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Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters on the Situation in the Middle East

July 18, 1982

Q. What about sending Henry Kissinger to the Middle East as a special ambassador, sir?

The President. There've been no decisions or plans or anything of that kind. Simply, George and Judge Clark1 have asked a few people like that to come in and have a meeting and get their thoughts on what's going on.

1 Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs William P Clark.

Q. Have you made a decision on the cluster bombs and whether a new shipment will go to Israel?

The President. No, we've only received their statement, and we've been reviewing that.

Q. What is their statement?

Q. When are you going to make a statement?

Q. [Inaudible]—good idea to take some time now and review arms to Israel, particularly since a new shipment was to go—

The President. What?

Q. Is it a good time now to review what you might promise Israel, considering another shipment was to go tomorrow?

The President. This is what's on our minds right now—everything to do with the Middle East—and trying to find answers to that problem.

Q. What about the Syrian and the Saudi Foreign Ministers?

Q. What about the balanced budget, Mr. President? What are you going to say tomorrow?

The President. Tune in tomorrow.

Q. What about the ones who say that with a big deficit—you shouldn't be campaigning for a balanced budget because you have the biggest deficits in history.

The President. Yes, and there have been giant budgets for 21 of the last 22 years that I didn't have anything to do with. Now, we're going to try to turn the situation around.

Q. Mr. President, what did Mr. Begin say about—in his reply, concerning the—what did Begin say in his reply concerning the use of the cluster bomb?

The President. That report has just come in and is under study right now.

Q. Is it satisfactory?

The President. I can't tell you. We'll tell you.

Q. Thank you.

Note: The President spoke with reporters assembled at the South Portico of the White House as he was returning from a weekend stay at Camp David, Md.

Ronald Reagan, Question-and-Answer Session With Reporters on the Situation in the Middle East Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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