Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on the Situation in Lebanon

February 7, 1984

At the President's direction, the Vice President convened a meeting at the White House today to review the current situation in Lebanon with national security advisers. The meeting began at 11 a.m. EST and lasted 2 hours. This meeting was a follow-on to meetings and conference telephone calls yesterday and Sunday, including a meeting chaired by the President Sunday afternoon at the White House.

After being briefed on the current situation in Beirut and the results of today's meeting, the President directed further vigorous diplomatic efforts on the part of Ambassador Rumsfeld and Ambassador Bartholomew. These efforts will be aimed at maintaining a cease-fire and working with the Government of Lebanon to form a broad-based representative government under the constitution of Lebanon. Ambassador Rumsfeld will meet with President Gemayel at the earliest opportunity. The President directed all appropriate measures be taken to ensure American interests, including the safety of American citizens in Lebanon.

The President has consulted with leaders of other multinational force countries and is continuing those consultations. The aim of the United States remains to seek a peaceful solution for Lebanon.

The President this morning directed the Vice President to delay his departure for Europe, which was scheduled for Wednesday morning, so that he may continue to coordinate the activities in Washington.