Statement by Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Soviet Attack on a Korean Civilian Airliner

September 8, 1983

In response to the brutal and unprovoked Soviet attack on Korean Air Lines Flight 007 on September 1, 1983, the President has requested the Civil Aeronautics Board to take strong action against the Soviet airline Aeroflot. In a letter sent this morning to CAB Chairman Dan McKinnon, the President asked the Board to take the following action, effective September 12, 1983:

(1) to suspend the right of Aeroflot to sell tickets in the United States;

(2) to prohibit U.S. airlines from selling tickets in the United States for transportation on Aeroflot;

(3) to preclude U.S. airlines from carrying traffic to, from, or within the U.S. where an Aeroflot flight is on the ticket;

(4) to direct U.S. airlines to suspend any interline service arrangements with Aeroflot; and

(5) to prohibit U.S. airlines from accepting any tickets issued by Aeroflot for air travel to, from, or within the United States.

The President has also reaffirmed the suspension of Aeroflot flights to and from this country which has been in effect since January 5, 1982. The impending Board decision would prevent Aeroflot from marketing any of its services through U.S. carriers or their American agents.

The President requests all United States airlines and travel agents to comply with the letter and spirit of these actions.

The duration of these measures in the civil aviation area will be for a period of time, in part dependent upon the extent to which the U.S.S.R. demonstrates its willingness to honor essential standards of civil aviation, makes a full account of its shoot down of the airliner, and issues an apology as well as compensation to aggrieved parties.

In another action, as directed by the President, Acting Secretary of State Lawrence S. Eagleburger informed Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin today that the Soviet airline Aeroflot must close its offices in the United States by September 15. Aeroflot airline officials must depart this country by that date.

The United States will continue to work with the members of the international community in their efforts to promote air safety and to deter such Soviet actions from happening again.

Note: Deputy Press Secretary Larry M. Speakes read the statement to reporters assembled in the Briefing Room at the White House at 5 p.m.