Statement on Signing the 1984 Act To Combat International Terrorism

October 19, 1984

I have today signed into law H.R. 6311, the 1984 Act To Combat International Terrorism. This act will provide resources and authorities essential in countering the insidious threat terrorism poses to those who cherish freedom and democracy. International terrorism is a growing problem for all of us in the Western World -- not just the United States. While we in the Western democracies are most often the targets, terrorist attacks are becoming increasingly violent and indiscriminate. Since the first of September, there have been 41 separate terrorist attacks by no fewer than 14 terrorist groups against the citizens and property of 21 nations. Sixteen of these were attacks against individual citizens and 18 of these were bombings or attempted bombings in which innocent third parties were victimized.

This nation bears global responsibilities that demand that we maintain a worldwide presence and not succumb to these cowardly attempts at intimidation. In several important ways, this act will enable us to improve our ability to protect those who serve our country overseas:

-- it authorizes payment of rewards for information concerning terrorist acts; and

-- it provides for the authorization of $356 million of urgently needed security enhancements for United States missions abroad.

I am grateful that the Congress has responded swiftly to my request for these authorities and resources. This act is an important step in our multiyear effort to counter the pervasive threat international terrorism poses to our diplomatic personnel and facilities overseas. The act complements other actions now under review and separate measures taken with our allies aimed at significantly improving our ability to thwart this menace to mankind. While none of these steps guarantee that terrorist acts will not occur again, we can be certain that the measures made possible by this act will make such attacks more difficult in the future.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 6311 is Public Law 98 - 533, approved in an Oval Office ceremony on October 19.