Message to the Congress Transmitting a Request for Supplemental Appropriations To Increase Security at United States Diplomatic Missions

September 27, 1984

To the Congress of the United States:

I am today forwarding to the Congress a request for Supplemental Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1985 totalling $110,200,000. These funds will be used solely to increase the security of United States diplomatic missions overseas.

This request represents another essential step in what will be a multi-year effort to counter the threats posed by a growing scourge against humanity -- international terrorism. The Secretary of State is also forwarding separately a request for authorization of $366,278,000 for the next fiscal year. This first $110.2 million supplemental request is that portion of the total $366 million authorization that requires immediate appropriation. We would hope for prompt action on these proposals so that immediate steps can be taken and longer-term measures can be planned to better protect our diplomatic personnel and facilities abroad. In my FY - 86 budget, we will forward to the Congress the next increment of a five-year program of security enhancements for our overseas missions. This program is now in the final stages of review.

The five-year program of improved protection is being prepared as part of the intense government-wide analysis I directed immediately after the terrorist attack against our Marines in Lebanon last October. When the final review is completed, this detailed action plan, reinforced by new legislation now pending in the Congress and separate measures being taken with our allies, will add considerably to our ability to counter this menace to all mankind. As the tragic events in Beirut have shown, we must do more to protect our citizens who serve our country overseas. This request continues our commitment to do just that and complements actions already being implemented which are compatible with our longstanding policy:

-- On July 23, 1983, I issued a public statement urging international cooperation against terrorism.

-- In a message to the European Heads of State and Government on September 17, 1983, I made a similar direct appeal for their help in deterring terrorist attacks.

-- In April 1984, the Administration submitted four bills to the Congress designed to strengthen our legal instruments for dealing with terrorists.

-- In an effort to improve international cooperation in combatting terrorism, Western leaders at the London Economic Summit in June 1984 issued a seven point declaration on cooperative steps to be taken against terrorists.

-- In April 1984, I also issued direction to:

  • improve intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination on terrorist groups and organizations;

  • improve our response capabilities based on cogent analysis of what responses are most likely to deter future attacks; and

  • better our security protection and awareness and take legal preventive action to thwart terrorist attacks before they occur.

The funds proposed in this request will help us move to implement this last step. Recent events underscore the urgency for proceeding rapidly with those measures which will improve security and protection.

International terrorism, by its very nature, is unpredictable and difficult to defend against -- particularly when the attacker intends to give his life in the attempt to assassinate others. As long as rogue governments use the brutality of terrorism in attempts to achieve their ends, we must take measures such as these to reduce our vulnerability. No one can be certain that such attacks will not occur again in the future. We can be certain, however, that the enhancements made possible in the request for appropriations I have forwarded today and the authorization request, transmitted by the Secretary of State, will make such attacks much more difficult.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

September 27, 1984.