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May 19, 1988

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Diary Entry - 05/19/1988

Thursday, May 19, 1988

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As of last night Kozak in Panama had no reply to the ultimatum he delivered to Noriega—he plans to leave at 10 A.M. our time today & come home.

Then we talked about I.N.F.—things are looking up. Howard gives us a 70% chance of ratification.

A little talk about the trade bill & holding up my veto til the last minute.

I’m facing a bill on Vets remuneration for Cancer if they were in the forces at the testing in Nev. or based near Hiroshima & Nagasaki in W.W.II.

N.S.C.—Colin commented on the anti I.N.F. measure proposed by Jesse Helms—it was defeated 92 to 6 in the Sen.

Word came at 10:25 A.M. our time that Kozak was on his way to the plane when a messenger gave him word that Noriega has accepted our terms.

This was a cut up day—first I’m working out of the study, the Oval office is torn up for T.V. interviews I’m doing. A brief meeting on what to do about Noriega. Geo. Bush is back & feels very strongly that we shouldn’t quash N’s. indictment for Drug running even if it does result in his stepping down & out of Panama. My position is that since Panama law prohibits extradition the indictment is meaningless & if we dont follow through N. can stay in Panama as mil. dictator & we cant touch him.

Then I did an interview T.V. with half a dozen or so foreign press—Finland, Germany, France, Italian, Japanese & British. It went pretty well—it was for immediate use on their T.V.

Lunch turned out to be a hastily called meeting in Cab. room to go on about Noriega. A division of ranks supporting my position & the V.P.’s. Shultz was with me & I stuck by my decision.

Then after lunch an interview between me & 3 news magazines. A photo for a Finnish newspaper with which I’ve done a written interview. A photo for a Soviet News magazine. A meeting with Sen’s. Murkowski & Al Simmons [Simpson]—they prefer a veto on a veterans bill—Cancer again. I heard them out but believe I’ll sign.

Then the Blue Angels—17 of them came by for photos. They are going to do a fly over when we leave for the Summit Wed.

And then it was upstairs & tonite the photographers annual dinner. (Ray S. S.S.) told me one of our Arabian horses (“Alfi”) at the ranch broke a small bone in his knee & will be laid up for some time. The dinner was a great success. I did a slide show using photos plus a real comedy routine that got great laughs.