Jimmy Carter photo

Plains, Georgia Informal Exchange With Reporters.

December 26, 1980

Q. I just wondered whether you've seen the tape and what your impression was?

THE PRESIDENT. I've just seen the brief tape—[inaudible]—going to have a longer one now. And we got a message this morning—yesterday, rather, from the Algerians that they have seen all 52 hostages and that they all seemed to be well, and we're very pleased at that. We'll be getting a more complete report from the Algerians, who have seen the hostages.

Q. Do we know more about where they're being held now and under what circumstances?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, this is known.

Q. Is it luxury or is it—

THE PRESIDENT. No, not luxury.

Q. Very adverse conditions?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, it's still imprisonment. They are not free. That's the most important single thing. It's a criminal act, has been from the very beginning. We'll continue, as best we can, to acquire their freedom, but we don't know what the future holds.

Q. Do you see the pictures as a comfort, to have seen pictures of them more recently, or as an insult?

THE PRESIDENT. Well, it's still insulting to see them being held as prisoners. Obviously, the families of the 50 men and women are pleased to know that they are up and around and seem to be in relatively good health. But we'll have a complete report later on this week from the Algerians who have seen all 52 of them. We are pleased that they are, finally, observed by someone in whom we have confidence, and I'll be getting a report on that.

Q. What's next, sir? What's next?

THE PRESIDENT. We'll continue to protect our Nation's honor, to work for the hostages' release and make sure that we do everything we can to protect them from any abuse, and to make sure they stay alive and well.

Q. Is there encouragement in the fact that they have now been seen and all accounted for?

THE PRESIDENT. That's encouraging to me, because there were three or four that we had not had confirmed as being well since last April, I believe. And now if this report is true—and I believe it to be true-then that is reassuring to know that they are all alive and well.

Q. Do we know that all 49 are actually staying at the spot where the pictures were taken?

THE PRESIDENT. It is now known where all 49 of them were, at least at the one time this week, and we believe that they were observed where they are staying.

REPORTER. Thank you, sir.

Note: The exchange began at 10:55 a.m. outside Lillian Carter's town home.

Jimmy Carter, Plains, Georgia Informal Exchange With Reporters. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/250810

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