Home Search The American Presidency Project
John Woolley and Gerhard Peters Home Data Documents Elections Media Links
• Public Papers of the Presidents
• State of the Union
Addresses & Messages
• Inaugural Addresses
• Farewell Addresses
• Weekly Addresses
• Fireside Chats
• News Conferences
• Executive Orders
• Proclamations
• Signing Statements
• Press Briefings
• Statements of
 Administration Policy
• Economic Report of the President
• Debates
• Convention Speeches
• Party Platforms
• 2016 Election Documents
• 2012 Election Documents
• 2008 Election Documents
• 2004 Election Documents
• 1996 Election Documents
• 1968 Election Documents
• 1960 Election Documents
• 2017 Transition
• 2009 Transition
• 2001 Transition
• White House Media Pool Reports
Data Index
Audio/Video Index
Election Index
Florida 2000
Presidential Libraries
View Public Papers by Month and Year

INCLUDE documents from the Office of the Press Secretary
INCLUDE election campaign documents, vice presidential documents, first lady, and other executive branch officals
Search the Entire Document Archive
Enter keyword: 

Limit by Year

To    :

Limit results per page

INCLUDE documents from the Office of the Press Secretary

INCLUDE election campaign documents, vice presidential documents, first lady, and other executive branch officals

You can search the Public Papers in two ways:

1. Search by Keyword and Year
You can search by keyword and choose the range of years within your search by filling out the boxes under Search the Public Papers.

2. View by Month and/or Year
Select the month and/or year you would like information about and press View Public Papers. Then choose a Public Paper and the page will load for you.

Search Engine provided by the Harry S. Truman Library. Our thanks to
Jim Borwick and Dr. Rafee Che Kassim at Project Whistlestop for critical assistance in the implementation of the search function, and to Scott Roley at the Truman Library for facilitating this collaboration.
Ronald Reagan: Statement on Signing the Multinational Force in Lebanon Resolution
Ronald Reagan
Statement on Signing the Multinational Force in Lebanon Resolution
October 12, 1983
Public Papers of the Presidents
Ronald Reagan<br>1983: Book II
Ronald Reagan
1983: Book II
Font Size:
The American Presidency Project

Promote Your Page Too

I am pleased to sign into law today S.J. Res. 159, the Multinational Force in Lebanon Resolution. This resolution provides important support for the United States presence and policies in Lebanon and facilitates the pursuit of United States interests in teat region on the bipartisan basis that has been the traditional hallmark of American foreign policy. In my view, the participation and support of the Congress are exceedingly important on matters of such fundamental importance to our national security interests, particularly where United States Armed Forces have been deployed in support of our policy objectives abroad. I am grateful to those of both political parties who joined in the expression of resolve reflected by the enactment of this resolution, and especially to the bipartisan leadership of Senate Majority Leader Baker, House Speaker O'Neill, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Zablocki, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Percy.

The text of this resolution states a number of congressional findings, determinations, and assertions on certain matters. It is, of course, entirely appropriate for Congress to express its views on these subjects in this manner. However, I do not necessarily join in or agree with some of these expressions. For example, with regard to the congressional determination that the requirements of section 4(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution became operative on August 29, 1983, I would note that the initiation of isolated or infrequent acts of violence against United States Armed Forces does not necessarily constitute actual or imminent involvement in hostilities, even if casualties to those forces result. I think it reasonable to recognize the inherent risk and imprudence of setting any precise formula for making such determinations.

However, complete accord on such debatable issues is less important than the process that has taken place and the bipartisan policy goals that have been articulated. We must not let disagreements on interpretation or issues of institutional powers prevent us from expressing our mutual goals to the citizens of our nation and the world. I therefore sign this resolution in full support of its policies, but with reservations about some of the specific congressional expressions.

There have been historic differences between the legislative and executive branches of government with respect to the wisdom and constitutionality of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution. That section purports to require termination of the use of United States Armed Forces in actual hostilities or situations in which imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances unless Congress, within 60 days, enacts a specific authorization for that use or otherwise extends the 60-day period. In light of these historic differences, I would like to emphasize my view that the imposition of such arbitrary and inflexible deadlines creates unwise limitations on Presidential authority to deploy United States Forces in the interests of United States national security. For example, such deadlines can undermine foreign policy judgments, adversely affect our ability to deploy United States Armed Forces in support of these judgments, and encourage hostile elements to maximize United States casualties in connection with such deployments.

I believe it is, therefore, important for me to state, in signing this resolution, that I do not and cannot cede any of the authority vested in me under the Constitution as President and as Commander in Chief of United States Armed Forces. Nor should my signing be viewed as any acknowledgment that the President's constitutional authority can be impermissibly infringed by statute, that congressional authorization would be required if and when the period specified in section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution might be deemed to have been triggered and the period had expired, or that section 6 of the Multinational Force in Lebanon Resolution may be interpreted to revise the President's constitutional authority to deploy United States Armed Forces. Let me underscore, however, that any differences we may have over institutional prerogatives will in no way diminish my intention to proceed in the manner outlined in my letter of September 27, 1983, to achieve the important bipartisan goals reflected in this resolution.

Indeed, I am convinced that congressional support for the continued participation of United States Forces alongside those of France, Italy, and the United Kingdom helped bring about the recent cease-fire and the start of the reconciliation process in Lebanon. The security and the stability of the Beirut area and the successful process of national reconciliation are essential to the achievement of United States policy objectives in Lebanon, as stated in the resolution. It is my fervent hope and belief that this reaffirmation of the support of the executive and legislative branches for the Government of Lebanon and for our partners in the multinational force will promote a lasting peace and hasten the return home of our Armed Forces.

Note: As enacted, S.J. Res. 159 is Public Law 98-119, approved October 12.
Citation: Ronald Reagan: "Statement on Signing the Multinational Force in Lebanon Resolution ," October 12, 1983. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=40624.
© 1999-2018 - Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley - The American Presidency Project ™
Locations of visitors to this page