Statement on the President's Commission on Strategic Forces

June 10, 1983

First, I want to take this occasion to again thank Members of both parties in the Congress for their support of the Scowcroft commission's recommendations on modernization, deterrence, and arms control. Their support for these crucial, interdependent recommendations gives us a genuine chance to achieve balanced, verifiable arms reductions -- the goal we all seek. I am determined to achieve effective deterrence and significant strategic arms reductions, and I am confident that they can be achieved. But if we are to secure our common objectives, the consensus we now have must be maintained.

I look forward to working with the Congress in the days ahead to maintain and strengthen this bipartisan consensus. In this regard, I will submit an annual status report to the Congress. To assist me in this effort, I am pleased to announce that I have asked the members of the Scowcroft commission to continue to serve until January 3, 1984. The Commission will review, on a periodic basis, the progress made in implementing the recommendations contained in its report of April 1983, with particular reference to the deployment of the Peacekeeper missile, development and deployment of a small, single warhead intercontinental ballistic missile system, and developments in strategic arms reductions. The Commission will consider carefully the views of the Congress during the review. The value to the country of this bipartisan framework, both with the Congress and through the Scowcroft commission, is evident to all. It must be and shall be sustained through and beyond the work of the Commission. I pledge this to the Congress and ask their reciprocal good faith.

In addition to consulting closely with the Members of Congress, I have directed Chairman Scowcroft to seek out views and assistance from a wide variety of leading authorities in the strategic and arms control field. As before, the Chairman has authority to appoint Senior Counselors as he deems appropriate.

As we continue to move forward in this vital bipartisan effort, let us all keep in mind our fundamental goal -- to conclude agreements that will enhance security and stability by reducing overall strategic force levels, while permitting modernization of forces necessary for effective deterrence.

Note: On the same day, the Office of the Press Secretary issued a list of individuals who agreed to continue to serve on the Commission. They are Brent Scowcroft, former Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, to serve as Chairman; Nicholas Brady, former Senator from New Jersey; William Clements, former Governor of Texas and Deputy Secretary of Defense; Dr. John Deutch, dean of science at MIT and former Director of Research at the Department of Energy; Alexander M. Haig, Jr., former Secretary of State and Supreme Allied Commander in Europe; Richard Helms, former Director of Central Intelligence; John H. Lyons, vice president of the AFL-CIO and chairman of the defense subcommittee of its executive council; William J. Perry, former Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering; Vice Adm. Levering Smith, former Director of Special Projects for the Navy; James Woolsey, former Under Secretary of the Navy. Dr. Cyrus P. Knowles, Director of Offensive and Space Systems in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, will serve as Executive Secretary of the Commission.