Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Congressional Disapproval of the United States Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

May 7, 1986

Today the House joined the Senate in voting to disapprove the proposed sale of defensive missiles to Saudi Arabia. By this action, the Congress has endangered our longstanding security ties to Saudi Arabia, called into question the validity of U.S. commitments to its friends, and undermined U.S. interests and policy throughout the Middle East, in particular our ability to act as a balanced arbiter in the search for a peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The President will not allow this to happen.

It must be clearly understood that this sale of defensive arms is not proposed as a favor to the Saudis, but because it is in America's interest to help our friends defend themselves against the forces of radicalism and terror. Therefore, it is the President's intention to veto this resolution and to work actively with Members of both Houses of Congress to sustain that veto.