By , Laura Wadley, Bradford Trebach

A Willing 'Hostage' to NPR

Regarding the Oct. 28 opinion-page article on National Public Radio's fund-raising campaigns, "Hostage to Public Radio," the author claims he is "held hostage" by his public radio station. But his favorite station and all other public radio stations across the country have been forced to prove their value to the public by soliciting much of their minimal operating funds from their "hostages," in order to satisfy a tight little Congress that this medium does, in fact, provide a public service.

The author should get with the program. One station estimates it has about 50,000 listeners. Only about 10 percent of those "hostages" get around to supporting the programming that captivates them. The other 90 percent of listeners listen but grit their teeth at the mere suggestion of individual accountability.

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My National Public Radio station has provided me in a couple of years with more of the music and cultural information I love than 30 years of programming all over the country has. So you can bet I'll do everything possible to ensure that programming will continue.

Liz Derby

Boston

Gray areas in US-Sino diplomacy

The page 1 article "To Head Off a 'Cold War II,' China and US Try to Warm Up Relations," Oct. 28, quotes a Harvard University East Asia scholar who claims that the 1992 decision to allow the sale of F-16 jet fighters to Taiwan violated a 1982 "treaty" limiting arms sales to Taiwan.

Actually, the 1982 US-China joint communiqu is an executive agreement, not an international treaty. As such, it is superseded by the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which authorizes US arms sales to Taiwan.

Under US law, executive agreements that are not consented to by the Senate are not the supreme law of the land. As a result, conflicting federal statutes such as the Taiwan Relations Act prevail over such executive agreements.

On Sept. 27, 1982, State Department legal adviser Davis R. Robinson told the Senate Judiciary Committee, "The joint communiqu is not an international agreement and thus imposes no obligations on either party under international law. Its status under domestic law is that of a statement by the president of a policy which he intends to pursue ... The Taiwan Relations Act is and will remain the law of the land unless amended by Congress. Nothing in the joint communiqu obligates the president to act in a manner contrary to the act or, conversely, disables him from fulfilling his responsibilities under it."

Therefore, though the 1982 joint communiqu expresses the US intent to "reduce gradually its sales of of arms to Taiwan, leading over a period of time to a final resolution," the Taiwan Relations Act authorizes the US to "make available to Taiwan such defense articles and defense services in such quantity as may be necessary to enable Taiwan to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability."

Bradford Trebach

New York

Voting for policies, not personalities

Regarding the opinion-page article "The Feminine Factor," Oct. 15, about President Clinton's support among women, I expect to vote for President Clinton, even though I don't think he is as good a man as Senator Dole. This is not because he has a slicker personality - it is because his policies seem more compassionate. This is my dilemma, and I think it is the same for a lot of people: Should I vote for a bad man with sound policies or a good man who will do things I think are wrong, hurtful, and divisive?

So I will cast a reluctant vote for Mr. Clinton in the hope that if he is a president not constantly worried about reelection, he may do some good things. I hope so, for all our sakes.

Laura Wadley

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published in the Monitor and none acknowledged. All letters are subject to editing. Letters should be addressed to "Readers Write" and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@CSPS.COM.

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