I'm coming before you tonight about the Korean airline massacre, the attack by the Soviet Union against 269 innocent men, women, and children aboard an unarmed Korean passenger plane. This crime against humanity must never be forgotten, here or throughout the world.
Our prayers tonight are with the victims and their families in their time of terrible grief. Our hearts go out to them -- to brave people like Kathryn McDonald, the wife of a Congressman whose composure and eloquence on the day of her husband's death moved us all. He will be sorely missed by all of us here in government.
The parents of one slain couple wired me: ``Our daughter . . . and her husband . . . died on Korean Airline Flight 007. Their deaths were the result of the Soviet Union violating every concept of human rights.'' The emotions of these parents -- grief, shock, anger -- are shared by civilized people everywhere. From around the world press accounts reflect an explosion of condemnation by people everywhere.
Let me state as plainly as I can: There was absolutely no justification, either legal or moral, for what the Soviets did. One newspaper in India said, ``If every passenger plane . . . is fair game for home air forces . . . it will be the end to civil aviation as we know it.''
Since 1981 the Soviet airline Aeroflot has been denied the right to fly to the United States. We have reaffirmed that order and are examining additional steps we can take with regard to Aeroflot facilities in this country. We're cooperating with other countries to find better means to ensure the safety of civil aviation and to join us in not accepting Aeroflot as a normal member of the international civil air community unless and until the Soviets satisfy the cries of humanity for justice. I am pleased to report that Canada today suspended Aeroflot's landing and refueling privileges for 60 days.
We have joined with other countries to press the International Civil Aviation Organization to investigate this crime at an urgent special session of the Council. At the same time, we're listening most carefully to private groups, both American and international, airline pilots, passenger associations, and others, who have a special interest in civil air safety.
I am asking the Congress to pass a joint resolution of condemnation of this Soviet crime.
We have informed the Soviets that we're suspending negotiations on several bilateral arrangements we had under consideration.
Along with Korea and Japan, we called an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council which began on Friday. On that first day, Korea, Japan, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, France, China, the United Kingdom, Zaire, New Zealand, and West Germany all joined us in denouncing the Soviet action and expressing our horror. We expect to hear from additional countries as debate resumes tomorrow.
We intend to work with the 13 countries who had citizens aboard the Korean airliner to seek reparations for the families of all those who were killed. The United States will be making a claim against the Soviet Union within the next week to obtain compensation for the benefit of the victims' survivors. Such compensation is an absolute moral duty which the Soviets must assume.
In the economic area in general, we're redoubling our efforts with our allies to end the flow of military and strategic items to the Soviet Union.
Secretary Shultz is going to Madrid to meet with representatives of 35 countries who, for 3 years, have been negotiating an agreement having to do with, among other things, human rights. Foreign Minister Gromyko of the Soviet Union is scheduled to attend that meeting. If he does come to the meeting, Secretary Shultz is going to present him with our demands for disclosure of the facts, corrective action, and concrete assurances that such a thing will not happen again and that restitution be made.
As we work with other countries to see that justice is done, the real test of our resolve is whether we have the will to remain strong, steady, and united. I believe more than ever -- as evidenced by your thousands and thousands of wires and phone calls in these last few days -- that we do.
I have outlined some of the steps we're taking in response to the tragic massacre. There is something I've always believed in, but which now seems more important than ever. The Congress will be facing key national security issues when it returns from recess. There has been legitimate difference of opinion on this subject, I know, but I urge the Members of that distinguished body to ponder long and hard the Soviets' aggression as they consider the security and safety of our people -- indeed, all people who believe in freedom.http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1983/90583a.htm