I AM very sorry, Pete, I couldn't come over to the ceremonies,1 but I was there in spirit, if not in person. I might add, as June and Dick know, we felt we've got to move ahead even more rapidly and more effectively than we have in the past in trying to do something affirmatively about this problem of drugs.
1 The President was referring to the swearing-in ceremony for Mr. Bensinger as Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which took place that morning in the Great Hall at the Department of Justice.
This situation has gotten far more acute in many of our major metropolitan areas, the difficulties at the Mexican border and other sources. They are of great concern to me, and I think you've got a big job, but I know you can do it.
PETER BENSIGER. Mr. President, I appreciate your confidence. And the mandate that you have set forth through realistic levels of achievement, I think, would be tempered in part by the ability that we can cooperate with foreign governments and the effectiveness we can develop in relationships, both at the State, local, and Federal levels. But I was very encouraged with the people that I met since I have been in Washington from drug enforcement, and with the support I feel the American people have to stop this traffic, this illegal traffic of narcotics.
THE PRESIDENT. We do have a serious problem, as you indicated, at the Mexican border. We have other Latin American countries where the problem is to some extent just as acute. I have talked to the President of Mexico and the President of Columbia, in trying to get their cooperation, and they have fully agreed to do the maximum. So, if we can stop the flow and then handle the problem of domestic drug traffickers, which is a tough one, I think we can gradually eliminate many of the problems we have.
MR. BENSINGER. Mr. President, we will bend our efforts to make sure that foreign eradication of crops proceeds with priority and that we focus on key international importers of narcotics, too, and sharpen up those. I think that will eliminate some of the major importers and financiers. And I think that's what the Federal role should be focused on.