The situation in the Middle East -- I will go over some details that have been talked about in part or maybe in full at both Defense and State earlier today. We're still working out the details of what the marine force will do when they arrive and consultations with the Italian and French liaison officers in Beirut.
An agreed upon mandate for the Multinational Force reads as follows:
The MNF (multinational force) is to provide an interposition force at agreed locations and thereby provide the MNF presence requested by the Government of Lebanon to assist it and Lebanon's armed forces in the Beirut area. This presence will facilitate the restoration of Lebanese Government sovereignty and authority over the Beirut area and thereby further its efforts to assure the safety of persons in the area and to bring to an end the violence which has tragically recurred.
End of the statement on the MNF mandate.
These agreed upon locations are being worked out between the Government of Lebanon, the French, the Italians, and the United States. The force of United States marines, numbering about 800, as previously, will probably go in over the weekend. They are in the eastern Mediterranean at this time. The French are arriving in Beirut.
The marines are equipped basically as they were the last time they were involved. The rules of engagement are as before, normal self-defense rules.
It is our desire and hope and expectation, based on reports that we have received, that the Israelis will have withdrawn from west Beirut by the end of the week.
Ambassador Habib and Ambassador Draper are in Israel today to meet with Israeli officials to discuss the further developments in the situation in west Beirut, as well as looking out into the future.
Sources: Public Papers of the President