Statement by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Speakes on Proposed Economic and Military Aid for Central America

August 9, 1984

The President has been following congressional action on the armaments supplemental bill with regard to funding for Central America. He was quite pleased with the strong support yesterday in the Senate for this funding, evidenced by overwhelming votes against proposed amendments to delete or reduce funds for Central America.

He also noted a favorable action by the House Appropriations Foreign Operations Subcommittee in approving most of the military aid for El Salvador requested for fiscal year '85 and a significant portion of the economic aid requested for El Salvador for fiscal year '85.

The President continues to call on Congress as a matter of national urgency to provide fiscal year '84 and fiscal year '85 funding for Central America. These funds were requested by the administration in accordance with the recommendations of the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America. They are clearly needed in the region, and it is in our country's interest to provide them.

The President hopes that the fiscal year '84 supplemental will go through the House-Senate conference today and be approved by both Houses, before recessing, with full funding for Central America.

We will work with the bipartisan leadership of the conference committee toward this outcome.

The supplemental bill complements the fiscal year '85 Central American appropriations request and begins funding for the Henry M. Jackson plan, which we forwarded to Congress in February. Together, the fiscal year '84 supplemental and fiscal year '85 bills provide over a 2-year period the economic assistance to stabilize and stimulate recovery in Central American economies, lay the foundation for long-term development, and permit military assistance necessary to provide security essential to protect that economic growth. These vitally urgent programs should not be delayed.

Note: Larry M. Speakes read the statement to reporters at his daily press briefing, which began at 10:07 a.m. in the Vista Mar Monte Room at the Santa Barbara Sheraton in Santa Barbara, CA.