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Statement on Signing the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986

August 27, 1986

I have signed into law H.R. 4151, the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986. This marks yet another step forward in our bipartisan effort to eradicate international terrorism. I would like to recognize the valuable contributions to this legislation by the Vice President and his Task Force on Combatting Terrorism; Secretary [of State] Shultz and Admiral Inman and their Panel on Diplomatic Security; and the work of Senator Richard Lugar and Representatives Dante Fascell, Bill Broomfield, Dan Mica, and Olympia Snowe, as well as many other distinguished Members of the Congress for bringing the various parts of this act together. This is truly a bipartisan piece of work.

This act once again puts those who would instigate acts of terrorism against U.S. citizens or property on notice that we will not be deterred from carrying out our obligations throughout the world. I am committed to ensuring the safety of our diplomats, servicemen, and citizens wherever they may be. This historic act provides the organization and authorities necessary to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Panel on Overseas Security. It also establishes within the Department of State a new Bureau of Diplomatic Security and a Diplomatic Security Service to increase the professionalism and effectiveness of our security personnel. Another important piece of this act that I am particularly pleased to have supported is the victims of terrorism assistance program. This, for the first time, will provide for the care and welfare of the victims of terrorism and their families.

At the same time, I continue to urge cooperation with all nations, on both a bilateral and multilateral basis, to seek ways to work together to end the continuing onslaught of international terrorism against civilized society. Seeking international cooperation is vital in the struggle against terrorism, and that effort will remain a top foreign policy priority for me. Within the Government, cooperation and coordination between all departments and agencies is also essential in protecting our vital national security interests from the terrorist threat.

We can never legislate an end to terrorism. However, we must remain resolute in our commitment to confront this criminal behavior in every way—diplomatically, economically, legally, and, when necessary, militarily. First-rate intelligence remains the key element in each of these areas. We will continue to improve our ability to predict, prevent, and respond to threats of terrorism with an expanded intelligence-gathering capability. We will continue to work with the Congress to identify legislative gaps in our ability to combat terrorism. This act adds to our capabilities and further demonstrates our resolve. I congratulate those responsible for this historic act.

Note: H.R. 4151, approved August 27, was assigned Public Law No. 99-399.

Ronald Reagan, Statement on Signing the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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