Remarks Announcing the Appointment of Ambassador Philip C. Habib as the President's Special Representative for the Middle East

November 11, 1982

The President. I'll be answering your questions tonight, of course. But I want you to know here that I've asked Ambassador Habib to be my representative in the Middle East and take charge there. Ambassadors Fairbanks and Draper will continue to serve under him as we continue on the Middle East policy. And he's going to be in charge of that as well as the continued pursuit of overall peace in the Middle East and -- as well as stabilizing the situation in Lebanon, and he has agreed to do that.

Reporter. Is it because everything is stalemated there that they need the big man to go back?

The President. Well, let's just say it's always worked better when he's there.

Ambassador Habib. The President asked me to take a few questions in the other room -- --

Q. Where specifically will Mr. Habib return? Where specifically will Mr. Habib go to?

Ambassador Habib. I'm going to take your questions in the next room, so why don't I take care of it that way?

Note: The President spoke at 1:31 p.m. to reporters assembled in the Oval Office at the White House following a meeting with Ambassador Habib, Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs William P. Clark, and other administration officials.

On the same day, the Office of the Press Secretary released the following information:

The President today appointed Ambassador Philip C. Habib as his Special Representative for the Middle East. Ambassador Habib will assume responsibility for the President's Middle East peace initiative. He will be assisted in this task by Ambassador Richard Fairbanks. Also in this capacity, Ambassador Habib will retain responsibility for coordinating the United States role in the negotiations concerning Lebanon, now being carried out by Ambassador Morris Draper.