Exchange With Reporters on the Dispute Between the United Kingdom and Argentina in the Falkland Islands

May 1, 1982

Q. Mr. President, was the British attack on the Falklands expected?

Q. What are we going to do about the Falklands air attack?

Q. Mr. President, tell us what you can about the Falklands strike. What do you know about what's happened in the Falklands?

The President. There are conflicting stories. All I know is that we still stand ready to help, and we hope that there still can be a peaceful solution. So, that's about all that I can comment on with regard to -- --

Q. You don't believe full-scale hostilities would result necessarily from the strike this morning?

The President. No, I don't believe that they have to necessarily follow.

Q. Do you think the Argentinians might retaliate?

Q. Are we doing anything to get a peaceful solution going?

The President. Yes, the Foreign Minister of England is coming here. The Foreign Minister of Argentina is at the United Nations, unless he's changed his mind since I went to bed last night. And we continue to be hopeful.

Q. Mr. President, did you have any advance warning at all that this attack by the British was coming this morning, or was it a complete surprise?

The President. Complete surprise.

Q. Do you think the Argentinians may try to retaliate against the British fleet, sir?

The President. I can't comment. I'm not going to speculate, because, as I say, I want to stay in a position where we can be of help.

Q. Well, bon voyage.

The President. How come you moved to the left?

Q. The Sun.

Q. You put us here.

Q. It makes you look good.

Note: The exchange began at 9:45 a.m. at the South Portico of the White House as the President was leaving for his trip to Knoxville, Tenn.