President Bill Clinton, Remarks on the United States – Puerto Rico Political Status Act (H.R. 856), Democratic Governors’ Association Dinner, February 23, 1998. This is the centennial year of Puerto Rico’s affiliation with the United States. And I think that it is time that we responded to the aspirations of the 4 million U.S. citizens who live there and allow them to determine their ultimate political status.
The people in Puerto Rico have local self-government, but they do not have votes that are fully votes in their National Government….I have always said that the people of Puerto Rico should decide for themselves, and Congress ought to give them a chance to do that, what they want their relationship to the United States to be. . . . [T]his is not primarily about Puerto Rico, but about the rest of us. What are our values? What is our culture? How can we make one America in a world and a nation ever more diverse?