Remarks to Reporters on Receiving the Report of the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America

January 11, 1984

The President. Ladies and gentlemen, I have just been hearing a report on this Commission. It's been 6 months now of the most arduous work, and work that has been extremely well done. And I want to express to all and each of them not only my thanks but the thanks on behalf of all the people of America for the service that they have performed for our country.

The report -- while I have just received it and have not had time to read all of it, I have had an opportunity to have some summations and then to be present here for a discussion and a report by the individuals. And I believe that from what I've seen already, it is the most comprehensive and detailed review of the issues as they affect our national security that I have ever seen.

I'm impressed with the depth of the analysis and the creativity of the recommendations. And Henry has told me that this was a diverse, but not a divisive group, and they worked in a bipartisan manner throughout. And I'm especially grateful to Lane Kirkland, to Bob Strauss, to others of the loyal opposition for this and for the fact that we have a consensus recognition of the urgent nature and the complexity of the crisis in Central America and the implications for our fundamental interests.

I believe that the Members of Congress, when they study this report, will share my belief that we must urgently seek solutions, solutions to the problems that are outlined in this study. I think that they will fully share our belief when they do look at it that it is time for us to go to work.

We've set forward a program that will achieve the goals the members of this Commission have set forth for us. And again, I can only say that I think all America is indebted to them for a job that I don't think has ever been surpassed with regard to the particular problem we face. And it's a challenge that I intend to do everything I can, and I'm sure the Congress will, too, to see that we meet.

Q. Mr. President, is this going to get bogged down in a fight over conditionality? The Commission calls for a conditionality, and some of your advisers say it's been counterproductive.

The President. No, no, it is not. And I have heretofore not said anything about this. I've been waiting until the time when I had the report before me which, as I say, I will study and read. And I would think that it behooves the Congress, and it certainly behooves the administration, to try and come together in the same bipartisan way that this Commission has been together over these last 6 months.

Note: The President spoke at 11:50 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House, where the he had met with Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Chairman, and other members of the Commission.