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Public Papers - 1989

Remarks on Drug Trafficking Prior to a Luncheon With Administration Officials

1989-03-03

Let me just say this: We are gathered here, and we're going in to lunch in a minute. Thus, I will refer any questions to my able Press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater.

But the purpose of this luncheon is to really talk with the top people in our government interested in narcotics -- Bill Bennett, who has gone beautifully through the hearings; Attorney General; Secretary of State; General Counsel; and national security adviser -- about drugs and then give a proper send-off to Dick Thornburgh, who will be doing in South America that which he did in Europe: going, emphasizing the importance we place on the international fight against drugs, coming back, and reporting to me. And obviously, at my side will be our new drug czar -- by then, hopefully, in office -- Bill Bennett. And we will be formulating our drug plan, and the findings of the Attorney General will be cranked into it. And it's Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. We go not in anger, but we go to ask for their total cooperation and support. And I'm confident that this mission of the Attorney General will be fruitful. But it will show dramatically, I think, the feeling of the American people transcends politics -- the American people's determination to cooperate in a way that will reduce the flow of drugs into this country, and to help them with their problems. You know, Dick, that's a part of this. I mean, these countries that thought this was the rich consumers in the north, the only ones that had the problem, have realized that it is decimating their own economies and their own stability.

So, it's an important trip, and then when he gets back -- with Bill Bennett -- we'll be talking about not only the international implications but how that will fit into the overall drug plan. So, bon voyage, and have a good trip. And my respects to the Presidents you'll be meeting with and the various ministers you'll be seeing.

Note: The President spoke at 12:12 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to William J. Bennett, Director-designate of National Drug Control Policy; Attorney General Richard L. Thornburgh; Secretary of State James A. Baker III; C. Boyden Gray, Counsel to the President; and Brent Scowcroft, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

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