Press Release

October 14, 1999

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr President:

As President of the United States Conference of Mayors, I am writing to let you know that the Conference is appealing to you to stop the U.S. Navy=s dangerous and destructive training maneuvers on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico.

The citizens of Puerto Rico are united on this issue. As your Presidential Commission is currently considering this contentious issue involving the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico, I wanted you to be aware that the Mayors= organizations of Puerto Rico and the Honorable Sila Calderón, Mayor of San Juan, have requested our organization=s support in calling for a halt to Naval use of Vieques for various training purposes.

In 1972, the Conference adopted policy with respect to the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico which called for a cessation of U.S. Naval involvement there. That policy remains in effect for the Conference and we feel that findings from your Presidential Commission that support having the Navy also cease training activities in Vieques would further beneficial relationships with the 3.8 million fellow U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico. We believe that the physical, economic, and social well being of the estimated 9,300 citizens living in Vieques, is threatened by the Navy=s continued use of the island for military training purposes.

This issue was brought to my attention by Mayor Calderón who was host to a U.S. Conference of Mayors Urban Water Summit last week in Puerto Rico. Mayors from various mainland cities joined with their Puerto Rican counterparts at a press conference with Mayor Calderón and were strong in their support of Puerto Rico=s efforts. I would appreciate your bringing our stance on this issue to the attention of your Presidential Commission currently readying its report on this matter.

Sincerely yours,


Wellington E. Webb