President Joe Biden issued a memorandum on Thursday outlining the standards that foreign governments receiving US military aid must adhere to, as announced by the White House. According to the memo, the Secretary of State is required to obtain credible and reliable written assurances from foreign governments that receive defense articles.
The memo stipulates that the Secretaries of State and Defense are responsible for ensuring that all transfers of defense articles and services comply with applicable international and domestic laws and policies, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
While the Biden administration emphasized that these standards are not new, they clarified that this action aimed to publicly articulate the existing standards set by international laws.
A senior administration official dismissed any notion that Israel’s actions in Gaza motivated this move, stating that the issuance of the memo is not a response to any country violating these standards.
The official emphasized transparency, noting that this is an opportunity to inform the American public about the standards countries must adhere to and the process of obtaining assurances that they will be met. President Biden had previously expressed that Israel’s conduct in Gaza “has been over the top.”
The memorandum resulted from discussions between the administration and members of Congress. The White House plans to send an annual report to Congress on the standards for countries receiving US weapons to enhance transparency.
Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen welcomed the memo, stating that it will help hold all recipients of US weapons, including the Netanyahu government, more accountable.
He emphasized that it is a significant step forward in shedding light on the use of US taxpayer dollars. Van Hollen also played a role in introducing an amendment to the national security supplemental, ensuring that weapons received are used in accordance with US law, international humanitarian law, and the law of armed conflict.