Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska Exchange With Reporters on Departure From Anchorage.
Q. Mr. President, it seems Iran is going to release one of the hostages. What does that mean, sir?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, I had the message on the helicopter, coming back a few minutes ago, from the national security adviser. The press reports were that a young man named Richard Queen, I believe, from Maine, has been announced as being released by the terrorists in Iran, because he was seriously ill and could not be adequately treated in Tehran. We don't yet have a confirmation of this report. If it is true and if the young man is well after adequate treatment, of course we'll be very thankful.
Obviously, the proper thing for the terrorists to do is to release all of the hostages who are being held, because they are innocent and they deserve to be with their families as well as those who are too ill to be treated. So, until we get a firm report on whether the young man has been released, I think it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further.
Q. Well, why do they have any humanitarian concern for one hostage if they don't for the rest?
THE PRESIDENT. Well, as I said, the humanitarian thing to do would be to release all the hostages immediately. They should have done this long ago. But I think it would be better for me not to comment on Mr. Queen, because we don't want to say anything that might interfere with his release.
Well, I would like to say additionally that I had a very delightful and a very successful fishing trip. This is some of the most beautiful country in the world, and we were well hosted by Rupe Andrews 1 and also by the Governor of Alaska, Jay Hammond, who were very gracious to us. We had a chance to fish for about 5 hours and to travel about an hour and a half in and back and really thoroughly enjoyed the brief vacation. It reminds us again of the beauty of Alaska and the wonderful gifts that God has given our country, and I'm very grateful for this chance to see part of it.
1 Rupert E. Andrews, Director of the Alaska State Division of Sport Fishing.
Thank you very much. Yes, one more question maybe.
Q. Mr. President, Senator Mike Gravel is running for reelection, with a large part of his platform being the Alaska lands issue. Senator Gravel maintains that no bill is better than either one of the bills currently in Congress. If no bill passes this session, do you anticipate Executive withdrawals of more lands?
THE PRESIDENT. My presumption is and my hope is that we will have an adequate D-2 lands bill passed that would preserve the beauty of Alaska and allow for an appropriate economic development now and in the future. I think it's much superior if we do have legislation approved by the Congress than if any further Executive action is necessary. So, we're going to work hard to get an acceptable legislative bill through.
Thank you all very much. I've enjoyed being here.
Note: The exchange began at 1 p.m. The President then boarded Air Force One enroute to Georgia. After a short stop at Glynco Jetport, Brunswick, Ga., he boarded Marine One for the flight to Sapelo Island.
Jimmy Carter, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska Exchange With Reporters on Departure From Anchorage. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250710