A bill to initiate NATO expansion cleared a major legislative hurdle July 10, 1996, when the House International Relations Committee overwhelmingly approved H.R. 3564, the NATO Enlargement Facilitation Act of 1996.
The Central and East European Coalition (CEEC) – of which the Hungarian American Coalition is a lead member – played a major role in providing input for the legislation. The bill states that Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic should be eligible for additional assistance of sixty million dollars.
On June 20, Frank Koszorus, Jr. of the Hungarian American Coalition testified on behalf of the CEEC before the International Relations Committee at the request of Chairman Benjamin Gilman (R-NY). The 18-member Coalition subsequently submitted a letter to the International Relations Committee signed by the national leaders of the organization, including Rt. Rev. Imre Bertalan, chairman of the Hungarian American Coalition. Endorsing the bill, the Coalition asserted: “H.R. 3564 is a valid and critical step forward in the process of opening up NATO to new member countries in Central and Eastern Europe – a process that cannot succeed without the strong, principled and bipartisan leadership of the United States as expressed in this legislation.”