Informal Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Prime Minister Hawke of Australia

April 17, 1986

Q. Mr. President, the Australian Government, in the last few weeks, rejected your Star Wars, SDI -- having anything to do with it. Would you be trying to get Mr. Hawke to reconsider?

The President. Well, I intend to extend him all hospitality. If he wants to voice an opinion on that, I'll be glad to reply.

Q. Would you like to see Australia involved in the Star Wars concept?

The President. Well, if they could see their way clear to something that would be mutually beneficial, that would be just fine.

Q. Do you think there would be a lot of benefits for Australia if they were involved?

The President. Well, I happen to believe in it enough to believe that there would be a lot of benefits for the whole world, because what we're trying to get is a weapon -- or a defensive system, not a weapon -- that would render obsolete nuclear strategic weapons.

Q. Mr. President, would you have liked full support from Australia on the Libyan question?

The President. Well, anyone likes approval, so -- --

Q. Do you think you got enough support from Australia?

The President. I'm satisfied.

Q. Mr. President, three British citizens have been murdered in Lebanon apparently because of Mrs. Thatcher's support of our raid against Libya. What do you have to say about that?

The President. Well, I think it's a tragedy, but I think it's another example of the fact that terrorism is something that we have to deal with once and for all, all of us together.

Q. Well, Qadhafi surfaced again and suggests he's going to continue to do what he's been doing.

The President. Yes. Has anyone been able to pin down where he surfaced?

Q. Well, he was on television yesterday, but we're not quite certain whether it was live or taped.

Q. Do you know, sir?

The President. What?

Q. Do you know where he is?

The President. No. No, I just think he's been staying undercover while the shooting is going on.

Q. Mr. President, are you disappointed with the cooperation from the European allies, or lack of cooperation?

The President. No, I'm not going to comment, and I'm not going to take any more answers on this here. We've got another subject right now.

Q. Okay. Just another subject. How do you feel about Stockman's treatment of you in his book?

The President. Haven't read his book. But I'm not sure that I will.

Q. But he seems to have been stabbing you and other people in the back.

The President. Well, I won't comment. And as to reading, I don't have too much time for fiction.

Q. Ohhh! [Laughter]

Q. Prime Minister, are you going to read Stockman's book?

Prime Minister Hawke. I have even less. [Laughter]

Note: The exchange began at 11:33 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House.