Remarks to Reporters Following a Meeting With Ambassador Paul H. Nitze

September 3, 1983

The President. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a photo opportunity. We have been meeting. In fact, all we've been doing for quite some time is meeting. But the Ambassador and I have been meeting with regard to his return tomorrow to the negotiating table in Geneva, by way of some of our allies in NATO, on the intermediate-range nuclear weapons discussions.

This being a photo opportunity, we won't take questions, but he will be briefing you this afternoon and meeting with you at a later moment, as you well know.

Q. Don't you even want to tell us what this Soviet incident is going to do to those arms control talks?

The President. I'm going to take one question, because I meant to say this in my opening remarks and didn't. And the only thing is, yes, we are still meeting, and tomorrow we'll be meeting with Congressmen on that particular problem, that issue. And I don't believe that that should reduce the importance of continuing the talks that we hope will lead to a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons in the world. I think peace is that all-important that we shall continue those talks. But that doesn't lessen our feeling, our anger about that terrible tragedy and the Soviet attitude that they've taken following that. But I think we've agreed the disarmament talks must continue.

Q. But, Mr. President, if you say they're barbarians, how can we negotiate?

Deputy Press Secretary Speakes. Thank you, sir.

Note: The President spoke at 1:15 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House.