Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) today released the following statement after introducing legislation, H.R. 4678, to prohibit the president from giving U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay to Cuba without congressional approval:

“The U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay is a critical national security and foreign policy asset for the United States.  Senior commanders assert it is ‘indispensable’ to our military’s work to ‘secure the air and maritime approaches to the United States.’  And as many will recall, the base played a key role in the U.S. response to the humanitarian disaster created by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. 

“In just a few weeks, President Obama will meet with the communist government in Cuba.  The White House says our Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay is ‘sure’ to be a part of discussions.  While giving the base to the Castro regime may not be a part of ‘this trip,’ as the White House insists, its long record of one-sided concessions and lack of transparency over Cuba policy makes me very concerned about the status of this key Naval Station.  Because if we move out, who will move in? Are we willing to cede a vital national security tool to Russia?

“That is why I’m introducing this important legislation to ensure that Americans and their representatives in Congress have a say in the future of the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay.  Too much is at stake for our president to unilaterally cede this base to a Castro regime that denies its people basic rights and freedoms, while allying with governments hostile to U.S. interests.  Congress specifically provided the president the authority to acquire Guantanamo Bay from Cuba, and Congress should have a role in any decision to relinquish it.” 

Note: Last year, after a hearing on U.S.-Cuba policy in which Chairman Royce pressed the issue, and following demands from Cuban President Raul Castro that the U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay be transferred to Cuba, Chairman Royce and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry sent a letter to President Obama urging that the United States maintain control of the U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay. 

Text of the legislation is available HERE and a one-page summary is available HERE