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Remarks Announcing the Nomination of C. William Verity, Jr., To Be Secretary of Commerce

August 10, 1987

The President. I am pleased to announce my intention to nominate C. William Verity, Jr., as Secretary of Commerce. Bill, who retired as chairman of Armco, Incorporated, in 1982, has long been active in public service. He's served as the Chairman of my Task Force on Private Sector Initiatives, which produced an outstanding report on creative ways for the private sector to supplement governmental efforts in meeting basic human needs. He has continued as a leader in that area.

I know that Bill, like his predecessor, Malcolm Baldrige, understands the importance of expanding international markets, maintaining our competitiveness, and enhancing our export capability. He also supports ongoing efforts to keep vital technology from falling into the hands of our adversaries. His extensive experience in business and overseas trade makes him eminently qualified to assume control of the Department of Commerce in these critical times.

Before his untimely death, Mac Baldrige served as a principal architect of American international economic policy. He had a vision not only for dealing with immediate issues but for the future of the world economy, as well. I expect Bill Verity will continue that vital role. I know he shares my commitment to free and fair trade and supports our efforts to prevent any move toward protectionism that would bring immediate retaliation and reverse the recent progress we've made in correcting the trade imbalance.

I appreciate Bill's willingness to assume this vital position. Mac's boots will be tough to fill, but I have every confidence that Bill will ably pursue the policies this administration has developed over the past 6 1/2 years. And I urge that the Senate, when it returns from the August recess, quickly confirm Bill Verity as Secretary of Commerce.


Mr. Verity. Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you for giving me this opportunity to do this very challenging job. I've been so impressed with what's happened in this country over the last 6 1/2 years, where there's been a redirection of effort towards making this country more competitive. It's been under your leadership, Mr. President, and also Mac Baldrige, who was very instrumental in trying to get American industry to modernize itself. And that is beginning to show up.

I'm just happy to have this opportunity at what I think is an historic time in international trade with a trade bill going through the various Houses. I want to make it clear, Mr. President, that all the specifics that you mentioned, I endorse. And I'm looking forward to trying to help you in the job of making this country more competitive.

Q. We understand you do want the Soviets to have technology. The President said you were against giving any such technology to your adversaries.

Mr. Verity. It was suggested, and I agree, that as far as any specific questions, I think I should answer the Senate first, if they would confirm me. And I think to answer any specific questions until then would be very unwise.

Note: The President spoke to reporters at 3:30 p.m. in the Briefing Room at the White House.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks Announcing the Nomination of C. William Verity, Jr., To Be Secretary of Commerce Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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