Remarks at the Signing Ceremony for the International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1985

August 8, 1985

The President. Well, first of all, thank you, gentlemen, for being here -- and to all of you. We're here for the signing of the foreign assistance authorization bill, and it's the first one that I have had to sign since 1981, and I am particularly pleased.

The Congress has approved renewed aid to the Nicaraguan freedom fighters and replaced the so-called Clark amendment -- or repealed it and provided support for the Philippines and Guatemala. And these gentlemen have my deep gratitude for that. These measures are important in signaling American resolve and support for freedom.

And I must say with the substantial reduction, however, in the support levels, the security assistance has been disappointing. These reductions, plus the reduction in the defense, I think, reduce our effectiveness and the effectiveness of our foreign policy. And I realize that the budget pressures have been very severe, and there's a general lack of enthusiasm for foreign aid, and that made the job more difficult. We have to make the people aware that these programs are the most effective instruments we have for a more secure international environment, and I hope that we can all work together in the months ahead to reinvigorate the program.

And now, I'm going to sign Senate bill 960. I'll do the same thing now with the statement. All right, that does it.


Reporter. Mr. President, what message have you given Mr. McFarlane about South Africa?

The President. No. This is the purpose of this meeting here, and I'm not going to take any questions now in this photo opportunity to take away from this.

Q. Let me try again on something else. Is the NSC directing any contra operations, and if so, is that in violation of the current law today prohibiting exchange of intelligence?

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes. Ira [Ira R. Allen, United Press International], he said no questions.

The President. That's a question that kind of traps me -- in one that we're not violating any laws.

Thank you all.

Note: The President spoke at 1:15 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. Among those attending the ceremony were the Vice President, Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Representative William S. Broomfield of Michigan, ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. During the informal exchange at the end of the remarks, a reporter referred to Robert C. McFarlane, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. S. 960, approved August 8, was assigned Public Law No. 99 - 83.