Letter to Congressional Leaders on United States Participation in the Multinational Force in Lebanon

September 27, 1983

Dear Mr. Speaker:

I know you were as gratified as I with Sunday's announcement of a cease fire in Lebanon. While there were many things that contributed to the cease fire, it is my belief that your agreement to advance the compromise resolution on war powers -- and the favorable action by the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Relations Committees -- were particularly important. At a crucial point, your agreement and the supporting committee actions expressed a commitment to bipartisanship in U.S. foreign policy. Please accept my thanks.

Let me also take this opportunity to clarify an issue with respect to the interpretation of the compromise resolution. The compromise resolution refers to the requirements of section 4(a) of the Lebanon Emergency Assistance Act; I gather that a question has arisen as to the Executive Branch's understanding and intention in this regard. My understanding and intent remain exactly as they were when I signed the Lebanon Emergency Assistance Act: It would be my intention to seek Congressional authorization -- as contemplated by the Act -- if circumstances require any substantial expansion in the number or role of U.S. armed forces in Lebanon.

In addition, regarding the Administration's intentions with respect to the 18-month time period, I can assure you that if our forces are needed in Lebanon beyond the 18-month period, it would be my intention to work together with the Congress with a view toward taking action on mutually acceptable terms.

Again let me thank you for your support for the compromise agreement. I believe its prompt enactment will only further improve the chances for the stable peace we seek in Lebanon.

Sincerely,

Ron

Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., Speaker of the House of Representatives; Senate Majority Leader Howard H. Baker, Jr.; Charles H. Percy, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; and Clement J. Zablocki, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

As printed above, this item follows the text of the White House press release.