June 11, 1987 I deeply regret the necessity, temporarily, to withdraw the proposal to sell modified Maverick air-to-ground missiles to Saudi Arabia because of strong congressional opposition. The seven leaders meeting here for the economic summit recognize the importance of that region to our mutual economic and security interests. Saudi Arabia is our staunchest ally in the Gulf in resisting the Soviet efforts to establish a presence in the Middle East. We need their support, and they have been cooperative. This action precipitated by Congress sends exactly the wrong signal.
To avoid further delays, I will undertake additional consultations with Congress and resubmit the necessary notifications at the earliest possible date. Arms sales which meet Saudi Arabia's legitimate defense needs and do not upset the military balance in the region are an important part of our relationship with that country. They are directly related to the protection of our long-term interests in the Persian Gulf.