Richard Nixon photo

Informal Exchange With Reporters at the United States Coast Guard Station, Newport Beach, California.

August 29, 1971

Q. How did you enjoy your trip?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, we enjoyed it very much. I have never done that before, even though I have grown up in California. What was the most fun was to see the boats and to see what a great time everybody was having.

The Queen Mary brought back some memories1. In 1947, the first time I had ever gone to Europe, I went as a Congressman, as a member of the Herter Committee.2 I tried to pick out, as we came back alongside the ship, the room that we had stayed in. I think I guessed where it was, about amidships. It is rather sad to see the ship no longer in service, but I am glad it is getting such good use. I understand about 10,000 people were looking at it today.

1 The luxury ocean liner R.M.S. Queen Mary was retired in 1967. She was anchored in Long Beach Harbor and then converted into a maritime museum and hotel-restaurant-shop and tourist complex.

2 The House Select Committee on Foreign Aid, named after its chairman, the late Representative Christian A. Herter of Massachusetts, toured 18 European nations in the summer of 1947 to survey war damage and make suggestions on the need for U.S. aid.

I think it is quite remarkable that so many people, from the smallest boats to the largest, get out here on a Sunday or Saturday afternoon and have such a great time. We have never had such an escort.

Q. Was it rough out there, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT. Not on our boat. I understand it was rougher on yours. Ours had stabilizers, so that we had a pitch, but not a roll, and for seasickness, they tell me, the roll is the worst thing. I think yours may have gotten both the roll and the pitch. It bounced around a bit.

I know the first time I went to Catalina when I was in college I got terribly sick, but it wasn't on this kind of a boat.

Q. You didn't take the helm at any time, did you?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, for a little while. It is very easy. It is just like driving an automobile. This has so much equipment on it that it is very, very easy to operate. Another thing, the captain of this boat, coincidentally, was Dick Powell's 3 captain, and he recalled that we had met the last time just a few days before Dick Powell's death when I called on him at his home. And Dick Powell at that time was planning a trip on a boat that he had, and this man was the captain and they were going down to lower California. I was going along, so we had a good time talking about those days many years ago.

3 Motion picture and television actor, director, and producer.

Q. When you can get away for a few hours like this, Mr. President, do the problems of the country seem a little less pressing on you?

THE PRESIDENT. You never really get away from the problems, of course. On the other hand, there is an opportunity, I think, to put the problems more in perspective. For example, I get a chance to read a little more when I am on a boat or when I am in San Clemente or Camp David, and the rest. On this boat I happened to just be reading a little history, spotting it through the American history, going back to the earliest Presidents, and it was interesting to note how all of them had to find his particular way to get away. Some liked the sea, some liked the mountains, some liked to fish, hunt, and as far as I am concerned, of course, I don't happen to fish or to hunt, but I like the water and I like the ocean, and this is a great opportunity to see it at its best.

I am amazed, though, at Los Angeles harbor, at how much it has developed--to think that that is all manmade, and to see those slips that go way back there-how much it has developed since we were first there. But even more important, the small boat business, how good it is. I never saw so many.

Note: The exchange of remarks took place at 4:10 p.m. as the President returned from a 2-day cruise off the coast of southern California. He sailed aboard the MoJo, an 85-foot cruiser owned by retired Los Angeles businessman Frank Muller.

Richard Nixon, Informal Exchange With Reporters at the United States Coast Guard Station, Newport Beach, California. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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