Washington — Reagan voices confidence in Marine chief on Beirut
President Reagan said in his press conference Tuesday night he had full confidence in Marine Corps Commandant Paul X. Kelley and his conclusion that US forces in Beirut had prepared adequately before the terrorist attack that took 241 lives. Mr. Reagan's comment differed from that of a congressional investigation, which faulted General Kelley's testimony as erroneous and misleading.
Reagan also clarified his statement last week that the Marines might be withdrawn from Lebanon if efforts by President Amin Gemayel to maintain order collapsed. He said he meant there were circumstances under which the Marines might be withdrawn other than success in their mission to help Mr. Gemayel establish government authority.
The President said the Marines, along with other soldiers of the multinational peacekeeping force, would widen their role to move in behind the Lebanese Army and provide security as the Army sought to reestablish its control over the country.