Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on United States Policy in the Persian Gulf

May 29, 1987

The President met today with his national security advisers to review United States Persian Gulf policy and United States plans for the protection of United States-flagged ships operating in the Gulf. The President reviewed the diplomatic efforts being made to end the Iran-Iraq war. He reaffirmed United States efforts to obtain a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an end to the war to include mandatory sanctions. Diplomatic efforts to strengthen Operation Staunch will be intensified.

The President directed additional consultation with our allies and will be raising the issue at the summit in Venice. The President also directed his advisers to provide continued full consultation to the Congress and to begin preparation of reports to the Congress on our proposed action. The President clearly reaffirmed United States policy to remain in the Persian Gulf to protect vital United States national interests.

The President received a detailed presentation on the military plan to protect United States flag and naval vessels and approved the plan for further development. It was clear from the presentation that United States military forces have the capability to escort United States flag vessels in the Gulf to deter potential attacks and defend themselves against threats from belligerent powers. The escorting of reflagged ships will begin when the President decides. The capability exists now.