Excerpt From an Exchange With Reporters on the Situation in Poland

December 29, 1981

Q. What effect do you anticipate that the sanctions that will be announced today against the Soviet Union are going to have on the situation in Poland?

The President. Well, the measures are directed at the Governments of Poland and of the Soviet Union, and the purpose is to convey to those regimes how strongly we feel about their joint efforts to extinguish liberty in Poland. And they're not meant to increase the hardship on the victims of repression, the Polish people -- quite the contrary. By our actions, we expect to put powerful doubts in the minds of the Soviet and Polish leaders about this continued repression. And in addition, we are going to continue assisting the flow of food, medicines, and other necessities to the Polish people, not to the governments.

And the whole purpose of our actions is to speak for those who have been silenced and to help those who've been rendered helpless.

Q. Sir, let's say they don't respond in the way that you hope they will. What next?

The President. Well, there are further actions that could be taken that we have withheld.

Note: The exchange began at approximately 11:15 a.m. as the reporters were assembled in the Executive Suite at the Century Plaza Hotel to observe the President signing bills into law.