Informal Exchange With Reporters at Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia

February 7, 1986

Q. Mr. President, did the U.S. throw out the Duvalier [of Haiti] government?

The President. Do what?

Q. Throw out the Duvalier government?

The President. No, we're watching and hoping and waiting for them to develop something now that will restore order.

Q. What can the U.S. do to help move democracy along there, do you feel?

The President. I don't know, but I couldn't answer that specifically. But we're going to do everything we can to be of help.

Q. Is Duvalier welcome in this country?

The President. Well, he's never made any application to come to this country.

Q. If he were to ask, would we let him in?

The President. Well, he hasn't asked, and so we don't have to deal with that.

Q. Did you make it clear to him that he was not welcome?

The President. No. He's welcome in another country and has gone already.

Q. Where is he going?

The President. What?

Q. Where is he going?

The President. I don't know whether I'm supposed to comment on that -- France.

Q. After that? We understood that was temporary.

The President. We don't know. Well, all we know is France was the chosen spot, and that's where he's going.

Q. Do you feel that Haiti was essentially a right-wing Grenada and now moving it toward democracy is yet another triumph for you?

The President. Certainly there was -- it was -- at least it has to be called authoritarian rule, yes. They weren't very much of a model of democracy.

Q. Mr. President, are you pleased with the opportunity to try to foster democracy in another country in the hemisphere?

The President. As I say, we ought to be of help wherever we can in spreading democracy.

Q. Your eye is red, sir. What happened to your eye?

The President. What?

Q. -- -- your left eye.

The President. Maybe it was looking at all those numbers without a contact lens in it. [Laughter]

Q. Mr. President, will the U.S. do anything if [Philippine President] Marcos wins through fraud?

The President. If what?

Q. If Marcos wins through fraud, is there anything the U.S. can or would do?

The President. That's up to the Filipino people to determine whether they think they've had a fair election or not. I'm not going to comment any further on that.

Reporters. Thank you.

Note: The exchange began at 11:14 a.m. following the President's tour of the computer science room at the high school. He was accompanied by Assistant Superintendent of Schools David Sawyer.