Remarks at a Meeting With the President's Special Review Board for the National Security Council
The President. Well,
purpose of your undertaking is to review past implementation of administration
policies and to conduct a comprehensive study of the future role and procedures
of the National Security Council's staff in foreign and national security
policy. I would like you to focus on that staff and, one, develop policy; two,
coordinate with other agencies; and, three, implement the President's policies;
and, four, oversee the implementation of these
policies by others. I hope that you would take particular care to look into the
question of whether and under what circumstances the National Security Council
staff was and should be directly involved in the operational aspects of
sensitive diplomatic, military, or intelligence missions, such as the Achille Lauro, the TWA hijacking,
addition, I have directed the National Security Council staff not to
participate in the actual operations associated with such activities pending
the outcome of the report by the Special Review Board. You'll have the full
cooperation of all agencies of the executive branch and the White House staff
in carrying out your assignment. And I want to assure you and the American
people that I want all the facts to come out about learning of a possible
transfer of funds from the sale of arms to
The appointment of this Board and the stature of its membership are a demonstration of a commitment to learn how this happened and how it can be prevented in the future. The Department of Justice investigation is continuing with my full support and cooperation. And if they determine an independent counsel is called for, I would welcome that appointment. If we're to maintain confidence in our government's foreign policy apparatus, there must be a full and complete airing of all the facts. And I am determined to get all the facts out and take whatever action is necessary. The work of this Board and the Department of Justice investigation will do just that. Just as soon as your findings and recommendations are complete, they will be shared with the American people and the Congress. So, with that, I say, go to it!
Reporter. Mr. President, when the Attorney General
said you were not fully informed and you said you were not fully informed, did
that mean that you never knew anything about contra funding with
The President. Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International], I've answered that question. I'm not going to take -- we have a meeting now to go into, but I answered that question a couple of times.
Q. Well, does that mean that you had no knowledge at all?
The President. That's what I said.
Q. Mr. President, are you willing to call Congress back in for a special session?
The President. That is under discussion, and there's been no decisions yet. But we want to work with the Congress.
Note: The President spoke at in the Cabinet Room at the White House.