Application of the Mansfield Amendment to the Use of United States Military Personnel and Equipment to Assist Foreign Governments in Drug Enforcement Activities


The Mansfield Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act provides that “no officer or employee of the United States may engage in or participate in any direct police arrest action in any foreign country with respect to narcotics control efforts.” 22 U.S.C. § 2291(c). Although the question of what constitutes a “direct police arrest action” within the meaning of the Amendment is not unambiguously answered by the language of the statute, the legislative history demonstrates that Congress was animated by concern that United States officers and employees not participate directly in joint drug raids with foreign authorities. The Amendment should therefore be understood to prohibit participation in narcotics control activity that would under normal circumstances be likely to lead to the arrest of foreign nationals. It does not prohibit involvement of United States officers in activities that would not ordinarily involve arrests.

Updated July 9, 2014