Ronald Reagan picture

Informal Exchange With Reporters

November 27, 1988

Yasser Arafat

Q. Do you approve of the denial of a visa for Arafat?

The President. Well, you recognize that officially it didn't make any difference whether I did or not because, under the law, that is the province of the Secretary of State. But, yes, I agree very much with his decision.

Q. Why?

The President. What?

Q. Why?

The President. Well, because I think that the record shows that the things that the law is supposed to be protecting against are still going on in spite of some of the recent statements.

Q. What is that, Mr. President?

The President. What?

Q. What is that, Mr. President—things going on? What are you talking about?

The President. Well, the approval and use of terrorism and that sort of thing.

Q. So, you believe the PLO is still behind terrorism?

The President. I think that there's enough that he was justified in not granting the waiver.

Q. Don't you think there should be a dialog so we can hear his side of this story—

The President. Well.—

Q.—that the world should hear it?

The President. We are available, and we have been ready to negotiate if conditions are right at any and all times. We're the ones with the peace plan.

Q. Aren't you afraid this sends out the wrong signal, though, Mr. President?

The President. What's that?

Q. Aren't you afraid that this move sends out the wrong signal: that the U.S. may, in fact, be impeding the peace process?

The President. I think the other way would have sent out a wrong signal that we were patsies.

Q. Thank you.

Rancho del Cielo

Q. How do you feel about this being your last trip to Santa Barbara.-

The President. Well, it's very sentimental. We'll still be going to the ranch, but things will be a lot different.

Q. What have you got in the bag?

The President. Well, that's the Phil Regan family over there, and one of his granddaughters brought me a present of jellybeans. [Laughter]

Note: The exchange began at 9:30 a.m. at Point Mugu Naval Air Station, CA. Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat was denied a visa for a proposed visit to address the United Nations. Following the exchange, the President returned to Washington, DC.

Ronald Reagan, Informal Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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