Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks at the Swearing-in Ceremony for Kenneth L. Adelman as Director of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency

April 22, 1983

The President. Well, Ken, it's wonderful to see a smile on your face— [laughter] -after so many trying weeks and to be able to congratulate you on this happy occasion. And I want you to know we're proud of you.

I know that your family is even more proud. And you're a man of vision, courage, and honor, and, I might say now by this time, patience and endurance. [Laughter]

Of course, your work is just beginning. This position you're assuming is unique within the governments of the world. No other country has an arms control agency with such prominence as ours. In a sense, this is highly symbolic, for ACDA and its mission embody America's highest aspirations.

Our country's record on arms control in the postwar era is a proud record. It began with the Baruch plan, and it's being carried on today in our far-reaching negotiating proposals and our other efforts to reduce the risks and arsenals of war.

Our goal is peace with justice. We search for a means to resolve differences without resort to war, without resort to violence, and with assurance of compliance with the agreements made.

I know that you'll be an important voice, a true advocate, and a source of energy for our efforts to achieve these great goals through the equitable and effectively verifiable agreements that we're seeking.

And I see, Ken, that you've brought a few friends and colleagues— [laughter] —with you in addition to your lovely family up here. You now join a larger family whose entire professional commitment is to be an important resource for me and for you in the search for genuine peace.

While the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency is small compared to other Federal agencies, its importance far exceeds its size. Since its founding in 1961, ACDA has played a key role in some of this country's most important policy decisions. During your tenure, ACDA will often be front and center in that process. One thing your confirmation process clearly did was to highlight this Agency's critical role.

Last week, following your confirmation by the Senate, I said that I foresaw a reinvigorated Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under your leadership. I want to assure the dedicated personnel of ACDA that they and you have my full confidence. They should know that I will look to you and to them for counsel in these important days ahead. And I know that I can depend on all of you for strong support.

And I might say in view of so much of what was said in these arduous weeks that have gone by, honest, I want arms reduction. [Laughter]

Welcome aboard, and our warmest congratulations.

Mr. Adelman. Thank you.

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary, ACDA staff, family and friends, someone just the other day reminded me, Mr. President, that it's been a quarter of a year since you nominated me as Director of ACDA, and I was kind of startled. But it just goes to show how time flies when you're having fun, you know? [Laughter] But these past 3 months have shown me, more than ever before, that nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. Surely, it's safe to say this in terms of the confirmation process.

The extensive, unflinching support you gave me, Mr. President, and which was given to me by Secretary Shultz, Judge Clark, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and the White House staff, ACDA, and the State Department, and the family and friends gathered here, meant more to me than any gift I have ever been given before. I'm deeply grateful and know that it has been worthwhile.

It has been worthwhile because of the unquestionable importance of the directorship of ACDA and the fine caliber of the Agency staff. It has been worthwhile because of the unquestionable importance of arms control to you, Mr. President, to us at ACDA, and to the American people. It has been worthwhile because of the critical importance of arms control to our elected officials in the Congress.

Much of the time since my confirmation vote last week has been spent on individual meetings with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and other interested Senators in discussing the depth of our mutual commitment to a strong arms control program. I've gathered a good amount of advice which I will share with you later, Mr. President. This was anticipated, since I spent considerable time with those Senators voicing reservations over the last 3 months. The spirit of bipartisanship and of close consultations has been superb. I look forward to working with the Congress in precisely this spirit.

Similarly for arms control agreements themselves, nothing worthwhile ever comes easily. To accomplish your goals for arms control, including deep and verifiable reductions in nuclear weapons, bringing about enhanced stability, this takes time, energy, tenacity, and imagination. Your administration has surely chosen the difficult, the bold road on arms control, a road which can lead to agreements which make the world a safer place for all of us, a world with fewer nuclear weapons on both sides, a world wherein freedom can blossom and diversity is widely treasured.

These are the traditional goals of America. These are the goals which inspire all of us in our lives as Americans. These are the goals which I pledge to you to pursue to my fullest as Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 2:48 p.m. at the ceremony in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. Prior to the President's remarks, Secretary of State George P Shultz administered the oath of office to Mr. Adelman.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks at the Swearing-in Ceremony for Kenneth L. Adelman as Director of the United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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