Informal Exchange With Reporters on Secretary of Health and Human Services Margaret M. Heckler

September 30, 1985

Q. Mr. President, will you fire Margaret Heckler today or soon?

The President. There's never been any thought in my mind of firing Margaret Heckler. I don't know where these stories have come from. They are not true.

Q. You're perfectly satisfied with her performance, then?

The President. Yes. That does not mean I don't have something else that I want her to do.

Q. So, she may be finding a new job soon? Another appointment?

The President. You'll hear in due time.

Q. Will you have the decision for meeting with Palestinian delegation? At the end of this meeting will you arrive at any decision?

The President. We'll wait until we have the meeting.

Q. Sounds like you are letting her go from the Cabinet.

The President. It'll all be explained soon, but you have been given a great deal of misinformation -- --

Q. When you -- --

Q. No one's risen to her defense lately.

The President. Pardon?

Q. No one's risen to her defense from here lately.

The President. Well, it's just burst in the last couple of days.

Q. Do you think that you will send her to an ambassadorial position or something of that kind in the near future?

The President. As I said, no further answer to this today. I would only suggest -- I know I can't shut off the leaks, but you ought to be more astute at recognizing whether the leaks are true or not.

Q. Has anyone recommended, like Mr. Regan, for example -- would you consider another position for her?

The President. No more comments on that.

Q. -- -- the visit of His Majesty, are you satisfied with his address at the United Nations especially -- said we are prepared. Does that mean Jordan and PLO and the Arab world or what?

The President. Well, we're going to be discussing all those matters here together.

Note: The exchange began at 10:10 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House, prior to discussions with King Hussein I of Jordan. Donald T. Regan was Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.