February 13, 1988

Q. Mr. President, are you surprised at the relationship that the DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] had -- the close relationship with Noriega [Commander of Panamanian Defense Forces] and the fact that so much of this drug dealing was going on, and he didn't report it, or they didn't?

The President. Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International], you know I'm not taking questions here. But on that -- I'm not going to comment on something that is presently before the court, as it is now.

Q. Well, did you -- --

Q. Mr. President, will you certify to Congress this month that Mexico has fully cooperated in drug enforcement?

The President. Well, we're going to be discussing a whole number of things here in our meetings, and -- --

Q. President De la Madrid says that demand is the big problem with this drug thing.

The President. Always has been.

Note: The exchange began at 12:50 p.m. at the Camino Real Hotel in Mazatlan, Mexico. Following the exchange, President Reagan met with President Miguel De la Madrid Hurtado.