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

May 1, 1982

Q. Anything new on the Falklands?

Q. Mr. President, how could you have been surprised about the attack if they took off from the Ascension Island while we control the air-traffic control?

The President. Simply because there was no report of it to us, until we received the reports that I mentioned this morning and the claims by both countries. But I'm keeping informed here, and we have nothing yet that we can add to what I've said.

Q. Are they using our airstrips on the Ascension Island to bomb the Falklands?

The President. There is a joint-use base there.

Q. If there's a joint-use base, then how could we have been surprised -- is what we -- we don't understand if there's a joint-use base how we could not have known about it.

The President. Well, I've never told the British when we took some plane off from there.

Q. Mr. President, is it all-out war now between both sides? Your information -- --

The President. I don't think so. There have been no casualties, and we're still hoping for a peaceful settlement.

Q. We have reports, sir, that the Argentines are attacking the British fleet. Have you heard that?

The President. There has been no such report at all to us.

Note: The exchange began at 1:25 p.m. outside the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The President was leaving the hotel, where he had attended a reception for Representative Robin L. Beard, to return to the site of the Knoxville International Energy Exposition (World's Fair).