Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986

September 19, 1986

The President today commemorated the signing of the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986, which he had signed into law on August 27, 1986. This law is the result of a broad bipartisan effort which includes the recommendations of the Vice President's Task Force on Combatting Terrorism, Secretary Shultz's and Admiral Inman's Panel on Diplomatic Security, and many thoughtful Members of Congress. Congressmen joining the President for the occasion were Senators Richard Lugar, Warren Rudman, and Claiborne Pell, along with Representatives Dante Fascell, Bill Broomfield, Dan Mica, and Olympia Snowe.

The President noted that this historic legislation will significantly improve our ability to counter the scourge of international terrorism. The President reiterated his commitment to ensure the safety of our diplomats, servicemen, and citizens wherever they may be. The $2.44 billion in this act provides the organization and authority necessary to increase the effectiveness of our physical security program. Another important part of this act provides for the care and welfare of the victims of terrorism and their families.

This act sends a strong signal to those who would instigate acts of terrorism against U.S. citizens or property. The President restated his commitment to seek further international cooperation in the struggle against terrorism. In this regard the President remains convinced that we must confront this criminal behavior in every way possible -- diplomatically, economically, through the legal system, and when necessary, with force.

Along with an improved organization and better physical security, first-rate intelligence remains the key element in our ability to confront terrorism. We must continue to improve our ability to predict, prevent, and respond to the terrorist threat. This includes continued support for a research and development program to counter the evergrowing sophistication of weapons and methods in the terrorist arsenal.

The President recognizes that this legislation in and of itself will not bring an end to terrorism; however, we must continue on all fronts with all of our resolve to meet the challenge international terrorism poses to democracy and our way of life. Freedom-loving people of every nation reject these criminal acts and support an unwavering policy never acquiescing to or accepting this outlaw behavior.

Note: H.R. 4151, approved August 27, was assigned Public Law No. 99 - 399.