Letter to the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Majority Leader on the United Kingdom-United States Supplementary Extradition Treaty

April 22, 1986

Dear Dick:

I understand your Committee will soon vote on ratification of the US-UK Supplementary Extradition Treaty. I am writing to emphasize the vital importance of this Treaty, both to our efforts to control terrorism and to U.S.-British cooperation in those efforts.

As Great Britain demonstrated once again last week, she is our staunchest Ally in the battle against international terrorism. Rejection of the Treaty would be viewed by the British -- and the world at large -- as a weakening of U.S. resolve. This must not happen. Indeed, we see Senate ratification of this Supplementary Treaty as a key element of our wider efforts to promote greater international cooperation.

I am hopeful that the Senate will reject efforts to weaken the Treaty in ways that would create new legal loopholes for terrorists. In this regard, I understand some have suggested that the Treaty be modified to extradite only persons charged with offenses against civilians. I frankly do not understand such an approach. Our own recent unpleasant experiences with terrorism clearly demonstrate that American servicemen are a primary target. We should not do anything that suggests in any form that it is permissible to attack soldiers or policemen.

As you know, the recently concluded Anglo-Irish Treaty has sent a signal of hope to all the people of Ireland. This sign of hope makes it all the more important, in my view, that the United States support political dialogue and condemn the bombing and wreckage imposed by terrorism.

I urge that you and your Senate colleagues ratify the US-UK Supplementary Extradition Treaty. I hope that you will share my comments with your colleagues. We need to stand tall with our British Allies at this important moment.

I am also contacting Majority Leader Dole in this regard.


Ronald Reagan

Note: Identical letters were addressed to Richard G. Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Robert Dole, Senate majority leader. The letters were released by the Office of the Press Secretary on April 23.