Exchange With Reporters on Consultations With Ambassador Habib Concerning the Situation in Lebanon

May 27, 1981

Q. Tell us about Mr. [Philip C.] Habib's return.

The President. Well, I think it's time for a little consultation. He agreed, and I've called him home for consultation of what he's done. I think that he's done a remarkable job so far.

Q. Would you call the mission a failure?

The President. Oh, no, no. They were on the verge of war, and that has not happened in these several weeks. But now I think it's time for us to have a talk, and then he'll go back.

Q. But the fact that he is not now going on to shuttle in Syria, doesn't that indicate there's an impasse?

The President. No -- well, you know, there's a kind of a pause while everybody considers where they are. But we felt that it was necessary now for him to come back here to see us, and then he'll go back.

Q. You do expect him to return and continue the mission?

The President. Yes.

Q. Thank you.

Note: The exchange began at 8:19 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House as the President was leaving for a trip to the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.