Americans who remained in Libya against President Reagan’s orders will be prosecuted if they return to the United States, the chief U.S. delegate to the United Nations says.
“They’re all going to be indicted when they come home,” Ambassador Vernon A. Walters said Tuesday. But he acknowledged before an audience at the Quantico Marine Base that “there’s not much we can do until they come home.”
Walters addressed 700 Marines and local officials as part of a lecture series sponsored by the Marine Corps Command and Staff College Foundation.
He said American workers in Libya “shouldn’t underestimate the United States and think we don’t know who they are. When you’re serving a government that is killing Americans, you’ve got to expect some kind of response--a harsh statement, but it’s a fact. They have no business being there.”
Walters, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, also cautioned Americans against rebuking this country’s European allies for not backing the U.S. bombing of terrorist targets in Libya.
“Some people thought we were using too much force, and some people thought we were using too little,” he said. “So I think the secret of why people wouldn’t let us do certain things is contained somewhere in there.”
Walters also said economic sanctions against Libya would cripple the North African nation headed by Col. Moammar Kadafi.
“Libya is a one-product country, namely petroleum. It can be easily strangled. If you could get people to stop buying their oil. . . , the whole economy would grind to a halt,” he said.