President Bush said Thursday there is increasing evidence that foreign drug-traffickers are using American-made chemicals to refine cocaine and "we should demand that United States corporations act responsibly" to prevent such abuses.
Bush said few Americans are aware that "illegally diverted barrels of dangerous chemicals - clearly marked with U.S. corporate logos - are routinely seized" in the jungles of Colombia.While U.S. businesses "by and large" have supported government efforts to curb drug abuse, "industry's got to do more," the president said.
"And I hope that parents' groups and stockholders are listening today," he said in the speech to the International Drug Enforcement Conference here. "We should demand that United States corporations act responsibly, and that they not tolerate chemicals ending up in criminal hands."
More than 100 striking Eastern Airlines employees and their supporters demonstrated outside the hotel where Bush spoke. They gave a thumbs-down salute as Bush's motorcade rode past. The president, who has refused union appeals to intervene in the nearly 8-week-old strike, waved in return.
In advance of Bush's speech, White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater said the administration hoped that corporations would take "voluntary action" to determine the end use of chemicals they sell and ship out of the country.