Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Iceland-United States Defense Shipping Preference Treaty

October 20, 1986

Today the President signed the instrument of ratification to the treaty between the United States and the Republic of Iceland to facilitate our defense relationship. The Senate gave its advice and consent to ratify the treaty on October 8, 1986.

This treaty provides an exception to existing cargo preference laws between the United States and Iceland. Under the treaty, transportation of defense cargo will be open to both U.S. and Icelandic vessels on a competitive basis. Contract awards will ensure that both U.S. flag carriers and Icelandic shipping companies are able to maintain a viable presence in this trade route.

Iceland is one of the original NATO allies. During the past 37 years it has made important contributions to the protection of the alliance's northern flank. However, Iceland's contribution is not limited to the common defense but also extends to the search for a just peace. There can be no better testimony to Iceland's commitment to this goal than its willingness to host on very short notice the meeting between the President and General Secretary Gorbachev. The President would again like to express his thanks to President Finnbogadottir and the people of Iceland for all their efforts and the exceptional job they did as hosts.