Exchange With Reporters on Defense Spending

September 7, 1981

Reporter. Have you made any decision yet on the defense budget? How much has [Secretary of Defense Caspar W.] Weinberger said he will cut?

The President. That's going to be my evening reading.

Q. When are you going to make a decision?

The President. Well, I have to make one soon, but I'm going to get all the viewpoints.

Q. Do you think that there will have to be some cuts in defense?

The President. I think there can be some cuts every place, but it does not mean there's any retreat from our determination to rebuild the military.

Q. But he doesn't want to cut at all, does he?

The President. Well, I'll know that better when I read his report. [Laughter]

Q. Does the kind of bickering that has been going on upset you inside?

The President. No, there's not really any bickering. That loses something in translation. No, everybody's got their ideas and opinions, and we openly debate them. But I think you will find there's a great simpatico and a great accord among them.

Q. No problems between [Director of the Office of Management and Budget David A.] Stockman and Weinberger?

The President. No, no, they're defending their points, but they'll all go along with the decision.

Q. They'd better. [Laughter]

Q. Thank you.

Note: The exchange began at 4:10 p.m. on the South Lawn of the White House as the President returned from his trip to New York City.