Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Nicaraguan Attack on an Unarmed United States Helicopter

January 12, 1984

The President today condemned the shooting down of an unarmed American helicopter by the Nicaraguan military. The fatal attack on the American and his two U.S. passengers occurred after the aircraft was downed in Honduran territory and after the pilot had left the helicopter. This we regard as reckless and unprovoked.

A brave American was killed, Chief Warrant Officer Jeffrey C. Schwab, of Joliet, Illinois, the pilot of the helicopter. The President offers his deepest condolences to his family.

The incident was protested immediately in the strongest terms to the Nicaraguan Government, and we are awaiting its explanation of the event. We have put the Nicaraguans on notice that this action is unacceptable.

Note: Larry M. Speakes read the statement to reporters assembled in the Briefing Room at the White House during the daily press briefing, which began at 12:35 p.m.