Jimmy Carter photo

Brunswick, Georgia Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at the Brunswick Airport.

May 26, 1977

REPORTER. What's the first thing you are going to do now?

THE PRESIDENT. I'm going to put on some blue jeans and some Keds and get outdoors. We'll try to fish a little while.

Q. Do you suffer from claustrophobia?

THE PRESIDENT. On submarines? No, just when I'm surrounded by news people. [Laughter] Submarines don't bother me.

Q. Is the Admiral1 going to let the press get on?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know. I left it up to the Admiral and the commanding officers. There is a great deal of top secret material on a nuclear submarine. And that was the problem, whether to try to conceal it. But I would give a press briefing when I get off.

1Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, USN, Director, Division of Naval Reactors, Energy Research and Development Administration.

I understand they have arranged for a hovercraft and also for helicopters to follow us along. We'll stay on the surface for maybe 3 hours before we dive. So there will be plenty of chance for photo opportunities. And then I'll have a press conference when I get off the sub.

Q. Mr. President, did you have a chance to talk to Congressman Ginn about the shrimping situation here in South Georgia?

THE PRESIDENT. I hope you don't think that Bo Ginn would have been on the plane with me for an hour and a half without talking about the shrimp problem. [Laughter] I didn't have to take a chance. He came up to our cabin immediately to talk to me about it. I had already gotten a report from Joe Tanner2 on the extremely disappointing test harvesting of shrimp for this year. It's only 2 or 3 percent of what it was last year. And I think Bo Ginn met with the Governor's people this morning to work out a proposal for special assistance for the shrimp fishermen--I think more than 300 boats. And I presume that when I get back up to Washington Tuesday, it will be waiting for me there. I am not yet involved in it, but it has to go through the process of being assessed. And I think the request might be for loan and other assistance for shrimp fishermen to tide them over this year without any harvesting.

2Joe D. Tanner, Georgia Commissioner of Natural Resources.

Q. Is it likely then, Mr. President, that you are going to honor Governor Busbee's request to. declare the coast of Georgia a disaster area?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, I don't know yet. I can't predict what will be decided. But if there's any possibility for me to do it properly and legally, I'll try not to disappoint my Georgia friends.

Q. Is there much chance that you will interrupt your vacation and go out and talk to some of the shrimpers while you are here?

THE PRESIDENT. I don't know; I might. We just haven't decided about that yet. Bo Ginn has given me a guarantee of a thorough report on the shrimpers' problems.

Q. Did you have to have a physical examination before going down? How deep will you go under, do you know?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, that doesn't affect in the first place, no, I don't know how deep we are going. But that would not affect the physical condition of myself or anyone else. The pressure inside a submarine is maintained constant regardless of the depth we go.

Q. How many hours have you logged on subs?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, I don't know. The longest I was ever under the surface without coming up was 19 days. But I was on a submarine for 2 years, in and out of ports. We took long trips to the eastern coast of China, beginning in late 1948. And I left the submarine force in the winter of 1953. So, I spent months and months at sea and long periods of time submerged.

Q. Are you anxious to take the helm?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, I am. I'm looking forward to it. I have never operated on a nuclear submarine before. I left the Navy before the nuclear subs actually began to operate.

I was a senior officer in charge of getting the second nuclear submarine ready for sea, working under Rickover then. That was in 1951, '52, and '53.

Q. You think you can handle a ship still?

THE PRESIDENT. Oh, I think so. I think so. They have got some automatic devices to prevent serious errors. [Laughter] And I am sure I will be well watched.

Q. We'll be waiting for you.

THE PRESIDENT. Are you all going down to Cape Canaveral with us?

Q. Yes.

THE PRESIDENT. I think you are going to enjoy it. The ones that don't go out on the helicopter and all--as you probably well know, Cape Canaveral has a lot of good things to see.

Q. Can we give you a tape recorder to record your comments?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. Rex Granum 3 is going to go out with me. And I hope that you all will talk to Rex before we go out. Rex?

Q. We're not adverse to going along.

Q. Let us in the crew.

3Deputy Press Secretary.

THE PRESIDENT. They were just talking about getting a complete report back on the submarine and whether we'd have tape recordings or not. I thought you might talk to them before we go and maybe take a tape recorder along.

MR. GRANUM. I thought we would.

THE PRESIDENT. Several times during the day you might ask me questions and I would respond to you.

MR. GRANUM. I thought we might just hang there and get some of the quotes, and so forth.


Q. The Atlanta Constitution will pay for it. [Laughter]

REPORTER. Thank you. Have a good time.

THE PRESIDENT. Thank you. We will see you later.

Note: The exchange began at 3:25 p.m. at the Brunswick Golden Isles Glynco Jetport. Following his remarks, the President motorcaded to Musgrove Plantation, St. Simons Island.

Jimmy Carter, Brunswick, Georgia Exchange With Reporters on Arrival at the Brunswick Airport. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243294

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