President Clinton announced Monday the creation of an advisory commission to study a mysterious illness that has afflicted thousands of Persian Gulf War veterans.

In an address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Clinton said the departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense and Health and Human Services will spend up to $13 million to determine whether the sickness may have been caused by pesticides, other toxins, anti-tank ammunition containing depleted uranium or drugs used to protect against chemical and biological weapons.The panel will be made up of Cabinet officials, doctors, scientists and veterans.

Clinton noted that last year he signed legislation to pay benefits to veterans who have suffered from the symptoms of the so-called Gulf War syndrome, including breathing problems, muscle pains, persistent headaches and memory loss.

Clinton also took a swipe at the Republican-dominated Congress, saying it "sees no need to improve your health services."

He noted that the House Appropriations Committee last week decided to cut more than $200 million for veterans' health, including $150 million for outpatient clinics and $50 million for new hospital equipment.