The United States has tried by peaceful means to deter Col. Qaddafi and his regime from their promotion of terrorism, but to no effect.
President Reagan informed me last week that the United States intended to take military action to deter further Libyan terrorism. He sought British support for this action. . . .
In view of Libya's promotion of terrorism, the failure of peaceful means to deter it, and the evidence that further attacks were threatened, I replied to the president that we would support action directed against specific Libyan targets demonstrably involved in the conduct and support of terrorist activities. Further, that if the president concluded that it was necessary, we would agree to the deployment of U.S. aircraft from bases in the United Kingdom for that purpose.
. . . The president assured me that the operation would be limited to clearly defined targets related to terrorism . . . . He made it clear that the use of F-111 aircraft from bases in the United Kingdom was essential, because by virtue of their special characteristics they would provide the safest means of achieving particular objectives with the lowest possible risk both of civilian casualties in Libya and of casualties among the U.S. service personnel.
Terrorism is a scourge of the modern age. Libya has been behind much of it and was planning more. The United Kingdom itself has suffered from Libya's actions . . . . The United States, after trying other means, has now sought by limited military action to induce the Libyan regime to desist from terrorism. That is in the British interest. It is why the government supports the U.S. action.