Jimmy Carter photo

Department of Commerce Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session With Department Employees

February 09, 1977

THE PRESIDENT. I would like to say to Dr. Taylor1 that as a farmer, as an engineer, as a scientist, I am not familiar with the protocol either, but it has been a very pleasant exchange between me and him.

1 John Taylor, a Commerce Department employee for 48 years, introduced the President.

There are some new things that are occurring in our country, some that relate directly to your Department. I don't know how many former Presidents have come over here to visit, but I doubt that you have ever seen a President kiss a Secretary of Commerce before. [Laughter]

As you know, I had literally tens of thousands of people in this country who were willing to serve as Secretary of this great Department. One of the major responsibilities on my shoulders after the election in November was to choose the best Cabinet members I could find. I wanted people with superb professional qualifications. I wanted those who could bridge the gap that quite often exists between government and people.

I wanted someone who could understand the complexities of the enormous bureaucratic entities that comprise the departments like your own. I wanted someone with sensitivity, someone with intelligence, someone with a vision of what our Nation is, and more importantly, what it can be; and someone who was compatible with me.

I made the right choice in the Secretary of Commerce, and I am very proud that you have a leader who meets all these qualifications.

Juanita Kreps is someone who can bring to you, I think, a renewed opportunity to take your own valuable lives, the tremendous talent and ability and experience and training that you have individually, and to use those talents with the maximum degree of service to our people.


Your Department is so important. I know many of you see the function of your Department perhaps as Dr. Taylor mentioned from the viewpoint of a single entity responsible for our Nation's standards, the collection of data, the analysis of information about employment opportunities, the protection of the quality of our environment, the concern about the oceans, the development of our cities, the problem of assessing long-range projections on weather, and the development of an adequate maritime structure.

So many things are in your hands, and I know you always feel the importance of your service to the greatest government on Earth.

We have a long way to go, however. In the aftermath of the recent years, with an unfortunate war in Vietnam and with the revelations about the CIA violating the law and with the Watergate revelations, there have been evolved in the hearts and minds of American people an alienation from government and sometimes a distrust of government and a lack of appreciation of the constant, dedicated, sometimes sacrificial service that you exhibit.

I want to do what I can as an embryonic President, who has never served in Washington before, to strengthen the ties that exist between people who don't serve in government and you and me.

We are absolute equal partners in sharing that responsibility. It is just as much a part of your life as it is mine. And when I stand before the television cameras or when I travel around this country or when I answer questions for the news media, in a way I speak for you. And if I do a good job, it brings an increased, enhanced appreciation for what you do, and when you fail, then I also take the consequences of that failure.

So, in a very practical way, we are partners in making sure that our Government is worthy of respect and trust and appreciation. And I know that you have always done your part--sometimes 3 or 4 weeks, like myself, sometimes 48 years, like Dr. Taylor. And we have such a wonderful opportunity to serve.

I doubt that any other person in the Nation has traveled more than I have the last 2 or 3 years or met with more people or made more talks or answered more questions or learned more about our country. There is an excitement, there is a hope, there is a confidence that exists--that I hope that I will never betray--that exists among the people of our country.

You have got a direct responsibility for trade, the interrelationship with other nations, and I see the importance of this Department so great that for the first time, I believe, in the National Security Council meetings, Secretary Kreps has been there to work with me and the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense and the CIA Director and say what should our Nation do to enhance its strength, in a legitimate way, and to arouse the appreciation and trust of other nations, which is the best basis for long-time peace.

It is not just the building of military strength, it is a building of our relationship with other nations so that we can share responsibilities in a peaceful means and not be distrustful of one another. Competition is good. We can hold our own. Americans are competitors. We are confident of ourselves, but confidence need not be translated into arrogance.

And arrogance is something that is a temptation for us all. I have tried to remove as much as I could the trappings and pomp and ceremony that has in the past followed Presidents. I don't want "Ruffles and Flourishes" played when I walk into a group like this. I am just one of you. In a democratic government, we ought to always remember that we are nobody's boss; we are servants. And to the extent that we can keep that consciousness in our minds, we can be better servants. We get enough appreciation if we do a good job. We need not bring it to ourselves with artificialities.

The last point I want to make is this: I have got a lot to learn. We are going to have an aggressive and dynamic administration. There will be a constant stream of comprehensive suggestions going to the Congress which, in my opinion, are long overdue: a complete reform of the welfare system; for the first time a comprehensive policy on energy; a tangible addressing of the problems of equity in our tax laws, trade laws; interrelationships with our friends around the world and our potential adversaries around the world. And you are part of that process.

We are going to analyze the structure of government, and when needed, we are going to reorganize the structure of government. We will never get off in a corner or in a closet or in the Oval Office with me and your own leaders and devise a change that would effect your own lives without your having an opportunity to originate the ideas for those changes.

If something is there for the last 30 or 40 years, and can be improved, I would like for you to take the initiative to recommend the improvement, and to the extent that you aggressively and enthusiastically involve yourselves in searching for better ways to do things, you can be part of the process of change.

If you withdraw into a corner or into your own closet and say I am not going to participate, they are trying to shape my life, to that extent you will be isolated. Chances are the changes will be made anyway, and you will be removed from an opportunity to contribute.

We are not going to change things just for the sake of change. What I want to do is to have .an efficient, economical, purposeful government within which every employee, including the President, has a chance to use our ability and talent to an optimum degree, to serve others, not ourselves. And I think that this will be an exciting time.

I hope to establish, along with your help, a continuing good relationship with Congress. I don't consider Congress to be my enemy. I consider them to be my partner, because I represent every one of their constituents and so do you.

This afternoon I have come over here not to make a speech, maybe to talk 8 or 10 minutes, which I have already done, and to try to answer your questions.

As you know, as I have said already, I am new on the job. I don't plan to be able to answer all the questions. I am here to learn. But I want to demonstrate in a natural way without any subterfuge that I am part of the same government you are.

I hope that on occasion--I haven't talked to her about this--that Secretary Kreps might repeat this kind of interrelationship with you so that an hour or so, every few weeks, you might have a chance to stand in your place and ask a question or to make a criticism or suggestion, to do it either verbally, if you choose, or in written form.

We will try to make sure that our budgeting process, using the zero-based budgeting technique, includes you in the decisions that might go into the evolution of next year's budget. It will give you a chance to see what you are doing, how you could do it better, and to make your suggestions known to her, to the Office of Management and Budget, and to me.

If anybody has a question now, I will try to answer it. I will try to keep my answers brief and cover as many questions as I can. I think they have set up, by the way, microphones in the aisles so that your questions might be heard. So, if you do have a question, you might go to one of the microphones and give it to me. Yes, sir?



Q. Mr. President, my name is David Larkin. I am sure I speak for all the employees of the Department in thanking you for the opportunity to ask questions of you. It certainly marks a welcome improvement in employer-employee relationships, and it should help us to be more responsive to your leadership.

THE PRESIDENT. That is enough. That is fine. Just stop right there.

No, I will give you a question, too. [Laughter]

Q. Here is my question, Mr. President: Have you had an opportunity to review the Presidential Management Initiatives program that President Ford started last summer, and if you have, do you intend to continue that or a similar management improvement belt-tightening type of program regarding the internal workings of the Government?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes. I am familiar with the program as it was initiated by President Ford. I think it is an excellent idea. The management of the Government by establishing specific goals will be part of my own administration's policies.

In addition to that, the zero-based budgeting technique is a very simple process by which the fiscal year 1979 budget will be prepared. It not only goes to the management level but it goes to the submanagement level deep within the structure of the Department. By using a one-page written form, which you can fill out not even with a typewriter but a ballpoint pen, you analyze what you are presently doing, about how many people work on that project, how much money you spend every year, how you think our own function can be enhanced or made more effective, and then those recommendations, filled out by you, come up slowly but inexorably to the head of the Department, your Secretary, and then eventually to me.

We also will evolve structural changes in the entire government process. We might even shift an entire function from one department to another on occasion. I would think there would be few of those that would affect the Commerce Department.

But in addition to that, we will try to analyze structural changes within the departments. We hope to have authority for that from the Congress without too much delay. I think the Senate has already completed their hearings on the reorganization bill, and it will be passed, I think, in the Senate quite shortly. There will be some additional time required in the House. But I think this will come through.

And the last thing that would give you a chance to expand upon the management improvement concept is in the evolution of written goals and policies to be pursued. We will try to set down not only what we hope to accomplish at the end of the fiscal year 1979 but what we hope your Department and your lives will accomplish at the end of 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, and in some instances, 15 or 20 years.

I want to be sure that you have an input into the evolution of a better way to analyze weather concepts, an input into better ways to strengthen the ties between the maritime forces and the Navy forces in time of peace and war. When we evolve by the end of April a comprehensive energy policy for our Nation--it has very serious interrelationships with transportation and commerce and environmental consequences. I want to be sure you have an input into that.

So, I will depend upon my Cabinet officers to make sure that President Ford's initial proposals are not only carried out but expanded.

I will try to keep my other answers shorter.


Q. Mr. President, my name is D. J. Spencer. I am with the Maritime Administration. I am also the chairperson for the Commerce Committee for Women, Ad Hoc Committee for Minority Women.

I am very pleased with the status of women in key positions in the Department. I would like to personally thank you also for the appointment of Dr. Kreps. However, as of today, I am unaware of the appointment of any minority women or men, and I would like to know if that is under consideration.

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question. I think in this Department, there are now about, I think there are exactly 5 men and 5 women in the 10 senior positions, which is the best achievement I have in any department.

Secondly, I think in the entire Department itself, about 20 percent or more of the employees are representing minority groups, which is substantially higher than the total population percentage; and I think among the total Department employees, about 35 percent are women, . which, as you know, is not an adequate amount to represent the 51.3 percent of women in our society.

I can't answer your question about the other.

The answer is yes.

Let me add one other point because this is important: We have really tried to correct a long-standing discrimination against minority groups and women in the Government. And it is not an easy thing to do, even if your heart is in the right place.

As I said in my press conference yesterday, that I am sure none of you saw because you were on the job, in the previous administration at the executive level in the major departments, we only had nine women. Although we are not nearly through with the selection process, we already have 29 women in those top positions, and we have got more than twice as many black senior executives in the entire Government structure now, at the top levels I am talking about, not in subordinate jobs. And I think we have three times as many Spanish-speaking Americans as we have had before. And we still have a long way to go. But I hope that you will be constantly aggressive, which I am sure you will be, in pointing out any defects that we still have remaining.

Yes, over on the right aisle.


Q. My name is Sonia Maged, and I am a systems accountant in the Office of the Secretary. I would like to know what your plans are for the Department of Commerce in the reorganization of the Federal Government.

THE PRESIDENT. Juanita says she does, too.

I don't know yet, I really don't know. We will make two or three different kinds of reorganization attempts, I think, all of which will be successful. One is a generic kind of approach to things like electronic data processing, how to make sure we have the most effective use of existing computer systems that cover all departments.

Secondly, better personnel management, better training programs, and so forth, more equitable hiring practices, the elimination of inadvertent or deliberate discrimination, how to use personnel more effectively, proper balance between those that are assigned to Washington and those that are out in the field, a better interrelationship among people who work at the regional or community level among different departments so that we don't have the separation anymore between the EDA program in Commerce and the training and job placement program in Labor, or the provision of day care center services from HEW and so forth. We want to be sure there is a much greater relationship among departments than there has been in the past.

The second major thing is on matters that relate to your own Department itself. And there your input and your superiors' input will be kind of a generic thing that starts at the bottom and builds up, with recommendations being made about, perhaps, some restructuring of existing subdepartment functions in your own agency here.

And the last point, of course, will be the transfer of major entities from one department to another. Offhand, I would think that the Commerce Department would be affected very slightly by that last component part. Other agencies might be strongly affected.

Under the Government reorganization authority, we could not abolish or create a major department. I do intend to create a new department of energy and mineral resources and a lot of those functions will come from agencies like ERDA, FEA, and so forth. Others will come out of the present Department of Interior. I have got Dr. James Schlesinger and Secretary Cecil Andrus from Interior working very closely with each other now and with the congressional committees to decide how those divisions should be made.

This last provision, by the way, since it creates a new department, has to be done with special legislation. Under the reorganization authority, any change that I propose would go to the Congress, and if either house of the Congress disapproved it, within 60 days, my proposal would be cancelled. So, there is an adequate protection built in so that we don't make a mistake. And to the extent that you will cooperate and give suggestions, I think there is a very good chance that your suggestions would be adopted.

Anyone over on this aisle?


Q. Robert Stephens, computer engineer, Bureau of the Census. Mr. President, since the computer is no strange monster to you, I have a 'two-part question. One, can we expect a major change in the acquisition, utilization, and technical services of data-processing equipment in the new administration? Two, are you planning to appoint a competent group of computer specialists to serve as advisers in all aspects of data processing?

THE PRESIDENT. I can't answer that question yet. I can tell you that when I was Governor of Georgia, we did exactly what you have just asked me about. I am not familiar enough yet with the method of acquisition, of computer systems, the compatibility of the different computer systems that the Government does have, the effectiveness of a backup-type computer use so that if one breaks down there might be an automatic supplementation of it.

We need some uniformity of the handling of computer programing data. We also need some uniformity so that we can train people that might shift from one department to another, and some of the small entities in the Government might not need a computer themselves, but they might need to share a major computer center. Also, we need adequate security.

I am not quite sure yet that the Federal Government computer centers are secure, for instance, from sabotage or perhaps from destruction by fire or some other force. As you know, our Nation could be badly damaged if somebody with a small but very powerful magnet should go through your statistical analysis centers or through the HEW records center and just wipe out vast numbers of data that exist on those computer tapes and disks.

So, I would say that we will analyze the need for the changes. I think OMB would probably be the proper central entity to supervise that analysis, and I would not be hesitant at all to make changes if they are determined to be needed. But at the present time, I don't know what the need is. We will know within a year.

I would like to have your ideas on things that we need to do to improve services.


Q. Mr. President, I am Magda Tenser. I am a statistician for the Maritime Administration. I am also the president of the Commerce Committee for Women. First of all, thank you so much for Juanita Kreps. In her first 3 weeks as Secretary of Commerce, she has done more for our morale--I am speaking for women mostly-than all former Secretaries put together. We are looking forward to a great future through the new spirit that permeates from her office and her leadership.

Now my question: Would the White House support removal of the equal opportunity monitoring of Federal Government employment practices from Civil Service Commission, title VII? In other words, CSC always backs the departments on all or almost all discrimination cases.

THE PRESIDENT. Mrs. Kreps has 'also done a lot for morale of people in the Government who are not women, including mine.

We now have seven major Federal agencies responsible for elimination of sex and race discrimination. The one in the Civil Service is only one out of seven. The average length of time required from the filing of a complaint that might be perfectly justified and the ultimate resolution of that case is about 3 years. In EEOC alone there are about 30,000 backlog cases. During the campaign I had a good analysis of this problem made, and my hope is to bring all those functions into one agency that does not have a built-in bias.

I think we have a long way to go in the rooting out of discriminatory practices. And quite often, men like myself who are leaders don't even have an ability to detect discrimination that ought to be obvious, and it is, once it is pointed out.

So, I don't know exactly where the responsibility for elimination of sex discrimination might be placed. But I know we don't need seven different agencies. And we need to have a clear technique both legally and administratively to resolve those cases very quickly.

But it is too early for me to say what will happen to their particular agency or function that you described that is now in Civil Service.

Q. We are not talking only about sex discrimination. We are talking about everything.

THE PRESIDENT. Of course. I understand that.


Q. Mr. President, my name is Howard Griffin, from the Department of Commerce, Office of Export Administration. Some of my workers would like to know what are you planning to do with the Arab boycott? In one of your speeches you said that you were planning to end it. They were wondering, how far have you progressed on this?

THE PRESIDENT. I think it is good for all of us to understand that there are different meanings to the word "boycott." A primary boycott is perfectly acceptable in international affairs.

We have, for instance, a primary boycott against Cuba. It is all right for a nation to say we are not going to trade with you. It is perfectly all right for the Arab countries to say we are not going to trade with Israel. What does create a problem that I hope to eliminate is for the Arab countries to say to us, "You cannot trade with Israel and also trade with us" or "You cannot trade with us, the Arab countries, if you have Jews on your board of directors." This, in my opinion, violates the constitutional rights of Jewish citizens. It also is completely obnoxious to me in a society like our own, built on an absence of legal attention, of recognition of a person's religious or racial or sexual characteristics.

So, that is what is called a secondary and even tertiary boycott. We now have several bills that have been introduced in the House and Senate. We have a cohesive group of business and labor leaders, many of whom happen to be Jewish, who are working on the principles that ought to be included in an antiboycott law.

And I will support those. I think it is time for us to root out the concept of the secondary and tertiary boycott, never permit a foreign nation to discriminate against any of our citizens who happen to be Jewish, with legal permission from our own Government. And we also need to have as a last thing uniformity among the different States of the Nation in dealing with the antiboycott legislation. We now have a strong antiboycott law in New York. We have a weak antiboycott law in New Jersey. So, when the Arab countries want to come and trade, they just bypass New York, come into New Jersey, and they can discriminate against Jewish citizens accordingly.

So, uniformity and elimination of attention, of recognition given to a citizen because they happen to be Jewish, and a prohibition against the deprivation of human rights, and a secondary and tertiary boycott are all things that I hope to root out.

The right of the Arab countries to boycott Israel is something with which we have no authority and in which I do not want to become involved.


Q. I have a comment on something that was previously said.


Q. We in the Office of Export Administration, we commend your choice of Secretary of Commerce, but we also would like to see other blacks and minorities given key positions within Commerce, people who can relate to problems that your GS-5's and on to 2's can identify with. I guess that is about it.

THE PRESIDENT. That is enough. It is a very good point. And I don't want to have an opinion among you that I am satisfied even with the Commerce Department just because we got 50 percent men and 50 percent women in the leadership roles. We still have a long way to go.

In my travel around the country at all levels of government, and in private life as well, this is a constant question. I tried to address it adequately. We still have a long way before we can be satisfied. But I don't want you to be satisfied either.

And it is very hard to change from practically no minority groups in government to an adequate number or very few women in government to an adequate number overnight. But in an evolutionary way and with great attention to that problem, I will do the best I can to alleviate those legitimate concerns.



Q. Mr. President, muchas gracias.

THE PRESIDENT. Gracias, too.

Q. Mr. President, we all know that energy is one of your administration's priorities and that you are moving aggressively in this area. I recently heard about a concept which is being discussed within the high ranks of your energy teams which expect to have energy producers and consumers jointly sharing conservation efforts by having producers of energy invest money in insulating homes, which, in turn, will save energy rather than making investments in further exploration of energy.

This appears to be a very innovative concept. And I wonder if minority business development is also a priority in your administration, and would not a similar concept be equally applicable? I refer to something like having the Government use incentives to private industry in the forms of tax credits and other allowances and incentives to induce private industry to make more profitable investments in developing minority enterprise, rather than expanding their own corporations to a point where antitrust actions and other antimonopolistic practices would not be necessary. What is your feeling of this, Mr. President. [Laughter]

THE PRESIDENT. Would you repeat the question, please? [Laughter]

Q. Should I repeat it in Spanish?

THE PRESIDENT. No. [Laughter]

I will give just one brief statistic. It costs $1.50 a barrel to save energy, to save oil. It costs $15 a barrel to buy oil to waste. We are now wasting more energy than we import. And that is waste that we can eliminate. It is not engineering waste that theoretically can't be avoided. The last 2 months, we have imported over half the oil we have consumed, a little more than 10 million barrels a day.

Another point is, when we carry out the procedure that was mentioned in the beginning of the question, to insulate homes for instance, that is a highly labor-intensive effort. It takes a lot of laborers, minority enterprise, small enterprise to blow insulation materials into attics of homes. For a given $1 million spent to save energy, you get a lot of jobs. To build a power dam or to drill another oil well or put in a new electric generation station, if you spend $1 million, you don't get very many jobs. So you have got a 10-to-1 advantage in conservation compared to new use of energy, and you've got much more than 10-to-1 advantage in the number of jobs derived.

Now, as far as minority business enterprises are concerned, the attitude of the Small Business Administration, and particularly the minority enterprises aspect of it, it is very important to me.

When I went home from the Navy in 1953, I didn't have a job. I didn't have a home. I lived in the Government housing project. I paid $31 a month. I didn't make enough money the first year to pay my rent. Later, I went to the Small Business Administration, and they not only gave me a loan but they gave me constant annual advice and help. They would send a distinguished retired business person down to Plains to spend 2 or 3 days, at no cost to me, to go through my warehouse business, which was just getting started, and to give me advice on how to handle my accounts receivable, how to keep my record: how to borrow money, how to market my products better.

This is the kind of attitude I hope to engender within the Small Business Administration and also within the Commerce Department and also the other agencies. It is not enough for us to just hand out a grant or even give somebody a job. We need to make sure that we have a personal interrelationship with the people being helped that continues, because in many instances, particularly with foreign language speaking families or black families, we have loaned them just enough money to go bankrupt.

And it gives the Government a bad name, and we deserve it when that happens. And it discourages quite often the best people in the community that are struggling to be a success. And when others see their .best people fail, it is especially discouraging to those that haven't quite got the energy or the ambition or the confidence to start a new business.

So, this is the kind of thing that must be addressed. There are not any magic answers to it, but I want to make sure that in my appointments to these positions, that the question that you raise, not only in energy but in minority business and otherwise, that we put this on a personal basis, dealing with people as individuals, not as statistics, and making sure that there is a permanent relationship between that individual and Government that is mutually satisfactory.


Q. Mr. President, my name is Dave Snyder. I work for the National Fire Prevention Control Administration.

THE PRESIDENT. Where are you, Dave?

Q. I am over on your right.

THE PRESIDENT. Okay. I didn't see the microphone. Thank you.

Q. As a volunteer firefighter and as someone who has the great good fortune to be a public servant with the National Fire Prevention and Control Administration and with the United States Department of Commerce, I would like to know what priority you will attach to the goal of safety when that conflicts with goals of antipollution and with goals of commercial betterment for the United States. And a reorganization question: Do you plan to reorganize those agencies in the United States Government or unite them, those agencies which are concerned with the safety of America's consumers, America's workers, and America's highways?

THE PRESIDENT. Obviously, the personal aspect of Government responsibilities like safety would come above statistical achievement, and if there is a conflict, the top priority would be human beings.

Secondly, the reorganization efforts will not result in the discharge of any Federal employees. We reorganized the entire structure of Georgia's government. I never fired a person. It is not fair to professional employees to have your jobs threatened 'because of a change in the structure of the government in which you have served.

Now we have an adequate attrition rate. There may be an instance when somebody would have their place of work transferred. If so, it would be done without any loss in your pay or seniority status. If new skills were required, the extra training would be provided for you at Government expense.

So, no one in the Federal Government need ever fear that your jobs will be threatened, nor your usefulness will be decreased because of reorganization.

What will happen, though, is when we have 7 or 8 or 10 or 12 or 15 or 20 or 30 or sometimes 50 different agencies in Government responsible for exactly the same function, those might be pulled together to make an identifiable entity in the Federal Government which average American citizens can approach and which can provide their services without waste or conflict.

I was talking at the last Cabinet meeting yesterday morning, and Joe Califano said that within his own Department there are 13 different agencies created by Congress responsible for the reduction of the use of drugs--13. He is chairman of seven of them. In addition to HEW, I think there are seven other departments that have drug treatment responsibilities, plus the White House.

That means that none of those functions can be carried out effectively. And if those are brought together in HEW, I think all the people that would like to cut down on the drug addiction problem would be more affected. The people would obviously be served better. And I believe that it won't disrupt the lives of employees in Government.

So, persons would come first, human being would come first, and the change in the structure of government would not adversely affect your own professional careers under any circumstances. If it ever does, you contact me directly. I mean that. All my Cabinet officers have instructions to that effect.

And the third thing is if change is made, I would not try to change something and face the Congress and try to justify it unless I was convinced in my own mind that it would give us a chance to provide better services and not disrupt services.

I think that I have answered as many questions as you want to propose to me. I would like to say this in closing: It has been a great pleasure and an honor for me to come over here. Your work is extremely interesting to me. I have studied something about your Department when I was trying to decide whom to select as your top leaders.

I hope that you will have a chance to relate directly to them. Many of you have been here many years and Mrs. Kreps and others need your help and your advice.

If you detect in her or others special strength and special weaknesses, I hope that you will not be critical of me or her or of others. If she has a weakness--and I don't know that she does--I hope that she will try to supplement that weakness, or even among your own peer groups within the Department, the same thing.

We need to constantly strive to have a better working relationship, to supplement one another's abilities and not to have divisions that might tear us apart one from another.

We have a chance, I think, because of the hopeful attitude that exists among the American people, not brought about by me, but brought about in the aftermath of tragedy, to move forward now with a new kind of opportunity. I will do the best I can. I am going to make some mistakes. I hope you will forgive me. You are going to make some mistakes, and we will be in it together.

But you have been very nice to let me come over. I hope to come back again. If I can ever help any of you, let Juanita know or either let me know directly, and I will do the best I can to be a good President.

Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 2:30 p.m. in the auditorium at the Department of Commerce.

Jimmy Carter, Department of Commerce Remarks and a Question-and-Answer Session With Department Employees Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/243927

Filed Under




Washington, DC

Simple Search of Our Archives