June 23, 1985

The President. Are you all saying the same thing, because I cannot sort you out.

Q. [Inaudible]

The President. Well, Berri seems to be the only one, then, that is making a linkage between that and our hostages. That is not a linkage; that is a matter of Israeli law. It is a problem of their own, and under their law those 31 people are being released. It has nothing to do with our hostages.

Q. Wouldn't this break the ice, sir?

The President. What?

Q. Wouldn't this break the ice?

The President. I don't believe that there's any linkage.

Q. Are you pleased that Israel released the prisoners?

The President. I'm not going to comment one way or the other on that because we have avoided any idea of linkage there. There is none.

Q. Can you report any progress on getting the hostages home, sir?

The President. I'm not going to speculate. I'm just going to say that we are doing everything that can be done.

Q. Are we talking to the Shiites about a swap plan between the hostages and the Shiites?

The President. All I know is that there are a number of countries that I appreciate that have volunteered to be of help if they can, and that's all that I can say about it.

Q. What's the plan?

The President. You know that I couldn't answer that question or tell you. I don't think that we could make things like that public.

Q. Are you ruling out military deterrence, sir?

The President. Yes.

Reporters. Thank you.

Note: The exchange began at 2:22 p.m. as the President was returning from a weekend stay at Camp David, MD. The remarks were released by the Office of the Press Secretary on June 24.