Statement on the Soviet Attack on a Korean Civilian Airliner

September 1, 1983

I speak for all Americans and for the people everywhere who cherish civilized values in protesting the Soviet attack on an unarmed civilian passenger plane. Words can scarcely express our revulsion at this horrifying act of violence.

The United States joins with other members of the international community in demanding a full explanation for this appalling and wanton misdeed. The Soviet statements to this moment have totally failed to explain how or why this tragedy has occurred. Indeed, the whole incident appears to be inexplicable to civilized people everywhere.

Mrs. Reagan and I want to express our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims. Our prayers are with them in this time of bereavement, and they have my personal assurance that I will make every effort to get to the bottom of this tragedy.

I have ordered the flags of the United States flown at half staff at all Federal installations and U.S. military bases around the world.

Note: Deputy Press Secretary Larry M. Speakes read the President's statement during a press briefing for reporters, which began at 2:33 p.m. at the Sheraton Santa Barbara Hotel in Santa Barbara, Calif.