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National Archives

Public Papers - 1990

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater Announcing the Surrender of General Manuel Noriega in Panama


General Scowcroft [Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs] notified the President at approximately 6 o'clock this evening that preliminary word had reached SOUTHCOM that General Noriega was willing to give himself up sometime tonight. We, of course, could not be sure that it would actually occur.

President Bush remained in the Residence until Secretary Cheney called him at approximately 9 o'clock this evening to say that General Noriega was in our custody. The President immediately came to the Oval Office to work on remarks, which he will be presenting to you in just a few minutes. I'll give you a 2-minute warning in just a second.

The President will not take questions following his statement, but General Maxwell Thurman, commander of SOUTHCOM, will hold a briefing in Panama on the details of the situation. General Thurman's briefing will follow the President's statement very soon. We'll be right back.

Note: Press Secretary Fitzwater spoke to reporters at 9:35 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.

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