The forthcoming economic summit meeting provides “a very juicy target for terrorists,” and every precaution is being taken to prevent any terrorist act when President Reagan and the leaders of six other democracies meet in Tokyo, Secretary of State George P. Shultz said Sunday.
Expressing concern about the necessity for implementing tight security measures to combat increasing acts of terrorism, Shultz said he would be even more concerned “if we didn’t have the common sense to protect ourselves.”
“And we’re doing that--at home and abroad,” he declared in a television interview. “And naturally, when you get the heads of state of the seven industrialized democracies gathered together, it’s a very juicy target for terrorists.”
3 Days in Indonesia
As Reagan, Shultz and other member of the presidential party prepared to leave here this morning for a three-day visit in Indonesia before proceeding to Tokyo for the May 4-6 summit, terrorism continued to dominate discussions almost to the exclusion of other issues.
Shultz, interviewed on CBS-TV’s “Face the Nation,” predicted that at the economic summit, the heads of government will agree unanimously on the importance of having a strategy and tactical ability to implement strong measures against terrorism.
The summit brings together the leaders of the United States, Canada, Japan, Britain, France, Italy and West Germany.
Administration officials had expressed disappointment when only the British government among the Western allies gave strong support to the United States for its April 15 raid on what Washington called terrorist targets in Libya.
Threat Now Recognized
But Shultz said European governments now recognize the threat of terrorism “as clearly as we do,” and he pointed out that some of them have begun reducing the sizes of Libyan Embassy staffs that are suspected of being the source of terrorism.
However, the attack on Libya has been extremely unpopular in Britain as well as in other European countries and has also been sharply criticized in Southeast Asia, where Reagan will be spending the next three days.
The President has said he hopes the bombing will not adversely affect U.S. relations with the six members of the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations--Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
During his stay in Bali, Indonesia, Reagan will meet with Indonesian President Suharto and confer with the foreign ministers of the ASEAN countries.
In response to written questions submitted to the White House by newspapers of the ASEAN countries, Reagan said he appreciates the additional security protection that countries have provided to American diplomatic and other official facilities since the raid on Libya.
He was asked if he felt that the bombing of Libyan targets would damage U.S. relations with ASEAN nations, “particularly with those countries which have diplomatic ties with Libya or strong Arab sympathies.”
“We certainly hope not,” he replied. “We believe the nations of ASEAN share our repugnance for terrorism, regardless of the quarter from which it comes.”
Reagan said the United States has explained the reasons for its attack to the ASEAN nations and that “while there have been critical popular reactions in several of the ASEAN countries, we believe the governments understand the legal and moral basis for our actions.”
Continuing Soviet Buildup
In answer to another question, Reagan said the Soviet military buildup, especially in the Pacific, is continuing unabated.
The United States, he said, remains committed to deterring Soviet expansionism and intends to provide China with the capability to defend itself against “the common threat to the region.”
Shultz, in his CBS appearance, emphasized that the Administration believes that it needs to be able to act in greater secrecy in the future in combatting terrorism. Asked about his statement Friday in an interview with editors of the Los Angeles Times that covert action should be considered as a means of undermining Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi’s regime, he said:
“Covert action is something that we need to be using. And in general, there are a great many things that need to be done secretly, and we have to have a greater capacity in our country to recognize the importance of being able to do things without having them publicized ahead of time.”
Intended as Disruption
While covert action is something that should not be described in detail, he said, “it’s certainly intended to be disruptive.”
However, in answer to a question, he said he would not like to see the prohibition against assassinating a foreign leader lifted because “it doesn’t fit our way of thinking about how to do things.”
Shultz, bristling at a suggestion that the raid on Libya might have touched off the recent spate of terrorist acts in Europe and the Middle East, declared:
“You seem bent on the idea of showing that what we did didn’t work or was wrong or something. . . . The fact of the matter is that there has been an all-too-large and increasing level of terrorism before we took this action.”
A Cost to Terrorists
Unfortunately, he said, terrorism continues, but “the way to fight it is not just to sit back and complain. You’ve got to show that there are costs connected with terrorists. And I think that in the long run, the action President Reagan took will turn out to have been a pivotal one.”
White House spokesman Larry Speakes said Sunday that Reagan’s local telephone call Saturday to former President Ferdinand E. Marcos of the Philippines was made “because (Marcos) is an old friend and ally.”
Speakes said that Marcos, now living in exile in Hawaii, “is aware of U.S. policy” that supports President Corazon Aquino, installed as the islands’ leader after a civilian and military uprising deposed Marcos last Feb. 25.
A senior Administration official said that during their telephone conversation, the President “said nothing to encourage” Marcos in his stated ambition to return to the Philippines.