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Meese Denies Clash in Cabinet Over Crackdown on Drug Trade

March 15, 1985|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III today denied that the Justice and State departments have clashed over a crackdown on drug trafficking and said he is "moderately encouraged" by Mexico's efforts in tracking down a U.S. agent's murderer.

Meese, appearing at his first news conference as attorney general, also promised openness and accessibility, but then ruled out making public record of his meetings as done by some predecessors.

Meese, who had testified at his confirmation hearings that he would keep logs of who met with him, said he will not make them public even though former Attys. Gen. Griffen Bell and Benjamin Civiletti did.

Meese said there was no disagreement between the two Cabinet agencies despite reports the Justice Department has sought a hard line against countries suspected of sending illegal drugs to the United States while the State Department has counseled moderation.

"I don't see any conflict at all," Meese said flatly.

Meese said he was encouraged by recent arrests in Mexico in the kidnap-murder of Enrique Camarena Salazar of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

"We are encouraging an all-out effort by the Mexican authorities," Meese said. "We are moderately encouraged by the cooperation we are receiving."

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